Category: tips and tricks

How to Save Money on Escape Rooms

Wondering how to save money on escape rooms? If you’ve ever booked and paid for an escape room, you know how expensive it is. It’s not a cheap hobby to get involved with (but so worth it!). Escape rooms are also astoundingly expensive to build. The price variability in escape room creation is wide, but our rooms cost approximately $15-25K to build and install (not including our own labor of love).

Those escape rooms that look like movie sets? Those can cost up to a quarter of a million dollars to build! So the prices you pay an immersive experience are derived from the astronomical expenses of not only building them, but staffing them, and keeping them looking fresh each day by maintaining them. It’s not a cheap hobby, but it’s also not a cheap business venture.

That all being said, there are some things you can do to save money while getting out there and playing as many games as you can. It may just mean you have to visit in ways that benefit the business, rather than what’s most convenient.

Bring more players with you

The easiest way to save money on escape rooms is to bring more friends and family! For the majority of escape rooms in the US, the price per player decreases as more players are added. For example, our 2 player price is currently $41.99 per player while our 5 player rate is $30.99 per player. Why is that?

Well, the cost to run the room is the same whether you have 2 players or 8. But the revenue difference is $83 vs. $242. So it’s easier for us to give a discount for a big group because we can still turn a profit. It actually COSTS us money to have a full day of 2 player bookings due to having staff there to run all of the games. We have this pricing structure so we can continue to offer private bookings where you only play with your team.

Choose your timing for public games

Speaking of private games, not all escape rooms are private. Especially more elaborate (i.e. expensive) games in tourist areas. They have solved the dilemma of 2 person bookings by allowing FOUR 2 person bookings to play ONE 8 player game at once.

But if you’re like us, you have no interest in playing with strangers that may or may not be: rude, drunk, anxious, children, etc. The only problem is, to make the room private you have to spend a pretty penny. Anywhere from $250-400, just for 2 people to play alone.

Our trick is to go at obscure days or times (Tuesday at 10am anyone?), wait to book until the last minute to make sure no one else has booked, and then secure the booking 5-10 minutes before start time. You may have to call or walk-in to book this last minute but it’s worth it. It helps out the facility too. They want to book every game but can’t allow 2 people to take it off the schedule when a team of 8 or 10 may want it. So your last minute booking assures they don’t miss out on the income. It’s a win-win!

Be patient, follow social media, and sign up for emails

Every escape room has a slow season (or slow days/times), and it’s during those times you’re most likely to get an email offer or see a social media post with a discount code. The escape room slow season is typically the first half of the year and you’re more likely to see coupons at that time. During the Summer and Holiday season, escape rooms are slammed, so you’ll probably only see coupons for certain events like Black Friday.

If you follow your favorite companies on social media, and make sure you’re signed up for their email lists, you won’t miss out on any specials or promotions.

Look out for beta testing opportunities

Before new rooms open, we test them to make sure the puzzles make sense, the props work, etc. We call this beta testing and different companies vary on how much beta testing they do before making a room live. Again, you’ll want to sign up for emails and social media because those are the places you will find beta testing opportunities.

Beta testers often will be able to play the room for free. But keep in mind the room will be new, and will likely have a few kinks. This is what beta testing is for. So if you are lucky enough to be a beta tester, your experience will probably not be that smooth. Things may not work properly, the decor may not be completely finished, puzzles won’t flow as well. You’re sacrificing a little of the experience to get the game for free.

Also keep in mind that you’re not just playing to enjoy the experience. You’re playing in exchange for honest feedback and opinions. The creators ask you a series of questions and you’re must think about this feedback the whole time you’re playing. It is a big responsibility to test new escape games so you need to prepare yourself!

Suggest escape room teambuilding to your boss as a team-building activity

Ok, it may seem a little selfish, BUT many employers are really stress over finding great team-building activities that people actually enjoy. You might casually tell a story about how you and your friends had a real challenge at an escape room once but you came together and were able to talk about your unique contributions over dinner afterward.

Just a subtle “hint”, if you will. 😉

But if your boss needs more convincing, I’ve written a whole post about escape room team-building here. You and your co-workers get to play a fun game together and YOU got to do it on your boss’s company credit card. Another win-win for everyone!

