How Escape Rooms Work

Escape rooms have become highly popular throughout North America in the last decade. This trend shows no signs of slowing in the near future. In fact, there is great innovation taking place in these entertainment venues as owners seek to continually improve participant enjoyment.

 These rooms provide a hands-on experience unlike any other. When you enter an escape room as part of a small social group, family outing or team building activities, you never know what you will find. But you can be sure you will enjoy adventure, teamwork, strategy and that race against the clock that makes these games so popular.

 If you are a newcomer to the escapist scene, you probably wonder how these rooms work. Below, we provide some insights to bring out the adventurer in you.

How Escape Rooms Work

 Escape room adventures task your small group with specific physical and mental objectives according to a themed plot. You must work together with other members of your group to solve riddles and puzzles and receive clues or hints. To succeed and gain your freedom from the room, you employ your problem-solving and deductive reasoning skills.

 Each escape venue has its own themes and designs. This means no two rooms are exactly alike, and you can expect something new from each experience. However, general concepts are the same. These standard concepts of escapist adventure rooms include:

  • You have specific missions or objectives to achieve
  • Rooms are designed according to themes
  • Your group is “locked-in” your room
  • You must complete your objectives before you are able to escape
  • You must use whatever is in the room to solve puzzles and obtain clues

Escape Room Themes

To help you understand your objectives and the nature of your search for clues, your escape room experience is based upon a theme. That theme starts with a backstory or plot, like those of movies. Common themes are spy games, murder mysteries, crime investigations, crime prevention, escaping doom, bomb defusing, finding a cure and rescuing someone in distress.

The theme is generally obvious throughout your escape room’s design. For example, a mystery theme taking place on a moving train will involve a room designed to look like a train car. Your clues in such a theme may be hidden under passenger seats, in suitcases or other places common to a passenger train.

There may be special lighting, sound effects and movements to fully immerse you in your railway mystery adventure. Seeing the room design and looking for hidden clues is a major part of the excitement of these adventures.

 Puzzles vary from theme to theme, too. But you can expect challenges involving counting, finding similar items, extracting information, deciphering codes and reading clues. Anything in the room can be part of a clue or a puzzle.

 In some of these rooms, you must use special tools for your escape. Blacklights are often part of the escape room toolbox. They can help you find secret messages written in invisible ink. Sometimes you can see tools but need to use ingenuity to access them. Jigsaw puzzles are other common tools for cracking codes or unlocking the escape room door.

Solving Your Escape Room

Escapist adventures are not meant to be easy. This means that you must be prepared to feel challenged, confused and perplexed during your experience. Teamwork is essential for success. Each team member brings their own insights, experiences, capabilities and ways of thinking into the locked room. Tapping into these individual resources can help you find success, also making the rooms excellent team building activities.


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