Expert Escapers – Escape Games Toronto (EGT)

We met Will and Jo when we did Omescape’s Mysterious Study together with ERA.  After clearing it in good time, we continued to team-up at Puzzled Pint as Team Mashup.  We found out later that Will and his team are not only accomplished escapers (they have cleared all the Scrap/REG games they have played, which normally have a 5-10% success rate), but also the majority of them are lawyers!  Does professional experience translate to practical escape skills?  Here’s Will to share the rest.  

First off.. (this is an easy one) what’s your team name?
Escape Games Toronto (EGT)

Escape Game Team Picture

EGT: Conquering REG’s Escape the Time Travel Lab

Who’s on your team? What skills do they bring to the table?

Our team has a number of people who are logical thinkers, especially good at logic LSAT type puzzles (there are a number of lawyers in our group).  We also have some people who are more spatial, artistic type thinkers though and others who are good at knowing when we have enough information that it is worth it to simply start guessing (for example when you are only missing two numbers on a combo lock and can just go through the 99 possibilities quickly).  Our team is a group of friends first and an escape team second which keeps things fun.

How/Where was your first escape experience?

The first three rooms that we did were all Mystery Room up at Downsview.  They do a good job of marketing themselves so that was the website that I found first.  We had a great time although after doing other rooms we realized how much better the experience could be with higher quality venues.

What kind of tips would you give to a first time escaper?

1) Be organized and systematic.  Don’t just run around.
2) Communicate with your team.
3) Look everywhere.  All escape venues involve some searching and some involve very heavy searching.  You can’t solve the puzzles without having the puzzle pieces.  Make sure you have all the puzzle pieces before you start making up wacky theories to try to solve a puzzle.
4) The answer is often easier than you think.  If you are on some wild tangent, back up, slow down and think it out again (or, per 3 above, look for more puzzle pieces)
5) If you don’t solve a room.  Think about what you could have done better and come back with the same group to do a different room in the same venue.  Each venue has a bit of a different flavour so the chances are that the strategy that would have worked in the room you failed will work well in the next room.
6) If you are stuck on a puzzle, brainstorm outloud.  Think about what possible things you could do with the information you have.  Don’t get stuck trying to do the thing you have been doing that didn’t work.  Think about what other things could be done.  If you are still stuck after that, ask for a hint.
7) Have fun.  This is for fun right?

What are the first 3 things you do when you get into an escape room?

1) Talk a bit of strategy before you go into the room.  Is there going to be a leader?  Is there a strategy for searching the room?  Etc.
2) Find the lock or locks in the room and tell everyone what is needed to open them (ie do you need four numbers, some letters, a key?)
3) Look everywhere before you do anything else.  If there is a puzzle that you can definitely solve, go ahead and solve it but, if there isn’t, don’t be afraid to spend 10 minutes just searching the room before you do anything else.

What kinds of rooms impress you guys the most?

Ones that have good puzzles first and foremost.
Ones that have an added fun factor.  Some kind of wow moment where you go, oh man, this is cool.

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EGT: Another win at REG’s Escape the Bank

Do you guys have an all-time favourite room?

Our favourite room so far is REG: Escape From the Time Travel Lab.  Definitely has a fun factor to it and the big meta puzzle is really good.

Brute forcing locks, yay or nay?

You should never use actual physical force to open something.  I am totally in favour of being smart about when to guess though.  If you have most of the numbers of a combo lock, it may be faster to guess the other ones than to solve the puzzle.  Same for when you have a bunch of words in a crossword, you can often guess the word that is going to be spelled by solving the remaining puzzles.

Playing with randoms, yay or nay?

We have only ever done that once.  It creates some challenges but can also be fun.


Where is your team off to next?

Everyone is so busy in the summer so we don’t have anything booked for August.  In September three members of our team have been involved in creating a really awesome escape game (Canadian Caper) and the other members of the team will be playing the game (with absolutely no prior knowledge of what to expect, except that it is going to be super awesome).

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I remember at one Puzzled Pint, we got a complex logic puzzle and Will says “This is my sh!t, its an LSAT Puzzle.. “, which thankfully he did in less than 5 minutes (because I’m terrible with these).  As Will and his team continue to dominate Toronto escapes, we have been picking up tips and tricks on what makes EGT a super team of Lawyers-by-day and Escapers-by-night.  

For more information:

Visit their site: http://escapegamestoronto.ca/
Follow them on Twitter: @EscGamesToronto

Or catch them, ERA and us at Canadian Caper this weekend.

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