Accept you have an expensive hobby and cut costs elsewhere

Sometimes you really just have to suck it up and cut costs elsewhere to fund your addiction hobby. We have done this especially on vacation where there are so many options for activities. Yes, we may have to skip out on other things we wanted to do because it doesn’t all fit the budget, but we knew that when we started playing escape rooms that they cost more than other activities.

It may also mean spacing out your games and not doing marathons. Spacing out games and doing them for special occasions means you can budget for them, and it also means you don’t run out of games in your area as quickly. The waiting may be tough, but if that’s what fits into your lifestyle, then that’s how it is.

These are just a few ways you can save money on escape rooms while still enjoying an exciting, challenging, and stimulating hobby with your family and friends. Share any other tips in the comment section and happy escaping!

Don’t Be THESE Escape Room Players

We’ve written about escape room tips and tricks to help you be successful when playing escape room games. But this post is about what NOT to do in an escape room. After watching different teams with different types of players, we compiled a list of the type of players that make a team LESS likely to escape. If you end up on a team with these guys, don’t let them throw you off course! And please, for the love of all things holy, don’t BE these players!

1. Debbie Distractor

Distracted Boyfriend Escape Room Meme - Room Escape Artist

Debbie Distractor is the player who takes players who are on track, and re-directs them to a completely illogical and/or irrelevant direction. She will do things like: suggest the team work on anything other than what the gamemaster JUST gave a clue about, draw attention to puzzles that you clearly don’t have all the pieces to, or tell everyone to abandon their entire logic because one number is off on a code.

2. Nora Non-Communicator

Nora Non-Communicator saunters around the room without speaking. She may quietly solve puzzles, leaving the rest of the team wondering how they got that key or clue. Nora may notice a vital detail, needed to solve the next part of the game, but fail to mention it until someone else finally wastes 5 minutes figuring it out. Inevitably, you’ll hear her say “I saw that, I just didn’t say anything.” You can’t be a lone ranger in escape rooms if you want to actually escape.

3. Panicking Penny

When you're locked in an escape room and time is running out! - Sweating  Guy | Meme Generator

There always seems to be one player who becomes more and more anxious as time ticks away. Panicking Penny is HYPERAWARE of the time elapsed and makes it her mission to make sure all other players are as on edge as she is. Penny may start yelling at everyone during the final puzzle, or when the group opens a new room with only 3 minutes left on the clock. Remember, Penny, you’re not actually locked in. And you probably want to still have friends when you leave. Stay calm.

4. Olivia the Overthinker

Escape Games Memes

Let’s be honest…Olivia is probably the smartest person on the team. You brought her because she could be a brain surgeon tomorrow if she had the desire. She’s going to be your saving grace because she graduated summa cum laude, right? Wrong. Escape rooms aren’t about how smart you are, they’re about logic, communication, and teamwork. Olivia is the player who will walk right past a clue in plain sight but be convinced that a small crack in a piece of wood must be a very important clue.

She comes up with logic that would make our games impossible if they were actually designed that way.

5. Statue Stan

As a gamemaster, I’m never really sure if Statue Stan actually wants to be there. Stan spends 90% of the hour standing in one place, staring around the room. He does not move. He does not speak. He simply is. Statue Stan gradually becomes a fixture in the room, as players maneuver around him for 60 minutes. Every once in a while, Stan will show up to do some menial task the other players don’t want to mess with. And he usually has at least 1 game-changing revelation that keeps his family and friends bringing him along. Is he having fun? We may never know.

6. Guessing Gilbert

Escape Games Memes

Guessing Gilbert is that player that just randomly, with no logic or reason, starts trying to guess all of the lock combinations without having to actually play the game or solve any puzzles. Gilbert has envisioned himself as a master lock picker and yes, although there are literally 10,000 different potential combinations for that four digit lock, he is certain that he can crack the code, if he tries hard and believes in himself.

While Gilbert may eventually be able to guess a combination by trial and error, it kind of takes the fun out of the game, no? You and Gilbert will probably have a little more fun if you know why the code was 4903, even if it costs you a couple extra minutes and a possible clue from your gamemaster.

6. Stubborn Steven

Player: “It’s been 20 minutes since we solved anything, maybe we should ask for a clue?”

