Escape rooms use all sorts of clues. Some contain high tech sensors and electronics, while others are less complex. Even though we do everything we can to make each clue sturdy and strong, it’s always possible for something to malfunction.


The problem is, it’s typical for agents in the room to suspect something is malfunctioning when really it’s not. You push a button expecting something to happen, turn a key anticipating that a panel will unlock, and nothing occurs. Is it broken? Maybe. But maybe you need some additional clue or you’re missing some information needed to solve what you’re working on. Perhaps you have the wrong key or the wrong clue. There’s no way for you to tell.


We, however, will know for sure. (Yes, we do have our ways of knowing what’s going on. . .) If we become aware that a prop is malfunctioning, we’ll intervene to help. This could mean giving the information that prop would have provided as a hint, or providing a spare of the non-functioning prop into the room. However we go about it, the purpose will be to make sure you still have the ability to complete your mission.


If you’re obviously struggling to open something without success and we don’t intervene, that probably is a sign that you need another clue or you’re not going about what you’re trying to do the right way. The best advice is to take a step back, consult with someone else, and try to think of what you might be missing.


But very rarely, a situation can come up in which something breaks but we still don’t intervene. This would only happen if we don’t know. There are some props that due to their size or location are hard for us to see clearly, or other reasons why we may not be certain whether the item is malfunctioning or you just don’t have the right clue.


So here’s some practical advice. If you really think something is broken, say your suspicion out loud. If the item is small or hard to see, hold it up or wave it around. Just by showing us that you’re frustrated, you might get a hint towards a solution. If it’s truly broken we’ll take the necessary steps. And if nothing happens, figure for sure the object is fine and just scratch your chin a bit and try to figure out what you may be missing.


Like I said, props are built to be sturdy and it’s rare that things break. But since nothing is one hundred percent perfect, these are a few tips to keep in mind.


Happy Sleuthing,


Owner, Save Milwaukee Escape Rooms