Escape rooms – the good ones – are more than just a bunch of puzzles strewn about a spare closet. They’re multi-faceted and intentionally-designed; great escape games must challenge experienced players while not being too difficult for first-timers!

What does it take to design an escape room? Exit Strategy has a lot of experience putting together interactive, exciting escape puzzles. Here’s what we’ve learned.

Good Escape Rooms Start with a Story
Storytelling is a surprisingly important part of building a successful exit room. Without a good background, contestants won’t be as immersed in the challenge(s) as they would be otherwise. Creating a story is as much about creating an experience as it is a plot; the story starts the second the team enters the room as they absorb the sights, sounds, and even smells of the space.

Rooms are Designed for Experimenting…But Not Too Much
If you’ve ever been to an escape room game you know that nearly every conceivable surface is “fair game.” From tabletops to black lights to audible rhythms, everything is (or could be) part of the puzzle. At the same time game masters are thinking about all the ways to make play interactive, they’re thinking about how to stop players from going too far. That means laying down ground rules before the game gets started, obscuring elements of the room that aren’t part of the puzzle, and creating puzzles that can be tinkered with time and again without breaking.

Games Have to be Both Winnable and Difficult
If escape games were absolutely impossible, no one would play them. Great escape rooms are difficult enough to challenge everyone in the room, regardless of experience or skill level, but also straightforward enough not to alienate the young or uninitiated. It’s a delicate balance! Game designers have to think about how many puzzles to include, how difficult they should be to solve, and how long each will likely take as they’re constructing their rooms.

How People Interact Makes a Difference
Good exit game designers think about puzzles; great game designers think about people. Industry experience teaches designers how people – both strangers and groups – will interact with each other given a certain set of information. If there’s any concern a puzzle will alienate people or fall flat when presented to too-small or too-large groups, it gets left out. This ensures everyone always has the best experience possible at an exit room facility.

Exit Strategy is Charlotte’s largest escape game facility, now with two locations! We’ve crafted dozens of engrossing escape games for all levels of play. Ready to test your skills?
Sign up for one of our unforgettable game experiences today.