Ready for a magical escape room adventure? Here are your quest options:
Head into town and hit up some amazing local escape rooms which overload your mind and senses. With some resembling movie sets, you can easily lose yourself in these rooms, never to be seen or heard from again (or at least until 60 minutes expires). Escape room venues make for an excellent outing for you and several friends.
You probably missed it in the family photos and unmade beds, but your house holds the same magic! Downloadable escape room kits transform your living room into an escape room, complete with puzzles, locks, and zombies. (Creepy moss and jars of unknown chemicals that may explode not included.) Scalable to numbers dwarfing the standard 8 person escape room, the downloadable escape room kit works for a family game night or a neighborhood block party. Best of all, the games can be reconfigured and reused much quicker than your local escape room can install a new adventure!
Want the magical thrill of the escape room experience without the cost, travel, and maniacal gamemasters? Want to truly visit an escape room near you?
Download a game!
Creating an escape room game yourself requires determining the theme, determining how the game will end, creating clues, and making sure that the clues progress logically. You can also set up your own decorations to really supercharge the atmosphere.
You could spend hundreds of hours creating the game from scratch. Testing it, to make sure you did not miss anything and that the clues connect, would take additional hours. You also would need the help of a willing victim volunteer to playtest your game and find all the bugs.
Luckily, you won't be alone on this grand quest. We've got a comprehensive guide for brave adventurers like you!
Designing an escape room game from scratch can be about as punishing as crossing the Sahara desert on foot (unless you enjoy that kind of thing). Downloading a printable kit eliminates all the hassle of design work so you can skip straight to the fun!
Just download, print, and party!
Watch your friends go bonkers trying to figure out the clues. Laugh at their mistakes. Congratulate them if they win, torture them if they lose. Then have a glass (or two) of wine while you all laugh about the incredible adventure.
Or, jump straight into the action alongside them! Each printable kit includes spoiler-free setup instructions, so nobody needs to miss out on the fun.
Need to run the game more than once? No worries, these kits are yours for life - download once, use forever. Just print the game out again. They're also completely customisable, so you can edit the game, turn the previous clues into red herrings, and play it through with your group again. (As these teachers found, this makes them perfect for yearly classroom activities)
It's all super easy! You print the game, complete with clues and decorations. Then, you decide precisely what type of room your players will face. You have options from super-simple work-free setups to setups involving intricate elven craftsmanship.
Spread the cards on the table, start the game's custom Spotify playlist, and start the clock. This setup works best for games where nothing needs opening. The players progress from clue to clue until they find the solution to the puzzle. It also works well when the players each have a glass of red wine poured pregame that you want to keep off your white carpet. Any player leaving their chair with their glass loses. (This makes for a super-easy date night)
No real-world skills are necessary. First, set a starting point with an initial clue. Spread other clues around the room or house. You can even incorporate your own props, for example, place clues in cabinets with a combination lock or a key that players will find elsewhere. Make your players look, move, and hunt. Remember to clearly mark the items which are not part of the game (here's how). Find yourself a perch to watch the mayhem.
You can try to recreate the ambiance of escape rooms near you by converting a room or two in your home in line with the game's theme. Think about what players would experience if they actually were in the world you created, whether a haunted house or futuristic alien craft. Make them feel your imaginary world.
Winter Faire? Light up the fireplace, scatter paper snowflakes, and prep some fun old-school carnival games. Bonus points for bringing in live reindeer!
Roaring 20s? Put posters on the wall, bottles on the table, play some Louis Armstrong or Duke Ellington tunes, and set your players to work.
Egyptian tomb? Darken the walls with black paper, play spooky music, light a few candles, and hide a few rubber spiders around the room. Sandy floor optional but not recommended.
Remember, you can set up the same game in different rooms to allow teams to compete against each other. Each room should, to the extent possible, exactly resemble the others. Keep this in mind if you set up more than one room.
Arthur had Merlin to mold him into the righteous master of the Roundtable. You have Lock Paper Scissors to finish your gamemaster training. Need a hand? Then get in touch, we will teach you how to cast the spells that unlock the escape room in your house.
Once you have finished the design and planned your setup, you need one more element for a successful room - – players. Invite some friends over for an escape room party. Let them know the theme before they come (maybe they can dress up). Most will be experiencing an at-home escape room for the first time and will arrive excited and anxious, so be ready with drinks and snacks to calm their nerves.
