Creating a Great Escape Room Game

Updated: Nov 11, 2019

Making a great escape room game is not only about making great puzzles, but it is also about the immersion the players feel in the room, the way the escape room clues are given (monitor, walkie-talkie, booming voice in the sky), set design, size of the rooms, and the overall experience the players have before, during, and after they come to play your escape game! Walkie-talkies may be appropriate for a WWII bunker, but in a wild west room, they may be out of place. It is very important to make sure your escape room is really, really good, because over 80% of the population has still never done a single escape room. If they have a bad experience, they will assume all escape rooms are bad and they will never come back to do another one. Think about it: if it was your first time going to a chiropractor and you had a horrible experience, you may never go to another one again. You have one shot to show them that an escape room can be one of the best and most memorable things they have ever done in their lives, and you need to make sure it is something they will talk about for days to come.

We started ESCAPE:chandler for a number of specific reasons I'll discuss below, but generally, it was because we did a lot of escape rooms and, for most of the ones we did, there were certain aspects of the games that drove us nuts. We were frustrated with the way that some escape rooms were designed and run. Some looked like they were just thrown together, with unfinished doors and props that looked like they came straight from the city dump or were left overs from a neighborhood construction site. Some escape rooms would penalize us for clues, or only give us clues at timed intervals. Seriously? I paid a lot of money for me and my family to have an awesome experience, and for those specific escape rooms to do that, made me feel like they couldn't be bothered with closely monitoring us (with no clues until THEY were ready) or giving us the full time we paid for (penalizing us for asking for clues) so we could even try and escape the room. At one escape room, I saw the game master outside smoking when I knew another game was in progress. No wonder they only allowed us to ask for clues at specific times. In my opinion, there is nothing worse than going to an escape room and sitting around waiting for a clue when you really need one, and nothing deters customers more than penalizing them for asking for help. If you paid for an hour, and you aren't successful, then you got your money's worth, but if you paid for an hour and end up failing because you used three clues and only got 45 minutes, well, that's just bad customer service. If those were my first escape room experiences, I would never had done another. I wouldn't be writing this blog. In the end, our family just knew there had to be a better way to design and run escape room games, and after a few life events lead us to look for a business venture, we thought about all those bad escape room experiences, and basically, out of all of that frustration, we decided to start ESCAPE:chandler. We put a whole lot of thought into making ESCAPE:chandler the best possible escape game experience! I am always thinking about how I would perceive our games through the customer's eyes, if the puzzles are fun, if the immersion is right, if the game master is monitoring the players closely. If our customers don't have a five star experience at Escape:chandler, then something isn't being done right, and I promise you, no matter what it takes, I will work diligently to make sure it is done right.

Try a great escape room once, and I promise you, everything else will suddenly pale in comparison. You’ll see.


One of our biggest pet peeves was the fact that many escape rooms just seemed to throw in random puzzles that didn't fit their themes at all, and surprisingly, this is still the case for many escape rooms! I am absolutely certain there were no lasers in the early 1900s, an ancient secret group wouldn't have a Ryobi power tool just laying around their compound (well, maybe), and I probably wouldn't find a giant Jenga set in an old western saloon, especially considering it originated in Ghana in the 1970s and was introduced to the world in 1983! There were no modern mirrors in King Authors' time, I'm sorry to say, so they probably shouldn't be being used in a game about that era. We decided that every one of our rooms would have puzzles that matched the theme, and we spent a lot of time making sure that was always the case.


Another problem we identified early on was the fact that some escape rooms try and shove as many people into the smallest space as possible. It gets very crowded when you shove 10 people in a 12 x 15 foot room for an hour. That just doesn't seem worth it just to make a few extra dollars off those 2-4 extra people. When that happens to us, we feel cramped and uncomfortable. We decided we would always have double the industry standard of square footage per person in all of our escape rooms so people wouldn't feel uncomfortable nor claustrophobic.


We were frustrated with some escape rooms that would only give clues at pre-determined times, so if you were stuck, you just sat on a chair and waited 10 minutes until the game master decided it was convenient to provide you with a clue. That is terrible customer service, by the way. People pay for a great experience, so make time for them to control when they want a clue to progress in the escape room. We were also super annoyed with escape room games that penalized us for asking for clues, especially when the puzzles were obviously designed to require clues 90% of the time. Why would we be penalized for using clues we paid for? Why would we have to wait until the GM decided to give us a clue? It all seemed unfair to us. In the end, we decided those rooms were seriously lacking in quality experiences, and if those were our first rooms, we would have thought "this escape room thing is so stupid!" Luckily it wasn't!

Come play with us at Escape chandler. Unlike some other escape rooms, we spent a lot of time making sure our games are on theme and completely immersive, our puzzles always fit the rooms, our escape rooms are spacious and well thought out, we will never penalize any group for using any clues, and we will always have only one game master dedicated to monitoring only one escape room game group at a time.

Try Escape chandler's escape rooms just once, and I promise you, everything else will suddenly pale in comparison. You’ll see.

Lewis Obermiller




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