Level Up Your Tally Marks

I remember learning tally marks in elementary school. It never crossed my mind that there might be different ways to tally.

About a year ago this image showed up in one of my feeds and I saved it:

3 different ways to tally up to 5 from around the world.
I’m not sure of the origin of this image, if you know, please contact me.

Since saving this, I’ve tried the other two methods of tallying (mostly while puzzling) and I have some opinions and conclusions to share.

I love the “box” method

After trying all of these out, I’ve found what I’ll call the “box” method is considerably better for me.

Drawing

Drawing the box feels better because I can do it without looking, and without picking up my pen.

With the other two methods, I have to at least be aware of what my pen is doing and where it’s placed.

Viewing

At a quick glance, the box method has a visual distinctiveness that I find easier to process than the other two.

With the vertical tallies that I grew up with, sometimes I have a hard time visually processing whether there are 3 or 4 lines.

Intricacy

According to Dig Mandarin, “Chinese tally marks add up to make the shape of the Chinese character 正 (pronounced zhèng), which means “correct” or ‘true/right.'”

I think it’s really cool that there is a tally method that has meaning in addition to function, but I couldn’t comfortably make this work for me. However, I imagine it would feel a lot more natural if I grew up drawing Chinese characters.

There’s No Right Or Wrong Way

There’s no right or wrong way to tally. Speaking for myself, I’m glad that I found a new way to accomplish this task.

I would have been fine using the method that I grew up on for the rest of my life, but I am happier with this new one. I always find it cool when I learn a better or different way to do a thing that I had assumed was only done one way.

🚀Bonus: A REPOD Patreon Sneak Peek is Now Available

As our RECON Value Book Offer, today we’re releasing a Patreon Bonus Episode from Season 1 to give you a sneak peek of our REPOD Patreon perks.

man in a black hooded sweatshirt with glasses and goatee. asian woman with a flower in her hair and pink scarf wearing a khaki jacket smiling while holding a machete

Bonus Content

After each episode, hosts Peih-Gee and David record another show, just for Patreon backers ($5/ month and up). Sometimes the guests stick around for the aftershow.

Where the main episode is a heavily edited and produced experience, the bonus content is a freeform conversation.

Season 1 Episode 4

This sneak peek is the REPOD S1E4 Patreon Bonus Content, recorded with Anne and Chris Lukeman from CU Adventures in Time & Space.

You can find REPOD S1E4 with guests Anne and Chris here.

Patreon Perks

As a Room Escape Patreon backer, you get lots of great perks including early access to blog posts and access to every podcast bonus episode.

Plus, as a backer at any level you get to join our discord channel, one of our favorite places for escape room (and other) conversation. It’s a great group of folks!

Support Room Escape Artist’s Mission

There are lots of ways to support Room Escape Artist, like buying from Amazon or Etsy after clicking into the links included in this post or backing us on Patreon.

The money that we make from these helps us to grow the site and continue to add more value to the community that we love so much.

Goodbye to the Hivemind Stars, Hello Live Games

A single hand holding a glowing star viewed through a window at sunset.

When we started the REA Hivemind in April of 2020, our approach was a response to an industry in crisis. As so many online games emerged, we considered each one in the context of our lives without in-person escape rooms. As such, we built the following scale, represented by stars:

REA's hivemind review scale - 3 is recommended anytime, 2 recommended in quarantine, 1 is not recommended.

The hivemind review stars have specific meanings, tied to a time of quarantine. As each reviewer has slowly emerged into the world outside their homes again, some more than others, the stars have remained indicative of thoughts on a game during a period of quarantine.

Now, 18 months later, the REA Hivemind is still going strong, but we’re leaving the stars behind… and honestly, it’s about time.

Today’s online escape room products are much more akin to tabletop escape rooms in that they are their own genre, intentionally designed for their medium and not as a substitute for something else. We’ll continue to review them in the more classic REA way, relying entirely on prose to help a discerning audience decide if this is the game for them.

Upcoming In-Person Reviews

In addition to continued online and tabletop escape game coverage, in-person escape room coverage will be back in full swing this fall.

Provided all traveling goes according to plan, you can expect reviews from:

  • South Carolina
  • North Carolina
  • Virginia
  • Maryland
  • Maine
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Montreal

We’re excited to be visiting friends, family, and escape rooms again!

