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Going out with your friends to an escape room is a great way to spend your afternoon – especially if you’re a fan of puzzles. However, many first-time goers feel intimidated, as there is often time pressure involved in the game and the stress of not finishing the escape room prevents them from trying it.

But how should you prepare for your first escapade to an escape room? Is it even possible to be prepared when you do not exactly know what you will be facing? With this short guide, you’ll learn the ropes in advance, what to do and what not to do, saving you time when the game actually starts. Follow this advice, and you’ll become an escape room master in no time!

What exactly are escape rooms? Are they scary?

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The history of escape games point back to similar stories in different countries. USA, Japan and Hungary – all three have been pioneers of the escape games industry inspired by video games and trainer theories.

Even though in each country a different concept was used, and the escape room concept has developed a lot since, some elements were and remained the same: find clues, solve puzzles, think logically and benefit from teamwork in order to get out of a room you have been locked into.

There is a common misconception that escape rooms are always scary and creepy, spooking customers that might’ve actually loved the experience. While it’s true that some escape rooms might feature horror or thriller themes, not all of them do.

In fact, many escape rooms in Manchester are more about puzzles than they are about adrenaline. Most of them will feature finding keys and codes, as well as assembling various objects and machinery together. If you’re looking for something more thrilling, you’ll definitely find options with a spooky twist to it.

Before choosing an escape room, consult with your teammates – after all, it’s best you agree on the theme so that you can all enjoy the experience.

Can you prepare to an escape game at home?

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Yes, of course! Before coming to the actual game, we suggest you going through one of our online escape room games so you can get familiar with tasks that you might encounter in the physical game. Also being familiar with simple puzzles and riddles can help you a lot, so you can definitely be comfortable solving them once in the room.

Listen carefully during the briefing

Before every escape room, you’ll get a description and intro into the scenario you’ll be playing. Some escape rooms like to give the briefing already in-character, while others only give you some general information about the game – you’ll have to find out the rest yourself.

You should also read the backstory of your scenario on the escape room’s website if they have one – it’ll give you a better idea of what you might expect during the game, and potentially, clues that will help with some puzzles.

When searching for the best escape room offers, check out Code to Exit’s escape rooms, where Andras and Zoltan will take you through intense puzzles on an hour-long journey through your chosen scenario. We offer unforgettable memories and affordable prices, in addition to various discounts.

Keep your search organized

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It’s very easy to lose track of your progress when solving puzzles under time pressure, especially when working with a haphazard team. A great way of making steady progress is to divide the room you’ll be playing in into separate areas. Assign a couple of teammates into each area, so that they can be nearby to help each other, but they can still each solve different puzzles.

Don’t just clump in one area – make sure you spread your search out. The more ground you cover, the higher the chance you’ll find the next clue. When one of you finds something interesting, immediately notify the others – who knows, maybe that thing is the solution to a puzzle someone’s just been working on?

If you’ve used items, set them aside. Group together all already found objects in one place. This organization will allow the other members of your team to progress and see more clearly. During the game, do not hesitate to divide the tasks between yourselves. There is no point in all being on the same puzzle. Just ask for help if you get stuck.

If you’re stuck and can’t seem to figure out the next step, most escape rooms give you a certain amount of hints you can use. Don’t waste the hints, though – save them only for when you really need it. If you’d like some extra challenge, you can establish with your friends before the game that you won’t be using any hints.

What to look for in escape rooms?

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Finally, let’s see what are the things that you will most probably need to find in an escape room in order to get out. Locks might be the most obvious to find, yet the hardest to open up due to the number of possible combinations on each lock. Among the various types, the easiest ones to open are the ones that open with a key – the only thing you have to is finding that specific key that opens that specific lock. The second on the difficulty list are the ones with 3- or 4-digit codes.

There are also locks that you can up with a combination of letters and numbers that are written somewhere in the room. There are also dial-up locks you can open up with a combination of three numbers by turning it clockwise or counter clockwise. Among the rare locks, we can find ones that you can open with a specific pattern, or with a code containing from 2 to 10 numbers. A pro tip from experienced players would be that if you cannot find the last digit or number that opens up a lock, just try all your options, usually, there are only 10 of them.

If you escape from a room, you will see a lot of codes written in a lot of places: walls, inside books, under the table, behind doors, etc. If you see a bunch of dots and lines, most probably you have to solve the code by using a morse guide that can be also found in the room – if you know them by heart, easier for you! But pay attention to a blinking line, or if you can hear beeps – that could be your morse code on repeat as well! If you see dots organized in a rectangle shape – most probably that is something written in braille. And lastly, if you see a set of numbers, think if those numbers could be allocated to the letters of the alphabet.

Most probably every escape room has at least one riddle that your team has to solve. There are several ways to hide a message in a letter, for example, so examine it well, if you have found one! A hidden message could be written in bold or italic – those are quite simple to find. However, it is also possible to hide a message by misspelling words that make up a phrase or to write them with capital letters. It is also possible that reading each second word will give you a clue, or that the first word of each line or sentence will give you the answer.

Clues are also often hidden in patterns. If you see a triangle, an octagon, and a square next to each other, it might hide the number combination of 384. Numbers and letters can be given by using the old digital format that we used to see on clocks a lot. Look for patterns and see if they are hiding a number or any message. Since escape rooms are made for everyone, these patterns are not supposed to be that difficult to solve.