Katherine Alexander
A digital marketer that supports clients by practicing design-thinking to understand the customer experience.
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Escape Room2

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Game of Clue: An Escape Room Project

This may have been my favourite school project ever.

We were given the task of creating an escape room that had to be completed in 30 minutes. To start... how do you even go about creating an escape room?! This was one of the first thoughts I had to overcome. After this problem, we also had to deal with other issues like being students with a limited budget, the room had to be challenging, but not too difficult that it is frustrating for those participating. Ok, sure.

So we eventually came up with an interesting theme through ideation: The Game of Clue. We covered whiteboards with possible themes as individuals, then we discussed them, and then dot voted. We modified the theme to fit our program at the University of Waterloo, complete with using the professors and faculty members instead of the classic characters.

Here's what we came up with:


Our Process:

We decided to tackle the overall room experience in distinct steps, working backwards from the solution of the room and then moving into smaller details. First, we decided on the 'big' challenge of the room, which was finding out the code to the final lockbox to successfully escape the room and win. This was heavily inspired by the game of clue where the final solution was a code that represented who the murderer was, what weapon they used, and where it happened. After that, we had to decide how the additional three lockboxes would be solved. So, we ideated on three mini challenges throughout the room. Then, we mapped out the room to look like a life-sized version of the boardgame. Throughout the whole process, we were making up the rules surrounding the game in order to meet our goals of: a challenging room, a room that is fun and possible to solve, and an activity that encouraged teamwork. Finally, as a last step we had to add distractions to the room that could run players off course for a short period of time.

On the actual day the escape room was to be played, we practiced setting up the room and tearing it down in 30 minutes. We assigned roles to each peice of the room setup and figured out how to make that process as easy and quick as possible.


We had a few rules:

  1. Players must start in their designated square.
  2. Players must take turns to roll the dice in order to move from their square. They may choose to pass their turn to remain where they are.
  3. Players are only allowed to touch the objects that are within the room/square in which they are standing. They may not touch any objects outside of their room/square.
  4. All cards must be found in order to solve the murder.
  5. Players are only allowed one opportunity to put a code into the final lockbox. The first digit is 0.
  6. Players will receive a 10 minute and 5 minute warning.
  7. Players may ask for three hints over the course of the game.
Alice Zhang, Semire Akinola, Noha Lababidi, myself, and Warren Kong!

Alice Zhang, Semire Akinola, Noha Lababidi, myself, and Warren Kong!

Room Introduction

This room is inspired by the Parker Brothers game of CLUE.

There has been a murder. *dun dun dunnnnnnn* You are a team of (4-5) detectives in-training assigned to Professor Lennart Nacke’s case. I am your Chief, but not a very good one. The only thing I will help you with on this case is that the first digit to the final box is 0. If you enter the wrong code into the final box, you are all fired. Lennart was holding an end of semester design sprint party at his house for the faculty and staff at the Stratford campus before the time of his murder. This room holds the answers to his demise and the final solution is in your last lock box. However, you only get one chance to put in the code to the final lock box to escape, so make sure you know the truth for sure!


Lessons Learned

When dealing with a physical space... plan, plan, plan!

The elegance of an experience is in the details.

When the goal is to create a fun experience, using a "fun" theme is a good bet!

I'm really proud of this project as the group that played was able to escape! It definitely challenged my sense of creativity, design thinking, and user experience.