You will want to use a variety of puzzles to lead participants to the solution to each of your main puzzles. Below is a list of some common puzzles that you may be able to recreate at home.
The most basic type of puzzle simply requires players to look around the room for hidden objects or clues. For example, if you want players to solve a code, you could write the code on a piece of paper and then cut the paper into several pieces. Then, scatter the pieces around the room: one taped under a chair, one inside a book, one underneath a coffee mug, and one in a flower vase.
Technically, a cipher is a system in which letters are replaced with another symbol or letter, while a code is a system in which entire words are replaced by a symbol or letter. There are many types of ciphers and codes, which you can research online. You probably want to choose one that is fairly easy to solve if you will have younger participants. Older participants, or players who have solved many escape rooms, might enjoy a more challenging code or cipher.
- Morse Code: Each letter is substituted with a series of dashes and dots. You can find the full alphabet online.
- Pigpen: Each letter is substituted with a symbol. You can find examples online.
- Substitute letters for numbers: Assign “A” the value of “1,” “B” the value of “2” and so on
- Backwards alphabet: Work backwards, substituting “Z” for “A,” “Y” for “B” and so on.
Riddles are puzzles written in a purposefully vague manner so players must use their wits to discover the hidden meaning. You can use well-known riddles as clues, or you can write your own, relying on wordplay to guide participants to the answer.
Logic puzzles must be solved using reasoning. For example, sudoku requires players to deduce which numbers can fit in a certain row, column, or square using logic and the process of elimination. In an escape room, you could ask players to use logic to arrange items in a certain way to determine the necessary object.
Hide the answer to a puzzle in plain sight with patterns. For example, if you have a color lock, you could create posters where text or images repeat in the order that will open the lock.
If you have a pen that writes with invisible ink, you leave a hidden message in the room. Then, leave the pen where players will find it so they can use the attached UV light to search. For a harder challenge, write the hidden message in code!