What are some creative ideas on how to use locks in an 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 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 players in the face says TRIAL, but what if they cannot translate Pig Pen? This enables you to then add another layer to the fun by allowing players to make the translation themselves. Through the use of key they can work through the process of identifying the symbols, learning what they mean, and applying that information to the encoded message.
The Opticum is another really cool way to reveal a code which provides an amazing visual effect
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?
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.