It could be said (pulling at straws here) that Escape Rooms are a microcosm of wider society. Overcoming obstacles, solving problems, it’s all part of the game of life. In life we encounter a myriad, a rainbow if you like, of varying characters. Some we love, some we love to hate. Naturally (desperately clutching at this crumbling metaphor), Escape Rooms often contain a melting pot of different personalities, each with their own qualities, hindrances and downright oddities. Here are some of our favourites, caricatured up to the nines for your entertainment. We invite you to ask yourselves, which one are you?
If you are not familiar with the tale of Cassandra here’s a very over-simplified break down. Daughter of the King and Queen of Troy, the famed mythological Greek figure was condemned to a life whereby no one would believe her prophecies. Cassandra is a much more tragic and troubled figure than that sentence attests but the essence of her plight is something that can be observed in at least one member of many Escape teams. Often, they’ll have exactly the right idea but get shouted over, shouted down or simply dismissed and ignored as they are seen as the weak link. It is the Cassandra for whom the games masters are rooting. We all love an underdog. Especially an underdog who is right. Listen to Cassandra.
The Apathetic is here because work made them come. They aren’t too thrilled by the thought of being locked in a room and forced to work with others under the pressure of a ticking clock. Sometimes the Apathetic is surprised by how into it they become. Sometimes the Apathetic is just there for the pub afterwards. They’ll find a seat and observe from afar and occasionally open a padlock with a code that someone else had figured out. If the pub portion of the day was before the game, in a state of mild inebriation, they’ll probably just nod off.
The Box Hugger
The Box Hugger is a character than pops up in our non-linear games. They enter the room, lock eyes and are fixated on their conquest. To open THAT box. In their eyes this box holds the key to success and all other boxes, props, clues are simply futile. They cradle the box for the full hour as if a mother hen guarding their egg and it takes all the strength of the other team mates to pry their talons away. If another team member so much as gazes upon the box they hiss or squawk as a warning to stay away. This is all worth it though when the time finally comes for the box to be opened. The Box Hugger, red faced and dishevelled holds the open box to their bosom; it’s all been worth it.
The Queen Bee
In many escape games there is one over-arching puzzle that requires the team to collect various pieces over the course of the hour. These pieces are then constructed or placed accordingly to trigger the opening of the final door. It may be a jigsaw, items being placed on a map, something that needs to be built. Often this is very simple but acquiring the pieces themselves requires meticulous puzzle solving prowess. The Queen Bee is responsible for putting these pieces in place but the nitty gritty and hard graft is reserved for the worker bees. Every time a piece is collected the worker bees flitter over to The Queen Bee. “A vital component, your Highness”. “Excellent” exclaims Queen Bee who places the piece in it’s rightful position. Once all parts have been placed, the door springs open and as such the Queen grins regally, reaping the credit for his/herself.
The Clever Clogs
The MVP. They may have substantial prior experience in escape rooms. Often they’ll be wearing a novelty T-Shirt adorned with some witty visual joke to do with Breaking Bad. They spend their lunch break doing the Guardian Crossword but now is the time for the extensive brain training to pay off in front of an audience. They make quick links effortlessly leaving their team mates in a state of both awe and shame. In spite of this Clever Clogs remains admirably humble at face value, but internally they are fist pumping, safe in the knowledge that they were the driving force behind the operation. On occasion a whole team will be comprised of Clever Clogs and, like a lunar eclipse, this is truly a rare spectacle to behold.
Often found in corporate groups and family outings. The tyrant has self-appointed themselves the team leader. The role of the team leader is to delegate and ensure everyone’s ideas are heard. Whilst some do this exceptionally, many spill over into tyrannical territory. They are often extremely competitive and stomp around the room micro-managing. They can often be found not listening to Cassandra. As history attests, those who rebel against the regime of the tyrant, are the true heroes of the day.
The Drag Race Superfan
My personal favourite. These bright young things come in packs of 4 and are out to have a good time. They exclaim ‘Yaaaaas. Shante you stay’ when anything is solved correctly. They shout ‘Miss Vanjie’ instead of ‘cheese’’ when they have their team photo taken. To those familiar with Drag Race these teams are EVERYTHING. To those who are not, these teams are a potent combination of infectious and stratospherically baffling.
The arch-nemesis to any hangover. Often found in teenage birthday parties. The Shrieker, as their name suggests, has one unwavering reaction to almost everything. Be it a light switch being turned on, a box opening, the unveiling of a secret compartment their screams can be heard far and wide beyond the confines of the room. Neighbours consider calling the police. Finally, they emerge from the room wailing with joy at their success. A paper bag is on hand and in the worst-case scenario, a vial of tranquiliser. They leave saying that it was the best thing ever.
Have you identified your Escape Rooms persona? Are you happy? Are you in a period of deep self- reflection? If you’re the Apathetic you probably don’t care. If you’re the Tyrant you probably care too much. Perhaps none of them sound like you. Don’t worry, you do exist, there are many we’ve not covered. If you’re not sure there’s only one way to find out…
By Josh Buckland