Stubborn Steven: “No, just a little longer.”

Gamemaster: Please ask for a clue before you get further down this rabbit hole. Please.

Stubborn Steven is the player who REFUSES to ask for clues, even when the logic starts to get further and further away from…well…actual logic. Hey, we get it, we like to use clues sparingly too, but not asking for a clue will oftentimes get your group more and more confused as you try to make sense of something that isn’t making sense. At Trapped our clues are unlimited, so just ask if you’re on the right track. Unless, of course, solving the puzzles on your own is more important than completing the room, which is totally fine too. If you don’t finish, you can always come back and try again!

How to Be a Helpful Player

If you want to be an asset to your team members, don’t be these guys!

  • Stay on track, remember what you have, listen to your gamemaster–if they give you a clue, it is 100% what you should be working on next
  • Communicate constantly with the team–say what you find, what you see, and what you think, even if you’re unsure of your logic
  • Stay calm and steady–panic leads to frustration, and frustration leads to mistakes
  • Remember Occam’s Razor–the simplest explanation is usually the best one, so don’t overthink
  • Move around, look around, examine everything–if it moves it’s supposed to, and clues are waiting to be discovered
  • You won’t need to guess any codes or locks–everything you need is provided, so think through it
  • Remember your gamemaster is there to help–don’t be afraid to ask for it, especially if you’ve been stuck for more than 5 minutes

Above all, HAVE FUN! Escape rooms are supposed to be fun, no matter what kind of player you are. Happy escaping!

How to Win at Escape Rooms-Tips and Tricks

While escape room games may seem intimidating to some due to their secretive nature, at the end of the day, they are games–and games can be won. The first escape room I ever played was very difficult for me because I didn’t know what to expect or what to look for right away. This left me with a lot of wasted time and energy when I could have been more strategic in my approach. So we have decided to share some escape room tips with our readers and customers!

Today’s post compiles some of the lessons that we’ve learned while playing many escape rooms across the East coast. Some simple advice may help you use your 60 minutes wisely during your next escape adventure!

1. A little pre-planning goes a long way.

If you are a new player, you may not know what to expect when you gather your team together to tackle an escape room. But veteran players will advise you to make some decisions before you even walk in the room. Delegation can save time and energy and can be the most effective way to use everyone’s talents. Escape room “jobs” can include:

  • Searcher–looks for physical items under things, on walls, behind things, etc.
  • Organizer–keeps clues together and reminds everyone what has and has not been used.
  • Physical puzzle solver–works on physical puzzles like mazes, putting pieces of an actual puzzle together, etc.
  • Reader–reads any letters/journals/signs out loud for the group.
  • Writer–writes down clues or information as it is discovered.

In addition, you’ll probably learn over time that some people are naturally better at some tasks and puzzles than others. I happen to have a really good memory, so I can remember things from a previous room or something I’ve seen before when we need to use it later. Mark is good at schematics and diagrams, even when they don’t make any sense to me. Ben and Lily are good at noticing things on walls or in pictures that seem out of place. Think about these skills in advance and how you can best use them all effectively.


One of the biggest mistakes that we make while playing rooms (and we kick ourselves every time) is not doing enough physical searching. It’s easy to overlook a key that’s right in front of your face. Pay special attention to complicated fixtures such as chains, fancy light fixtures, removable objects on the walls, etc. In addition, make sure you check the walls high and low. We’ve missed light switches and buttons that were hiding in plain sight because we thought they were outlet covers or other fixtures that were off limits.

Most escape rooms will have a clear indicator of what items are not to be touched. If you’re unsure, just ask your gamemaster if you are allowed to touch or move an object.

3. Communicate, communicate, communicate.

When you go to play an escape room, your game master will likely remind you to communicate with your teammates. Whether there are 2 or 10 people on your team matters less than how effectively you communicate with one another. In an escape room, you want to think “out loud”. Verbalize any thoughts, ideas, observations, and talk about what you see. For example, “I see a 5 digit letter lock,” or “There is a tiny lock on this cabinet over here,” will go a long way when your teammates find a clue.

In addition, some rooms feature puzzles where players have to be in two different places at once to solve it. Calling out observations from room to room will assure that your team doesn’t miss a puzzle or clue.

