Success is over-rated. Lots of people can get out of the escape rooms here in Jacksonville. I see pictures of them doing it all the time! Holding signs, smiling, laughing, generally enjoying themselves… Where are the pictures of all the ones who failed? The ones who couldn’t beat the buzzer and never got to pose for the photo shoot? Please don’t tell me they’re still stuck in the escape room, abandoned and forgotten!?
Clearly, you can tell from my tone that I am having a little fun with the idea of successfully navigating an escape room. There are some key ingredients to a well-oiled escape room team, but anyone can tell you their secrets of how to make it out in time, Mr. Grumpy McGrumperson here is going to give you four surefire tips on how FAIL a Jacksonville escape room and how to make sure you have the worst imaginable time while doing so…
Fail tip #1; Have your mind made up on what to expect
Stay rigid and inflexible when it comes to the experience and by no means should you pay any attention to the escape room hosts!
Too many valiant attempts at the escape rooms have been thwarted at the last minute because the gamers didn’t know their goal. Sometimes it’s not the obvious expectations, in fact many rooms in Jacksonville are starting to mix it up to get away from the “same old” escape and putting a twist in the plot or even how the game is played. So if you’re an escape room veteran and you walk in thinking you know what to expect, you could miss some critical information in the introductory briefing such as special parameters or an unusual goal. Every room is different and as they strive to make themselves stand out, new ideas are being implemented. If you go in with a rigid mind, failure is sure to follow.
Fail tip #2; Remain aloof and separate
Project the mindset that you are much too cool for these sorts of shenanigans. In fact, be the ultimate depiction of cool by standing in a corner and never wrinkle your clothing.
Clues are to be found. If you’re not looking for them, you’re not going to find them. Odds are, if you’re at any decent escape room around town, the clues are not going to be laid out on the table for you. Get creative, get fun! Lay on the floor and look under the table, stand on the desk and look in the chandelier. Turn things around, don’t be afraid to make a mess of things. Your hosts are watching so if you begin to take it a bit too far, they’ll let you know. Otherwise, get dirty, look silly and don’t be afraid to cause some clutter with the props. Your escape just might depend on it.
Fail tip #3; This is all about you and you alone
The other suckers in the room are just along for the ride and we’re not so sure they could handle this puzzle by themselves. Make sure you try to solve every single clue by yourself.
In the escape room you are fighting up against two limiting factors; a finite knowledge base and of course, the clock. Given an infinite amount of time, you may be able to solve every puzzle and escape the room all by yourself. But that’s the trouble, these thing are timed to squeeze the pressure and make this a fun experience.
Take away the clock, take away fresh ideas from your team mates, and you just have a “Saw” movie… To succeed, you need to share your knowledge and let some of the other team members do what they each do best. Without a wider knowledge base, you will likely fail.
Fail tip #4; Silence is golden
Keep quiet and pretend you’re escaping as a mime. The less sound you make, the more points you earn toward you “cool factor” from fail tip #3 and never, and I mean never, talk with the other members of your team.
Communication is key. If you don’t talk, you won’t get out. As you find something unusual, shout it out; maybe someone else on the team found something similar or something compatible. Talking the clues out loud will keep the rest of your team engaged on what’s going on in the rest of the room and facilitate collaboration.
Not only will you be sharing your findings, but listen for others to share what they find as well. What you see with your eyes may link up to what you hear with your ears and only by putting all the clues together from everyone’s findings can you hope to beat that clock.
Failing the escape challenge is easy. All you have to do is fail to recognize the power of teamwork. You may want to do it all yourself and you can still find a few of those smaller rooms around Jacksonville but those small, one-person experiences are starting to dry up and give way to the larger more engrossing rooms that require the efforts of the entire team to make it out in time.