Updated: Dec 24, 2021
Top 10 tips to beat Any Liverpool escape room (and beyond!)
We are about to break down all the tips & tricks you need to beat the clock and win any Liverpool Escape Room, in fact, any escape room anywhere in the world! (Even our escape games).
Now, we don't have the answers to all the puzzles in the world, as every puzzle has its own solution. However, we do have some super handy top tips to set you up for a win, no matter what puzzles you face in an escape game.
Escape rooms can be hard work, and not every team escapes. That's not because your team are stupid, its simply because the game was hard and you didn't prepare yourself and your team in advance of playing your game using these top tips! Its all about Strategy, and we're about to spill the beans on all the things you can do to make sure you have the best chance at escaping.
#1: Choose Your Team Wisely
Its not exactly about what you know, as lets face it, which one of our mates knows how to banish a demon back to hell? The answer is, probably none.
It is however, about who you know, which will aid your escape, by this we mean:
Who are they?- Friend/family/partner/colleague
Depending on the relationship you have with them, the way you work together will differ dramatically. For example, lets say you play a game with your colleague, chances are, you will feel like you can't be honest with them when they're being pushy with a bad idea they have.
That's not to say playing an escape room with a colleague is a bad idea, but it does require a little extra prep on your end ahead of time, thinking of ways of you might politely tell them that the idea they have is slowing your team down, rather than getting frustrated mid game and screaming "Shut up and Let it go Sandra!"... I mean, that's a sure fast way of causing tension in the office the next day.
Whereas, if its a close friend you're with, chances are your relationship with them allows you to speak a little more frankly, so that you can swiftly move as a group to the next idea.
What are they like?
This is a key factor, what you're looking for in the perfect team is a good balance of personalities. You certainly don't want a group of leaders, in the same way that you don't want a group of laid-back-Linda's. Striking this balance is key!
You'll want to play with a strong leader, whos open to suggestions and happy to let others step in. Think of this person as crowed control, keeping your team focused and stepping in when tension sparks.
All of your group should be good listeners, without this, you're doomed from the get go and probably should sit at home instead, playing chess & eating pizza.
You'll want a mix of skill sets, such as, a person relatively good at math & logic. You'll also want another person who is perhaps creative with good attention to detail (these are the guys who get you out of a pickle by thinking outside the box).
You'll also need somebody a little bit... stupid/ditzy? (Confession: this is usually me!). Wait for it, this person, is usually the saving grace, its people like us who spot the obvious, trip over answers, and more often than not, say something 'stupid' that the whole group laughs at, but it actually turns out to be the solution to the puzzle. Golden rule: Theirs no such thing as a stupid idea!
How many players is best?
We think a team of 4 is the perfect amount, as its enough brains and skill sets for success. Any more than 4, things can very quickly get messy. You've heard the phrase "too many cooks spoil the broth"? This couldn't be truer for escape room teams.
It just takes the team leader to take their eye of the ball for a simple few seconds, in which time one of the group have played with an almost solved puzzle and unintentionally sabotaged your group. Its far easier to keep track of a group of 4.
Can you still escape with less than 4? sure! However, there is usually a lot of ground to cover in 60 minutes, so playing as a group of 2/3 means you have to work harder and faster.
# 2: Arrive A Few Minutes Early
This tip is pretty crucial! Arriving late or on the dot, can open a whole can of worms in some teams, as the stress and pressure of being late actually hijacks your brain negatively and effects the way you think.
Escape rooms tend to be mentally demanding, and being able to focus is critical! Think of it like this, most of us have arrived late to work, our brains in a panic mode, you get to your desk and you're so stressed out that you don't know where to start. You try typing in your password for your work computer, and keep getting it wrong because your lateness fueled burst of adrenaline is accidentally skipping letters in your password.
Now if you compare that same lateness induced panic to an escape room, your brain just simply can't take in all the information you need. Not only that, being late to an escape room can mean your game time is reduced, or that your pre-game information is rushed or caught short, which has already got you on the back foot.
We always suggest arriving 10 minutes early, to give you and your team time to relax, feel the vibe, and ask your games master questions about what to expect.
#3: Understand the game rules
This is a Golden Rule! Reason being, it often tells you what not to do.
