Room escape design has been a hobby of mine since 2016. I run an annual room escape every year for my birthday in July, and have also started to build room escapes for other events, like company summits.
Some principles of room escape design I follow:
- Guests should feel like they are stepping over a threshhold from our mundane world into a new world with new rules
- Themes should be simple and resonant, anchoring on common fantasies, tropes, and scenarios
- Rooms should run themselves as much as possible
- Prop and world fidelity is paramount so as not to break the illusions of the world
- Conservation of detail is important — the area of the room should be exactly as big as it needs to be, and every element in the room should be relevant in some way.
- The puzzles and storyline should all relate to the central theme of the game, and each puzzle should explore this theme from different
- Have a strong, fleshed-out story behind the game, but don’t tell it directly. Show it in the puzzle and environment design.
- Build “moments” into the game, memorable and surprising events that create a story in the players’ minds.
- The final puzzle should be a twist on the game’s central theme. I like to make a final puzzle with a false solution, that requires really understanding the theme of the game to transmute it into the correct solution.