Escape rooms, for those of you who might not know what they are, are fun puzzle-solving games that challenge you to complete a simple task: escape the room you're locked in. However because of the nature of it-it's timed, you're in an enclosed space, you aren't freely given answers-people's anxiety is STRONGLY triggered by escape room games.
Here were some of the answers.
I run a tech camp thing for junior high aged kids and we have them do an escape room puzzle. Basically the box in the middle of the table has 5 locks, one for each puzzle, that has its own colored ring attached to it. Once you solve a combination, you bring the ring to the game master and you get the next puzzle. Simple enough, right?
Never have I seen anybody do this in the 2 years we have done this puzzle for both kids and teachers, but one kid this year managed to unsnap a ring from one of the locks and picked every single one of them and got the box open without solving a single puzzle.
Where's The Fun?
There was a VERY pregnant lady in the group. We asked her if she was at risk of going into labor at any time, but she said she was fine. We let her in. The entire group was getting upset because they weren't doing well. They were in the hardest room we have, it's always a big deal if you make it out. They kept asking me for the code they needed to escape, and I had to keep telling them I couldn't say what it was.
They had to discover it. So pregnant lady took out the water bottle she had, turned around so she wasn't facing the camera, and poured some on the floor. She screamed that her water broke, and I needed to tell her the code so they could get out and go to the hospital. I guess she forgot we have cameras in several places in the room, and we saw exactly what she did. So I went into the room myself and explained that she was free to leave, I would just escort her out and the rest of the team could continue. She really thought that by having her water break, that was a free pass to get the escape code.
NOT THE BED SHEETS, BARBARA
One of our rooms has a bed in it with white sheets. There was this group who was in the room working on the last puzzle, a logic puzzle. There's a sheet of paper in the room that's full of facts about a murder that you're trying to solve. The group wasn't quite getting the puzzle so I typed up "The white sheet of paper in room three will be a lot of help." So the group runs into the room and starts tearing all the white sheets off the bed and I type "Not the bed sheets." So they start pulling the pillows out of their sheets. I then reply "The sheet you write on." and lo and behold they grab the room's marker and start drawing all over the bed sheets. They didn't escape.
I have both hosted games and managed escape rooms. I have seen it ALL...
People who cheat and bring in tools. People who physically break objects and play dumb when confronted, yelling matches, people on drugs, but the worst are the bad parents...
The dumbest people were always the dads or moms of large families who took over the games from their children and didn't let them play or ignored them.
Sometimes kids were just left unsupervised while mom and dad played alone (guess they couldn't get a babysitter) but most of the time some really smart kids could see things the adults did not and sure enough mom and dad ignored their input and got stuck overthinking everything.
It was so satisfying to go in after they had lost and tell the parents they should have listened to the kids. The smiles from the kids made it so worth it and the parents couldn't do anything but pout!
Failing An Open Book Test
Once a group disassembled a portable AC unit hoping to find a key. There wasn't any key. From that moment screwdrivers were forbidden.
But the best team I remember was the first team that ever played. We made a big, enormous, GIGANTIC mistake: we forgot the entire detailed instructions inside the room, right at the entrance on a table. They found it immediately, they started reading it, they clearly saw that every combination, every puzzle, every piece of history and every piece of furniture but they didn't realize it was the complete walkthrough, and in some unknown way they failed to escape.
The Demon Conserves Holy Water
We played through this demonic-themed escape room and the guy running it would speak as the "voice of Vade" through the PA system. He'd give us hints when we ask for them and would narrate story bits when appropriate.
At one point there's a little fountain that pours out holy water. There's a little bottle to collect the holy water. But they only trigger the fountain enough for us to get a little holy water in the bottle. Then we're supposed to figure out we need to drip some holy water into a small hole in a box. Instead we tried dousing the holy water on just about everything else in the room. Nothing's working. Then my girlfriend's brother says, "Oh, maybe we have to drink it!" and he chugs the rest of the holy water. The voice of Vade jumps in and says, "Do not waste the holy water."
Show Me The KeyGiphy
Escape room employee here. Here are some examples.
- People who find keys, exclaim, "It's a key!" put it in their pockets, and forget about it. They don't make it out.
- Had a woman who would insist on pulling her group members away from CORRECT solutions so that she could waste time with incorrect ones so that she could be "right", to the point that I actually insisted that she shut up via the messaging system. She didn't, they listened to her, and they lost.
- It's amazing how many times a day I type "If it's unlocked, OPEN IT."
- We have a key in a box in one of our rooms that you get out via a specific tool that you find in the course of the game. For some reason, instead of intuiting that there was a tool involved, two women tried to use tampon applicators from their bags (unused) for this purpose.
- Had a guy who sat in the middle of the room and counted the ceiling tiles, convinced that finding the number would help him. I told him it would not. He lost.
- There is a room that necessitates putting an actual puzzle together. It's a 50 piece puzzle, it's the first clue, a child could do it easily. Took one couple 40 minutes. They looked for nothing else (despite being urged), they did nothing else, they just worked on the puzzle. They lost.
