How do you choose which escape rooms to play? What are your criteria? Do you have a plan? What’s in your spreadsheet?
What is Your Style?
There are no right answers of course. It is perfectly fine to not think about it too much. If you feel like playing an escape room, gather up your team and just book one; anything will do… especially when visiting another city, just to see what they have to offer.
Some players might want to PLAY ALL THE ROOMS! They select company after company and then book out all of the games, marathon-style. This can really boost your room count and may even uncover some hidden gems.
Some folks make the extra effort to play as many good escape rooms as they can. That idea seems rather obvious, but it can be more difficult to achieve than you might think. Really good escape rooms are scattered. They are spread out; they can be hard to find. It takes work and planning to significantly improve the average quality of your games-played résumé, but it can be so worth it. The experience, perspective, and appreciation you receive from playing top tier escape rooms can’t be replicated by playing a multitude of lower quality games.
The gap between high-end and low-end escape room businesses in the United States has never been wider. Finding out about good escape rooms takes a collection of reliable sources. I don’t trust the general Google or Yelp reviews or star ratings because many of those are from people rating the idea of escape rooms (versus other forms of entertainment) and not really understanding the quality of the specific game or company they are reviewing.
If you want to hear about good escape rooms, you need to listen to people who know. Use the Room Escape Artist Recommendation Guides, get familiar with TERPECA, join the Escape Rooms Discord, or search the Escape Room Enthusiasts Facebook group and look for consensus among its members. These tools can lead you to other, more specific sources like local experts, shared recommendations spreadsheets, and other players’ trip itineraries.
Take notes, make spreadsheets of recommended games in cities you plan on visiting, and even for cities you don’t (just in case). Keep up with what is being buzzed about and be ready for when you might get the chance to play one of these really great escape games.
Of course you can plan travel around playing good escape rooms. I am sure many of the people reading this do just that. I emphasize that you shouldn’t require too many good escape rooms to make a destination worthwhile. I’ve found that a single great, memorable game mixed in with other tourist activities is a more enjoyable escape room trip than one that lets me play 5-6 average, forgettable games.
If you are a budding escape room enthusiast, thinking about all the games and all the choices as to what to play next, I don’t think you will regret putting more focus on finding ways to play more good escape rooms.
I’ll add (shameless plug!) that the Escape Immerse Explore tours hosted by Room Escape Artist are a great way to get a chance to play a collection of high quality escape rooms and meet some amazing new people at the same time. The next tour is going to New Orleans this November and there are only 4 tickets left.