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5 Top Tips - What makes a good Escape Room puzzle?

Escape Games come in all shapes, sizes, themes and guises. Does yours use mechanical elements like hidden doors, gears and levers? Does it rely on mental puzzles and code-breaking? Do you have special effects and themed props, or hidden objects and clever plot twists? 

Seasoned players want to be surprised and entertained. How do you come up with a puzzle which is unique, challenging and fun?

Here are some suggestions to get the creative ideas flowing...

1. Light

Revealing or hiding clues, light can be used as an effective tool to create atmosphere. Black light works well in a Science Lab themed room, while torches would work well in Adventure scenes.

Create glow-in-the-dark clues

Write messages in UV paint and require players to work out how to reveal them

Create a wall of light bulbs with a series of switches, requiring players to work out which ones to turn off to reveal a short letter or number sequence

2. Team Communication 

Requiring players to work together is great whether you offer private sessions or open bookings.

Chain two players together, restricting their movement until they complete a task to find a key

Blindfold a player and require the players to give them instructions/directions to complete a task

Provide a cipher without a key, and some information which allows them to solve the code

3. Mirrors

An excellent way to get that “ah, of course!” moment of realisation, mirrors offer a variety of opportunities for fun puzzles.

Write messages which can only be read using a mirror hidden somewhere in the room

Require players to hit a target using a laser and mirrors

Use a mirror to make it seem like an object is within arm’s reach, leaving players grasping thin air

4. Hand-Eye Coordination

Coordination tasks increase energy in the room and allow sporty players a chance to shine - without making the room too physical.

Players must hit a bullseye on a dart board to reveal a clue – or tennis balls on a Velcro target

Players need to use a water pistol to fill a container with water, raising the floating ball with a clue inside

Players must hit a mini golf ball into a hole to reveal a message 

5. Actors

Adding an extra level of drama, social interaction with actors can add an extra level of fear, action or comedy as well as providing a new way to reveal hints and clues.

Players are trapped in a room with a zombie...

A maniacal doctor completes the pre-game brief before discovering something that terrifies him and runs from the room

A prisoner in the next cell is loudly moaning and complaining – could he provide you with a clue?

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5 Top Tips - What makes a good Escape Room puzzle?