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7 pros and cons of writing an escape room game design yourself
(time of reading 6 min)
So you decided to open a escape room? We hope that this article will help you weight the reasons on writing a scenario yourself vs contracting the experienced professionals. First of all - there is no "right" answer to this question, you just need to consider the upsides and downsides of each option to choose the one that fits your case.

The scenario is the blueprint, the foundation of the whole thing. It's safe to say that the quality of the scenario increases the chance for success in escape room business...
So the better is game design, the better will the overall result be. In most cases there are two different approaches worth considering if you aim to have the best scenario possible: either do-it-yourself or order one from those who do it for the living.
1. Reason to delegate: Guaranteed result

Every expert was a rookie someday. And every expert made rookie mistakes (quite expensive at times) in order to get more experienced and reach the current level of expertise. Two things you might be 100% sure of:

  • the expert is capable to avoid rookie mistakes
  • rookie mistakes can cost lots of time and money, most probably much more than the expert's paycheck

2. Reason for DIY: Money

Money may or may not be the issue, but sometimes it may look lucrative enough to save a bit less than a thousand bucks. But is it actually a saving if you will have to invest your own time (which worth some money as well, isn't it?). If you are a vivid escape room enthusiast with lots of spare time - that might be your case. If you have a main job you have to take care of before switching to escape room business full-time - even 24/7 might not be enough to manage everything all at once.
3. Reason to delegate: Time

Best thing about ordering the scenario from an experienced supplier - you won't have to waste time adjusting it all over again. Ready-made scenarios (already implemented in various successful escape rooms all over the world) are already battletested enough, so you can feel safe, knowing that you won't have to spend money and time substituting the elements that looked awesome on paper, but appeared to to be impossible to create in real life.

4. Reason to DIY: Personal control

When you write the scenario yourself, you can control absolutely everything. Every puzzle, every wow-effect is now your personal responsibility.. If you don't like something - you can immediately change it without anyone else involved. That might be valuable if you have some weird floorplan and no opportunity to drastically change it.
Fact: Writing an escape room scenario may look easy. Writing a quality escape room scenario is a well-elaborated process, requiring knowledge in psychology, game design, props development and engineering.
5. Reason to delegate: Quality

Psychology is essential to maintain the appropriate level of engagement for players during the course of the game. Game design - to setup the necessary level of complexity and create just enough challenge for players to frequently escape with just 1 second left on the clock. Props development knowledge makes sure the puzzles will be realistic, affordable and solid enough to sustain escape room players' onslaught. Engineering is the key to technically 'stitch' the whole thing together and ensure the wow-effects will get your customers super-excited.

Of course, everything mentioned above is essential only for a quality scenario that will delight your customers and generate profits for owner.

6. Reason to DIY: Gain experience

Writing the scenario and implementing it in your escape room is an interesting and valuable experience. As long as the game is based on your ideas, you get the perfect understanding of its every part and every puzzle. That also might be valuable during the escape room maintance, especially if you are going to take care of it all by yourself.

7. Reason to delegate: Projected budget

Expertise and experience in escape room scenario production also provides the opportunity to predict costs and operate strictly within a limited budget. In other words - the more scenarios you've written and implemented, the more idea you have on how much will exact puzzle cost in production. On the other hand, lack of experience leads to uncertainty and inability to predict if the certain puzzle will cost 100$ or 1000$ and how long will it last against the players.
Experienced contractor can provide the best possible result within a budget, while DIY-designs can lead to financial issues in the middle of the construction process.
As you can see – both options may deserve a chance. Choose wisely and let your escape room business succeed.
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