While hosting rooms, I hear guests in our lounge talk quite a bit about breaking into teams and who is going to work with whom. Those planned teams last about as long in the room as I would in a trivia contest about “Days of Our Lives”. It’s not because the plan fell apart, but rather because the plan doesn’t account for human nature. Players are naturally inclined to gravitate toward specific activities or types of puzzles because it is what they like or what they are good at. This is not a terrible thing at all; you want your best players in each position on a sports team, so the same should be true here. Figuring out the best role for each player can be tricky. But this blog is here to help, here are all the facts that will help you know your role.
Which role is what?
There are some certain parts or roles people fall into when playing in an Escape Room. We don’t think about this consciously in much the same way that I remember approximately 60% of what my wife says. It just happens. I want to take a moment today and identify some of these roles so that you can think about your team that you play with and consider if you have these roles on your team or if you have different ones. Maybe you are missing something that makes the difference between over an hour and under an hour. You should go recruit, just don’t do something weird like stand in front of a Wal-Mart asking people if they want to get locked up with you.
This person probably set up the booking for your group and organized when and where to meet up, maybe did restaurant reservations. Inside the room, this is the person that wants what is going on to filter through them. Not in an R. Lee Ermey sort of way (If you don’t know who he is, ask your parents) but in an organized fun sort of way. This person keeps the big picture in mind but is also assisting in the solving of puzzles but bounces around to see the progress on each of them.
If you don’t stay organized in an Escape Room you will quickly get lost in what was done and not done. It can become what I tell my guests is “Squirrelapalooza”. This is the player that whisks everything away like a slick Mr/Mrs. Clean and puts things away or out of the way. This teammate will usually ask for confirmation that something has been done and is in some ways a help to the director.
You probably have more than one of these people and they may even double up into another role. These are the main members of the team that identifies and begin to solve the puzzle in the room. Your front line in the room if you will. These people are usually the one your group identifies as “Good at puzzles” or “the only one of us that isn’t a dunce” while you are waiting to go in. It’s not true, but that’s how much you rely on them to figure out the hard stuff in the room. Turn them loose and let them do their thing.
2-4-6-8 LOOK AT US OUR TEAM IS GREAT!!! This person probably doubles into another role but is mainly the person that is the morale booster in the room. The first one to high five you or give you that somewhat awkward pat on the back that just misses and hits around the butt area and you have that momentary “what just happened” shared look which gets broken when someone smiles and yells “Good game Tommy!”. Then no one brings up the fact that your name isn’t Tommy so everyone laughs. Don’t act like it’s never happened to you.
Calm down Harry Potter superfan, there is no golden snitch in the room (if you don’t know what this reference is, ask your kids, or someone else’s kids with permission.). Spoiler alert, there are hidden things in Escape Rooms. False bottoms of drawers, hidden corners, mirrored panels and anything else you can think of. The seeker is usually the first active person in the room. This person has the sole job of tearing apart the room to find anything hidden so everyone else can concentrate on identified tasks.
These are some of the main roles players fill in while playing an Escape Room. Each is important in its own way but doesn’t function well without the whole. The big takeaway here is that in the end, regardless of whom on your team fills what role, this is a team experience. Everyone participates, and at the end, you win either way. That being said don’t plan ahead of time. Let everyone gravitate to what they are good at. Use and learn everyone’s strengths and it’s probably best to stop the organizer from making a spreadsheet about all of this. That’s a bit much.
James is a super nerd that has been playing games at a table or on a screen or with the sanity of others since he was about 6 years old. Some time may or may not have passed since then. James has been hosting Escape Rooms for over two years and also manages both locations for Escape Games Live as the GM. He has also played numerous escape rooms and has learned much through personal experience watching and playing rooms. In his time away from work he enjoys life with his wife and daughter as well as volunteering time with The Bodhana Group, which is a local organization that uses tabletop gaming as a form of adjunct therapy for those in need of their services, helping to develop critical thinking, planning and strategy, social skills and building self-esteem and identity by exploring each individual’s “character”. He is a fan of all things nerd which is good because his name would be a waste otherwise.