Do you enjoy solving puzzles and playing detective games? Are you detail-oriented and enjoy working together with others as a team? If so, you might want to think about participating in an escape room.
Escape rooms are fun, albeit challenging, puzzles that require you to break out of a room. Most of the time, you solve them in a group setting with people you know.
However, doesn’t that mean that they aren’t pandemic-friendly? Is it still a smart idea to do them during COVID-19?
Keep reading to learn all about what escape rooms look like during the era of quarantines and pandemics.
What Is an Escape Room?
If you’ve never done one before, escape rooms can be a bit hard to understand. As their name implies, you have to escape out of a room in a certain amount of time—usually an hour.
To do that, you and the people you play with have to use a set of clues to solve the puzzle. However, every escape room is a little bit different, which means that your “mission” varies from room to room.
In some rooms, your missions might be to escape the room within the time limit. Other rooms might have you stealing an antique piece of art from a museum or even landing a spacecraft on the surface of the moon.
What Makes Them So Fun?
Escape rooms have you working together with friends and family members as teammates. You’ll need to work and think together to solve the puzzle. When someone makes a discovery, the whole room feels a sense of accomplishment.
As mentioned, one of the best parts about escape rooms is that no two rooms are alike. The setting for one room might look like a mummy’s tomb, while another might look like a futuristic prison cell.
This level of variation gives escape rooms unlimited replayability. You might find it easy to solve one escape room, but the next one might be much more difficult. It might also be in a completely different setting!
How Do They Work During COVID-19?
The pandemic has shut down a lot of activities that people used to enjoy—one of which is escape rooms. Although federal and state governments are rolling out the vaccine as quickly as they can, some states still don’t have open dining, much less group excursions.
That being said, if your state is a bit laxer with quarantine restrictions, escape rooms should be okay—provided everyone follows CDC guidelines.
That means wearing masks, not getting too close to one another, and ensuring that the venue sanitizes the rooms often.
A Virtual Option
If the idea of being in a room with others doesn’t appeal to you, we don’t blame you. In that case, you might want to look into doing a virtual escape room.
Virtual escape rooms are just like traditional escape rooms, with the only difference being that you solve them over a platform like Zoom instead of in person.
As is the case with standard escape rooms, you need to work with your teammates, solve puzzles, and crack riddles to complete the mission in a specified amount of time. But you get to enjoy them from the comfort and safety of your home!
Escape Room Strategies
Whether you choose to participate in a traditional escape room or a virtual one where you can practice social distancing, there are a few strategies that can help you solve the puzzle.
Here are a few of the biggest ones.
Understand the Rules
Escape rooms can be overwhelming, but spending time trying to get a grasp of everything is an easy way to waste time. Make sure that you and your teammates are clear on all of the room rules beforehand.
Be clear on the length of the game, how many clues there are, as well as which items are off-limits. Touching them may disrupt the flow of the game and force a game master to come in to resolve the issue—while wasting additional time.
Watch the Clock
Speaking of time, you want to make sure that you and your teammates always pay attention to the clock. Time goes quickly in an escape room, so you’ll need to take full advantage of it.
Keeping track of the clock also helps you know when you can ask for another clue. You don’t want to waste time, then realize that you could’ve asked for one 20 minutes earlier.
As mentioned, most escape rooms give you an hour to solve the puzzle. The majority of teams don’t manage to solve the puzzle in time!
Communicate With One Another
Remember that escape rooms are too much for one person to solve, which is why you’re working as a team. Pool all of your brains and skills together to get out of the room on time.
If you catch yourself starting to micromanage the room, stop yourself. Being a leader is great, but taking over the room as the self-appointed leader isn’t. Everyone should feel like they’re part of a team that’s working together.
Escape Rooms Can Be Fun at Any Time
If you’re looking for something fun to do while hanging out with friends, you might want to look into solving escape rooms.
Escape rooms will get everyone in your group thinking and working together. As this guide explains, you can also do them safely during a global pandemic!
We think hanging out with friends and solving puzzles is great at any time, but especially during COVID-19 when you can do it safely. Remember to check out the rest of our site for more virtual hangout games and ideas!