Too Big, Too Small….Or Just Right?

Written by: The Bat

Too Big, Too Small….Or Just Right?

As you know, my Readers, the Daring Damsels currently consists of a duo. We usually play rooms together and have so far beaten every room we play in. Before The Damsels met up, I played my first game with a partner. Then, in training to work at a local escape room, I played six rooms by myself. After that, I played a couple with groups of 4-6 coworkers, also at the venue I worked at. Most recently, we played The Shed with 7 total, the largest group I have played with to date. After playing so many games with just the two of us recently, the differences were astronomical. And, my Readers, I feel confident in saying I have formed an opinion!

The smaller the group, the more efficient it is, and the more fun! Scott Nicholson, escape room professor and founder of the Escape Room Enthusiasts Facebook group has an interesting way of describing the perfect number:

“My guideline for a room is the same as the number of people recommended for a tent. While you can stuff the maximum number of people in there, you’re going to be a lot happier at half capacity.”

Cartoon laughing in tent

Now I will not argue the fact that a variety of skill sets can be useful in solving a room. A good escape room has a bunch of different types of puzzles. Some need people good at spatial orientation or visual skills (like The Dragon), and others need math or spelling whiz types (like me!). And of course, those aren’t all.

In addition, there are some rooms simply designed for more people, as you need to search for many pieces to a puzzle or solve multiple puzzles at a time. But I have not found those to be the norm.

I have discovered that when you begin to fill the room past half capacity, usually 3 or 4 people, the group simply becomes a distraction. First of all, escape rooms are exciting. Everyone wants to solve the puzzle, offer up the perfect clue, and show the next step. And they all want to do it at one time. And many people will have the same idea, but due to the noise, they will not have heard the last person that said the same thing.

Hey Arnold everyone talking at once

There is also physical noise. Bodies are solid objects. They get in the way. Someone will inevitably be standing in front of the clue you want, or holding it in their hand because they don’t know it is needed. Many escape rooms are linear, and some involve solving puzzles in small spaces. So the rest of the group is left standing out in the room, trying to yell over each other to help, while one or two people are actually solving the puzzle at hand. Now imagine that same puzzle, but without the extra people yelling and crowding in….much easier to solve, wouldn’t you say?

Now I won’t be the one to say not to go to an escape room with a party or a large group of friends. Just know that if you are doing that, some of you will be there just for moral support. Some of you will get in each other’s way. Some of you will talk over each other. So you may not do as well on solving the room. If that is not your goal, your goal is to just have fun with all your friends, then, by all means, take them to the room all at once. I’ve witnessed some groups who did this and seemed to have an amazing time. Some of them won, and some didn’t. Some had huge fights, some didn’t.

But my advice still stands (and most Enthusiasts on Facebook Agree)….smaller groups are best!

Share your thoughts!