If you’re new to escape rooms or you’re thinking about trying one out for the first time, you’ve probably wondered whether or not you need a full gang of 6-8 people in order to play.
Short Answer: No, you don’t.
Although every escape establishment is a little bit different in their booking process, a vast majority will allow you to book a room with as many, or as few, people as you have in your party.
So if it’s just you and your best mate, you’ll be fine.
Be advised, however, that when smaller parties book a room, you’re more likely to be placed with another couple/group. So if you and a friend book 2 spots in an 8 person room, you’ll likely be meeting 6 new friends for the first time.
For many, this can often cause anxiety over an ancient evil known as “Stranger Danger.”
If there’s only one thing you’ll ever learn from me, I want you to know that doing rooms with strangers is nothing to be afraid of. In fact, it can be pretty rewarding.
As I said above, when doing rooms with strangers, try to think of it as a chance to meet new people and make friends. There’s something about sharing a new experience with a complete stranger that inspires a sense of solidarity.
To help you and your new found friends escape, I’ve put together a few tips:
1. Talk to Each Other!
The best time to do this will be in the waiting area before you head into the room. If you find yourself sitting among a group people waiting for the same room you are, introduce yourself! Build a rapport! Break the ice! Exchange names! Trust me, not only will this save time for you (because you don’t want to spend a lot of your time making introductions and learning names), but you’ll communicate with your team more readily when you’re in the room. And communication is key! After the room starts remember to check-in with each other. Often.
2. Get a Feel for Everyone’s Experience Level
This is one of my favorites. And it’s an easy way to break the ice. “So, have you done an escape room before?” This magical question is your gateway to success. If you’re totally new to the escape scene, ask if your team members have done any rooms before. You’ll likely be pleasantly surprised at the tips and tricks your new team members are willing to impart.
If you discover that YOU are in fact the seasoned veteran, take a moment to share some of your experiences and offer some insights. I’ve found myself in this position many times and I’ve always gotten the impression that newcomers were appreciative of being shown the ropes.
3. Don’t Hog
Don’t hog puzzles, hints, clues, attention, or ANYTHING else! This kinda goes back to communication. Escaping a room IS a team effort. You’ll need to rely on your whole team to bring home the win. If you’re having trouble with a puzzle or clue, bring it your team members. Make sure everyone has the chance to see what is going on in the room. If someone wants to take a closer look at something you’re doing, invite them to come along side you. After well over 100+ rooms that the Junkies collectively have under their belts, we’ve learned that everyone sees things differently. This is a GIFT. Sharing the room is your key to a timely escape!
4. Don’t Segregate
It’s a sociological fact that different groups in a room will tend to keep to themselves. In an escape room, this means that group A is communicating with group A, and group B is only communicating with group B. THIS IS DEATH! If you suspect your team is having this problem, make a concerted effort to bring others into your circle. Consult them on a puzzle, ask their opinion, ask them what they’ve figured out so far. I cannot emphasize enough how much harm segregation can cause.
5. Be Agreeable
At the end of the day, the reason you paid your hard earned money was to get an hour or so of good fun. I promise you that you’ll have a ton more fun if you adopt an agreeable attitude while escaping. Trust me, this will apply to many more things than you might imagine. Take hints for example. I’ve found that different groups of people have very different approaches to hints. Some people feel that hints are an absolute last resort and loathe to use them. To these people, taking a hint is almost an admission of failure. For others, hints are a way to keep up the momentum and keep the fun coming! Whatever type of hint user you are, you may run into your opposite type. Talk to you team before using hints. Be agreeable to the general consensus. Even if you end up agreeing to things that might be slightly contrary to your usual style, you’ll be rewarded many times over in your overall team dynamic. Trust me.
And that’s it folks. Don’t let the fear of “Stranger Danger” stop you from going out there, meeting new people, and having a ton of fun.