Walking down that hallway into THE TOMB, first time escape room players (and even veterans of the games) find their minds racing, wondering what is right around that corner? Something else all groups share is that they want to win.

To some, winning at an escape room means simply beating the 60 minute timer, while others may not feel they’ve won unless they’ve made the leaderboard. Regardless into which camp you fall, the best teams seem to share a few simple tactics that can help you become a better escape room player.

  1. Communicate

    It’s almost like a military operation when you see an experienced escape room team jump into a new experience for the first time. Players are announcing significant finds, calling out locks, and generally communicating with the group. And the group is listening. In groups with little communication, we routinely see someone discover an important item, do something with it, only to have another team member come along behind them and undo it because they didn’t know it had been moved in the first place.

  2. Do the puzzles before you

    Yes, there are cool secrets to be found in a well designed escape room, and you absolutely should investigate the room thoroughly before hunkering down on one puzzle, but there are teams who wreck their own time looking for who-knows-what while there are obvious puzzles right in front of them. Sure, these puzzles may not seem as sexy as some cool thing across the room that you’re sure is an important piece, but the puzzle in front of you will have to be done. Maybe it opens up that cool thing over there. Don’t waste time looking for something to do while obvious puzzles sit ignored. If you’ve tried it and failed, pass it onto someone else, but make sure someone is working the puzzles you know you’ll need to do.

  3. Ask. For. Help.

    This is confounding to escape room owners and game directors. A group is told they can ask for clues. They’re encouraged to ask for clues. Then … they don’t ask for clues. For most of their time in the room. While wandering around looking for something to do. If your group hasn’t made any significant advancement for 10 or 15 minutes, you should absolutely ask for help. We understand you want to do it all on your own, but floundering until the final buzzer sounds and you’re 25% done with the room isn’t the outcome anyone wants.

Communicate, stick with puzzles you’ve found, and ask for help when you need it and you’ll do better than most other escape room teams.

Maybe you’ll even do well enough to make it onto an ESCAPE! Alaska leaderboard.