The door has closed behind you and the clock has begun to start ticking. You need to start your bid to escape as you have only got 60 minutes left but where exactly do you start?
The first 10 minutes for any escape game team are absolutely crucial and can decide on whether the team will be successful or not. Since every second counts, it can be tempting to rush around like a bull in a china shop finding locks and trying random combinations. You need to resist this urge and go about things in a structured and methodical way.
So to begin with take a look around the room, does anything appear unusual? does anything look like it doesn’t belong? are there any noticeable patterns or mirror images that could be clues?
You should identify a “workspace” to keep your finds organised, ideally a flat surface like a table top. Then make a pile of clues that have not been used, a pile of puzzles that have been solved and a pile of puzzles that are currently being attempted. This tactic can help teams be more effective and prevent going over old ground.
Although time is precious make sure you take a moment to inspect objects you find. Very often when you finally open that locked drawer or compartment and you see the item you have been searching for you run off to solve the puzzle. This usually leaves other items left undiscovered.
Now that you have got an organised system in place and everyone knows what to do when searching for items you need to decide on how you are going to take on the room. There are mainly two schools of thought on this – some prefer the divide and conquer approach where the team is split into groups and tasks are assigned. Others however prefer to stay as one group and tackle each clue and puzzle together as many heads are better than one.
Another important task you should carry out within the first 10 minutes of being in the escape room is to find all the locks. You should note down the types of combinations they require. For example, if there is a lock that requires a four letter word to open it the team can be on the lookout for a secret word.
No matter how you go about your escape you need to keep the communication flowing between all team members and this is especially important within the first 10 minutes. Everyone needs to be singing from the same hymn sheet rather than going off task.