This puzzle requires neither instructions nor checking mechanism. Instead, players logically link clues from another part of the game and know the moment they've succeeded. It's from the 4th game we published (The Lost Mummy), and since then we've been firebombing checking mechanisms.
Even the 'good' example of above results in a 4 digit combination rather than intrinsically adding to a bigger puzzle. For example, spelling a word like OPEN, or making one letter in an acrostic word.
To do this well, you'll most likely need to design a major combination puzzle that requires several smaller challenges to be solved first. More on this in Secret 6.
Yes, it's hard, but 100% worth every painstaking hour invested into eliminating all checking mechanisms.
If you're trying to make players rage-quit in frustration, just get random unconnected puzzles and chuck them all in a room together. You'll be sure to succeed.
It forces players to simply run around guessing what goes with what.
This is the very definition of rage-quit.
For example, what would make a better clue location for players who need to open a toolbox?
Or, consider this puzzle from Escape Room Z. So long as players are observant, they'll notice the first clue card is, in fact, an enlarged version of the stamp on the postcard. 'Aha!'
This idea is critical for printable or boxed escape room kits since there's already minimal contextual understanding. It's very common for designers to just create 'floating puzzles' that don't really exist anywhere in a world. They're just puzzles on a page with no context.
Players just don't know where to start.
So don't do this. Just don't.
Save yourself the grunt work, when designing your DIY escape game by starting with one of these customizable kits.
They're 100% ready to print and party, and also come with the intuitive game editor so you can add puzzles, locks, boxes, and change whatever takes your fancy.
Go on, use them to craft something beautiful:
Real life escape rooms 'make sense' the moment you step foot in one.
Printable escape room kits give you lots of options for interesting puzzles, including scrunching, cutting, throwing and folding.
This is perfect for the overly-curious goblin or that particularly clumsy barbarian in your party. There's no need to worry about breaking sensitive game pieces because you can just print it again!
So don't fear to really unleash the creativity of your adventurers, always add at least 3 puzzles that involve tactically using the kit.
Here're some ideas:
It's obvious you'll need a variety of puzzles in your escape room.
What's not obvious is a dreary old ghost. He hides in your room and feeds off a lack of consistency between your puzzles. Worst still, this ethereal design theory is one of the biggest fun killers in your game, and many designers don't spot him until it's too late!
Consider this inconsistency:
All clues in your escape game are only used once, except for one. Players will learn to use and discard all clues, then get stuck on the puzzle that requires something to be reused. Instead, make every clue used the same number of times.
Each puzzle type is included as an easy version and a hard version. Such as an easy and hard cipher. When players solve the easy one they'll have learned the approach to crush the harder one. This style can work great, but if you have a hard puzzle with no warm up players will start looking for it, only to find themselves stuck and frustrated.
Build consistency into your puzzles and you won't need to call anyone, that depressing old spectre will just leave!
Believe it or not, people don't want an escape room where they solve a linear sequence of puzzles.
They want a delightful adventure with their friends.
That's the whole idea. FUN!!!
Therefore, your goal as an escape room designer is to mix in a variety of experiences that get friends talking, laughing, and facing a challenge together.
You can include these in any ratio you like, but the suggestions below work well for keeping everyone interested. Remember, everyone finds different activities fun so keep everyone engaged by including a good mix from this list.
Here's a breakdown of the various activities to include in your escape room design:
Red Herrings are those 'extras' in an escape room that exist solely to distract players.
If you're creating your own escape room business in real life, they suck.
In printable escape rooms, they're noxious infractions against the human soul.
It's because there's so little context and players are already using their imagination to craft the world.
Don't do them, lest you be swallowed whole by the mystical red herring in the sky.
Feel like playing sooner? Just grab one of these printable escape room kits. They download instantly and are ready to print & party. Tonight!
Don't worry, you can even edit the game, using PowerPoint, to add your own style and puzzles.