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ESCAPE ROOM CLUES AND HOW TO FIND THEM

JAN 2023
23
ESCAPE ROOM CLUES AND HOW TO FIND THEM

The official Fox in a Box guide to the various types of escape room clues and how you can get to them!


You’ve got your team together.

You’ve selected your mission.

You’ve arrived at the facility, been briefed, and led into the escape room itself.


The countdown has begun.

People fan out and start looking for the first clue.

Question is - do you know what you’re looking for?

Different kinds of clues and puzzles to look for in an escape room

article-image-1

Know what to watch out for!


Simply put, clues are a key building block of an escape room experience.

Devoting an entire blog post to discuss escape room puzzle and clue types might seem overkill,

BUT

Inside an actual adventure...

With the clock remorselessly ticking down on you, not being able to spot a clue can become incredibly frustrating.


Allow us to take a slight detour here and reveal an aspect of escape room design.

You see, any good escape room designer will tell you that making the adventure needlessly complex is not what they're aiming at.

We want you to be mentally stimulated by the challenge. We want you to enjoy the excitement.

We do NOT want players to get bogged down in an intractable labyrinth and get frustrated - as that destroys the overall experience.


Which brings us back to this blog post.

We want you to have a fair idea of what it is that you're going to look out for.

Here are the 7 most common clues to expect in an escape room adventure.

Clues may be lurking in the most simple and obvious tasks

article-image-2

Yep, they may be as obvious to find as 1-2-3-4.


There are a number of puzzles in an escape room that seem daunting at first blush, but are often very simple to solve...given the right input.


One popular type is simply arranging items in an order.

What 'order' could this be?

It could be as simple according to numerical magnitude, alphabetical positions, or sizes.

If you ever come across objects representing letters, numbers or some other pattern, try arranging them in a simple logical order.

Don't overthink it.

And voila - you could very well have found your first clue!

Clues concealed in color patterns

article-image-3

Follow the colors!


Puzzles may also be embedded into a color pattern. Escape room designers tend to hide them in plain sight, so it's important to pay close attention.

If you happen to notice repeats of color patterns, follow up on that - it could be the key to decoding a cipher!


For example, in a generic escape room, you may find a box with four colored dots on top: green, purple, red, and yellow in that order (alphabetical order).

Also in the room are a book with a large red 8 for a title, a painting of a giant yellow 2, a purple vase with the number 4 written inside, and a giant green 5 drawn under a table.

Align those according to the dots on the box, and you could uncover the next clue!


Finally, remember - communication is key. Keep telling others about your findings.

Clues in UV paint

article-image-4

Make them glow!


Do you perhaps spot a black flashlight placed conveniently in the room?

Make use of it.

If you didn't know, ultraviolet (UV) paints are invisible under ordinary lighting but light up like a Christmas tree in black light.

So, try to utilize the black light to reveal concealed riddles, codes, and any other clues.


Oh, and don't just use the light on the walls. Use them on the floor, the ceiling, and even inside drawers and on objects.

This is an especially common clue in espionage-themed escape room adventures.

Clues hidden behind paintings

article-image-5

Yep, there could be something behind that painting!


Yes, just hidden behind paintings. Sounds almost depressingly obvious from the comfort of your living room…but may prove manna in the desert when you’re stuck in the actual escape room.


Here’s a tip: unless you’re explicitly told otherwise, don't be afraid to give paintings in the room a gentle tug. (a GENTLE tug; don't give it an almightly yank and keep pulling if it doesn't reveal anything)


You could end up discovering a code (perhaps in UV paint which would be revealed by black light), a concealed safe, a date, or even a recess in the wall with more clues.

The possibilities are endless, so it's worth checking out!

Clues in plain sight/in everyday objects

Here's an example - a book with a hollow carved out inside containing a vital clue, like a key.

If you've seen your share of mystery films, you know what we're talking about.

You've seen it on TV...here's your chance to experience it in real life - the very idea of an escape room!


Glossing over small and everyday objects is a common mistake among escape room players, even experienced ones.

Finding clues can be one of the most exciting parts of the game, so escape room designers often hide them in everyday household items. 

