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Boom! Player's win Lost Mummy

5 Most Common Escape Room Games
(And How to Beat Them!)

Load up on this essential escape room knowledge to level-up your game.
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CRUSH your next escape room adventure with this classified info pack. 
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You Need to Know Your Escape Room Types

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Everyone playing an escape room wants to win!

No one shows up to look at the artwork or sit on the “comfortable” furniture. Whether you want to challenge the latest commercial room or enjoy a thrilling escape room game at home (like these ones), we’ll unlock the secrets of your success. Bookmark this cheat sheet!

So it's important for you to know that there’s more than one type of escape game. To succeed, you need to understand what your game type requires. Some companies post this information on their website. Others, with a more diabolical streak, force you to figure it out on your own (as if you didn’t have enough to do!). We’ll give you clues to help thwart these evil game designers.

It's time for your education to begin. Class is now in session!

Escape Room Type #1: Linear Escape Rooms

Linear escape rooms are sort of like a train track - they require you to solve one puzzle before moving on to the next one. Solving one puzzle leads you to a second puzzle, and so on. Clues to later puzzles, which you may see lying around, will make no sense until you reach them in order.

Linear escape rooms tend to be highly story-driven. Players will often find themselves working through a narrative step by step, with each puzzling progressing them through the story.

However, because there is only ever one 'track' to work on, linear escape rooms work best with small groups.  Four players are ideal. If there are too many players in a linear escape room, they'll end up with nothing to do but annoy you over your shoulder (everyone hates a backseat puzzle-solver!) or sit and quietly seethe in the corner. Not so much fun!

If you’ve never played an escape room before (what’s wrong with you — check out our intro here) or only dipped your toes in once or twice, linear games provide the best experience. You can work on your problem-solving skills before dealing with more complex games. Even Luke needed to train with Ben and Yoda before facing Vader. The Force won’t help with escape games — get experience!

If you’re designing your first escape room game (we have a guide to help you), strongly consider a linear game. It will help you fit the puzzle to the story. A linear approach works great for an escape game at home, which may depend more on puzzles and story and less on effects than a commercial escape room.
Try Kids Escape Quest for a great example of a linear, story-driven escape room game.

How to Beat Linear Escape Rooms

Playing Escape Room Z at home
So, how do you beat a linear escape game? First, identify the current goal. The goal is not to “win the game.” You must focus on the puzzle in front of you. Everyone on the team should look for the clues that will allow you to open the lock or pop open the jail cell. Anyone not working on the current puzzle will confuse the rest of the team.

Next, have a kiss. No, not that kind of kiss (although it never hurts). A KISS. Keep It Simple Stupid! Don’t induce paralysis by analysis. If you think your solution makes sense, go with it! If it fails, well, we’re sure you’ve been wrong before. Try a new, but still simple, angle.

Try everything. Sometimes the answer that seems the weirdest solves the puzzle.

Share the spotlight. One person dominating the game leads to failure and kills the fun. The goal is for the team to escape, and everyone should have a hand in it! If you wanted to solve a puzzle on your own, you’d play Wordle! And escape games are infinitely more fun!

Escape Room Type #2: Scavenger Hunts

The scavenger or treasure hunt involves searching the room for hidden clues. As soon as the game starts, dispatch the team to all corners (unless you’re in a round room). Scavenger hunts may not be linear. Therefore, you need to gather as many clues as you can at the start. However, linear scavenger hunts exist, with each solved puzzle indicating where the following solution may be found.

Scavenger hunts are perfect for younger kids, as puzzles can sometimes leave them more discouraged than excited. They enjoy finding the hidden clues more than solving the problems. 

You can design a home escape room game with a scavenger hunt format by following this guide. The kids will relish flying through the yard to find clues. Give them broomsticks and a Harry Potter theme, and you’ve created an hour of happiness. Brooms for indoor games not recommended. Adults love outdoor escape games too, and the larger area allows for more players.
Treasure maps

How to Beat Scavenger Hunts

Kids playing Escape Quest outside
Kids Escape Quest combines the best parts of scavenger hunts, with age-appropriate puzzles.
Beating a scavenger hunt game requires dividing and conquering. In most cases, you only have an hour. Everyone needs to find whatever looks like a clue and bring it to a central place. Because…

You have to organize the clues. Once several clues arrive, assign one or two players to sort through them while the rest continue to hunt. These players are also in charge of moving the stuff from room to room if necessary.

Make sure you look everywhere. Is something out of place? Under a table? On top of a picture? In a coffin filled with worms? Make sure you consider all possible hiding places, not just those at eye level. You’ll only escape if you find all of the clues!

Escape Room Type #3: Non-Linear Escape Rooms

Non-linear games require you to solve several puzzles to escape, but the order in which you solve the puzzles is up to you. More precisely, it is up to the order in which you find the puzzles, but you can still decide when to start working on them!

Non-linear designs spice up escape room games at home. Whether your group is solving puzzles at a table or moving from room to room, the challenge of using the solutions to the preliminary puzzles to solve the final puzzle keeps the entire team engaged!

Non-linear games usually require four or more people. Everyone has a job. Teams often divide up to solve 2-3 puzzles at a time.

Due to their complexity, non-linear escape rooms require more abstract thinking skills. Even after solving the first few puzzles, the path to the end may remain fuzzy. Non-linear escape rooms typically require players to solve more puzzles than linear escape rooms.

