When you go into an escape room, this is the thing: Be curious and examine the room thoroughly! The game set is like an open book that the players learn to read. You get started by searching, observing, and combining. Here we tell you about the 3 most common mission types.
Search and find
This type of task can be both easy and very demanding. Objects can be placed in the space so unobtrusively that they cannot be found even if you look directly at them, like a black mobile phone on a black table. An important key can be placed in a key chain among other keys. We have collected hiding place ideas in the article Hiding places.
When using the hide-and-seek task, make sure players know what they are looking for, and the amount as well. If you have to find 6 pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, it is easy to figure out how many pieces that are missing. Finding the key to a lock is also a pretty straight-forward. But if the players need 5 magic items to solve a task and don’t know that there should be five of them, then the search is random and frustrating.
Do you see photos on the wall, picturing doors of different colors? Or the same landscape picture, but in different seasons? Flowers in glass vases that are filled with different amounts of water? Using your fingertips, can you sense a number in the closed inside pocket of a jacket hanging on a chair? Do you hear a strange rhythmic beep? Are there different colored balls of yarn in a basket, each stabbed with a different number of knitting needles? Do you see a string you could pull or a hole through which you could peek? Different colored clothespins on a clothesline under the roof? Strange patterns on the surface of the table cloth? etc. The set of the escape room is full of information, and careful observation, sometimes using hearing, touching and smelling as well as seeing, is the player’s best tool.
When you build the game space yourself, you can keep in mind that the sense of sight is not the only perceptual sense. In home surroundings, why not use the sense of taste as well? Maybe to distinguish between sweet, bitter, sour and salty beverages?
The most interesting escape game tasks are multi-layered. First, you may find a ribbon with characters. What would you do with it? Nothing yet, because part of that task is still missing. Later, you will find a bucket surrounded by symbols. When you wrap the ribbon around the bucket as shown, the ribbon marks hit certain symbols. Finally, you will find cups decorated with the same symbols with numbers on the bottom. So now you have to connect the ribbon to the bucket to find the right symbols, and then peek under the cups to find the numbers represented by the symbol. The code is ready!