Escape rooms have forged an entirely new category of family-friendly, year-round fun and entertainment. Many people also get great joy from solving these challenges. Successfully solving one means outwitting the game designers, architects, engineers and software developers. If you want to emerge from your next escape room victorious, consider these five tips for solving them fast.

1. Put Your Heads Together

Working together is important for planning any kind of “great escape.” Teamwork is essential, whereas bunching up too much can create chaos. Remember, most escape games bring together multiple pieces or components from various parts of one room. So while everyone should listen to each other and work together, you should not stagnate all of your manpower within a few square feet. Teams that typically fail to escape are those wherein the group bunches up in search of one clue or to examine one component. Spread out, but keep your ears and eyes open.

2. Communicate Verbally

Verbal communication is one of the most important tools for solving these challenges. It is important to communicate what you see in a way that the rest of the group can understand. But you have to avoid talking over each other and creating confusion. Share knowledge for everyone to use in solving the puzzles. It can help to determine team leaders before your group ever sets foot into the room. These leaders can take on the role of verbal communicators while everyone else is tasked with exploring, searching, finding and reporting back to their leaders.

3. Work Efficiently From The Start

When you have an hour on the clock, you can feel like you have plenty of time to break out of escape rooms. But that time quickly flies and most teams find themselves panicking as the clock ticks down through the last minutes. To avoid unsolved clue panic, start the game with well-managed urgency. Never take time for granted and proceed with 59 minutes left on the clock just as you will work at two minutes before the buzzer.

If you have a hint available to you, ask for that hint from the start. Do not consider receiving this help as “cheating.” Remember that all good investigators ask questions. Many people wait until time is running out before asking for the clue. But in a time rush, the clue will likely create panic. You may find out you have been pursuing the wrong directions all along, wasting time.

4. Use The Engineering Side Of Your Brain

A good escape room challenges you in a variety of ways. These challenges can include tasking of your creative, mechanical, software and electrical skills. Remember to look at each object or puzzle from multiple theoretical angles when trying to solve them. Think like a designer, mechanic, programmer or electrical engineer. One objective can involve electrical sensors, images, mirrors, keys and math or word problems. Sometimes, working backwards helps breakthrough roadblocks.

5. Examine The Puzzle Like A Writer

Besides engineering, remember that each escape room is based on a scenario, backstory or plotline. The story creates the room’s overall flow. Because it is the backbone of the challenge’s design, the story therefore holds many keys to solving each puzzle.

When you get really stuck in your scenarios and cannot figure out clues, think like the plot writer. Consider what the story developer would think about or what they may consider intriguing. For example, in a “whodunit,” do you think the writer would choose the most obvious party as the criminal or perhaps the least likely character?

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