To help you understand how we arrive at the scores that we do, we figured it might be helpful to explain a little of how our scoring system works. When scoring rooms, we rate them according to five different criteria:
Pre-Room and Customer Service – This section refers to everything an escape room player would experience before and after the game. This includes the friendliness and attitude of the staff, how easy or hard it is to find the location, the pre-room and post-room experience, the quality of the waiting area, whether there are snacks available or board games to play while you wait, and so on.
Room Quality – This section refers to how well the room is built, including whether the building materials are solid, how believable the set design is, whether there are exposed hinges, wires, or cracks that spoil surprises or just generally spoil the look, and whether the props and furniture are authentic and consistent with the theme.
Immersion – This section refers to how immersed you feel in the environment. It often ties in with how engaging the story and puzzles are; for example, feeling curious, worried, excited or happy about what could be coming next in an escape room shows a high level of immersion.
Puzzles – This section refers to how well the puzzles are designed. The more intuitive, logical, unique, and thematic puzzles are, the higher this rating will be. Leaps in logic, random pattern association, or “broken puzzles” (puzzles that can be changed with no way of resetting them to get the correct solution) lower this score. The best scores reflect a variety of puzzle types being used within a room.
Fun – This section is the simplest, but some would say the most important of all. Quite simply, did we have fun while playing the room? Were we frustrated, bored, or annoyed? Did we enjoy exploring and solving the room, or did it feel more like a tedious chore?
We assign each criterion a score from 1-10, using the following scale:
1 = We’ve yet to assign something this low.
2 = Horrible experience.
3 = Effort shown, but very poor.
4 = Significantly below marketplace norm.
5 = Slightly below the marketplace norm.
6 = A good experience, fits within the marketplace norm.
7 = Slightly above the marketplace norm.
8 = Significantly above the marketplace norm.
9 = Amazing experience; among the industry’s best!
10 = We can’t imagine anything better (and that’s not easy!)
We then take those five scores and average them together to end up with the final overall score. Of course, some ERA team members might have slightly different takes on each of these things: some of us are all about the sense of immersion whereas others really enjoy good puzzles. Overall, we try to aim for scores that are generally indicative of the views of all team members.