Before your group members are able to defeat their escape room, there's a good chance that you will come across one or more locks. Sometimes, you'll be dealing with a combination lock for which it's necessary to figure out the numbers to input. In other cases, you'll have a keyed lock and need to find the key that will open it. Many escape rooms have multiple locks and multiple keys, so here are some do and don'ts about handling keys.
Do: Try It In Everything
If you uncover a key and a lock, you might attempt to see if they're a match. Should the key not fit into the lock, it's easy to think that it's a dummy — without realizing that it may actually work in another lock that you'll soon find. It's important to always try a key in every lock that you find until you find a match.
Don't: Set It Down
An escape room can be an exciting environment, and the excitement can sometimes cause you to have momentary lapses in judgment. Once you uncover a key, you might simply set it down somewhere while you tackle other problems that should reveal the key's lock. The problem with this approach is that it can be surprisingly easy to forget where you placed the key. It's a good strategy for one team member to always keep any keys in his or her hands.
Do: Leave It In The Lock
Once you find the lock that the key works with, and use it to open the lock and move forward in solving the mystery, your best strategy is to leave the key in the lock. Removing the key can cause you to mix it up with subsequent keys that you find, creating confusion. When you leave it in its lock, this is a sign that you likely no longer need to handle the key.
Don't: Be Rough With It
The time is ticking, but your concerns over being too slow in your ability to solve the puzzle shouldn't cause you to be rough with the props. Don't be so rushed that you handle the key in a rough manner. You might inadvertently snap it off in your effort to open a lock, which will bring your group's progress to an immediate halt — and likely get you in a little hot water with the escape room staff for damaging its property.