Thank you

Thank you to our Patreon backers, who continue to support us as we shift how we cover escape rooms and strive to provide the best content we can for this industry.

Ace
Amanda Harris
Andrew Reynolds
Andrew Sturridge
Angie Meyers
Anna Lysova
Anne Lukeman
Ben Rosner
Bethany
Bill Chang
Breakout Games
Brett Kuehner
Brian Resler
Brian Vinciguerra
Bronna Butler
Byron Delmonico
Bytes
C.J. Smith
Cara Mandel
Chris Cannon
Chris M. Dickson
Chris White
Daniel Egnor
Daniel Kolb
Darren Miller
David Longley
deadpan 1113
Derek Tam
Drew Nelson
Elaine
Emile Wang
Eric Mittler
Erich Schultz
Farand Pawlak
Greg Marinelli
Haley & Cameron Cooper
Herbert Chan
James Shearer
Jan-Luc Van Damme
Jason’s Fitness Consigliere
Jenna
Jim of PARADOXsquared
John Wardrope
Jon Kaufthal

Jonathan Dautrich
Jonathan Driscoll
Joseph Allen
Joseph Friesen
Joseph Mayeux
Josh Kendrick
Julie Burge
Justin Nevins
Kathryn
Kelly
Kevin
Kurt Leinbach
Laura E. Hall
Lee-Fay Low
Leo Dennett
Lindsay Froelich
Lonnie
Lori Miller
Marisa Capobianco
Mark Blume
Mark Denine
Matt Beverly
Matt Keyser
Matthew Stein
Michael Andersen
Michael Wolman
Michelle Rundbaken
Mihir Kedia
Nathan Walton
Neda Delavarpour
Negina Kolesar
Nick Moran
Nick Rose
No Proscenium
Olivia Anderson
Omer Aru
Patrick McLean
Patrick McNamara
Paul
Paul Tashima
Paula Swann
Philip Ho
Phillip Justman
Psych Out

Puzzling Company
Rebecca Horste
Rene Sorette
Rex Miller
Rich Bragg
Richard Burns
Rob Tsuk
Ruud Kool
Ryan Brady
Ryan Hart
S T Cameron
Samantha Koehler
Sara Reed
Sarah Zhang
Scott Olson
Sean McBride
Sendil Krishnan
Seth Wolfson
Spencer Arnold
Stark
Stephanie McNeill
Steve Ewing
Steve Gaddy
Steven Valdez
Stuart Bogaty
Stuart Nafey
Tahlia Kirk
Tammy McLeod
Teo Litto
Terry Pettigrew-Rolapp
The Escape Room USA
The Wild Optimists
Theresa Piazza
Theresa Wagner
Tiffany Schaefer
Todd Geldon
Todd McClary
Tom Henley
Tommy
Victor van Doorn
Vivien Ripoll
Wesley James
Will Rutherford
YouEscape

To those of you reading who have the means, we hope you’ll consider joining this wonderful group of supporters.

Support Room Escape Artist’s Mission

There are lots of ways to support Room Escape Artist, like buying from Amazon or Etsy after clicking into the links included in this post or backing us on Patreon.

The money that we make from these helps us to grow the site and continue to add more value to the community that we love so much.

Top 5 Things to Know Post-RECON

Thank you to the many REA readers who joined us for RECON 21!

We really enjoyed seeing and meeting many of you in the RECON Discord.

RECON was a blur… with streamed talks, discussion groups, games, and even workshops sometimes all taking place simultaneously. In case you missed something, here’s what you need to know today.

RECON phoenix rising from the flames.

Top 5 Things to Know

  1. The featured talks will all be available on the Room Escape Artist YouTube channel in the coming weeks. Stay tuned. Or, better yet, subscribe! Then you’ll know as soon as they are posted.
  2. For those who attended RECON, the post-RECON survey is now available. We’d really love your feedback. And on the final page, right before you hit “submit,” you can click to enter to win a copy of Box One signed by Neil Patrick Harris, and provided by Theory 11.
  3. The RECON Discord isn’t closing. However, if you met someone at RECON who you want to stay in contact with, you should “friend” them on Discord. Then you can easily send direct messages. This is not a weird thing to do. “Friend” all the great people you met!
  4. The RECON swag shop will be open only a little while longer. This is your last chance to grab some awesome RECON ’21 swag.
  5. Yes, there was an ARG at RECON. And yes, you can still solve it. Enjoy!

Thank you!

