Surviving Your First Escape Game

An escape game or mystery room is a real-life time sensitive simulation where you and your friends have to escape from danger, collect protected objects, or play the role of detectives in solving a case. Anyone who likes puzzle solving, team sports, or role-playing will enjoy this activity. These games are run like businesses such as mini-putt or bowling where each game gets a specially designed play space. They are hosted by various groups at locations throughout Toronto including Looking Glass Adventures on the Danforth. After participating in several of these challenges, I have created this list of useful tips for winning the game.

Tip One: The More the Better

These games are always better with the maximum number of players, which is eight people. Each person you invite will bring their own unique skill set which can be crucial to solving the game. More people means more ideas for problem solving, and allows rest periods for members who are feeling stressed or tired.

Tip Two: Don’t Doubt Yourself

The worst thing that can happen is the time you have to finish decreasing or you have to run back to a safe zone, but hey, nobody is going to die and if you sit around arguing, your time will go down anyways. The challenge is meant to be fun. If there was ever a time to take a chance, it is now. Plus, these games are supposed to be solved by those of average intelligence. If a solution seems obvious to you, then you are probably right.

Tip Three: One Answer at a Time

There is nothing more frustrating and headache-inducing then  all of your friends trying to yell over one another about the correct answer. Not only could good information be ignored, but at this point nobody is thinking clearly. You may really start holding a grudge against your team members if this behaviour continues.

Tip Four: Play to Your Strengths

Some are good at math, others at patterns, and still others at telling the time. Do everyone a favour and do not leave the computer illiterate person to run the computer, or the math genius to navigate through the crawl space. By letting people do the things that suit them best, the mystery will be easier to complete and everyone will enjoy the game more.

Tip Five: Call for Clues

Every challenge can eventually be solved with the clues given, but sometimes your mind will not be able to piece things together. It’s better to call for your clue if you are taking a long time to solve a problem. Forgive your brain freeze, move along to the next fun challenge, and spare yourself from losing all your game time.

Tip Six: Try the Door

It is easy to forget the obvious and assume things when everything is a challenge. Just because a door is closed and you think you failed the code, does not mean you failed. I advise that all doors or other locked obstacles be tested to see if they open. It may have been open the entire time.

Photography by Karol Franks

Tiina is a designer for On the Danforth. She focuses her love of magic into her work and has recently self-published a fantasy novel titled Broken Court. Find more of her work on her blog

One Comment

  • Greg Escaper

    Surviving escape games is not an easy task, and you need to be careful that you don’t make any mistakes while doing so. If you make mistakes, then you can’t complete escape rooms.

Leave a Reply