I came across this great article by Cracked It Escape Games in North Carolina – 6 Things to Avoid When Designing an Escape Room and I love the items they present. Escape room design is a complicated game in itself and this highlights important parts.
Here is a great graphic to demonstrate their points, although I wish they had paid for the graph image so it did not have the floating watermark in the back…
Escape Room Design Avoidances
In escape room design, my biggest pet peeve is Red Herrings. Why have them?!?! The most annoying are puzzles that show up in a room but only to take up time. If something in the room does not belong to a puzzle or game, then it should not be included. This can include photos or items. Theme a space, don’t fill it with distractions.
This goes right into open ended puzzles, parts of the overall game that do not result in something important to complete the room. Find a box with a lock? You will need to find a key to open it. If you find an extra key that does not have a lock for it to be used with, then you have something with no end. Each piece of the puzzle must work towards the final goal – usually that means escaping the room!
Check out the article for details, and consider these parts of an escape room design the next time you’re playing.
If you happen to be in Midway Park, North Carolina you should go and check out their games!