After running countless escape room games now, it’s become obvious that there are several different types of players. Each has their own signature method of interacting with the games and each has a different effect on the outcome. Let’s go through them and discuss their pros and cons.
The Lock Pickers
As the name states, these are the players that head straight to the locks and start putting in numbers. Sometimes they find actual numbers around the room and try those. Other times they just start spinning the combinations without any direction at all. It can be confusing to watch on this end of the camera.In almost all cases, the lock pickers fail to do what their play style dictates – pick locks. When they actually do the response is generally favorable, however, it tends to mess up the flow of the game. Now, instead of following a well planned path, it has been diverted and more often than not, a puzzle has been skipped leaving the players without a chance to solve it. This creates confusion and will often lead to the escape room guide having to stop the game and explain to the players why they don’t have to solve a certain puzzle.
The Squirrel Chasers
Every room has excited players but none so much as the squirrel chasers. They jump from puzzle clue to puzzle clue like a dog spotting that darn squirrel in the park. Run, run, run after that squirrel and forget the fact that you were doing something else! To us, the squirrel chasers are more con than pro because they’re seen in the room as working on puzzle A so the other players might think that they have it in hand. When they jump to puzzle B, puzzle A is left alone without an attendant and will sit unsolved until either the squirrel chaser returns as often happens or other players make it back around to puzzle A on their own.
The Eagle Eyes
These are the players that spot EVERYTHING! If you have someone like this on your team, your chances of setting a speed record in your escape room are pretty good. The pros here outweigh the cons easily, but there are sometimes cons. It goes back to the squirrel chasers; they’re actively working a puzzle when the eagle eye finds something new and distracts them and they run away to investigate the new clue. Regardless, we’ll take the eagle eye any day to get those details on the marker board for when we need them! The squirrel chasers are just going to have to learn to adapt!
The Busy Bodies
These types of players have two very distinct camps; those that are actually busy and working on escaping the room and those that are looking busy because they have no clue what to do next! After a while, the busy bodies will make their camp known as their actions will call them out to the escape room guide. Successes will point out the good busy bodies to both the guide and the other players. As for the not-so-valuable busy body, they will tend to fly under the radar by virtue of their playing style. We can’t say whether or not they get called out afterwards by the other players, but generally people talk about the clues they found and the puzzles they solved and how player A helped player B to figure out this and that. At this point, we’re pretty sure the silence of the busy body will be quite noticeable.
This type of player can either be great when they find hidden things or be of no use at all because they won’t let go of their new found puzzle toy. We’ve seen it countless times – one of these players will attach themselves to a puzzle, never to let go, determined to figure it out and they end up just kind of turning and twisting it for the majority of the hour! Almost like lock pickers, they’re attracted to the interactive puzzles and tend to get stuck. Touchers and busy bodies are often times confused because sometimes a puzzle lends itself to both; intricate enough to hold the interest of the toucher and tough enough to make a busy body look busy.
This player is hard to read. They’ll absorb the puzzle content and clues and kind of fall off to the side and start to brew. They are prone to outbursts when they solve puzzles which can be distracting but the end result is the puzzle is solved so it’s a good thing. In our tougher rooms, the thinkers always make us anxious. We want everyone to have fun regardless of the types of puzzles and we plan for that by having several different types for the players to connect with. But when a thinker pulls off it’s sometimes hard to see if they’re thinking and having fun or if they’re frustrated. On several occasions we’ve had thinkers come out of a room with a look of frustration and the first words out of their mouths were, “Wow, that was really difficult but it’s so…&$%@ fun! I can’t wait to do it again!” Hard to read definitely, but thinkers approach things differently than other players. The challenge – as frustrating and difficult as it may be – is the fun part for them!
These players are great. Whenever they solve a puzzle, they break into a dance. It lifts the rooms spirits, gives us plenty of footage for our YouTube channel, and overall just makes everyone happy. Unfortunately, the dancers dance because they’re thrilled they actually solved something as if they’re surprised they did it, that they had it in them at all! Don’t look for the dancers to be the first to get something figured out – that’s rare. They will get pumped up after their dance and will hover around looking for a puzzle conclusion coming so they can break out some new moves. If you feel their breath on your shoulder, be sure to give them some dance floor space for when they reach over you to solve the puzzle you already solved!
The bottom line is that everyone approaches escape rooms in their own way. There is no right or wrong way to play other than the basic tenet – you have to think. Escape games are about different types of puzzles and interactions. Some people want to set records, some just want to get out in time, and still others just want to have fun regardless of whether or not they escape. Depending on what you want to do, filter your potential teammates to make it the experience you want.
Have you run into other types of players we’ve missed? Be sure to let us know with a comment below so we can amend our list!