Playing Escape Rooms in Foreign Countries

Playing escape rooms abroad can be challenging. Here are a few tips to help you enjoy your international puzzling adventures:

Language barrier

The most important thing to keep in mind is language. If you can’t understand the game, you can’t play the game. This should be obvious.

It might be less obvious whether you can play a game in a non-native language. Lisa speaks French, but does she speak French well enough to grasp the nuance of wordplay or riddle? Probably not.

You should email the company before hand to ask if their game is friendly to your language. When we played in Germany, the owner and creator of the game graciously translated everything into English for us.

Watercolor of two US passports and a two pronged European electrical plug converter.

Translated games

Translated games can be a bit of a bumpy experience, especially if you’re the first team through in translation. Our host in Germany spoke near perfect English, but mixed up a word or two, which caused a fair amount of confusion for us. (The nuance between “drawer” and “shelf” is a big deal.)

This kind of stuff is only a problem if you get upset about it. Relax.

Private games

By my observation, in most countries it is customary that all games are private games.

This is not generally the case in the United States, especially in larger cities. I know this vexes many folks who travel to the States and end up locked in a room with a group of strangers.

If you’re concerned about playing with strangers, ask the company if the game is private. If it isn’t, you can either buy all of the tickets for your time slot or ask the company if you can make a deal to reserve the whole room.

Assumed local knowledge

Be it pop culture or car brands icons, occasionally room escape designers assume that “everyone knows who ____ is” or “everyone knows what ____ is.” And while they may be correct about the local crowd, these references are regularly lost on foreigners.

If you’re staring at something and have no idea what it is, ask.

Safe travels.

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