For example, their might be certain game items that you should not touch, and by ignoring this, you might end up messing up a puzzle and losing critical time as the games master tries to fix the problem.
Equally, the rules may have some encrypted clues within the briefing, which you'll definitely need at some point, so make sure you absorb all the pre-game information like a sponge! Even if its not a secret clue, it might simply be information on how to ask for a clue, and if you miss this, you might find yourself up Sh*t Creak without a paddle.
#4: Say What You See
When you get into the room, don't run around like bulls in a china shop, this can really screw your chance of success. From our experience of playing Liverpool escape rooms (and anywhere else for that matter) often times, things are placed where they are for a reason, and running in and moving things around might result in you missing a fundamental clue!
Best advice is go in and spend the first few minutes looking around without touching a thing, and saying out loud as a team wat you see. Don't just look for the obvious, absorb the set, what's in it? what's unusual or out of place? Come up with a quick plan of how to split off an explore as a team and what to focus on first.
As we said earlier, there is no such thing as a silly idea, often times it can be the solution you're looking for, so be sure to communicate this with your team mates. If its not the answer, it will likely prompt your team to a line of thinking that is down the right path.
Speaking out loud about your line of thinking is also a great way for your games master to follow your game and see whether or not you're progressing in the right direction. Speaking ideas and findings out loud, allows your games master to intervene if you're miles off track, and they will use the opportunity to nudge you closer to where you need to be.
#5: Don't Be Stubborn, Ask for Help!
The biggest reason we find teams fail, is they want to go at it alone! They often walk in and tell you they're Professionals and that they don't want any help unless they ask for it... yet, they never ask and get upset when they fail.
Games masters are there to help! You have paid for them, so use them to your advantage.
We tend to tell our players in the pre-game brief, that they should spend no more than about 5 minutes on a single puzzle that they're struggling with, at which point, they should ask for a little help. With just a tiny vague nudge, the penny often drops and the team is able to solve the puzzle.
Good games masters will know if you're hitting key game time points, and will push you on with a simple "Do you need a little help?". If you ever hear this, TAKE IT!... This is a subtle way of your games master telling you that you're either falling behind on time or completely on the wrong track with the puzzle you're working on.
#6: Never just stand around
There is ALWAYS something for you to explore!
Usually within bigger groups and in linear game's (flows one puzzle at a time), some players step back and just watch their team mates and don't contribute, and can become a little bit bored.
Just because you can only work on one puzzle at that moment in time, does not mean you have nothing to do. You should be using this time wisely, by setting up a solution for the next puzzle or figuring out what might come next, to give your team a head start on the next task.
For example, your team are working on a jigsaw puzzle, it doesn't need all 6 players to work on this, so 4 players tend to stand around doing nothing. However, by exploring the room, you might figure out that once the jigsaw puzzle is complete, it will likely lead to winning that missing item you need for another puzzle.
Therefore, investing your time in trying to understand that missing puzzle ahead of time, can mean the second your team mates solve the jigsaw, you have already worked out where that prize item should be placed.
Similarly, that jigsaw might have a row of lights on it which are not yet illuminated, try to figure out what relevance they might be later on, such as, might they be a 'Simon says' style light sequence? if so, is there a place where you could input such a sequence? or perhaps the lights represent something being powered up, so search for where you might do this.
Even if your time spent trying to figure out these things ends up being a waste of time, its actually a far better use of your time than standing around doing nothing. If you see any of your team standing around whilst you're working on something that doesn't require their input, encourage them to do the above forward thinking.
#7: Look For Tech
Escape rooms tend to do their best at hiding tech for their games, but with a little bit of prior knowledge, a simple thing such as noticing something is magnetic can go a very long way!
Lets say you find a moveable item, like a candle stick. Take a close look at it carefully, does anything stand out?
If not, touch the base of it on something metal in the room, or even a metal zip on your jacket. If its magnetic, you will know... which then means, the magnet inside it is very likely part of the tech, which tells you that the item needs to be placed somewhere specific.
You should then look around for where that item might go, it could be something obvious such as a perfectly shaped hole or indentation somewhere, or something a little less obvious, such as scuff marks or staining on a desk or shelf.
Even if you have no clue on where the item might be useful, simply by knowing that its magnetic, tells you that this item WILL be of use and MUST be placed in a specific position somewhere in the room.