RECON is only possible because of the incredible team of people working for months to put on this event and all the volunteers who kept it running smoothly. It took an army. Seriously. We cannot thank you enough.

We also thank Patreon backers, many of whom came out to RECON in so many different roles: speakers, sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, VIPs, and volunteers. You are the amazing community that makes this madness possible.

RECON Team

Brendan Lutz

Cara Mandel

Cindi Saiewitz

James Cobalt

Lee-Fay Low

Michael ‘Auggie’ Augustine

Theresa Piazza

Theresa Wagner

RECON Volunteers

Amanda Dupuy

Andrew Reynolds

Anne Lukeman

Ben Rosner

Bill Chang

Brett Kuehner

Chris Holland

C.J. Smith

Dan Egnor

Daniel Dilley

Darren Miller

Denise Kuehner

Errol Elumir

Heather Burns

Jason Lisnak

Jeb Havens

Jennifer S

Kate Wastl

Lindsay Froelich

Manda Whitney

Matthew Stein

Melissa Miller

Melanie Keep

Michael Andersen

Myra Ramdenbourg

Nick Moran

Noam Strassfeld

Richard Burns

Scott Olson

Shannon McDowell

Sheila Holland

Shuai Chen

Sim Lauren

Tammy McLeod

Tommy Honton

Tom Mortishire-Smith

Yuehwern Yih

Patreon Backers

Ace
Amanda Harris
Andrew Reynolds
Andrew Sturridge
Angie Meyers
Anne Lukeman
Ben Rosner
Bethany
Bill Chang
Breakout Games
Brett Kuehner
Brian Resler
Brian Vinciguerra
Bronna Butler
Byron Delmonico
Bytes
C.J. Smith
Cara Mandel
Chris Cannon
Chris M. Dickson
Chris White
Daniel Egnor
Daniel Kolb
Darren Miller
David Longley
deadpan 1113
Derek Tam
Drew Nelson
Elaine
Emile Wang
Eric Mittler
Farand Pawlak
Greg Marinelli
Haley & Cameron Cooper
Herbert Chan
James Shearer
Jan-Luc Van Damme
Jason’s Fitness Consigliere
Jenna
Jim of PARADOXsquared
John Wardrope
Jon Kaufthal
Jonathan Dautrich

Jonathan Driscoll
Joseph Allen
Joseph Friesen
Joseph Mayeux
Josh Kendrick
Julie Burge
Justin Nevins
Kathryn
Kelly
Kevin
Kurt Leinbach
Laura E. Hall
Lee-Fay Low
Leo Dennett
Lindsay Froelich
Lonnie
Lori Miller
Marisa Capobianco
Mark Blume
Mark Denine
Matt Beverly
Matt Keyser
Matthew Stein
Michael Andersen
Michael Wolman
Michelle Rundbaken
Mihir Kedia
Nathan Walton
Neda Delavarpour
Negina Kolesar
Nick Moran
Nick Rose
No Proscenium
Olivia Anderson
Omer Aru
Patrick McLean
Patrick McNamara
Paul Tashima
Paula Swann
Philip Ho
Phillip Justman
Psych Out
Puzzling Company

Rebecca Horste
Rene Sorette
Rex Miller
Rich Bragg
Richard Burns
Rob Tsuk
Ruud Kool
Ryan Brady
Ryan Hart
S T Cameron
Samantha Koehler
Sara Reed
Sarah Zhang
Scott Olson
Sean McBride
Sendil Krishnan
Seth Wolfson
Spencer Arnold
Stark
Stephanie McNeill
Steve Ewing
Steve Gaddy
Steven Valdez
Stuart Bogaty
Stuart Nafey
Tahlia Kirk
Tammy McLeod
Teo Litto
Terry Pettigrew-Rolapp
The Escape Room USA
The Wild Optimists
Theresa Piazza
Theresa Wagner
Tiffany Schaefer
Todd Geldon
Todd McClary
Tom Henley
Tommy
Victor van Doorn
Vivien Ripoll
Wesley James
Will Rutherford
YouEscape

To those of you reading who have the means, we hope you’ll consider joining this wonderful group of supporters. 

Support Room Escape Artist’s Mission

There are lots of ways to support Room Escape Artist, like buying from Amazon or Etsy after clicking into the links included in this post or backing us on Patreon.

The money that we make from these helps us to grow the site and continue to add more value to the community that we love so much.