What is a Mystery Room?
Mystery Rooms have many common names – Escape Rooms, Puzzle Rooms, Break Out Rooms, etc. Despite their many names, they all follow the same basic concept – you have to use your brain to get through a challenge of puzzles / teasers that will help you escape the room. The rooms vary in practice times depending on the company, but most last between 45-60 minutes and allow you to work with a team of around 6-12 people. Success rates for most escape rooms fall between 12%-27%. Most rooms are family friendly and great for work team building activities!
What Can I Expect In a Mystery Room?
Mystery rooms are a common theme popping up around the world, and each one is unique and changing. Rooms are reset after each game play which makes it unique; the same strategy cannot be used twice. Common themes of most rooms include; finding keys for padlocks, discovering combinations, decoding messages, remembering images / previously hinted clues, looking under / around common items for hints, rearranging items in a new sequence, solving riddles, and more. While in a room you may expect to use flashlights, pens, note pads, keys, maps, playing cards, QR codes, or computers. Expect to use your brain; brawn is of no use in these rooms. Most of all, expect a fun time with friends or coworkers.
Tips & Tricks to Solving a Mystery Room
- Observe. Observe. Observe. Walk around, touch everything, move everything, and don’t overlook small details
- Follow your instincts, if you get a feeling – explore it! Anything is possible in the rooms
- Remaining calm and level headed will keep you above the mark, getting frustrated or overwhelmed will cloud your thought process
- Stay in communication with your partners! They are there for a reason. Each of you may have a small piece that leads to the final answer.
- Remember you are there to HAVE FUN
Creating Your Own Escape Game
Large groups of people can have fun by creating DIY Escape Games! How to do this is completely up to you and the other “game masters.” The most important thing is to map out a game plan, purchase supplies, and practice it multiple times before giving out to the group. We recommend giving out multiple Red Herrings as this keeps the players on their toes, as well as offering a prize for the team or individual to discover the truth first. Keep reading to see some of our inexpensive choices that may inspire you while creating your own Mystery Room!
Inexpensive items to create your own game:
- Blank Keys
- Padlocks with extra keys
- Combination Locks (letter & number versions)
- Padlocks with No Keys
- Wooden boxes with or without clues inside
- Used books from Thrift Stores
- Picture frames from dollar stores
- Puzzles with missing or hidden pieces
- Kitchen timers
- Playing cards
- Invisible ink / black lights
- Pencils, pens, permanent markers in varying colors
- Bike Locks
- Timers / Buzzers / Sounds
- Videos on tablets on a loop
- Empty Notebooks
- Props from local thrift or second hand shop stores
- Anything else you can think of!
Who Are Escape Games For?
The Escape Room craze is pushed forward by people of all ages and backgrounds. Most commonly they are played by large groups of friends, offices as a team building activity, and couples on date night. Nonetheless, taking children or even going alone is very common! People of all ages can enjoy the games as different age groups / perspectives can influence your thought process and give access to new ideas.
Health Benefits of Mystery Rooms
Getting locked in a room might not be the first thing you think of when thinking of ways to stay healthy. However, the challenge and stimulation of being in an unfamiliar puzzle room for roughly an hour has great promise for brain / memory power. Escape rooms force all players to think of things in new ways, explore new ideas, and build a stronger sense of team work and empathy in order to “win.” These ideas translate into the real world! Rather than “training” your brain through a boring crossword, or an app on your phone, physically putting yourself into the puzzle requires your full attention and forces your brain to work in ways it may not work in your daily routine. We’ve asked Escape Rooms about the changes they’ve seen from their players pre- and post-game. Most rooms have reported that players are more present, excited, and curious once leaving the room; most seem happier and better at communicating with their group as well. One of our favorite aspects of Mystery Rooms is the sense of wonder each player feels as they enter it; being a relatively new concept in most countries people have NO clue what to expect!
Escapology: What It Is
Escapology for entertainment dates back to the 1860’s, but some believe it to be practiced even before this. The term refers to the act of escape artists freeing themselves from restraints (such as chains, padlocks, locked vehicles, barrels, bags, and strait jackets) for sport. Often times situations are daring and even life threatening. As the entertainment grew in popularity, artists pushed themselves to escape from more challenging places in shorter amounts of time. There is varying types of escapology; Hidden – partially hidden from public eye to protect performer’s secrets, Full View – allowing the audience to see all aspects of the escape, and Escape or Die – high stakes performances, where not escaping leads to the demise of the performer.
Famous Escape Artists
Harry Houdini (1874 – 1926)
Houdini, most commonly known for his success in escapology started out in magic performances as side acts for carnivals and circuses. In 1899 manager Martin Beck encouraged Harry to focus solely on escaping, seeing one of his recent hand cuff tricks. As time progressed Harry proved he could escape from even the trickiest of situations – most recognized is his Milk Can Escape, where he was trapped in a sealed milk can full of liquid. Houdini has also produced acts such as suspended straitjacket escapes, Chinese water torture escapes, and buried alive stunts. Throughout his lifetime Houdini dabbled in acting as well as aviation. Houdini worked hard to expose false magicians, psychics and mediums believing they tainted the craft of magic tricks. The general public remembers Harry Houdini as a game changer for the art of escapology and magician.
Dean Gunnarson (1964 – present)
Gunnarson is named as one of the most daring escapist of our time. The daring magician from Canada is known for his public stunts, the most famous being handcuffed shut in a coffin floating down the river. Dean has recreated some of the most famous works of Houdini, but has created and escaped others; such as escaping a tomb under 8 ft of wet cement, hanging from his toes in a strait jacket over Hoover Dam, and being chained between 2 tractors in which he was expected to escape before being pulled apart. Gunnarson has won Ripleys and Guinness World Records, and appeared on many networks such as Discovery Channel, TLC, Travel Channel and even The Food Network.
David Blaine (1973 – present)
Blaine, originally rising to fame for his street magic found his niche in high endurance escape challenges. He’s known for resparking interest in society over magic by focusing on audience reaction rather than solely his performance on TV shows, making his work believable. Blaine has performed many great stunts, the most notable being suspended over New York in ice for 63 hours. Still performing today David works hard to train for new endurance challenges, as well as new ways to escape in full view of the public.
Below are links to popular Escape Rooms: