throwback Thursday: Escape Room Championship

Introducing the Throwback Thursday series: projects we are proud of but never had the chance to share our insights with the world.

We start with one of our dearests, most exciting, stressful and crazy events: the Red Bull Escape Room World Championship.

Some while ago, we designed the concept for this one of a kind global event. Together with Red Bull, we started with the first ever World Escape Room Championship in 2017. 

Season 1

“Mission: Unlock Enoch“ 2017 was the first event where escape room enthusiasts from all over the world teamed up, combined their mind skills and compared their results on a national and international level. It evolved from a global online single-player game, through multiplayer real-world Qualifier events to an exciting final Escape Room Tournament in Budapest, Hungary.

“Mission: Unlock Enoch“ was born with the purpose to provide a competitive challenge for the best masterminds out there. The first Escape Room championship was conceived at a game jam hosted at the MIT Game Lab in Massachusetts and made possible by Playful Solutions, Dr. Scott Nicholson and Fox in a Box.

Season 2

In 2019, we have conceived and organized the second edition of the Red Bull Escape Room World Championship, with qualifiers in more than 20 countries and with an outstanding Finals event in London between April 11-13th.

We continued to work with important figures in the field, such as escape room guru Dr. Scott Nicholson, puzzle designer Wei-Hwa Chang, player experience expert Ken Ferguson, the Scottish team from Escape Game Design and many more.

A glimpse of the final event in a few numbers:

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88 players

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10+ Hours Of Play

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22 teams

In order to challenge the best escape room players in the world, we had to make sure we design rooms that tested all their mind skills. An extra challenge this year was to make sure we remove any cultural or language barriers in our puzzles.

If you are curious to have a peek into the rooms we designed and built, you can check this quick runthrough with Prof. Scott Nicholson. For more highlights of the London event, enjoy your read here.

Behind the scenes

And if you are intrigued for a look behind the scenes, we share our 3 top insights after our London Escape Room affairs.

We loved
the energy!

We loved to experience this unique mix of physical room development, puzzle design and event management. To get to work with over 30 different staff members on a project with such a global scale provides a very special energy. And, finally, realising how hyped the top players were and how the games have proven to meet the tournament requirements, was just outstanding. It will not be easy for others to recreate an Escape Room World Championships that can live up to the standards we set with this year’s competition.

We learned
to break patterns

After running the first World Championship in Escape Room gaming in 2017, we took our learnings and adjusted not only the design of the rooms, the story and the point system, but also the run-down and the tournament structure. We were thus able to improve the communication with the players and the flow of the tournament. Our biggest lessons learned: running an escape room tournament with a series of smaller sub-rooms is a better solution than using one large room.

We want
to expand!

The team behind Playful Solutions & Red Bull Escape Room World Championship in Red Bull Gaming Sphere, London, 2019.

We would like to develop our new tournament concept and focus even more on the different mind skills and how to challenge them. We are also looking into developing escape rooms with specific content and technologies which we call „experience rooms“. Finally, we are thinking how to integrate existing escape rooms into the qualifier stage and broaden the player group. 

by the Playful Solutions team