I get asked all the time, “how did you come up with all of the puzzles?” It’s not the answer I give people normally when they’re in our building. I’ll save that for those I see in person so they’ll know I’m joking! The real answer is “Teamwork.”

My partner and I have two completely different mind sets but we meet in the middle nicely. We both come up with ideas and every now and then, one of them will stick. Invariably, we take that idea and play ping pong with it.

“What if we do this?”

“Wait, wait – I got it, we could use that but in this manner!”

“Nice! But if we change this to that, it works even better!”

We’ve gotten quite good at playing teamwork ping pong.

The funny thing about teamwork is that it requires you to be a team first. The team first mentality oddly enough, is how you get good at escaping these rooms to start with. Whenever we see a group having a hard time, it’s always quite noticeable that they’re not working as a team.

We often tell people in our groups that, “You might be the smartest person in the room, but then again, maybe you’re not!” We do this to emphasize the teamwork aspect of escaping our rooms. We tell them to tag-team the problem. Don’t have the answer or even a clue? Pass it off or at least confer with the other team members. Time and time again we’ll see someone take a clue and head off leaving the others to worry about other things. If that person fails, then the clue comes back to the group after significant time has been wasted only to be solved quickly by another team member.

Teamwork speeds up the entire process as well if you’re looking to break out in record time. Which do you think is faster? Trying 3 locks one after another or trying 3 locks all at the same time? Obviously, it’s the latter and that doesn’t happen without teamwork.

Teamwork also makes the game so much more fun when you have different people from different groups playing together. In rooms where we divide people up, we always split up the groups so they have to work with strangers. It’s not only a good social start off point, it forces the groups to work together that otherwise might stay in their own clique. When these teams escape, it’s almost magical – hugs and high fives abound.

So the next time you do an escape room, keep in mind the concept of teamwork. Put your ego aside and listen. Maybe you actually are the smartest person in the room, but that doesn’t mean someone else can’t add to your brilliance.