Well... more than usual anyway.
An evil sorcerer has cast a 'hex of grumpiness' across the whole holiday. Can you break the spell before it spreads too far?
Pretty cool, right? This is the story behind Vilja and Domi's award-winning DIY escape room masterpiece.
They created the game for our escape room design challenge, and took first place by storm!
We were able to chat with the pair about their game, and dig up a couple of secrets that you may find useful when designing your own...
Well, when we heard about the contest we said, 'why not?'
Halloween is coming up and this season is tied to magic and Harry Potter for us, because of the great feasts they have in the books.
Still, we wanted to make something more general, and not specifically 'Hogwarts'.
So we ended up finding inspiration from the Grinch!
It sounded like fun to have some grumpiness to chase away this season.
The first thing we decided is that we wanted a cool meta-puzzle for the end, so that's what we worked on first.
We thought it was funny to find words, where you can change just one letter and get a totally different meaning. It really resembless what Hogwarts students do in transfiguration class when they turn 'beetle' into 'button' and such.
Luckily we found an online site that helped to find these word-pairs, so we could assemble a word list and then make a new word from the manipulated letters.
Then we had to come up with puzzles that would give each of these words we needed for the meta.
But this turned out to be pretty easy.
We've played lots of escape room games (including the games from Lock Paper Scissors), so we used these for inspiration.
We just needed to modify our favorite puzzles to match our theme.
We loved every bit of it really!
But if we have to choose one thing, coming up with ideas is probably the best.
In the beginning it felt great to just start thinking about the wildest things and then converging on some beta form of a game.
Maybe the graphic design was the hardest. We are not pros at this!
We felt that despite all the work we put into the game, it still didn't look nearly as good as the kits you can download from Lock Paper Scissors (aaw, thanks Vilja!).
But in the end, I think we were ok with that and just accepted that we did the best we could.
Some visual improvements we just couldn't do. But the game was ready to play!
Yes, quite a lot.
We didn't really actively try to get ourselves unstuck however.
Instead, we simply put things aside for a rest and started to look at them again the next day. Things just worked out eventually.
Oh, this was a funny bit!
The idea was to add something extra to a treasure hunt.
So we thought that some real punishments for wrong answers would make the game more exciting.
We came up with this hex card system.
Deciding on the specific tasks was rather quick, we simply brainstormed about what would make some funny but still realistic extras for players to complete.
It took about a couple of weeks, but we didn't work on it 24/7, so it's hard to say more precisely.
Actually it all felt rather quick, we thought it would take much longer, but no!
Make sure to include a variation of puzzles. Put lots of different kinds of puzzles in your game.
...but we might have stolen this advice from the Lock Paper Scissors website... 😋
A game shouldn't be all logic puzzles. You need some physical exercises too. Of course, since what we did is a paper-based game this was quite a head-scratcher! But we managed to find a solution.
And apart from that the most important part is to enjoy the creative process. In our experience making games is just as good as playing them!
What are you waiting for? You can jump right into a world of devious masterminds and inventive puzzles.
Just follow our step-by-step guide. We even have a free downloadable template to kickstart your adventures!
Alternatively, you can ease yourself in with a printable escape room kit.
They're a perfect way to experience solid game design principles first-hand. What's best, is that each kit is completely editable to jumpstart your creative endeavour.
Just download, print, and party. Easy!