In the past few years, escape rooms have grown in popularity as an alternative team-building activity. Participants are locked in a room and must find hidden clues to solve puzzles to get out within a set time limit.
The phenomenon has spread across the globe. More than 5,000 such games are available in over 200 cities, including Boston Escape Room.
There are many ways to design an escape room – some good, some bad. Well-designed escape rooms should be:
Friendly – Make your rooms appropriate for all ages.
Relevant – Stay relevant to the theme of your room and the story behind it.
Engaging – Don’t rely solely on pop culture references.
Logical – Make sure the puzzles make sense and follow a logical order.
Above all, escape rooms should be FUN. Keep reading to discover some other traits that make for a well-designed escape room.
The theme of your room will set the stage for your experience. It’s important that the theme is consistent throughout the room and that the puzzles are tied to the theme.
If players are going to spend an hour solving puzzles in your escape room, they need to be able to connect with the story behind the room.
The theme doesn’t have to be an intricate, novel-length storyline. A simple setting and story will do just fine.
Escaping Together is Key
Make sure there’s a collaborative element to your puzzles. A good escape room isn’t a competition; it’s a team effort.
People work much better together when they have a common goal and aren’t competing for the best solution.
If a puzzle doesn’t have a clear solution or is meant to be done by one person, it’s probably not a good fit for an escape room.
Make sure all the puzzles in your room are doable. Don’t make your players solve an impossible language puzzle just to open a door.
If you’ve designed the room to be explored in a specific order, make sure players start in the right place and don’t veer off before they’ve explored everything.
Don’t make players jump around or go back and forth between puzzles that have nothing to do with each other.
Objects Mean Something
Objects are the heart of an escape room. All the puzzles and storylines in your room are useless without the objects that go along with them. Make sure your objects are unique and interesting.
Objects can be anything from an old book to a painting hanging on the wall. But keep in mind that boring objects slow down the flow of the room.
Buttons are a common prop in escape rooms. Players usually push a button, and something happens, like a voice recording or a light coming on.
When you’re designing your escape room, try to keep the number of buttons to a minimum. Too many buttons could confuse the players and make the room feel cluttered.
One of the easiest ways to set the tone for your escape room is with lighting. Is your room dark and ominous? Or does it have a clean, clinical look?
The same goes for color. Escape rooms are often set in creepy, scary places. Adding a dash of color is nice to cut the tension a bit.
Always keep safety in mind, though. Colored lights that shine directly in players’ eyes are a nuisance and could be dangerous.
Puzzles Are a Mix of Show and Tell
Research shows that puzzles could help our brains fight off dementia. However, when it comes to escape rooms, it can be tricky to get the right balance between “show” (the actual puzzle) and “tell” (the explanation of the puzzle).
You can’t just throw a puzzle at players and expect them to solve it immediately. You need to give them a little bit of a nudge in the right direction. The key to a successful escape room is to ensure there’s a solution and that the players can find it.
The majority of your customers will find you through an internet search. You should have a well-designed website to go along with the escape room.
The escape room’s address, price, and different themes should be clearly explained on your promotional website.
Escape rooms are a great activity for team building, birthday parties, or any event where you want to put your wits to the test. Not all escape rooms are created equal, but the above tips will help you craft fun and engaging escape rooms.