Food and drink. Have snacks and beverages available for the players. Escaping from serial killers and zombies works up an appetite! To give them the best chance against the terror you've created, keep their bellies full.
Quickly read them into the game. Yes, quickly. The intro should last no more than 60 seconds and never more than 2 minutes. They will live in your world for only an hour. You can prepare them with something less than War and Peace. Just read them the short intro from our player guides, here.
Explain any special rules upfront. Do they need to lift anything? Did you hide anything under rugs or cushions? Can they find everything in plain sight? Explaining these simple rules will help move the game along and keep your house in one piece.
You can use multiple rooms. Just split the game into sections and hide the clues in two or three rooms. Having the answer to one puzzle unlock the door to the next room will make all your players feel like serious superspies!
Have a celebratory feast after the game. This is a must if you're hosting the game as a friendly house party like we did. Regale yourselves with stories of triumph and tragedy. Laugh as you toast the honors gained. Then begin planning the next great adventure, starting with who will assume the throne of gamemaster for the next party. Escape room club beats dinner club any day!
Local escape rooms sprout faster than hydra heads. Most towns boast at least one or have one within a reasonable distance. Googling "escape room near me" likely provides you with several worthy adversaries (choices). Reading the descriptions of the games whets your appetite for adventure, and usually gives you a pretty good idea of what you're up against.
Like any good leader, before you embark on the campaign to save the damsel, you should ensure that you will complete your quest with all members of your team intact (except the red shirts, of course). If you adhere to the task list below, your team will experience adventure, fame, and glory (ok, maybe just adventure and glory ).
You don't cast a spell without a wand. You don't attack Troy without Achilles. And you don't choose an escape room near you without knowing your teammates.
Many escape rooms resemble haunted houses or sets of horror movies, complete with gore and body parts. Conquering these rooms likely requires leaving queasy-stomached friends behind. You could choose a secret agent room or other less creepy experience with those friends.
Do you need novices or Grand Masters for your chosen escape room? If your friends lack experience in escape rooms, you may want to start with a simple room (even if it's an 'easy win', you may hook your friends and leave them begging for more!). On the other hand, if your friends have multiple escapes to their credit, go for the gusto and book the most challenging adventure possible.
Remember that some escape rooms lack space, or light, or both. Always take the environment into consideration before choosing the room. Someone leaving the room through the emergency exit will ruin your day.
X may mark the spot, but do you know the GPS coordinates for the X?
There are several different ways to go about finding fun escape room venues near you. First, consult the ancient scroll and visit the hermit on the hill for suggestions. If that effort fails, try these more modern solutions.
There are a variety of websites dedicated to helping you find your next great escape room. These sites are especially handy as they will often give you ratings and reviews for each venue, and may even help you through the booking process.
Here are some of the best online escape room directories to help you find an escape room near you:
As TripAdvisor catalogs and reviews local attractions, you should find most escape rooms in your area. Use the reviews to choose the most promising adventure and ensure that it meets the needs of your team's size and ability. Then it's just a matter of heading to the escape room as soon as possible to find the hidden treasure.
Google "escape room near me." If a standard Google search is proving unfruitful, try switching to Google Maps. Picking 'escape room' from Google Maps unlocks Google Local Guides, giving you reviews of the escape room, links to its website, and pictures of the facade and lobby.
Most escape rooms forbid phones, smartwatches, and cameras in the escape room, so reviews will likely be spoiler-free. The experiences of others will let you know how shiny the rooms look, whether the puzzles and challenges stay within reason, and whether you will likely meet a benevolent gamemaster or a troll from under the nearest bridge.
Ready for Mt. Everest? Or would you prefer to stick to the local hill? Escape rooms vary in difficulty. Choosing the right one for you and your roommates matters.
Several tools guide your selection.
Most escape rooms publish escape rates showing the percentage of people escaping in time. The lower the escape rate, the more difficult the room.
How low can you go? While most escape rooms do not publish average completion times, as some people don't escape, the site may publish the 10 fastest escape times for each room. Generally, the faster the time, the easier the room. However, the escape rate better represents the difficulty level as some quick times occur when people repeat rooms.
