Escape room

What are the Things that Stop Players Escaping an Escape Room

Having witnessed thousands of escape room games being played over more than 12 years, we're in a pretty good position to realize the main factors that stop a team of players from completing the escape room within the allotted time...

Having witnessed thousands of escape room games being played over more than 12 years, we're in a pretty good position to realize the main factors that stop a team of players from completing the escape room within the allotted time. From the moment the game starts, we an see where players are either making basic mistakes or wasting precious time on essentially unimportant things. Sometimes a player will get into a rut because they are solely focused on the wrong thing. And at other times we see players "overthinking" a puzzle because they fail to recognize a clue sitting in plain sight. So we've put together a list of factors that we see, on an almost daily basis, that hold up or stop players from completing their games.Let's have a dive.... 

Lack of communication

On the whole most games are played among friends. So we find it hard to stomach that they are just not communicating properly. No matter how many times we tell players that if they find something of interest, it's so important that they call out and share their discovery. And yet, as soon as the game starts, they find something and say nothing. It's frustrating for a games master to watch. Often, a player will remove puzzles from one room and take them into another to try and find the solutions. But all puzzles are designed to be solved in the rooms of discovery. The number of times we can see one player working on a problem, when we know that another player has already solved it, is enough to make you pull your hair out! 


The puzzles and riddles that you'll find in a regular escape room are designed to be solvable. There's no benefit to allowing players to struggle for almost the whole game time frame over a single clue. So, with that in mind, remember that on the whole, puzzles are going to veer towards being easier, as opposed to being more difficult. More often than not, the answer is looking at you full in the face. But because you're over-thinking, you fail to look at things more simplistically. On the whole, you should start with the obvious and work your way towards the obscure. Not the other way around. So any clues will be hidden in plain sight. You just have to alter the way you look at things and it's suddenly jump out at you. So, keep in mind, that more often than not, the correct answer is the simplest and most obvious one.

Refusing Help 

One of the most frustrating parts of being a games master is watching players struggle and not ask for help. We feel bad for the players as the clock ticks down their time. it's as if asking for help is a sign of weakness. That you're somehow letting everyone down by doing so. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are bound to be some riddles and puzzles that are too obscure and then, rather than wasting time trying to figure them out, just pipe up and ask the games master for help. He will not give you the answer, but will point out a different way of looking at the problem. His job is to give helpful hints, not solve the puzzles for you.

Lack Of Teamwork

More often than not, a lack of teamwork is nothing more than allowing ego to take over the whole show. Many people are competitive by nature and find that the whole escape room scenario lends itself to the individual finding and solving all the clues. These players want to be heroes in their teams. The problem with this, is that there's not enough time for a one man band to finish the whole course of riddles and puzzles. We've seen bossy players not allowing other to solve puzzles, claiming that because they couldn't solve it themselves then it's impossible. Then some players find an object, but because they can't solve it there and then, so they hide it to come back to it later in the game. These are the same players that give other members of the team puzzles that have already been solved, so that they can go forwards without other players "getting in their way". 

Not Searching Properly

When the game starts, many players charge into the room and start to focus on the most easily seen and stand-out objects. They grab whatever the eye can see. But an escape room contains much more than the visible. many clues are hidden from direct sight, often behind or within other objects. We see so many players already moving on to the next room without having searched the previous room thoroughly. This can be down to the ever present clock which is a constant reminder of diminishing game time, and a general lack of curiosity. So, make sure you open every book and feel under every set of draws.

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