With everyone still stuck inside and professional escape rooms closed across the country, you may be looking for a way to scratch that escapist itch. Well, we have a solution for you. While it will require some work and time, you can create an escape room in your own home!
Now, you may be wondering how to make an escape room. The steps are straightforward and as long as you work through them one by one, you’ll have your own escape room in no time. Not only can playing an escape room be fun, but the process of creating one can be too. This guide will cover the three main steps to creating your own escape room at home.
Create a story
The first step, and possibly the most important, is to create a story. A good story will help you come up with puzzle ideas, create an immersive narrative for your escapists to explore, and inform how you design the atmosphere your escapists will be in.
This is a great chance to get creative. Start with a theme or event that is driving your escapists’ goals. If you want the room to feel tense and scary, maybe your escapists have been trapped by a killer and are trying to get away. If you want there to be an element of mystery, maybe your escapists are exploring a magician’s house. Regardless of the theme you choose, do your best to come up with a theme that has a distinct feel that you can craft an atmosphere around.
Puzzles are the main thing your escapists will interact with. Without a story there is no immersion, but without puzzles, there’s no escape room at all! When it comes to puzzles, one of the main things to remember is to keep it simple. It’s better to create many simple puzzles that connect to one another than to create just a few complex puzzles.
Why? Well, consider this. A common mistake people make when creating puzzles for escape rooms is making puzzles too complex because they already know how to figure it out. To them, the puzzle seems simple because they already know the answer. However, because the players don’t know the answer, these can be almost impossible for other people to figure out. On the flip side, if you make only a few complex puzzles but your escapists figure them out in a short time, they’ll escape too quickly and the fun will be over!
With that in mind, it’s best to make simple puzzles. Each one may only take a short time to figure out, but if they all connect to one another the puzzles will keep your escapists occupied for a long time while giving them a new sense of accomplishment each time they solve one.
Create an atmosphere
The final part of making an escape room at home is creating an atmosphere. This is especially important in this case because the goal of this escape room is to make the players feel like they aren’t actually at home, and convincing people of that can be difficult. However, there are two main things to focus on that will help you tremendously.
First, think about lighting. Blacking out windows and introducing colored, flickering, or irregular lighting can quickly change a normal living or bedroom into a mysterious tomb. Also, think about darkness. Turning the lights off in the room helps to disorient players and moving furniture will convince them they aren’t in a room they’re used to. Give them a flashlight and watch them explore!
Second, consider music. Sounds are an important part of what makes a place feel like home, and switching those normal sounds with creepy, mysterious, or ambient music can do a great job of making an atmosphere feel new. Free resources like Spotify and YouTube have great playlists of atmospheric music that give you a ton of choices.
That’s everything you need to put together your first escape room at home. Share your escape room creations with Stars & Strikes at our twitter, or check out our website for more info on other ways to play!