A recent article on Escape.Buzz compares the Red Bull Escape Room Championship to ERChamp. As someone who has been close to both, I feel the need to offer my own insights on the phenomena observed in the article- namely that ERChamp as a volunteer-driven activity continue to grow while the big budget Red Bull competition shut down after only 2-3 years.
The qualifiers for ERChamp 2023 are finished, and the top ten teams were selected to compete in the finals in Wroclaw. How exciting! At the same time, I’m thrilled to get my hands on the log data from the event to put together some of the stories from the online portion of the event.
In many ways, it’s more difficult to design a big prize treasure hunt than to design a good puzzle. Even tricky puzzles are designed to be solved. If you’re five days into a puzzle event and there’s a puzzle with zero solves, the designer probably goofed up at some point. For treasure hunts, that’s often the norm.
As we’re getting the Chicago escape room meetup going, it’s probably a good time to talk about what makes meeting up with new people exciting. I always love getting to play escape rooms with new people, and whether those people are trying their first escape room or thousandth, it’s more likely than not going to be a great experience.
Every once in a while, I get a reminder about how the overall customer experience is more important than any one aspect of an escape room. I’ve shared before about how a strong game master can elevate an average experience and an inattentive one can ruin a world class game. I recently got a reminder of exactly why this is so important.
One thing I’ve seen that seems to be mostly loathed by lovers of escape rooms is the math puzzle, or worse, puzzle-free math computation. Though I love math, I get it- you sign up for Indiana Jones-like adventure, not arithmetic class.
I’ve been putting together a whitepaper on the mathematics behind what makes a puzzle fun to solve. What started as a simple model has evolved into something more akin to a PhD thesis, so I’m going to slow down and outline a few of the basics of the experience of solving a puzzle.
The next few weekends are going to be more than a little exciting. Eight escape rooms this Saturday, and a Titanic murder mystery weekend from Tall Tales Mysteries starting the following Friday!
I’m stealthily on track for putting out one puzzle game per month for 2021. March is almost at an end, though, so what comes next?
It’s been a long-time desire of mine to spend more time creating puzzles, and it’s never been easier. There are almost too many tools to use to create, and it’s about time I start taking advantage of them.