By doing this with all items, you can quickly arrange a pile of items of interest that you know you will definitely need at some point.
Do not let this fool you though, not all escape rooms have tech in them, so keep in mind it could be a red herring, as lower budget or more traditional escape rooms rely on games master over rides.
Same goes for buttons or switches, feeling or hearing a slight click in a hole, is also a sign of a puzzle requiring a specific item to be placed here, or might need pressing at the same time at some point in the game. Knowing this in advance will help you quickly solve the puzzle when the time comes.
Another common piece of tech, is RFID tags, which are often little round, coin size tags that need to be placed on a hidden RFID reader (like a fey fob used to get into a building). By finding a couple of items with these on, could mean that they're all related (not always, but its worth considering just incase). Again, by noticing this and looking for a relationship between the items you have found, will save you time when you get to that part of the game.
Finally, as we said above, escape rooms tend to be good at hiding their tech, so look for signs of hidden tech. A really easy one is noticing felt at the base of items, chances are, its been put their to hide a RFID tag or a magnet so that you don't notice instantly what we have mentioned above. Sneaky, I know! However, now you're armed with what to look out for, the jokes on them, you know their secret! Mu-ha-ha-ha!
#8: Be Organized!
Organized teams tend to do far better, and it saves time stumbling around wondering where you put something.
We recommend in the first couple of seconds of entering the game, setting up 2 locations for storing items and making it clear to your team. You will need a location in the room where you will store items that might be needed later in the game, and a second pile for items and clues that you have already used and no longer need.
This is super helpful, because simply by looking at the pile of items that you might need later, it allows you to understand relationships between them and their possible future puzzles.
It also give you a good indication on the progress of your game, as your 'not yet used' pile gets smaller and smaller, it can tell you that you're almost at the end of the game. By seeing how much you have left, and knowing how much time is left of the game, you can gage whether you are doing well for time or not, which is a good indication if its the right time to ask for more help.
The pile of used items is also really important, as it prevents your team mates becoming distracted with items that are no longer of any use, allowing you all to focus on what's next instead of dwelling on the past. Important Note: some items in some escape rooms can be used multiple times, it all depends on the venue. We found, particularly in Liverpool Escape rooms, that usually, items tend to only have a single use. This is always a good question to ask, if its not mentioned in the pre-game brief.
A Simple "Do we need to use any items more than once?" posed to your games master before your game, can help you understand whether to completely discard used items, or if you need to re-assess them on how they might be useful again later on.
#9: Don't Just Look... Listen!
Many escape rooms, including our Contained Liverpool Escape Rooms, use audio as part of the game. This can be something simple like the ambient music getting faster, louder or having a specific sound effect every now and then. This could be an indication of your progress or how long left you have in the game.
Audio is also used as clues to puzzles, for example, a certain repetition of a beat or sound could be a clue in Morse code, or may need to be repeated back on an instrument or drum in the room.
Or perhaps a subtle repetitive beat, could be a number you need for a lock, or the amount of times you might need to knock on a door or desk.
Maybe there are whispers or spoken words that form a clue, listen for where emphasis is used on certain words, numbers or letters.
This is particularly important when Games masters give verbal audio clues, they might say something like "it might be TIME to use that letter you found". The fact time was particularly emphasized, means you should be considering the relationship of the letter you found with perhaps a clock in the room, or maybe a time is mentioned or riddled within the letter... they didn't spell it out to you for no reason.
The same applies to lights, pay attention to blinking lights, light patterns, colors and pulses, these tend to be used in the same way as audio as mentioned above.
#10: Cliché... But have FUN!
Some you win, some you lose, but what does it really matter as long as you and your team had a great time?
All of the tips we've given in this post, will give you the best chance at succeeding, but its not going to give you the answers to every game you play.
There are a ton of factors that can be the difference in winning and losing from just feeling tired or maybe you've had one too many drinks before playing your game.
As long as you make the most of your 60 minutes, and laugh and joke as much as you can, then that is all that matters. You'll have plenty of conversation and banter after the game, win or lose with your team, and that is what escape room's are all about.
Remember: Teamwork Leads To Dreamwork!
Let us know if these tips helped aid your escape in the comment section.
Until next time, Stay awesome!