Major(domo) Musings: Stranger Things


Major(domo) Musings: Stranger Things

Hello Fellow and Future Escapers,

No, unfortunately today’s topic will not be about the critically acclaimed Netflix series. However, we will be discussing something that some people may find just as scary as a monster from another dimension: going into an escape room with strangers. I want to share with you why I think it is very rewarding to try escape rooms with strangers and what you can do to make it less awkward or worrisome.

As you may or may not know, if you are not booking a Corporate Booking or selecting the private event option, then the tickets you do not purchase will be available for anyone else to buy. Or maybe you’ve bought tickets to a session that already had some tickets booked. Congratulations! You are (likely) doing an escape room with strangers.

You arrive 15 minutes early for your booking and notice that the other people in the lobby are going to be your teammates. What should you do? Why, of course, use that time to introduce yourselves! Share names and handshakes. Ask them if they’ve ever done an escape room before. Ask if they have any strategies, or share your own. You’ve assembled this day as a rag-tag fellowship to tackle a challenge none of you have ever faced before; why wouldn’t you at least introduce yourselves?

Now I know it can be daunting to remember the names of all the new people you just met, but here are two tactics I recommend trying:

  • Repeat their name as many times as possible.

    • For example: “Nice to meet you, Damien, my name is Craig. Wait, Damien, right? Have you ever done an escape room before, Damien?

    • Bonus tip: You can help out your teammates remember you and your friends’ names by also saying your friends’ names when talking to each other. “Let’s go grab something to eat after we escape, Hugo.”

  • Mentally associate the person with someone you know with the same name.

    • For example: “Oh, I have a cousin named Joseph, so it shouldn’t be hard for me to remember.” Then just picture that cousin in your mind every time you interact with your teammate. If you don’t know anyone by that name, try using a celebrity or TV show character.

Here are a few things I would suggest not to do. And just like the things you should do, you will need to consciously pay attention. I’ve seen more than enough teams start off strong with introductions, but then very quickly revert to how they subconsciously feel.

  • Don’t interact only with the people with whom you came. Yelling to the team you found something does not count as interacting with the other strangers; you will actually need to talk or work with them one on one or in small groups.

  • Don’t snatch things out of their hands or muscle your way into trying a solution before they have a chance to finish trying their own. If you feel you’ve figured out the answer, why not just tell them it and let them try it out? It doesn’t make a difference who opens the lock; what matters is if the entire team completes their objectives and escapes.

Now I know what many of you are probably subconsciously afraid of. What if they are weird? What if they are bad at puzzles? What if they aren’t nice people? Well, I’ll let you know that they aren’t weird, they aren’t bad at puzzles, and they are nice people. They’re just like you, and they have the same fears. So it's in everyone’s best interest to resolve those fears when you first meet.

We’ve seen teams that enter the room as strangers but leave as friends. I’ve seen a group of adults invite their teammates to get drinks after they finished the challenge just so they could all discuss the puzzles. I’ve seen two young boys exchange their gamertags so they could party up in Halo later. I’ve even seen (and heard) a choir group sing “Happy Birthday” to a group of friends who were celebrating a birthday.

I consider the escape rooms that I have done with strangers to be the most rewarding. With friends, family, or coworkers, I know their strengths and weaknesses (even if I don’t consciously acknowledge them). I already face challenges, big and small, in my everyday life with friends, family, and coworkers. Escape rooms are one of the only places I have the opportunity to work with strangers. I find it really rewarding when I manage to solve puzzles and even escape with people I’ve never met before. I hope you take the chance to enjoy the opportunity as much as I do.

Comment below and share with us what things you do to break the ice when you are working with a new team.

Until your next mission,

Agent Majordomo

Bonus Challenge: Can you figure out the game that several of the agents have been playing recently based off all the names used in this article?




Hello Ghouls and Goblins of the HER Community,

Our Halloween themed rooms for the month of October were hauntingly amazing! Thank you to everyone who joined us and experienced the horror of these scary rooms, because we really enjoyed them ourselves! Episode 1: Mo’s torture Chamber was a fright, Episode 2: Grandma’s Poltergeist was absolutely horrifying, and Episode 3: The Scarlet Ritual was quite chilling! We cannot wait to see you all again for Halloween 2018 to show you all what we have in store for you next!

