man and woman looking at rotary phone trying to solve escape room puzzle

Escape Rooms 101: A Guide For First-Timers

Escape rooms have become a global sensation for family or group entertainment.

This genre of amusement combines interactive play, problem-solving, critical thinking, and team play in staged rooms.

These rooms serve as game levels with varying difficulties and unique experiences that are challenging, thrilling, and memorable.  

However, finding yourself in an unfamiliar landscape where you’re tasked to decipher codes and unlock mysteries may seem daunting for newbies.

Escape rooms usually follow a specific theme where the design resembles places such as hospitals, prisons, haunted houses, and other settings.

Then, you’ll need to look for clues, tools, and items to help you open the door to the next level until you find the exit. 

Moreover, you’ll also have to work with your group and figure out a way to resolve one problem at a time together. You may find multiple clues in one room, and it’s up to you and your team to use them to discover how to open the door.

Finally, you’ll also be under pressure, as escape room games set a limited time frame for participants to complete all levels and find the way out of the maze. 

If you’re an escape room first-timer and you’d like some tips that can help you and your friends have a fun-filled experience, here are some suggestions you can consider: 

man and woman looking at rotary phone trying to solve escape room stylized as underground shelter

How To Prepare For Your Escape Room Visit 

  1. Research About The Escape Room Facility 

Your first escape room experience will significantly depend on the amusement center you visit. Most would have a theme where the game and its clues will be based, so it’s essential to find out the type of games the center offers guests.

For instance, Hour To Midnight Escape Room games have several game options to choose from, including horror and Ancient Egypt-themed rooms.  

Then, each game will follow a storyline that matches the room’s theme. Familiarizing yourself with the theme will help you solve puzzles and find clues, which is why you’ll need to consider when choosing the game room you’ll enter.

Moreover, you may find one theme more appealing than another, so you’ll have to select one that suits your preferences best. 

You’ll also have to find some technical information about the escape room. For instance, some may be linear, requiring you to complete one level to move on to the next. For non-linear options, you can complete puzzles in no particular order.

Besides this factor, escape rooms also differ when it comes to layouts. Some may only have one ample space with an open floor plan, while others may have partitions between rooms or levels.  

To ensure you’ll have a great time playing with your friends and loved ones, you’ll need to learn essential information about the amusement center and its games.  

  1. Be Ready To Interact With Multiple Players

Escape rooms are intended for multiple players per game, and the puzzles are designed for collaborative play. Thus, preparing to play as a team and work together in solving obstacles is essential.

Moreover, you’ll need to strategize, assign roles, and divide tasks among members to finish the game on time.  

To enhance the teamwork experience, many Escape Rooms offer different themes and difficulty levels, allowing players to choose a challenge that suits their preferences and skill levels.

Whether you’re a group of friends, coworkers, or a family looking for an exciting adventure, they provide an immersive and thrilling experience that tests your problem-solving abilities and strengthens bonds between participants.

Many amusement centers offer group packages so that you can reserve one game for your company. It allows you to work exclusively with your peers or family.

On the other hand, it’s also possible for single players to team up with other players to create a group to complete the required headcount per game.  

With these two options, the first one may be more convenient since it’ll be easier to work with people you know.

However, it’s also possible to have a great escape room session with players you just met, provided you’re ready to cooperate and work together toward achieving your common goal.  

  1.  Know The Rules And Regulations Of The Escape Room  

It may also be helpful to learn about the regulations in the amusement center before your visit.

Doing so will help you prepare and set expectations for your group of friends or family.

Here are some of the most common rules among many escape game centers: 

  • Arrive at the venue at least 15 minutes ahead of schedule. The extra time can help you and your group prepare and make it easier for the management to accommodate your requests if any. 
  • Ensure that your team will enter the correct room and avoid going to restricted areas. 
  • Handle everything with care. 
  • Communicate respectfully. 
  • Turn off your mobile phones and other gadgets that can cause a distraction while playing. 
  • Wear appropriate attire. 

If you cannot find the information that you need on the company’s website, or if you have questions related to the game regulations, you can also contact their customer hotline and ask for assistance from their representatives.  

How To Play Strategically And Win 

  1. Avoid Overthinking 

Many beginners feel overwhelmed with the unfamiliar environment, items that don’t match, and time pressure when playing an escape room game.

However, game experts advise players to avoid overanalyzing any clues as they could waste time and miss out on the correct details that would lead to the solution.

If one member or party has spent three to five minutes analyzing one segment and failed to get the right answer, it’s best to leave it for the time being and return to it with a fresh perspective. 

  1. Assign Roles And Delegate Tasks 

Before uncovering clues and solving riddles, you’ll also need to assign roles to each member. You can pair up or divide the team into smaller groups if you have many members.

Meanwhile, you can also assign independent tasks depending on your group size. 

Then, you can select a team manager who will oversee the progress of each player, pair, or subgroup. It’s an effective way to organize tasks while ensuring that there are no redundancies or shortages when completing each of them.

You can also save time when the team is spread out doing multiple tasks simultaneously.  

  1. Organize Your Clues 

There could be many random items placed in one room, and among those are the clues you need to exit and move on to the next stage.

Because there could be many items to work with, it’s easy for you and your team members to lose track of the things that have been analyzed or used to solve puzzles.

To avoid this scenario, you’ll need to ensure that all your clues are organized to prevent confusion. 

Once you’ve gathered clues, you can assign a corner or a spot in the room where you can place all items you’ve already analyzed. Then, you can segregate them according to purpose or meaning.

This way, you can easily refer to them when something’s amiss, or you need to use them to solve other puzzles.  

Aside from this, you’ll likely open many drawers, safety boxes, and other containments in an escape room.

Additionally, it’s best to leave doors open so they can be easily identified as completed and avoid checking the same spot twice.

  1. Focus On Level Barriers 

To jump from one level of the game to the next, you need to be able to solve all the puzzles and uncover all the secrets in one room.

It means that all the clues you’ll discover will help you get past the level barriers and help your team work more efficiently if you focus on these barriers.

For instance, the gate from room one to room two must be opened using a door combination. Hence, your team’s goal should be to find out what the combination is.

Moreover, each member should pay close attention to anything inside the room that might indicate the right combination.  

  1. Beware Of Red Herrings 

Your escape room may or may not have red herrings, though many game masters include them in their layouts.

To avoid wasting time on a clue that won’t help you complete your mission on time, you must budget your time wisely and let the team work on different clues simultaneously.

Doing so will minimize confusion and allow you to look more at other items in the room with more interest.  

  1. Consult With Your Guide Or Game Master 

Before the game starts, most escape rooms assign one guide per group. This guide will assist you and answer your questions as needed.

While it may be against the rules to ask the guides to help you solve the puzzles themselves, they can assist in understanding game rules and other important information. 

Moreover, you can also approach the game master if you’ve encountered difficulties during the game or if there’s any medical emergency. Don’t hesitate to ask questions or request assistance when required.  


Playing in escape rooms may be one of the best bonding experiences you and your loved ones can enjoy. It’s an excellent way to take a break, bond with family and friends, and do something fun and unique for a change.

Moreover, you’ll also test your creativity, problem-solving abilities, and teamwork while trying to solve riddles and uncover clues.

Finally, you’ll be able to experience being in a new dimension full of challenges and surprises, which may be a memorable and amusing way to spend a weekend or holiday. Thus, it may be wise to grab the chance to play an escape room game when possible.