Escapology-ology: Which Escape Roomer Are You?
It’s time we finally came clean. You might have thought that escape rooms were set up for entertainment – after all, there’s no better way to spend an hour than to face amusing and perplexing challenges of intelligence and dexterity, and all against the clock. You might have thought that an escape room was nothing more than a hilarious way to spend an evening with friends, family, or colleagues, at a delightfully affordable price.
But you were wrong. Escape rooms were, in fact, invented for science. Perhaps you have heard of ‘escapology’, or the science of escaping. Allow me, a Games-Master-slash-Scientist, to introduce to you a new term: escapology-ology, the study of the science of escaping. As Games Masters, we are frequently asked what it’s like to watch games take place, and what wisdom we have gleaned from watching hundreds of people – of all ages, sizes, and mental aptitudes – attempt our puzzles. In brief, I believe that all who attempt these rooms can be divided into seven categories, listed below.
My time is short. The Games Masters’ Circle does not look kindly on the secrets of escapology-ology being shared with the public. Please honour my last request: share this blog and tag your friends.
🔒 The Locksmith
It’s no secret that most escape rooms contain padlocks – solve the puzzle, find a code and reap the reward. However, a great deal of people prefer not to solve the puzzles, instead sitting at a padlock for an hour and twitching their ears like a Victorian safe-cracker. The Locksmith is sure that this next combination of random numbers must be correct, and they definitely heard something click when they turned the first number to five.
That said, by the law of averages, The Locksmith sometimes does guess correctly, and the glory in their eyes makes the eons spent twiddling dials seem worth it.
PRO: For one game in every two hundred, you can cut at least five minutes off your time.
CON: For the other 199 games, it’d be much quicker to solve the puzzles; that’s what you’re here to do!
🐲 The Dragon
Escape rooms are brimming with useful items – who knew that porcelain deer was the perfect counterweight to the mystical prism? The Dragon did. In fact, the first thing The Dragon does is scour the environment for anything that could possibly be useful, drop it in the middle of the room, and hoard it like a bric-a-brac nest.
Beware, other escape roomers: The Dragon does not share their treasures lightly; are you sure that star goes in the star-shaped hole? Better keep hold of it just in case.
PRO: You’re great at searching for things – I still don’t know how you found that cassette under the armchair cushion.
CON: Where’s that key? I’m sure I left it over here, between the books and the scrolls and the playing cards...
📜 The Scribe
It’s easy to forget codes, numbers and clues when you need them most – and that’s why everyone needs a Scribe. The Scribe is wonderfully organised, studious, and probably studied calligraphy for extra credit. That said, some of you go a little bit too far, and there’s a fine line between thorough notes and wild conspiracy theories.
There are fourteen books on the shelf, one of which is called “A History of 1963”, so 1963 minus 14 equals 1949, which converted to letters is AIDI, which sounds a little bit like EIGHTY, which has six letters, so the code is 1486! It’s foolproof, really.
PRO: You have all the information anyone could ever need, and you’re great at spotting patterns.
CON: Wait, you’re not that good… no there’s no pattern to the number of threads in the rug… No! My beautiful rug!
🕶️ The Chill
It’s easy to get stressed when the clock is ticking. The fact that many teams finish in 59:59 should be encouraging, because it proves that every second counts, but if that’s the case then we’ve just wasted twenty precious seconds! We’ll never escape!
This is where The Chill comes in, keeping a cool head and focussing on the puzzle at hand. Who cares if we only have half an hour left? We’ve done more than half of the puzzles in the room, so we’re doing well. The Chill can think clearly and logically.
But when the clock ticks under ten minutes, The Chill becomes the most stressed out of them all. It was easy to be calm when escaping was a sure thing, but in the last few minutes of the game everything is on the line. This can lead to loud confrontations with The Dragon, who knew that everyone should have been working harder in the first place.
PRO: Keeping calm under pressure is an admirable skill.
CON: If you want to nab one of our best times, you’ll have to be a bit quicker!
⏳ The Veteran / The Newbie
The Veteran and The Newbie are two sides of the same coin: perhaps one is an escape room aficionado, and wants to introduce the experience to a friend; maybe it’s a whole team of experienced escapees, or a band of wide-eyed first-timers.
The Veteran seems to know how everything works: that box is clearly magnetised, and the lock is obviously triggered by a light sensor. Yet the Veteran is inevitably thwarted by a strange, block-based, tactile puzzle – I think it’s called a ‘jig-saw’?
The Newbie, on the other hand, is enthralled by everything in the room. How did that door open? The code for the safe is… seen through a mirror! Yet the Newbie struggles when presented with a big red button: what if we aren’t supposed to press it? What if it sets the fire alarm off? (Someone suggested this. True story.)
PRO: Whether you have experience or not, trust your gut!
CON: Sometimes your gut is wrong. Keep trying new methods to solve those puzzles.
😱 The Godzilla
Every Games Master knows Godzilla. The greatest secret of all escapology-ologists is that the 1954 reptilian monster is in fact named after this type of escape roomer, and definitely not the other way around. When you enter a room, you are encouraged to investigate everything in order to find hidden items and clues, but Godzilla takes it too far. Godzilla tears up the carpet, rips at the wallpaper with their merciless talons, and will not be satisfied until all the furniture in the room has been rearranged.
While we applaud Godzilla’s enthusiasm for the experience, and the energy they bring to the team, we simply cannot condone their unquenchable thirst for destruction. If something is not moving easily, it does not need to be wrenched open, and it’s rarely the case that a master code is hidden inside the ceiling. We remind all escape roomers of this, and Godzilla laughs in our faces. Why, Godzilla would never be so brutal; Godzilla has common sense!
CON: Godzilla does not have common sense.
Perhaps you aren’t on this list. Perhaps you’ve never played an escape game before. Perhaps you possess the ideal mix of problem-solving skills and ineffable charm. I think you do, but there’s only one way to be sure. If you think you have the item-finding skills of The Dragon, the cool-headedness of The Chill, and the sense of wonderment of the Newbie, then we’d love to see you!
Perhaps you have the hands-on approach of Godzilla. If so, please stay away from our venue.
PRO: ??? [Not enough data.]
CON: Has not yet booked their escape room experience.