How Do Escape Rooms Work?

The black sackcloth hood obscures your vision, dark shapes barely visible in a blur of confused motion. You can hear the heavy breathing of your captor, their icy fingers wrapped around your wrist, pulling you into the cage. The rasp of the lock snaps down with a sickening crunch of rusted metal; chains clang and the masked creature laughs. It is a horrible, rough, throaty laugh. Cold sweat runs down your spine as realization creeps in. This is it. This is where you will surely die. Thoughts racing, anxiety rising, is this how it’s supposed to be? How do escape rooms work??? Here at The Basement, this is EXACTLY how your first adventure begins.

For just a moment, let’s walk through how this all works. At it’s core, an escape room is a themed room, filled with puzzles for a team to solve. Family and friends work together to escape within the time allotted.

Booking Your Experience

So you’ve decided to play an escape room. Congratulations! You are headed in the right direction to hone your problem solving techniques, boost your communication skills, and discover your new favorite hobby. Locked behind a simple door, hidden amongst the clues, awaits a fun time for the whole family.

Choosing the right escape room for you is crucial. It’s important to take into account the members of your team, their interests, and escape room experience. Select the game you wish to play, coordinate your schedules, and TA-DA you are ready to book your escape room. Exciting isn’t it? Ah the thrill of that “Order Confirmed!” email.

At The Basement: A Live Escape Room Experience, we make it super easy to book your escape games. Choose your game, the time and date you wish to play, select the number of players on your team, and check out! Now, if only it was that easy to escape the room…

Arrival at the Escape Room

The day has finally come for your adventure! The first escape room challenge has befallen you: directions and parking. When at all possible, we recommend carpooling with your team. Not only is this fuel efficient and ecologically friendly, but it certainly makes parking simple! Ample free parking is available at all of our locations, so no need to worry. You should be way more worried about what’s inside the building.

Do you want to become best friends with your game master? Arrive to your game (or games) early. We request that guests arrive approximately 15 minutes prior to their scheduled start time. That way waivers can be signed and items locked away with plenty of time to spare.

At TBLA (The Basement Los Angeles), you will definitely want to factor time in to solve your first puzzle of the day: the front door. We won’t leave you outside for long, just long enough. It really helps to get in the mindset for solving puzzles and looking for clues. Not all escape rooms put you through the ringer right away, but we’re built different. Literally.

Remember, we’re always watching. Image Description: A team member intently watches a bank of CCTV monitors.

Come Inside, We Don’t Bite… Often.

Now that the line between real life and the escape room has been severed, the helpful host at the front lobby will get you situated for your experience. As previously mentioned, this means the signing of waivers and locking away your personal belongings. Then you will be led deeper into the heart of the building, held hostage by curiosity.

We always encourage our guests to use the restroom before getting locked in a room, as there is only one way out once the clock starts ticking! (In all seriousness though, if you desperately need to leave the room for any reason, we won’t leave you hanging. There are emergency exit buttons in various locations throughout the rooms.)

Your host will provide a brief explanation of rules and give you an introduction of what is to come. They will usher you into a small loading room to watch two very important videos. This is considered required viewing and will set the scene for your escape room adventure.

Passing the Threshold into Darkness

Whether pulled inside by an unseen force, or stepped through willingly, your team has now entered the escape room. Let the games begin! Inside this room, you will need to find clues, solve puzzles, and maybe even make new friends in order to survive. Explore every corner of the space, turn things over, expect the unexpected! A successful escape relies on your ability to work together as a group, to communicate.

Arguably the most important thing to keep in mind while playing an escape game is teamwork. Escaping is the common goal: work together to advance it! A lot of escape room tips cover how to best solve puzzles, beat the clock, or even what kind of locks to expect; here at The Basement, we believe teams thrive on communication. It’s so exciting to see a group make their great escape with mere minutes left! When that key clicks in place, when that door swings open, when screams of joy drown out the screams of terror, everyone wins.

Escape Room Games: Behind the Scenes

So what’s happening when the guests play? What lurks in the shadows, behind the clues, the closed doors? Although I can’t speak for all escape rooms, at The Basement there is a dedicated team of people working hard to craft unique experiences for all of our guests. While the puzzle solving goes down, most rooms have at least three staff members working towards keeping the immersion.

Front Desk

The first person you encounter upon arrival, The Front Desk Personnel, enthusiastically greets guests and prepares them for their game. Expect to see them when your game concludes and you make your way back to the land of the living… and the lobby. My personal favorite thing about our Front Desk Personnel is their ability to totally set the tone for your experience. Leading by example, if they’re down for adventure, it’s likely the guests will be as well. It’s some sort of mind-control trick, I swear.

The Host

Your Host, or Operations Team Member, is in charge of the safety of your game. They keep their eyes glued to your game, watching on CCTV cameras as you work towards escaping. For the better part of an hour, your Host watches and plays along side you, keeping track of the puzzles and when you solve them. Timing is incredibly important to The Host. One of their biggest responsibilities is to “Clue” teams in need of assistance.

At The Basement, although you cannot ask for clues, it doesn’t mean Edward doesn’t enjoy playing with his food! We have a very specific clue schedule for our games that maximizes fun and keeps the challenge intact. Striking the balance between letting you suffer, and watching you struggle with one puzzle for fifteen minutes is difficult! We strive to create fear and suspense, not frustration and annoyance.

So although you may not see them hiding in the walls, Hosts are an important part of creating your escape room game.

Actors – The Lifeblood

At the very heart of our escape room experiences: our Talented Actors. Coming face-to-face with a person from the world of Edward Tandy is an incredibly immersive way to sell the theme of your escape room. No matter how cool the puzzles are, that human element is the key to creating a memorable experience. Are you going to remember that neat clue you found, or are you going to remember holding the hand of a dying police officer who put their trust in you?

Not only do our Actors provide in-game clues, immersive storytelling, and incredible guest interactions, they are also responsible for resetting the games! Not a single thing happens in that room that the Actor isn’t aware of. It’s amazing the level of attention to detail they dedicate to their escape rooms. Physically demanding, covered in blood, and quick-witted, it’s no wonder we always end our games with a round of applause.

It’s a bloody business. Image Description: An actor applies fake blood to a painted cut beside her eye.

How Most Escape Rooms Work

Escape rooms are a fun and immersive way to spend time with friends or family. These games consist of a group of people who enter a room and must use their wits, critical thinking skills, and teamwork to solve puzzles and find hidden clues.

Each escape room is unique in terms of its game design and puzzle structure. However, most rooms follow a basic process that includes entering the space, solving various puzzles throughout the room, and eventually escaping from the room by unlocking the final door.

Simply put, although the puzzles themselves may be challenging, the process of playing an escape room is pretty straight forward. Assemble your team, book your game, play the escape room. But there’s one final step here at The Basement: Escape With Your Life!

See you Soon!

We can’t wait for you to come check out what’s instore for you at The Basement: A Live Escape Room Experience! Sign up for our email list for updates, news, discounts, and more! Follow our social media for your daily dose of The Basement!

Kayden Ressel

Kayden is the owner of The Basement: A Live Escape Room Experience and an immersive design firm known as Nedyak Designs, LLC. Kayden has produced high-end escape rooms and immersive experiences for A-list celebrities, Fortune 500 companies, and many high budget creative projects.

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