Players may spend a lot of time searching for clues that are right in front of them, making the game more difficult than it needs to be. 

To avoid this, be sure to check all items, including notebooks, pens, glasses, and more.

Encrypted clues

article-image-6

Can you crack the code?


Braille, hieroglyphs, Morse code, - do these terms sound familiar? 

They are all forms of encryption, also known as ciphers. Escape room designers often use ciphers as a way to add an extra layer of challenge and fun to the game. 

Decoding these seemingly complex characters can be a thrilling experience, and finding the logical solution can be satisfying. 

Though ciphers may appear difficult, they don't have to be. They shouldn’t even be time-consuming to solve, if you know what you’re doing.


And no, you DON’T have to know Morse Code or Braille for your escape room adventure.

A key will be present inside the room itself, you just have to find it.

And then use it to break the code and make the clue appear!

Clues in your briefing, and being relayed by the in-room actor

Yes, if the game master asks you to check something out, you obviously will take their advice.

However, how closely do you follow the pre-game briefing?

As hosts of Seattle’s best escape room, we can attest that many players - even experienced ones - lose track and focus during the pre-game briefing.

That’s not advisable.

In addition to setting the game narrative, the pre-game briefing could contain crucial clues that you’d simply be missing out on if you don’t pay attention.


The same goes for the in-game actors, if there are any.

They may be doing more than just putting on a performance to deepen the immersion.

They could be revealing important information that you need to proceed.

So, pay attention to the actors.

Don’t be shy about asking for help!

article-image-7


There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help.

In fact, helping you out is a big reason for game masters being there at all.

Don’t worry about losing out on the experience - game masters are trained to only reveal part of the puzzle, leaving you with a decent bit to work out on your own.

It’s definitely not like getting a complete walkthrough, ruining the experience.

In fact, your experience is a lot likelier to be ruined if you DON’T ask for help and get stuck and infuriated.

Ready to put all these to the test?

Now that you know the 7 most common types of escape room clues - and how to be on the lookout for them - how about putting this newly acquired information to the test?

May we point you towards Fox in a Box (that is, ourselves)?

We’ve got 3 exciting missions for you to choose from:

  • Breaking into a top-secret military facility to avert a deadly weapons launch in Mission Bunker.

  • Try to break out of a high-security prison in Prison Break.

  • Match wits with a suspected serial killer as you try to escape his lair in Zodiac.

Players often complement our game design as highly immersive and our puzzles as creative, well thought out, and challenging.

Give it a go, use whatever you’ve learned from this blog post about how to locate clues, and see if you can not only escape the room…but do it ahead of time (60 minutes).

Will you and your team get onto the leader board?


Make your booking, and good luck!




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ESCAPE ROOM CLUES AND HOW TO FIND THEM

The official Fox in a Box guide to the various types of escape room clues and how you can get to them!


You’ve got your team together.

You’ve selected your mission.

You’ve arrived at the facility, been briefed, and led into the escape room itself.


The countdown has begun.

People fan out and start looking for the first clue.

Question is - do you know what you’re looking for?

Different kinds of clues and puzzles to look for in an escape room

article-image-1

Know what to watch out for!


Simply put, clues are a key building block of an escape room experience.

Devoting an entire blog post to discuss escape room puzzle and clue types might seem overkill,

BUT

Inside an actual adventure...

With the clock remorselessly ticking down on you, not being able to spot a clue can become incredibly frustrating.


Allow us to take a slight detour here and reveal an aspect of escape room design.

You see, any good escape room designer will tell you that making the adventure needlessly complex is not what they're aiming at.

We want you to be mentally stimulated by the challenge. We want you to enjoy the excitement.

We do NOT want players to get bogged down in an intractable labyrinth and get frustrated - as that destroys the overall experience.


Which brings us back to this blog post.

We want you to have a fair idea of what it is that you're going to look out for.

Here are the 7 most common clues to expect in an escape room adventure.

Clues may be lurking in the most simple and obvious tasks

article-image-2

Yep, they may be as obvious to find as 1-2-3-4.


