Revelation 1. Girls are better than boys (mostly).
This is controversial, so first of all can I just say that I’m not just claiming this because I’m a girl. If we add up the number of all-boy teams versus all-girl teams and compare times the girls would win. This was probably one of my first revelations of running an escape room.
Perhaps it could be that girls are more logical and Spectre has been noted for how logical the gameplay is. It might also be that we ladies are better at multi-tasking. As Spectre is non-linear, that would make sense too as there are many puzzles you can solve at once, most of the time. Perhaps it’s just in our nature to quietly get on with things. Figure out problems when we’re faced with them and do it with little fuss? It would be interesting to get a man’s point of view on this one, don’t you think? You could always have your say in the comments box below.
Revelation 2. Solve it. And then solve it again.
Apart from offering an amazing, fun experience, escape rooms encourage teamwork. Whether you’ve come along as part of a team building event or if you’re here with family or friends. The excitement when you first step into the room takes over from any thoughts of setting out a strategy to escape. You’re through the door. Now everyone split up. Open every draw. Look through every book and delve into all the coat pockets. But never tell everyone else you’re working with what you have found! If you find a key, perhaps someone in your team has a lock they need to open. But you will never know unless they have communicated that they need a key.
In Spectre, there’s a surprise item hidden cleverly in the second room you can enter and a letter you need to read. I’ve lost count of the number of times different people playing on the same team have read the same letter, found the surprise item only to find the puzzle inside is currently being solved by someone else – or was solved 30 minutes ago! It can be funny to watch, but at times frustrating, as the clock is ticking down and those who are re-searching everything and going back to previously solved clues could be utilised elsewhere – if only they had all shared what they found and done already.
Revelation 3. Everyone’s good at something. No one’s good at everything.
What makes us humans so special is that we’re all unique, so creating an escape room that is accessible to everyone, no matter their brain power, is not an easy task. We seem to go through waves of teams who all manage to escape and with good times, which leads Charlie to say: “Our room is too easy, perhaps I’ll add another couple of things in.” The next day and for the rest of the week, none of the teams will escape, or they will cut it really fine with a lot of help from the clue system. This will of course lead Charlie to say: “The room is too hard, I might add in some extra clues to make the puzzles easier.” There is no ‘one size fits all’ with escape rooms. In Spectre, we have a puzzle for every learning style, so we’ve tried our best to find something for everyone. Read more about the seven aptitudes at https://www.learning-styles-online.com/overview/
Revelation 4. People really do hack padlocks.
We had heard from other escape room owners that players often decide to try and hack the padlocks, rather than solve the puzzle to get the code or find the key to open them. This confused us at the time and having now witnessed it in Spectre it is all the more baffling. Is it to show off their lock picking skills to their friends? Is it because they think it’s part of the game?
It’s a little disheartening for us to watch as game hosts, as them opening the lock before time can send the entire flow of the game out. They might find the clue to opening that lock they hacked a little further on, start then trying to solve it, get the code and then realise that the lock is already open. That’s a lot of their 60-minutes taken up for no reason.
The worst instance though, is when a player hacks a lock, tells no one else they have done it, and their team mates are currently working on the puzzle that opens it. They have success with the puzzle and are then disappointed to find the lock already open. I guess what I am trying to say here is whatever you do, please don’t hack the locks in escape rooms…you’re not proving anything or helping anyone (thank you).
Revelation 5. From beautiful moments to big rows.
There have been so many of both of these. I can’t reveal too many as it will give away some of the game to those of you who have still not played. There is a puzzle that Charlie and I have named ‘The Relationship Breaker’. Couples and family members so often come to blows over this team game. It relies on communication and dexterity.
If you don’t make use of either of these then something very frustrating may just happen that will set you back. Who would have known it could cause such friction? We have genuinely had couples not talk to each other for some time after completing this puzzle. They until they have to come back together to work on something else before saying they’re sorry.
When players get that moment of insight on how to solve a puzzle it’s such a pleasure to watch; but there is nothing quite like people’s reaction to particular effects we have in Spectre. Our theme is by no means horror-based but we’ve had players scream and hide under a table on occasion. What is most important to us is the player experience while they’re playing the room and to witness them being fully immersed throughout makes our decision to open an escape room in Salisbury the best we’ve ever made (other than getting married, that is.)
Look out for part two of my revelations of running an escape room.
If you haven’t played Spectre already, you can find out more about the somewhat controversial plot line at live-escape.co.uk/new/rooms/spectre