When it comes to picking a team for an escape room game, you might be tempted to stack the side with the best and the brightest and sidelining the problem-child. But no matter what type of players you have, finding the right task for each is the winning formula.
Let’s look at some archetypal players and the strengths and weaknesses each possess.
a.k.a. Poindexter — This player is logical and methodical. They will gravitate toward the difficult algorithms and equations because they swallowed a calculator when they were a baby.
They might not be the most interesting conversationalist, so let them do their best work. But keep an eye on them, because they could get lost in the math and become the Nutty Professor.
The Lovable Nerd
a.k.a. Dungeons and Dragons Master— This girl or guy, (probably a guy) may not be the coolest cucumber in the club, but he or she, (probably he) has a little bit of street cred, likely in the form of useless knowledge.
They will be a strong asset to your team in an environment like an escape room or a pub quiz. They might not be a Casanova, but keep their number in your phone, at any rate, for that moment the team could win a trip to Barbados.
a.k.a the Introvert — this person has learned to rely on themselves. They might not be the warmest player in the team, but their faculties are fully capable. However, if you like to whistle while you work, they might want you to stand in the opposite corner of the room to them.
They like things just so and are often known for being pedantic. You might hear them contribute by keeping everyone on time with the occasional alarming update for how many minutes have gone by or you have left. This type is time-oriented and always on time.
a.k.a. the Princess — It’s all about them. Hopefully, they will grow tired of their own energetic bleating, will become bored, exhaust themselves and take a nap before the toys get thrown, either by them or at them. Give this person a mirror and they will be sure to settle down quickly.
Or…develop their self-assured abilities to shine positively, steering them toward the light and away from the mirror.
a.k.a the Winner, the Town Crier. — This player is a 1st cousin to the Exhibitionist. Pair them together and your code-cracking will seem easier. A bit of a chameleon, the Competitor can turn into a Dictator if left to his or her own devices, so beware. If you’re lucky, they will turn themselves in to the court jester and entertain the team for a while before they burn out.
On a positive note, they have capability and talent that just needs some practice to develop into a real skill.
a.k.a Napoleon or Drama Queen/King – Have you ever read the children’s book No Room for Napoleon? An exploring dog ‘discovers’ an island, already discovered because it is inhabited. He comes in peace, but his personality is too big for the little island and its inhabitants and he takes over.
The moral is not to become too self-important and bossy. Play well with others and they won’t live you in the fair winds for another isle. The dictator can learn to live in harmony with others and even has good leadership qualities. But someone might need to be there to guide him/her.
The Average Joe
a.k.a. the Plebe or the Pawn – Every fiefdom has them. They are valuable to the strength of the economy — I mean — the team. It is okay to have more than one of these in your team. Joe, or Jo, is able to function in society, contribute to the cause by being a Jack- or Jill-of-all-trades, and succeed at not being annoying, all at the same time.
The pawn is often mistaken for being a disposable, expendable chess piece, but it, like the pinkie toe, is very important to the overall balance of the game. Besides, nobody is being sacrificed in an escape room.
The Dark Horse
a.k.a. the Surprise Weapon or Wizard— You will underestimate them at first as a little bit off-the-wall. They think outside the box/square, the creative type with some real street smarts. They know that you can’t fit a round peg in a square hole.
They might not always seem invested in the game, but they are taking note. You will do well to listen to their occasional contribution.
The Evil Genius
a.k.a. Cromwell, the Counsellor, or Career Criminal — Who is s/he? You think you know a person. While you are impressed by their skill in all things devious, you are quietly disturbed.
Hats off to this one-person band who seems to know every trick in the book finds all the hidden passageways or cleverly obscured clues. Thanks for the leaps and bounds they are making in the sleight-of-hand department for the team. Best to stay on them to use their skills for good, rather than letting them slip into temptation and evil.
a.k.a. the Pretender or Thespian — This player is congenial, but they will not put their hand up to lead the charge, not the real charge anyway. Ask them to demonstrate how to diffuse a bomb, but don’t ask them to actually clip the red wire.
They are happier following the script or set of instructions, so give them one. Their voice will blend in with the rest of the chorus.
a.k.a. Wet Blanket — Either this person was dragged along to the game against their will and will drag the team down with them, or they never asked to be born. Because who would have them? He, she, or it is the voice of cynicism and uncertainty. There has to be one, or does there?
Exile them from the kingdom with some excuse about being needed back at the office/castle a.s.a.p. This player may just need to be heard. They have a voice to be trained.
a.k.a. the Puppeteer — This person is the consultant. You might not be certain what part they play, but they are there, and they provide a service. That service is the glue that holds the crew together. They are everywhere and nowhere all at once.
They are elusive. They don’t produce a tangible product, but if they weren’t there in the room, you would miss them. This is the captain of the squad who is never at the top of the pyramid but is offering support from one position or another.
The Bottom Line
Every type of animal was included in the Ark. Why we need mosquitos we may never know until the day they are all gone. It takes all colours of the rainbow. The gist is that for the whole kingdom to succeed, we need every type of player to do their part, to keep the balance. This is not to say that your team has to have 1 each of the 12 players mentioned.
No. Some are doppelgängers or polar opposites of each other. And, you can be more than one type of player, of course. This is not an exact science, actually; it is not a Science at all. It is an outlook, a point of view, and a way to get the most from your whole team through inciting and inclusion.