So you’ve booked to do an escape room, but you don’t know how to prepare. Maybe it was a gifted experience and you’ve never done one before. You’ve read up on everything about the theme of the room itself, but you want to give you and your team the best chance possible. Well read carefully, because here are our tips on how to prepare for an escape room challenge.
1. Plan the route out
It doesn’t matter how much preparing you do if you get lost, or end up late. You’ll only stress yourself out, which will completely ruin any sort of mental training you’ve done for the day. That’s why the most important thing to figure out beforehand, is how you’re going to get there.
While there might be some members of your group that are fine with being a little late (we all know a few), it’s best to make sure everyone arrives slightly early. That way, you also have a few minutes to psyche yourself up, before you tackle the escape room.
2. Get plenty of sleep
Attempting anything without the proper tools is going to be extremely tough, and take far longer than usual. Escape rooms are no different. In an escape room, your most powerful tool is your brain.
By depriving yourself of sleep, you’re almost guaranteeing your failure. When you’re tired, your brain can’t work properly – so you’re doing yourself (and your group) a massive disservice by not getting proper rest the night before.
3. Eat some brain food
Just like getting enough sleep, you have to make sure your brain and body are properly fuelled, or you won’t be operating at maximum capacity. To properly make sure your brain is all juiced up, munch on some slow-release energy (like a peanut butter sandwich) and a banana.
Foods like this will help to stave off hunger and improve brain function – which is exactly what you’re looking for when you’ve got to undertake a mentally challenging task like an escape room.
4. Wear comfortable clothing
During an escape room, you’re going to be moving around a lot, so let’s forget about Chelsea boots and heels, skinny jeans and skirts. You want to avoid any clothes that are tight and restricting. Instead, aim to wear things for comfort and ease of movement, think: t-shirts, jogging bottoms, trainers.
Escape rooms usually have particularly bad lighting, so you’re unlikely to really notice what other people are wearing anyway. Besides, the last thing you need is to slow yourself and your team down, because you decided it was better to look good than dress practically.
5. Remember to listen to each other
When you’re actually inside the escape room, it’s a lot harder to listen to everyone than you might think. You can get so wrapped up in trying to solve one particular problem, that you forget to pay attention to the group and miss a crucial bit of information as a result.
One way to get around this is to decide on a buzzword as a team. The buzzword can be anything, but it’s meant to call focus. As soon as you hear it, should stop what you’re doing and pay attention because your teammate has found something valuable.
6. Appoint a time-keeper
Watches are one of the few external items that you’re allowed to bring into an escape room. Make the most of it and appoint a timekeeper before you even get there. This will save you time in the room, and mean that someone is now in charge of monitoring how much of that 60 minutes you have left.
While this may not seem incredibly necessary before you begin, having someone to keep track of how long each puzzle is taking you can be incredibly beneficial. It can point to where other people may need to help, or the fact that you haven’t yet found all the clues to a single puzzle.
7. Don’t worry about failure
You’re not going to win every game, and that’s okay. You don’t need to win to have fun, and actually, you’re more likely to have fun in a game where you nearly win than in one you beat with ease. It’s called the ‘Near Miss Effect’, and it’s the reason why people will say “just one more game” when playing something.
Of course, if you are determined to win there are small escape room ‘hacks’ you can try (such as brute-forcing the final digit of a combination), but this can actually ruin the enjoyment of the room. Instead, try and find the hidden solution and it’ll be so much more rewarding.
There are loads of ways to prepare for an escape room experience, but the most important thing to remember is that you’re there to have fun. Whether you win or lose, as long as you and your team (be they family, friends, or colleagues) enjoy yourselves, that’s all that matters.