The Seven Stages of an Escape Room
There are 7 stages that all participants go through in an escape room. Whether or not you escape is based solely on your ability to make it past the first 4 stages. But what are these stages?
Stage 1: The Fear.
Everyone is afraid when first entering a new escape room, regardless of whether you've played before. The fear of making yourself look like an idiot in front of your work colleagues, friends and family or complete strangers is incredibly obvious the moment you step through the door. Even with a bit of liquid courage, your loud bravado isn't fooling anyone.
Stage 2: The Confusion.
When groups first enter the room, a game master must watch as teams wander around in hopes that answers will jump out at them. Usually, they'll be led astray by the fake confidence of Uncle Darren or Manager Nick who know this is absolutely what everyone in the team should be working on. It's almost certainly a complete waste of time. This period of confusion, where people warm up their brains and finally start opening padlocks, is either the best or the worst part of a game master's job, depending, of course, on who has the walkie talkie.
Stage 3: The Stubbornness.
Usually at this point, a game master might chime in and offer a bit of assistance. This is also usually the moment that a small debate breaks out within the team as to whether to ask for help. The answer is a no, obviously, because ‘We have plenty of time!’
Stage 4: The Depression.
This is the stage where teams start to doubt themselves. Some symptoms of this stage: sulking, randomly kicking the floor, and pessimism. There are two ways in which this stage can go. The first is that the team give up; Uncle Darren sits in the corner. The second is that with nothing left to give, they finally remember that asking for help doesn't mean you're a bad player. It's a main part of teamwork and we're part of your team. A hint, a nudge, or the ever useful ‘Yes or No’ questions come into play here. These are part of standard game play. Usually teams just need a small nudge in the right direction and they're off again.
Stage 5: The Excitement.
With a small nudge, whilst this debate is going on and the depression ensues, one of the unassuming members of the team has been quietly working. The excitement comes when the other team members notice that a padlock or panel has opened. This is the best part. Finally, teams feel as though they're getting somewhere. This stage can happen at any point between 15 minutes or 40 minutes into the game.
Stage 6: The Breakthrough.
And we're finally on a roll. Is that another padlock open? I do believe it is. Your game master is most definitely cheering you on at this point, you just can't hear them.
Stage 7: The Panic.
The panic usually happens within the last five minutes of the game; usually someone gets hurt. The most common symptom of the panic stage is the overuse of the walkie talkie. You'd like a hint on something you already know how to do? We're only going to be able to tell you what you already know. Calm down. Breath, you've got this.
At this point, either you escape, or you don't. Though, as I've mentioned previously, if you can't make it past the first 4 stages; The Fear, The Confusion, The Stubbornness and The Depression, you won't escape. Don't be Uncle Darren. Push through and you'll escape with plenty of time remaining. We believe in you. It's time for you to believe in yourself... or ask for help.
Want to see if you can pinpoint the stages yourself? Try one of our games and let us know whether your team shares this experience!