So…you report at Solve The Room on time, we sign you in, maybe introduce you to your partner team…
Slowly comes the time you’re ushered into the room and locked in…
And the clock starts ticking.
And you’ve suddenly gone blank. The team is breaking down; you’re going nowhere.
Happens more often than you think. When the crunch comes you can’t operate efficiently.
Allow us, at this juncture, to offer you a few tips and tricks to help you through..
1. Check whether you’ve selected a team leader
Although this is an oft-repeated mantra – choose your leader – when the time comes, many teams (not only novices) start panicking, breaking team dynamics.
Thus, precious minutes may have ticked by, without a leader being selected.
If you’re cracking under the strain and not able to concentrate, it’s the team leader’s job to notice it and get you back on track.
The fact that you have yourself noticed yourself panicking means, more often than not, that you’ve forgotten to select a leader…or that the leader is not performing as he/she should.
2. Divide an hour up into four or five slices/slots and try to see whether you’re maintaining momentum
It happens sometimes that a team starts out great but starts getting bogged down; particularly if there’s a particularly stubborn riddle that just won’t give.
So, divide up the hour into slices and keep track of how many riddles you’ve cracked (or if possible how near you are to the exit).
Say in the first 10 minutes the team has cracked 5 puzzles, in the next 10 3 puzzles and just 1 in the third slot.
That’s a clear sign you’re losing momentum.
Ask the team if one particular puzzle is creating a bottleneck; if so, everybody should try to attack it.
If it’s not one puzzle but a general feeling of fatigue, members should be assigned fresh partners.
Maintaining momentum is mandatory to attain victory.
3. Watch out for red herrings
Red herrings come in 2 forms.
One, a riddle that’s meant to waste time and doesn’t move you forward to your escape.
Two, something that’s just presented vividly but isn’t puzzle/clue at all.
For example, a mysterious painting consisting of two eyes may just be there to add atmosphere; it’s not a clue at all.
4. Innovate, innovate, innovate!
Returning to our painting example, suppose there’s a flashy painting of an eye.
Remember the popular phrase ‘I saw …. in his/her eyes’?
It could be that within the eye, a clue is written in tiny lettering.
Remember, this is not a giveaway to our actual rooms; just an example.
5. Ask for clues
Many escape rooms will give you a few clues.
If you’re stuck somewhere, feel free to ask for a clue.
All you have is an hour.
If you have an option to ask for help; use it.
Don’t think asking for help is a sign of weakness. Knowing when you need help is a sign of smartness actually.
Also, don’t keep putting it off because you may need it later. You’re liable to find you’ve run out of time while still scratching your head over that one pesky puzzle.
6. Have a good time!
An escape room, above fun, is a chance to have fun and blow off steam.
So, enjoy yourselves and have fun. Cos, that’s what matters!
Do you have any other general tips you think would be useful? Drop a comment below!
However, do remember to NEVER reveal any details of any particular escape you’ve participated in.