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Puzzle Races

By Kayla

Not every schedule has room for an escape room.  See what I did there?  Anyway, maybe you don’t have the time or resources to fully set up a room.  And that’s okay.  There are alternatives that are just as fun. 

One that adds a little extra competition is called a Puzzle Race.  Essentially, teams have a series of puzzles they are racing to solve first.  No storyline.  No theme.  No locked room.  Just random puzzles that lead to the final box.


Split your group up into teams of 3-6 players.  You can have anywhere from 2-16 teams depending on the amount of room you have to work in and supplies.  This type of game also requires one facilitator.  Depending on the age of the players, you may want a counselor for each team as well.


Each team will need 3 lockboxes in their area.  Once they have solved these, they will have the answer to the one final box.  Make sure each set of three boxes are identical so every team has to solve the same puzzles.

Put the facilitator in the middle of the teams and make sure they are all equidistant.  This is important because the facilitator holds information that the teams have to get.  The person that gets that information is called “The Runner” and must be a designated person for each team.

Below is a layout for 6 teams:

Let the Race Begin

To start, each team’s “Runner” goes to the facilitator to get the first clue.  The solution will open up the first lockbox. Then the “Runner” goes to the facilitator to get the 2nd clue and so on.  Teams must keep the solution to each box because the final box is a meta puzzle (a combination of puzzles used to create one final answer).  First team that opens the final box wins.  If you want the race to last longer, you can double up the locks on the lockboxes.  There is no need to add more lockboxes. 

If you are in a pinch and want to do an escape room, consider a puzzle race instead.  Your group will still get the puzzle thrills and teamwork skills, with a little extra competition thrown in.

Christian Retreats Network /

Based at Lake Williamson / PO Box 620 / Carlinville, IL 62626