Escape Room Online Championship Finals

The ER Champ online finals finally came around. Drum roll… We took 41st place! Not as high as I hoped, but better than we placed in the qualifiers.

The game was a blast, and our teamwork was on point. I had previously posted an article about lessons learned from our qualifier round, and we corrected all the challenges we faced back then. We never got stuck on any puzzles, and there was only one puzzle that took us more than a minute, which the group solved pretty quickly once everyone aligned toward looking at it, so it probably didn’t cost us more than five minutes total.

So why 41, and not 1? I actually can’t answer that well this time. There’s no smoking gun separating us and the first place mark, which was almost an hour better than our time.

We did have one frustrating setback that cost us somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes early on; an exercise in pixel spotting where none of us could see a borderline microscopic item we could pick up. I don’t know what I would do differently on this- we definitely explicitly called out to look for every errant pixel, and that’s ultimately how we found it. Perhaps having one designated team member with a 30+ inch monitor, or switching to a monitor like that when we stall for want of an item. We were confident it was an item we needed because there were no locks requiring codes at that point, and still it cost us dearly.

Even with that addressed, though, we’d still be more than 30 minutes behind the winning time. I don’t know how I’d close that gap any further aside from talking faster. I suppose there were times where we found a bunch of puzzles at the same time where we could have split things out further, but even then I don’t see that closing such a big gap.

I’ll continue to think on how to improve our strategy. I really wish we still had access to the game so I could break it down a little further. We didn’t even have to share that many puzzles on Discord because we could generally solve them with just one look, but I would love to revisit the game to tally up where we lost a minute here, a minute there, two minutes there…

But overall, I loved the contest. I really like games like this, and I was an avid fan of the online trivia league Learned League (which I eventually dropped out of because I wasn’t happy with the long breaks between seasons). Any kind of competitive challenge is up my alley, and I’m looking forward to signing up again for this context next year.

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