An evil hacker is about to put an end to the internet...
The Mad Black Hatter is set to release a computer virus into the world that will crash the internet!
Can you and your team of coders hack into his computer and stop the virus before it's too late?
You're the Host
As the host of this event you, or another adult, will prepare everything so the kids can escape.
Your role is like the Game Masters you're used to from other Escape Rooms. Once the game starts you'll do a quick intro and keep things running smoothly. Teams will confirm to see if their answers are correct on Hack the Room main page. If you want to give hints, you'll have a simple 1-page cheat sheet.
The rest of this setup guide will take you through:
- Customizing the game (optional).
- Printing the kids escape game.
- Preparing the puzzle sheets.
- Tips for classrooms and large parties.
Customize The Escape Game
If you plan to play the base game without customization, scroll down to Printing the Game.
However, if you enjoy creating custom puzzles, you can easily edit the game using the Builder’s Kit included in the download. This is easier than it sounds since the entire game is built using PowerPoint. In other words, if you're comfortable with editing a Word document you have all the skills you need to become an Escape Room Designer!
Just click on the Designers Guide folder, inside the game download, then open the Designers Guide.pptx file. For a full guide check out the Mod's page.
How to edit the game:
- Open the Designers Kit PowerPoint.
- Customize whatever you want using the included artwork or your own. Some great customization ideas include:
- Referring to the birthday child by name.
- Add the school, or holiday camp, name.
- Create puzzles around 'in' jokes or learning outcomes.
- Mix and match elements or combine with real-world props, such as padlocks. For example, Security Question #2 is a 4 digit code so you can add a combination lock as another element of the game.
Printing The Escape Kit
Open the PDF file Game - Hack the Room.pdf and print the escape kit on standard paper. It's sized for US paper sizes but will still print on international paper (A4).
There's no need to use high gloss paper, or professional printing. Using thicker paper does add a nice touch, but again it's by no means necessary.
The game is designed for a team of 2-4 players. So, if you have a larger group, just print the kit out several times, and run the game as a competitive team event. For example:
- 2-4 players = print once.
- 5-8 players = print twice.
- 9-12 players = print 3 times.
Optional Posters and Birthday Party Invites:
Hack the Room also includes optional posters, and party invites, to make the experience even more immersive. None of these are required to play the game, but if you want to go the extra mile, it’s totally worth it!
To print the posters just open the pdf under Posters folder.
Setup the Puzzle Sheets
Hack the Room requires players to solve major 3 challenges and complete a final tactile challenge.
You can give players all of the Challenge pages at the start of the game. Make sure you don't include the Answers and Walkthrough guide, which will be your cheat sheet for guiding the kids through the escape kit, and the final congratulatory "You Hacked the Room!" page.
At the top of each Challenge page, there is a note that indicates which Security Question the puzzle helps to answer or if it is part of the Final Escape Challenge.
Players do not need to answer the Security Questions in order, so they can work on different puzzles at the same time.
In order to win the game and escape, a team should successfully answer all 3 Security Questions-- confirmed via the Hack the Room main page-- and complete the Final Escape Challenge (folding the Robot Dog feed box, filling it with code, and leaving it at the front door).
Now you're ready to begin the game!
Follow this basic script when kids arrive:
- Since this is a new experience for most children, explain that how escape rooms work.
- Each team should appoint a leader and choose a team name.
- Each team will need to solve a series of puzzles in order to discover the answers to 3 Security Questions and complete a Final Escape Challenge.
- (Optional) Teams can race with the winning team finishing first, or play this 45-minute timer video on your phone.
- They will need pens, scissors, glue/tape, and spare paper.
- Each team ideally has access to a separate device where they can check their answers on the Hack the Room main page.
During the game, refer to the 'Answers and Walkthrough' sheet, that's part of the printout.
How to run the escape game in a classroom or large group:
The best way to run Hack the Room for a classroom, or large party, is a simultaneous race to finish first.
Just print out a copy of the game for every 2-4 players then follow these steps:
- Split the larger group into several teams of 2-4 kids that will race to finish first.
- Each group can play simultaneously.
- Make a big deal out of celebrating the winning team AND all the teams who hack the room in the allotted time.
Hack the Room puzzles require computational thinking and is a great addition to STEM and computer science classes for students ages 8 - 10.
Hack the Room is made by CodeSpeak Labs, a company that runs computer programming classes in K-12 across the U.S.
If you'd like to print the birthday party invites you can find these under the Invitations folder. Open the PowerPoint file and edit whichever invite you like the most.
These are perfectly sized to be printed as normal 4x6 photos (the small photos people always print). To export the final invitation choose File -> Export -> Choose the JPEG file format and Save every slide. This will export all of them as photos, so delete whichever ones you don't want.
From here you can print them as photos by putting them on a USB drive. Alternatively, just share them via Facebook or Instagram.