4. Pay attention to colors and patterns.

The first clue I missed as a rookie player was not knowing to pay attention to patterns and colors. If you see different colors in one place (for example, bottles that are each a different color), pay attention to where you see those colors in another part of the room. Numbers are also important in escape rooms. If the numbers are 1-4 or 1-5, it likely means the puzzle is giving you an order to do things. If they are higher numbers, like 5-9, it probably indicates the code to a lock or keypad.

5. Remember, you will not need any outside knowledge for most games.

Fear of looking stupid is one of the reasons people cite for avoiding escape rooms. Believing you have to be super smart to solve an escape room is a major misconception. The vast majority of escape room games do not require outside or prior knowledge, and it’s easy to forget that when you run across a chess board, riddle, switchboard, or Morse Code machine. Don’t waste your time trying to figure out a puzzle like this if you don’t have a key or diagram. If you don’t have it yet, it’s probably coming later in the game. It’s tempting to try to dig in the depths of your brain to remember where the rook goes on a chess board, but it’s not necessary. Don’t fret if you don’t have all of the information right away. In fact, that leads into the next tip…

6. Don’t waste too much time on something that doesn’t make sense.

I will admit it. This tip is for me. I am ALWAYS the one who will freak out over a puzzle that doesn’t have all the pieces yet. I am also the one who gets thrown off on red herrings (hence, why we don’t use them in our games). Rule of thumb…if it’s really not making any sense to you, put it down and come back to it. It is possible you don’t have everything you need to solve this puzzle. It is only when you are totally stumped with all of your clues that you might want to go back and revisit it (or ask your handy gamemaster for a hint!).

On another note, don’t be afraid to “pass the baton” to someone else on your team. There are naturally puzzles that I am good at, and there are others Mark is good at. Some of them are more easily solved by Ben and Lily (10 and 8 years old). Different minds process clues and puzzles differently. Don’t be afraid to use your unique gifts!

7. Divide and conquer.

This one comes with a learning curve. It is VERY easy to gather around one person solving a clue and forget to spread out around the room and continue to look. It’s also ok to try something that someone else has already tried. We once wasted a good 10-15 minutes in a room because Mark had assumed that I tried something on a puzzle because I had talked about it, when in fact I had tried something else (we’re looking at you, Backstage Escape Rooms). If a puzzle doesn’t actually require two or more people to solve it, you should be out looking for other puzzles and items in the room.

Remind any kids of this in the group too. Ben and Lily are notorious for crowding around us just watching!

8. Keep your objects organized.

In most (not all) escape room games, you’re only going to use an object one time. Items are also usually always there for a reason. If you have an object or clue that you have not used, don’t forget about it! You probably want to carry it between rooms and you want to check back with it regularly. On the same note, you’ll want to make a discard pile for items that you’ve already used. It’s easy to leave things around the room for someone else to pick up and think “have we used this yet?” Being organized and keeping used objects away from unused objects can save you a lot of time in the long run.

9. Know what to ignore.

Just like knowing that most objects serve a purpose, it is just important to know what objects probably do NOT need to be messed with. Those items include things like ceiling tiles and power outlets. This can be tricky, as there are also items like vent grates, light switches, and plug in fans that we’ve seen used as clues. The main thing to remember is that you will NOT need to disassemble the room. Most gamemasters will explain not to use excessive force (more than a 5 year old’s strength) in the room, but just remember that most escape room owners want to reduce liability and don’t want to risk a customer getting electrocuted or falling from a ladder or ceiling. So we aren’t putting clues there!

Stay safe, and don’t break our stuff!

10. Have fun!

Remember, escape rooms are games and they are meant to be fun, not frustrating! As a very competitive couple, Mark and I have gotten frustrated with the game and with each other on more than one escape room date nights. We now have a conversation before each game with reminders for the game and also reminders to each other that it’s just a game. While we want everyone to have a good time, it’s important to remember that a timed game with a bit of mental pressure can cause stress, so be gentle with one another. Whether you beat the clock or not matters far less than connecting with your team and celebrating the successes that you DID have during the experience.

Enjoy your game and a chance to journey to a new world for 60 minutes!