There are a number of puzzles in an escape room that seem daunting at first blush, but are often very simple to solve...given the right input.


One popular type is simply arranging items in an order.

What 'order' could this be?

It could be as simple according to numerical magnitude, alphabetical positions, or sizes.

If you ever come across objects representing letters, numbers or some other pattern, try arranging them in a simple logical order.

Don't overthink it.

And voila - you could very well have found your first clue!

Clues concealed in color patterns

article-image-3

Follow the colors!


Puzzles may also be embedded into a color pattern. Escape room designers tend to hide them in plain sight, so it's important to pay close attention.

If you happen to notice repeats of color patterns, follow up on that - it could be the key to decoding a cipher!


For example, in a generic escape room, you may find a box with four colored dots on top: green, purple, red, and yellow in that order (alphabetical order).

Also in the room are a book with a large red 8 for a title, a painting of a giant yellow 2, a purple vase with the number 4 written inside, and a giant green 5 drawn under a table.

Align those according to the dots on the box, and you could uncover the next clue!


Finally, remember - communication is key. Keep telling others about your findings.

Clues in UV paint

article-image-4

Make them glow!


Do you perhaps spot a black flashlight placed conveniently in the room?

Make use of it.

If you didn't know, ultraviolet (UV) paints are invisible under ordinary lighting but light up like a Christmas tree in black light.

So, try to utilize the black light to reveal concealed riddles, codes, and any other clues.


Oh, and don't just use the light on the walls. Use them on the floor, the ceiling, and even inside drawers and on objects.

This is an especially common clue in espionage-themed escape room adventures.

Clues hidden behind paintings

article-image-5

Yep, there could be something behind that painting!


Yes, just hidden behind paintings. Sounds almost depressingly obvious from the comfort of your living room…but may prove manna in the desert when you’re stuck in the actual escape room.


Here’s a tip: unless you’re explicitly told otherwise, don't be afraid to give paintings in the room a gentle tug. (a GENTLE tug; don't give it an almightly yank and keep pulling if it doesn't reveal anything)


You could end up discovering a code (perhaps in UV paint which would be revealed by black light), a concealed safe, a date, or even a recess in the wall with more clues.

The possibilities are endless, so it's worth checking out!

Clues in plain sight/in everyday objects

Here's an example - a book with a hollow carved out inside containing a vital clue, like a key.

If you've seen your share of mystery films, you know what we're talking about.

You've seen it on TV...here's your chance to experience it in real life - the very idea of an escape room!


Glossing over small and everyday objects is a common mistake among escape room players, even experienced ones.

Finding clues can be one of the most exciting parts of the game, so escape room designers often hide them in everyday household items. 

Players may spend a lot of time searching for clues that are right in front of them, making the game more difficult than it needs to be. 

To avoid this, be sure to check all items, including notebooks, pens, glasses, and more.

Encrypted clues

article-image-6

Can you crack the code?


Braille, hieroglyphs, Morse code, - do these terms sound familiar? 

They are all forms of encryption, also known as ciphers. Escape room designers often use ciphers as a way to add an extra layer of challenge and fun to the game. 

Decoding these seemingly complex characters can be a thrilling experience, and finding the logical solution can be satisfying. 

Though ciphers may appear difficult, they don't have to be. They shouldn’t even be time-consuming to solve, if you know what you’re doing.


And no, you DON’T have to know Morse Code or Braille for your escape room adventure.

A key will be present inside the room itself, you just have to find it.

And then use it to break the code and make the clue appear!

Clues in your briefing, and being relayed by the in-room actor

Yes, if the game master asks you to check something out, you obviously will take their advice.

However, how closely do you follow the pre-game briefing?

As hosts of Seattle’s best escape room, we can attest that many players - even experienced ones - lose track and focus during the pre-game briefing.

That’s not advisable.

In addition to setting the game narrative, the pre-game briefing could contain crucial clues that you’d simply be missing out on if you don’t pay attention.


The same goes for the in-game actors, if there are any.

They may be doing more than just putting on a performance to deepen the immersion.

They could be revealing important information that you need to proceed.

So, pay attention to the actors.

Don’t be shy about asking for help!