Bucket List: Play an Escape Room + Tips and Tricks for Your First Escape Room

The Escape Hunt image cover the The Deadly Discovery game

Escape rooms have in recent years become all the rage, and for obvious reasons. Not only is it a great social activity, it’s like playing a 3D board game. My friends and I recently decided to give it a go as part of my 2020 birthday celebrations and we had a ball.

We completed out escape room at Escape Hunt, located in Adelaide. They provided a small range of escape rooms of varying difficulty. We decided to play The Deadly Discovery:

From Escape Hunt

It’s 1941 and Australian scientist Howard Florey has been running clinical trials for penicillin. During his trials he created a penicillin-resistant bacteria. Florey has now been kidnapped and his deadly formula is at risk of falling into the wrong hands. Enter his home, find the formula and destroy it before it’s too late.

Taken from Escape Hunt

We started the night with a drink in their in-house, antique themed bar. This helped set the scene for the rest of the evening. We were then given a short briefing by the staff where we were informed not to climb the furniture and unscrew things from the walls, etc. We were then asked to put our personal belongings in a locker, including our phones, and guided to our ‘room’ where the clock started informing us that we had 1 hour to solve the mystery and escape the room.

This was the bar where we enjoyed a drink pre-escape gaming.

I don’t want to give too much away just in case you decide to give this room a go, but I will give you a basic summary of what to expect.

Our escape ‘room’ was actually 3 small rooms, each of which required us to complete a series of puzzles. The adventure started with us breaking into Howard Florey’s house and from there we moved through two separate rooms. Each of the rooms were cleverly decorated and it was a lot of fun touching everything looking for clues. The staff occassionally checked in on us and since it was our first escape room, offered us clues if we were looking a bit stuck. There was no limit on how many clues we could ask for. As our host explained, they want us to experience a bit of frustration, but their overall goal is for us to have a good time.

Image provided by Escape Hunt

Unfortunately for us, we didn’t solve the puzzle or escape the room in time. Once the buzzer ran on our timer our host came in an congratulated us on our progress before offering to show us how to escape the room. She then walked us through what we needed to do to solve the puzzle and escape. We were about four ‘steps’ from completion, and I honestly think that if our time limit had been 90 minutes rather than 1 hour we could have done it with time to spare!

Despite our failure we all had a really great time and would definitly do it again.

Related: Play 5 New Board Games

Is completing an escape room on your bucket list? Here’s some tips to help you during your first time:

  • Touch everything. When you enter your room make sure that the first thing you do is touch everything. This will ensure you find all of the clues you need. And by touch everything I mean run your hands down the sides of furniture, pick things up off the floor and look underneath them, try pulling frames and clocks off the wall in search of hidden compartments, put phones to your ear, etc. You never know where a clue might be.
  • Don’t focus on 1 lock at a time. At times we were faced with a number lock, a letter lock and a standard padlock. In these situations we couldn’t just focus on the number lock because the code needed to crack it might be in the box guarded by the letter lock.
  • Be careful of tunnel vision. By the time we made it to the last room we only had 15 minutes left so we all started panicing a bit which resulted in us developing a bit of tunnel vision and missing a few vital (and in hindsight, easy-ish) clues. To prevent this, when you start feeling really frustrated, take a few minutes to once again check the room since you never know what you will find.
  • Pick your team carefully. This is a big one. It is easy to become frustrated during this type of activity so make sure you pick your team carefully and everyone is on the same page. Are you just after a good time and you don’t really care whether you win or lose? Are you a serious code cracker and you are in it to win it? Assess your goal before you start and pick your team accordingly.
  • Pick the right level of challenge. If this is your first escape room, don’t pick something with a hard rating, stick with games with an easy-to-medium rating. It will make the whole experience more enjoyable.
  • Check the room again. So you think you’ve already searched every nook and cranny? Check them again. Trust me on this.

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