We have some great news! We are pleased to inform you all that a name for our 5th room has been decided…(drumroll please)…the name of our 5th room is THE COUNTDOWN!!! This room will be available to you all starting November 1st, so start assembling your teams to accomplish our newest mission today!

Ladies, gentlemen, boys, girls, and babies, if you have not signed up for our newsletter, I suggest you do that as soon as possible! Those subscribed to our newsletter already know. For those that aren't subscribed, we have a pretty nice surprise for you all coming November 1st in order to show you our appreciation. Thank you all so much for being great supporters of ours!

All of us here at Houston Escape Room would also like to bid a farewell to Agent Oculus, who is going on an exciting solo mission. We wish you the absolute best of luck, and know you will succeed in all of your endeavors!

Agent X…out! 

Blog October 2017


Major(domo) Musings: A Hint On Hints


Major(domo) Musings: A Hint On Hints

Hello Fellow and Future Escapers,

Today I wanted to share with you a point we often discuss with our corporate team building customers. The topic is how to effectively use of your hint cards during your hour in an escape room and how this is analogous to your work in the real world. My hope is that this blog post and our future ones can help you and your team tackle any challenges you face or provide you with something insightful.

As you may (or may not) know, per our hint system, you can find up to five hint cards hidden inside the room. At any point, your team can return a hint card to your agent and ask for assistance. This allows you to regulate how difficult or easy you want the escape room to be. Since our agent is in the room with you, he/she will be able to give advice best tailored to what your team is struggling with. Since he/she has seen and heard what your team has tried so far, your agent can also physically indicate things that would otherwise be unclear to explain through only audio or text. Note that your agent will never outright give you the solution.

Now onto the main topic: utilizing the hint cards effectively. Whether consciously or unconsciously, most teams generally have an underlying impulse to refrain from using the hint cards. What I see most often is after the 30-minute mark, a team member will shout, “Maybe we should use a hint card?” Nothing will happen, then 10 minutes later, several people shout, “Okay, we should use a hint card now.” At that point, someone returns the first hint card and says, “We need some help.”

The remainder of the game time will be spent handing a hint card over every three to four minutes. Unfortunately, because of the pressure of time, the team ends up spending hint cards as soon as they hit the next puzzle. Had the team used its first hint card earlier, the team could have reached more puzzles sooner and had more time to solve them without using up the rest of the hint cards. More often than not, the team will find they just did not have enough time remaining to complete all of the puzzles in the last 20 minutes even though they had some idea about how to solve them.

When reflecting with our team-building groups, I suggest viewing the hint cards as a parallel to disposable capital allotted to your project from your company or organization. There is a finite limit to what you have to spend, and you will need to justify those purchases.

I’m sure that for your projects, you do not (want to) wait until you're halfway through its life-cycle (the 30-minute mark) to start using your disposable capital to progress on tasks that have been lagging for quite some time. Your company probably would not look highly on that, nor would it be an effective use of your time and money. If you are going to spend your valuable and limited resource, it's important to know when to use them and what you need them for.

Considering what you would normally do in the workplace, you should employ the same strategies when trapped in an escape room (and really any similar challenge).

  1. Use hint cards if your team is taking too long on the puzzles at hand. If your team has exhausted all of their ideas on the puzzles available to your team even though you still have 40 minutes left, it’s better to use the hint card then rather than wait another 10 minutes not progressing on any puzzle.

  2. Appoint someone to be in charge of the hint cards. This person should keep track of when a teammate has spent too long on a puzzle or a puzzle is taking too many people’s time. It’s also good to have someone responsible for holding the hint cards, since they can get misplaced in the shuffle of activities in the escape room.

  3. Before asking for a hint on that puzzle, the entire team should be notified of what has been tried so far. Oftentimes a teammate can bring a new perspective, check the work done so far, or outright have the answer or missing item. This will save you from spending that valuable hint card.

  4. If your team decides against using a hint card then, give your team about 5 more minutes to complete the task before using the hint card.

I hope these few tips can help you out on your next escape room challenge or even your everyday life at work or school. We’d love to discuss these points with you below!

