A Head-to-Head Escape Room
There are different variants to escape rooms, but for the most part they are single-path, single-team games where you’re all on the same side. Some escape rooms have launched “head-to-head” games where you compete against other teams.
The problem with this is they’re generally not really head-to-head. Most current head-to-head escape rooms are really just mirrored rooms. That is, they are two identical rooms set to time the two different teams and judge a winner by who gets out first.
I’ve seen this done with a variety of themes, and while you’re technically competing against another team, the race is really still against the clock. Just like it is in all escape rooms. We have a different point of view on head-to-head escape rooms. And we think there are 3 “must haves” for something to earn the designation of a head-to-head escape room.
3 Must-Haves of “Head-to-Head” Rooms
- Competition – The point of a head-to-head escape room is to heighten the intensity of competition. The anxiety of playing another team gets your competitive juices flowing. You know there’s going to be a winner and a loser. And you know it’s not just time-based but that other factors are involved.
- Proximity – For it to be head-to-head, you must at least see the other team. We played an escape room in Indy where they set up identical rooms and we raced against the other team. There was a glass wall in the middle so we could see how they were progressing. That’s certainly a better concept than a “blind” competition where you can’t see your opponent. But we don’t think that goes far enough.To be truly head-to-head, you should be in the same room as your opponents. You need to be solving puzzles along side them, be in their way, see what they’re doing. Now THAT increases the competition! It can be the age old “cops and robbers” theme. Doesn’t matter. Put teams in the same room, and the competition goes to an entirely new level.
- Influence – This is perhaps the most important element of a real head-to-head escape room. You have to be able to influence your competition. I’m not talking
about hiding clues or breaking puzzles. But the work you do should influence your opponents.
Ironically, this showed up on this week’s episode of NBC’s Blindspot (Season 2, Episode 19). Kate and Weller were in an escape room competition where they had the ability to make a choice that would impact their competition. In the show, it was a life-and-death impact. We think that’s a bit much, but we love the concept of influence!
This is the most important element of a true head-to-head escape room as it sets the game apart from traditional escape rooms. Master this, and you’ve got something amazing.
We’ve never seen nor played a true head-to-head escape room. So we built one!
This will be our 6th game. It’s perhaps the one we’re most excited about and will almost certainly be the best one for team building. We’re not sharing the name – or even the theme – yet. All in good time. But the head-to-head room we’ve built will allow players to compete against each other in the truest sense of the word. You’ll be in the same room as your opponents. And what you do will absolutely impact the other team.
Beta Testers will be the first to play. When it’s ready, we’ll add the room option to our Beta Tester application. It will blow your mind and be the perfect theme for North Carolinians!