You'll need lots and lots of puzzles if you're going to design your own non-linear escape room game. So make sure you bookmark this full list of escape room puzzles.

How to Beat Non-Linear Escape Rooms

Try a  non-linear game at home with the Lost Mummy or Envy kits.
Beating a non-linear room requires superior teamwork. Communicating clearly is essential, given that teams often work on 2-3 puzzles at a time. When you solve a puzzle, make sure everyone knows what you found! It may help them with their work.

You should determine the primary goal of the room at the start. Like Dorothy strolling the Yellow Brick Road, you need to know where your Wizard sits. Then use the clues to draw back the curtain and fly back to Kansas before the Wicked Witch strikes!

Focus on puzzles that cater to your strengths. If someone else works better with word puzzles, hand those off to her. Then use your geography skills on the spooky map in the corner.

Keep all of the solutions in one place. You may only have a few minutes to solve the final puzzle. Backtracking to find clues haphazardly spread across the room wastes precious time and leads to the serial killer hiding your body where it will never be found, not even by the next escape room team.

Escape Room Type #4: Mixed Linear and Non-Linear Escape Rooms

Usually, the first 40-60% of the game is non-linear, while the remainder is linear. You must work quickly to move to the linear portion when your pace and heart rate accelerates.

While the first part of the game requires hunting for clues, you must keep the story in mind. This allows you to exclude red herrings. With the last part of the game being linear, you must master the story to escape.

When designing a mixed linear and non-linear game, ensure that the story contains enough nuance to require everyone’s assistance to escape. You don’t want people twiddling their thumbs for half of the game, especially if it is a home escape room game.
Rebel Revolt players navigating a dangerous minefield
See it in action. Rebel Revolt combines linear and non-linear game elements for maximum thrill!

How to Beat a Mixed Linear and Non-Linear Escape Room

Totally winning Rebel Revolt
Beating a mixed game requires combining the tactics of the linear and non-linear games. The trick is realizing when the game shifts modes so that you can switch strategies.

Be sure not to let your adrenaline carry you away in the linear portion. The game accelerates, but make sure you consider everyone’s input. Failure to do so may leave you locked in the exhaust shaft as the Moonraker takes off!

Escape Room Type #5: Virtual Escape Rooms - A Great Home Escape Room Experience

Virtual escape rooms come in several forms. The one familiar to most people is the point-and-click game. You point and click to obtain items, solve the puzzle, and save the princess!

There are also narrated escape room games. Think Dungeons and Dragons, only you don’t have to decide whether your character is an Ogre, Elf, or Magician. To escape, you might need to be all three!

Another type of virtual game is the live escape rooms using Zoom or other software to collaborate on the game remotely. These home escape room games allow everyone to solve puzzles while dressed in their pajamas! The gamemaster provides the clues, and the players collaborate over video to escape from 4Chan or other evil trolls!

How to Beat a Virtual Escape Room

Beating virtual escape rooms requires excellent communication. Especially when playing over Zoom, you need to ensure that everyone gets to complete their thoughts. Speaking over each other guarantees an eternity in the mental asylum!

Take notes. In a virtual room, you cannot physically carry the clues. Make sure that you have everything written down to refer to later. And make sure that you can read your own handwriting!

Ask for hints. Good advice for any escape room, this tactic makes more sense when playing an escape room at home without physical contact with the clues. While solving puzzles on your own is noble, becoming zombie fodder is not.

In a point and click game, click everything! Why not? An annoying bonk sound is the worst that will happen if you click! Failing to click means missing an important clue. Would you rather hear annoying sounds or face eternity in MySpace?

Now You Have The Keys To The Kingdom

Go forth and win.

You now possess the secrets to win every escape room, from the most formidable commercial escape room to the most daring escape rooms at home! 

Keep this cheat sheet with you everywhere you go! You’ll never know when you will unexpectedly stumble into the next escape room!

Need even more winning tips? Carry on reading with this full guide to crush every escape room.

Try These Tips Tonight! Grab an At-Home Escape Room For An Instant Adventure

Why not treat yourself to a ready-to-play escape room game in your living room? Just pick your favorite game, print it out, and you're all set for an evening of fun!

Which one will you choose?
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Rebel revolt spy kit half
Rebel Revolt (Spy Mission)
Teen Thanksgiving parties (14+)
Treasonous spy mission to take down a government facility.
4+ Players
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Envy escape room box half logo
Envy (Murder Mystery)
Adult Thanksgiving Parties 
1920's Gatsby-style murder mystery of debaucherous luxury.
4+ Players
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Escape room z half
Escape Room Z (Zombies!)
Adult Thanksgiving Parties
Comical zombie thriller with a deadly splash of infectious z-virus.
4+ Players
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Frost escape box half
Frost (Magical Quest)
Kids Thanksgiving parties
Can your kids help the magical forest Wisp in time?
Ages 8-12
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Lost Mummy (Adventure!)
Kids Thanksgiving/School Parties
Unearth Egypt's ancient secrets in the Lost Mummy.
Ages 10+
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Escape Quest half
Escape Quest (Time Travel)
Younger kids Thanksgiving parties
Fix the time machine using relics from across the ages.
Ages 6-9
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Bonus: Treasure Map pack
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