A while back, I was asked to describe the defining characteristics of an advanced escape room player.
I’ve thought about this often. I’ve watched players that I respect and tried to figure out what makes them strong players. There are a lot of characters that I like to see in fellow players.
Characteristics of A Great Escape Room Player
These are in no particular order.
- Strong puzzle skills
- Willing to search
- Able to accurately input solutions
- No ego about the game
- Willing to take hints when needed
- Knows their own strengths and weaknesses
- Able to step back and let others have their moments
- An eye for what is and isn’t a puzzle
- Knowledge of the various mechanisms that show up in games
- Advanced puzzling skills of all kinds
These are all things that I love to see in a fellow player. These traits describe the type of players that Lisa and I strive to be.
The more I think about them, however, none of these are a bright-line indicator of advanced play.
The Defining Characteristic of An Advanced Escape Room Player
For me, the defining trait is simple:
Can the player continue to play an escape room effectively if the game’s sequencing has broken?
Sequence breaking can come from a bad reset, a technology failure, accidentally opening a lock, or solving a puzzle too early. This stuff happens, even in well designed games.
A truly advanced player will do 1 of 3 things when met with this kind of challenge:
- Call the gamemaster in to resolve the issue
- Fix the problem themselves and continue to play
- Acknowledge what’s going on with the team and work around it
All of these options are viable solutions. (The optimal one shifts based on precise circumstances.) The catch here is that any of these solutions requires a player to identify the problem. That is often difficult to do.
Identifying the problem in the first place indicates awareness and understanding of the mechanics of an escape room. Additionally, a novice might notice a bypassed puzzle and simply think, “one less challenge on our path to victory.” An advanced player will realize that broken sequence is a potential hazard for the team and not necessarily an advantage.
To me, this awareness and understanding sets the advanced escape room players apart.
What do you think?
Am I right? Am I wrong? Are there other traits that I missed?
We’d love to hear additional thoughts on what makes an advanced escape room player.