Walkthroughs – The Critical Escape Room Finale

Each escape game is a carefully crafted work of art. A walkthrough is essential to the complete game experience.

What’s a walkthrough?

During a walkthrough, a staff member explains the flow of the room to the team that just finished their hour in a room.

This process includes the solutions to specific puzzles. But more importantly, it explains where players were meant to start, what clues came from where and how they flowed together. It demonstrates how the game told its story.

It’s also an opportunity to let the players ask questions.

This speech should be delivered with energy and passion. Every time.

The individual experience

Players rarely experience the full escape game.

Each individual player feels the arc of the story, but focuses on specific puzzle elements. Consequently each player has a different experience over the course of the hour. While one player solves one game element, other players experience something completely unrelated.

The walkthrough needs to help the players fill in the gaps, and let them celebrate their individual moments of triumph.

Teams that fail

When delivering a walkthrough to a team that failed, it must be more than an explanation of the puzzles that the team didn’t complete.

That’s what most teams will ask for, but they need the full picture.

Staff should be trained to fulfill this request instead with a complete walkthrough of the design of the room. This allows players to understand what the designer intended them to experience.

The walkthrough should not make the players feel bad for losing (unless they are sore losers… and there’s nothing you can do about that).

Teams that win

The walkthrough is still essential if the team wins.


The teams may accidentally circumvent aspects of the game, occasionally by sheer luck, even in well designed rooms. If that’s the case, they should at the very least learn about the puzzle they bypassed.

Individual players will miss seeing game elements that other players solve. Many will be interested to know of their teammates’ brilliance. This is especially important if they won with a record breaking time (or another similarly fast escape). The faster a team wins, the more likely individual players solve puzzles completely on their own.

Non Security risk

A walkthrough is not a security risk.

The players have already engaged with your puzzles. They could already ruin the experience for other players. If that were going to happen, it would be inevitable with or without the walkthrough.

Err on the side of good customer service. If you can’t trust your customers, then room escapes are the wrong line of work for you.

1 Comment

  1. Excellent post! Agree with you again! After playing numerous rooms with getting out sometimes and well, not so much, having the walkthrough is essential. We had lost many good nights sleep and been upset days later when operators designed the experience to not really be achievable or had a screw-ups in the room that they really just masked with rushing us out the door.

    So, Paulette and I decided from day one to do it the right way at Escape Kings. We do walkthroughs and answer questions at the end for the group. We don’t want you to replay the room over and over to just get to the last 10 minutes of the room again. We would rather you play our other rooms and spread the love with others. The analogy we use is it would be like watching the latest Star Wars movie with the lights going up right before Luke is about to show up and the facility asking you to leave. The horror!

    Nevertheless, some operators will not listen and will drive customers nuts. We have had to re-program multiple groups that come in trying to beat/break/smash everything in sight because they expect to be tossed to curb in one hour and afraid to blink at us from other places pushing them so hard to leave. Customers are customers. If they need closure, give it to them and make sure they are delighted!

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