Here are some creative ideas on how you can implement locks in your escape room.
Even as escape rooms become more technologically advanced the tried and true lock will likely always have a place. Sure the old numeric/alpha combination may present itself in a more "futuristic" manner, but at the core an X digit lock is still an X digit lock. How Escape Rooms present the code/solution/combination/what have you to such locks can go alone way in differentiating a good escape room from a great escape room.
Below I will go over a few ways to use props and puzzles with different locks to add an extra dimension to your Escape Room.
This will make the experience of discovering a lock's combination/code much more enjoyable for your players.
These give you the ability to hide the combination in plain site. Sure the panel staring escape room players in face may read nine - one - four - six, but what if they cannot translate Pig Pen? By incorporating pig pen into the combination you can add to the puzzle flow and engagement level. Through the use of key they can work through the process of identifying the symbols, learning what they mean, and decoding the message. Once decoded BOOM they can now open the lock.
The Opticum is another really cool way to reveal a code which provides an amazing visual effect. A numeric code, word or phrase can be engraved on the panel. As the video below shows when light is caught at the correct angle the hidden message will be revealed. There are quite a few other ways to reveal a secret message as well.
My go to for this example is the Directional Lock Puzzle. Directional Locks (love them or hate them) and their variants find a fair bit of use in Escape Rooms. One of the tricky parts about using this style of look (besides explaining how to reset it!) lies in relaying the required sequence of movements. Sure you can use a piece of paper with Up, Down, Left, Right on it, but how engaging is that? Why not turn make the process of acquiring the combination an engaging and entertaining experience?
And what about Key Mazes? A lock and key are nearly synonymous with escape rooms at this point. A key maze will enable you to "trap" a key in the maze. In order for players to use said key they must navigate the maze path and free the key. We have a bunch of different styles available. A few of which you can check out below:
Always try to think about new and exciting ways to enhance the experience for your players. With more and more escape rooms popping up every day the ability to stand out becomes more and more difficult. Be creative and most of all have fun.