Most escape rooms allow 60 minutes (our games give you 45-60 min). They usually allow hints and answers to move you past sticky puzzles. Some allow only a limited number, typically three, of clues and answers. Some allow unlimited clues and answers but impose a time penalty, usually 3 minutes per hint and 5 minutes per answer. The time penalties do not shorten your time in the room but show in your final score. If you finish in 55 minutes with 3 hints (9 penalty minutes) and 3 answers (15 penalty minutes), you end up with 79 minutes as your final score. Consider which hint/answer structure you prefer.
Attila the Hun or The Good Witch of the North? A good controller - generally referred to as a gamemaster - can make or break your experience. The gamemaster monitors the game from start to finish. Some provide unsolicited and unpenalized hints while others force you to request help, ensuring that you receive the penalties. You can find clues to the type of gamemaster each escape room provides on the escape rooms' website reviews, TripAdvisor, or Google Local Guides. A great gamemaster will show you which hints you missed if you fail to escape. Some gamemasters encourage you to return to complete extremely difficult rooms, an enticing option for an escape room near you.
Study the advance scouting reports. The description of an escape room's offerings will help you determine if the experience looks fun. Some escape rooms provide videos setting the tone for the room, allowing you to glimpse the trials that await you.
"Will someone jump out at me?"
We see this question quite often, especially at escape rooms with haunted or mystical themes. Typically, only you and your roommates occupy the room. Some rooms do offer live actors, dressed as mediums, zombies, or other appropriately ghoulish creatures, but the rooms announce this in advance. You may need to consider which friends can handle a room with live actors.
How do you complete the mission? You may need a final code to open the front door of the asylum to freedom. Or you may only need to enter the code to stop the impending explosion, which will bring the gamemaster into the room to congratulate you. Knowing how you wish to spend the final few suspenseful moments will help you choose the right room.
How many rooms? Some escape rooms confine their secrets to a single room. Linear escape rooms contain multiple rooms, but the clues from one room stay there. Each room serves as its own puzzle. Non-linear escape rooms include many rooms, but clues from the first room may unlock a puzzle in room No. 7, requiring you to move back and forth between the rooms. All present their own challenges and excitement but choose the one you think best fits your team.
You wouldn't want a Knight of the Round Table to defuse a nuclear bomb. And a Walther PPK provides little help against the Emperor. Choosing the adventure that captivates your team the most will bring the most joy, greatest glory, and raise you to new heights in the eyes of your friends.
Escape room themes vary wildly (just take our list of theme ideas, for example). You may end up in an Egyptian Tomb, a Louisiana swamp, or a hijacked airliner. Escape may mean defusing the bomb or finding the secret lever to open the last door. You could end up in an Asian jungle or the roaring 20s.
Most escape room websites contain enticing descriptions of their different adventures, with some including short video intros to the game. You should quickly find one that captivates your team. The right room will have you anxious to arrive, immersed in the game, and discussing it for hours afterward.
Can you imagine Arthur arriving at the stone, only to find a sign reading, "Pulling the sword out of the stone requires advance registration?"
Double-check the escape room's website to determine if they require advance booking or allow walk-ins.
Only the worthy advance. Each room contains an upper and lower limit on the number of players per playthrough. Some rooms allow as few as two people. Most allow eight, while some larger rooms allow ten. The upper limits generally reflect the number of players that can comfortably move about in each room.
Showing up with too many players may result in your team splitting to different rooms, or, much worse, half the group sulking in the lobby while the rest cover themselves in glory.
If your team fails to fill all slots, many escape rooms allow other teams to join yours... teams who may well end up stealing all your thunder!
Every quest ends with a grand dinner honoring the victors! Find the right venue for your team. Research Google Local Guides, Yelp or TripAdvisor to find restaurants, bars, and cafes for your post-escape entertainment.
If you travel to the escape room, search for the best hotels near the escape room. Discover other possible exploits, such as theaters, museums, and parks. Expand your experience into an unforgettable crusade!
Adventure is out there!
So why stay here? With so many options for your next escape room adventure, there really is no reason to let another humdrum weekend go to waste.
So go for it! Gather yourself a party of brave adventurers, stock up on supplies, and then quest forth into the unknown! I promise you, it'll be worth it.
Just start by checking out the escape room options near you, or by browsing our fun selection of at-home escape room games.
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