Oh, there are so many.
Please Do Not Tongue The Electrical Units
The room had electronic components, so there were electric wires that were tied down but looped around the room. One Friday night, someone tried licking them, just in case.
The Damn Wall
My friend runs a place with four escape rooms. One guy got frustrated in the last chamber and just started messing with wall panels, assuming they were all hidden doors. He ended up pushing one and finding that it seemed to have a little bit of give to it. It was definitely not a hidden door. He went straight through it and put a very large hole in the wall. My friend and I had plans that night and he flaked on me because he had to fix the wall.
Ho ho, time to turn the tables!
The stupidest thing I've ever seen in an escape room: The final challenge/lock was a "locked" cabinet, consisting of a coiled up bicycle lock. The problem was that the bicycle lock was basically just a big 3-foot loop, and they'd only run it through the handles of the cabinet once, so there was more than enough slack to simply open the cabinet.
Within the first 5 minutes of the game, somebody in our group just walked up, opened the cabinet, and we were out.
My friend thought the key was in this small wooden box and ended up getting mad and smashing it, there was no key... just employees telling us to leave :|
Please Do Not Feed The Monster
It's amazing how many times I say "no excess force will be needed- brains over muscle" during the initial brief and people still hulk out and lose their minds.
We created an escape room for our library, and one of the decorative props was a potted plant. One group thought there was something inside the pot, and proceeded to pull the entire plant out, roots and all. There was dirt all over the floor and the poor plant was in shambles.
In their defense, the theme of the room was Harry Potter, so they probably were thinking it was a mandrake (in which case they should have used fuzzy pink earmuffs). Thankfully the plant was needing to be repotted anyway, so my coworkers and I split it up and took them home. My little piece is doing great!
Worked a zombie themed escape room within a haunted house where you had to find the "cure" before your time ran out and you became a zombie. on part of the haunted house is a locker room type deal and you have to walk through the stalls to open up into the room itself. Girl finds the cure in a toilet tank, gets so excited she FOOTBALL SPIKES THE TANK LID. Lid of course shatters, and we get less than five minutes of reset to clean up her mess before the next group comes in and shreds themselves to ribbons. Good times.
Embarrassment Killed The Cat
Not an employee but a player.
I was working a puzzle on my own on one side of the room, and this tiki torch looking thing keeps falling down while I'm working on something else. I keep picking back up so it's not in the way.
Finally I get frustrated and slam it into this wooden stand with a hole in it. It makes a loud bang and part of the stand comes off.
I think I've f-cking broken it and quickly put the peice back into place and go back to my puzzle.
Of course it was supposed to open, and there was a clue inside. We failed the room.
These Poor Locks
Was going through one and my girlfriend brute forced a 4 number padlock in about 3 tries
Obligatory not an employee but many months ago my friends and I did an escape room. It was a King Arthur style room, and at one point you get a sword by lining up a group of statues. You were supposed to stick the sword in this device in the center of the room, however we were having so much fun swinging it around we didn't realize that.
Oh boy. In my story, the stupid customer is my husband and me. We have done a handful of escape rooms before, in larger groups and also just the 2 of us, and we are decent (not great but not bad) so we decided to do one in Montreal.
When we showed up the guy working there REALLY hyped up the room, saying that it has a 5% solve rate, it's the hardest room they have across all locations, etc. I think that really got into our heads.
Because we....epically failed. We did not solve a SINGLE freaking clue. We ran around the room like chickens with our heads cut off making wild guesses and yep, bickering like an old married couple (we are in our late 20's).
We had 2 hints and had to ask for both of them through a scratchy walkie talkie, but we couldn't understand the hint so we had to ask them to repeat it multiple times.
It was so freaking embarrassing to see the time run out and realize we had utterly and completely failed. Then to make it worse we sat through the employee explain the whole damn thing and realize just how little progress we made.
To be fair the room was completely ridiculous. And truly not designed for just 2 people. But still....I think if we had figured out at least one hint we wouldn't have been so humiliated.
She Won't Die Again
The first time I did an escape room, the setup was that this little girl had died and was haunting her old bedroom. The guy giving us instructions literally had to tell us, "if you happen to have a knife on you, please do not stab the bed."
Apparently a former patron had ripped the mattress open with a switchblade to look for clues.
A Monster Overseas
Not an employee, but I often ask employees about any odd rules they have.
This one room part of the goal was to identify the murderer. Also relevant is the story location was Tokyo. There was a bluetooth lock on one of the doors, and so there was also a phone. It being a murder the escapees thought to call 911. The staff was smart enough to remove the sim card, but didn't realize you can always call 911. So they connect to the real emergency services. The operator gets a call that they think is a legit emergency and the escapees assume that it connect to the game master. Everyone was very confused when they said there was a murder in Tokyo and the operator says that's on another continent why are you calling me?