P.S.: For those who are just looking to have fun completing the room, feel free to try our Casual Mode. Essentially, you can ask for hints from your agent as much as you want, and the agent can provide you with additional help if you get stuck. Ask your agent about it during your next mission.

Until your next mission,

Agent Majordomo



More(ph) Into Action!!!

Howdy, HER Community!

Agent Oculus here, ready to morph into what this month brought for our HQ and the inside scoops. First of all, I want to say we are so fortunate enough that our building was not affected by the floods of Hurricane Harvey. However, our Houston community and surrounding areas did get hit pretty hard. Seeing the out pour of love and support amazed me beyond belief. We are only one, but together we are strong. Seeing the community come together in such a difficult time has made the worst of days, become the greatest gift we could see; humanity at its best. So it is our priority to make each other smile more, have fun and most of all work together in solving life crisis or puzzles, ciphers and clues...OH MY!

As we gear up for the holidays to come, I am excited to announce our Halloween sessions will take place October 13th-31st, 2017. Feel free to click the link to see what sessions will be turned into the spirit of Halloween. We will also offer other session that are our normal sessions for those who choose not to participate in the holiday. We already have the sessions up and they are booking. So make sure to book your session now, before its too late. We are in the works of launching the promo video for the HER Halloween sessions, so be on the look out for that. Feel free to like, share and tag ALL your friends to come check out our rooms and see if you can escape! Also, our lobby is getting a mural face lift. Come check out the amazing Halloween mural designed by our dear Agent, Agent Voxel. He did it again, by creating a remarkable design and all the hidden items in the mural, come see if you can catch them all?!

We're also still being our silly selves at the HQ. If you're subscribed to our YouTube channel, you know we're experts in what we do. 

Before I sign off to teleport into another dimension, I just wanted to give a shout out to 2 of our Agents who are embarking on their own solo missions. Thanks Agent Coda and Agent Ca$h for making great memories and sharing smiles with you two, you will truly be missed. Good luck out there. 

Agent Oculus out! 

Halloween 2017



Adios Summer

Hello, HER Community. 

I’m happy to announce that we have quite a bit of new and exciting things to share with you all. First and foremost, we recently posted an opportunity through Facebook Live to get a promo code for 20% off. You had to decode what the Agents were saying! Like our Facebook page so you can have a chance to win a promo code to reduce your next booking or free tickets! And while the promo code no longer works, you can click the link and try to figure out what Agents Yeti and Blue were saying. It was tough!  

Second, we have a Customer Spotlight this month. Ladies and Gentlemen… drum roll Put your hands together for… Danielle Fanfair! Shout out to Danielle for blogging about her experience with us. If you are interested in booking with us, check out Danielle’s blog to get a customer’s in-depth experience at the Houston Escape Room.

Third, ¡Tenemos nuestro primer cuarto completamente en español! We currently have our first room, Episode 1: Mo’s Safe House, completely translated into Spanish. We have three of the greatest Agents available to facilitate your Spanish session: Agent Incognito, Agent Widdershins, and Agent Striker. We have recently increased the number of Spanish sessions we have available to book throughout the week, so check out our website to sign up for La Casa De Mo.

Lastly, summer is coming to a close and October is approaching quickly. Three of our escape rooms will be Halloween themed from Friday October 13, 2017 through Tuesday October 31, 2017. They include Episode 1: Mo’s Torture Chamber (Mo’s Safe House); Episode 2: Grandma’s Poltergeist (Grandma Codebreaker); Episode 3: The Scarlet Ritual (The Scarlet Scam). Our Halloween sessions are already open for the public to book, so make sure to book as soon as possible before they all fill up.

Before I sign off, I would like to say a few words regarding the hurricane that hit Texas. It was devastating to see our community flooded and our people in need because of Hurricane Harvey. However, it was amazing to see people come together and offer their services to help the community. From all of us here at HER, we want to thank all of the Coast Guard, Military, Police Officers, Fireman, Rescue Teams, Shelters, First Responders, News Reporters, and all other volunteers from the community. We hope everyone recovers from this disaster better than before. #HoustonStrong

August 2017 Entry

- Agent Blue Heeler