On our travels, Jodie and I have now enjoyed the challenge and entertainment of playing escape rooms in several countries worldwide. Whether we succeed often doesn’t matter, and in many cases we would rather narrowly fail, than escape with 30 minutes still on the clock. Generally speaking however it’s always nicer to succeed, so here we are to offer a little help.
The most successful teams we have seen coming through The Mystery Rooms are those with a good balance of personalities and a variety of skills. We often share a post-challenge drink with teams in our secret bar and it is with these amusing observations that we have come up with the perfect ‘Escape Room Team’.
Here, we describe the 6 crucial roles that will see your team succeed in your next challenge. First decide which you are, and then find the best 5 people you need in your team.
1) The Scribbler
Very few people enjoy taking good notes, at best most of us put pen to paper in meetings only to refer back later to a doodle collage of stars, flowers and smiley faces.
Like a good detective, the ‘scribbler’ is someone who craves that notepad and pen, and will be taking down team observations, clues and answers. It may say seem obvious, but in the heat of puzzle warfare, we often see 6 challengers shouting out numbers only to get to the end of the series and nobody has remembered either the answers or order.
Scribber Skills: Organised, calm, legible handwriting, attentive.
2) The Thinker
It should go without saying that solving puzzles requires thinking, but over-thinking can often be the downfall of even the highest team IQs. The ‘thinker’ is the one who decides how much thinking ought to be done, a kind of ‘think police’ for the team.
A thinker doesn’t necessarily need to identify WHAT the answer is, but HOW other players are more likely to find one. When confronted by a locked box with numbers, it is the ‘thinker’ that must ensure the team work on a theory somewhere in-between degree level calculus and bashing it repeatedly with a piece of furniture.
A good ‘thinker’ will often not sit around seeing puzzles to conclusion but will move around the room helping sub-groups with the toughest challenges.
Thinker Skills: Intuitive, analytical, logical.
3) The Motivator
The role of the ‘motivator’ should not be down-played. In most escape room games there are several critical walls that teams will hit and it is the job of the motivator to emotionally drive their team through these walls.
Good motivators will offer comforting words in times of crisis:
“Sammy, that was unbelievable, the way you added 2+2 …. Literally genius. So proud to have you as my friend.”
“Michael, please stop shining the black-light on everyone’s pants. Whatever you find there won’t help us.”
“Dave, you’ve been licking that chair for 10 minutes now, I really don’t think it’s a taste puzzle”
Let’s face it. If you’re a motivator, you probably enjoy a drink. If not, you definitely enjoy any excuse for the company of friends and a good night out.
Motivator Skills: Fun-loving, passionate, good emotional intelligence, personable.
4) The Runner
The runner almost certainly has escape room experience and didn’t just become a runner overnight. They probably started escape room life just as everyone else, like a rabbit caught in the headlights.
Like an obedient and well-trained St Bernard, a good runner is someone who is able to first explore the space for clues, and then later in the experience, fetch critical information or tools to aid the team.
This role is often filled well by individuals that still consider ‘throw and catch’ to be a type of sport, or who play competitive Frisbee.
Runner Skills: Good memory, agile, energetic, can follow simple instructions.
5) The Mole
Without good eyesight, the mole uses its other heightened senses to unravel problems. We’re not saying that if you wear glasses that you are a mole, only that you could possibly be a mole – meant in the nicest imaginable way.
Being small and hairy does NOT make you a mole. A mole is someone who will consider using senses other than sight, and will often discover and strive in taste, smell, touch or audio puzzles.
Mole Skills: Good sense of taste, small, hearing or touch.
6) The Toddler
Left to last, and originally categorised as the ‘spectator’, we went one step further and identified the final team role to be that of the ‘toddler’.
The toddler normally doesn’t mind where they go out as a group, as long as they can order some fries at some point in the night. Inside an escape room, the toddler really doesn’t know why they are there, only that if the group are to believed, that fries aren’t much longer than 60 minutes away from being ordered.
Unlike a spectator however, the toddler often plays a rare but crucial role in the overall team success. Wandering off by themselves, they are likely to stumble upon an item or clue that went unnoticed, and when eventually joining a group collectively scuppered by a single puzzle, make primitive and painfully obvious observational statements like “red clock’’….. that will ultimately help.
Toddler Skills: A lack of desire for responsibility, a light interest in poking and prodding, the ability to never under any circumstances – overthink.
So there you have it, 5 roles you need to recruit to guarantee escape room success.
Share with your friends, recruit your team and Book your challenge