Well begun is half done…thus goes the saying.
And it applies to our particular situation, i.e. breaking out of an escape room.
In another blog post we discussed some tips and tricks on how to proceed once you’re inside the escape room.
Now, we’re going to see whether you can prepare yourself before entering the room to increase the chances of you escaping successfully.
If you’re really serious about succeeding, there are two issues you can work on daily, irrespective of when you’re planning to try out an E.R.
1. As far as an escape room is concerned, relinquish any concept of ‘first place’
An escape room breakout is a team effort, has always been a team effort and will always be a team effort.
The chances of escaping are highest if the entire team collaborates efficiently.
If you start thinking that you must outdo your team in any way – for example by hiding a clue you’ve solved in your pocket so you can dramatically reveal your feat – you’re undercutting your team and thereby yourself.
The concept of ‘first place’ isn’t inherently wrong; it’s just unsuited in this particular environment.
And don’t laugh this one off. Believe you me, as easy as this sounds, once you’re locked inside and the clock starts ticking, common sense, experience, discipline tend to go out the window.
2. Try to think up innovative ways of seeing and using things without going overboard
For example, in the traditional sense, a pen is useless without paper to write on.
So, if you find a pen placed somewhere in the room, rather than dismiss it as a prop or a red herring, spend a minute searching for any paper that may be hidden nearby on which a clue may have been written using the pen.
Alternatively, if there’s a lock nearby with a key that won’t fit try using the pen to make the key stay in place.
That’s not the best example of innovative use around but I think you get the idea.
Now we come to when you’re actually at the escape room, presumably ahead of time.
Depending on the particular E.R.’s policy, you may or may not be paired up with another group.
At this point in time how can you best prepare yourself to face the escape room?
1. If different groups have been paired up, the first point of order is for everyone to get acquainted
Communication is key to maximizing group potential. And in order to communicate you need to know people’s names.
‘Oi, Robert.’ sounds so much better than ‘Oi, guy in the red shirt’, don’t you think?
2. Select a leader
Here, the natural impulse is to push your own name.
When you’re done introducing yourselves, someone is bound to take up the initiative, saying something like
‘Alright guys, we’re going into XYZ room and we’ve got an hour to escape. Let’s divide the hour into 6 slots of 10 minutes each; for that, Robert, you’re appointed time-keeper.’
And so on.
If that person is you, fine. But if that’s someone else, propose his/her name for leader.
(BTW if you don’t get the rationale for dividing the time into slots, take a peek at our blog post ‘A few tips and tricks to help you escape’.)
Remember, this is the time to think about the group; not engage in an ego battle.
3. Ensure that the most critical skill sets are attended to
The critical skill sets are number crunching, logical matching and some historical knowledge.
It is important for the group to try to find out the best person for each kind of skill so tasks can be allocated accordingly.
Getting this done is the job of the group leader but he/she may forget, so you need to remain vigilant.
4. Everyone must try to find a partner they are comfortable working with
Generally, each puzzle should be tackled by a two-man team, even if the second person is only cheering the first person on; even that is a critical function since it wards off lethargy and/or frustration.
Each such team should have a proper dynamic and team members must enjoy a spontaneous rapport with each other.
Identifying such pairs is crucial to success!
Right; with all that accomplished, off you go to get locked into the escape room!
In case you think of anything else that should be done before starting an escape room challenge, please drop a comment below!