Expert Escapers – Team Undefeated
This is the first in a series of many great posts about escapers like you. We’ve been escaping with many people/teams and its always great to see new team dynamics, especially for successful teams. If you want advice on how to escape these are the people to learn from
We met Mike and Miranda when we did Trapped!’s Diamond Heist. AMAZING doesn’t even describe their cohesiveness and fluidity. We escaped with over 20 minutes left (just on their power alone), and it made me wonder what their full team is like in action. So here we have our first set of Expert Escapers (well deserving of the name)… Team Undefeated.
What’s your team name and how did you come up with it?
Team Undefeated. At our first (or second for some) escape game event, they asked us for a team name. Being the clever people that we are, we told them we were “Team Undefeated”, because we had never played before. We ended up finishing first that night, and since then we’ve only lost 1 game out of about 30 played.
Who’s on your team? What skills do they bring to the table?
Our team keeps growing. We have a core group of about 5 people (Megan, Mike, Kait, Becca and Miranda seem to be the ones at most escapes), but we add on others all the time (without any one escape team getting too big). If they enjoy it and don’t suck, we add them to our top secret Facebook group. As for skills, some people are really good at math problems, which come about fairly often. Then there are people like Megan who are good with word problems. There have been times where she can look at a blank and know what the word is without even looking at the puzzle. Others like to be the people to step back and survey the room as a whole to make sure nothing is overlooked. Then, and this is very important, there are the people who tend to say the solution but next to no one hears them, except for one other person. When that one other person listens to the quiet ones, then it’s usually a really good thing.
How/Where was your first experience?
Before we were Team Undefeated, 3 of us did an escape at The Hour back in October 2014. We absolutely loved it and to this day we will never forget the combination of the first lock we opened (but we won’t share it for obvious reasons). Then, Escape Room Niagara Falls held a Halloween event. The event was a lot of fun, even though it deviated substantially from the traditional escape room feel. It was more of a competitive puzzle night. We had a blast, and it was clearly enough to draw us back in for more.
What kind of tips would you give to a first time escaper?
Don’t forget to take a step back and look at the big picture. When you’re in the moment you overlook a lot of simple things because you’re trying to “think clever”. Oh, and always check the doorjamb.
What are the first 3 things you do when you get into an escape room?
Megan: Check the time on my watch. Then walk around. Then flip everything over.
Mike: Start my own timer (it’s definitely easier than having to look for wherever they placed the clock in the room every time). Find the big items (what needs to be unlocked?). Make sure everyone has something to do (because 4 people crowding one puzzle, especially at the beginning, is not a good use of resources)
What kind of rooms impress you guys the most?
Omescape in Markham is really impressive with their set design. When tech lines up with puzzle flow, it really adds to the experience. The Hour is awesome with how welcoming and homely it felt. Niagara Falls has stellar and unique puzzles. The rooms with a lot of design effort impress us, but the really impressive rooms are the ones with outstanding puzzles that just make sense to the theme and don’t leave us wondering why they were included.
Do you guys have an all-time favourite room?
That’s really tough to say, because as we’ve mentioned, we like a lot of different rooms for different reasons. For Mike, some rooms stand out just because our team made them a lot of fun in the way that we approached them. Lockquest’s Escape from the Book Club Killer will always stand out as one of the most hilarious experiences because of the team we brought (and Errol from ERA overkeyed our experience). Also, The Unknown is high up on the list because it was so unique and the overall mood of it was a favourite for a few of us (It’s really hard to talk about that without giving anything away). We could honestly go on and on about which rooms were our favourite when it comes to different aspects of escaping, you really can’t pick one.
Brute forcing locks, yay or nay?
Ynay? Somewhere along the line Megan got the name “brute force,” but no one can remember from where, haha. It depends. If it’s a combination lock and you’re trying out 000-999, then that’s a big nay. But we’ve had a word lock come up where we knew the first letter, and knew the banks of letters to choose from for the next three letters. From there, Megan (obviously) figured out the only word that would fit. In those situations, where there’s a kind of logical flow to how you got the solution, it’s a definite yay. Even if it’s a 4 digit lock and you know the first three, I’m going to spin the last dial regardless, because it’s just too hard not to. If a game designer wants to avoid people brute-forcing locks, there are so many ways around using combination locks. In a moment of humility (and because I know EGR knows Mike has done this), Mike has definitely brute-forced locks before, especially when his competitive nature kicks in and time is running thin. It’s not a proud moment of his, but it’s happened once or twice. In the end, using combination locks mean that guessing is a real part of the game, but we generally don’t approve.
Playing with randoms, yay or nay?
True randoms that we don’t know until we get there? Hard pass. Hard pass. We’re a lot more comfortable working with people we know. For example, we know that if there’s a math-problem it’s a good fix for X, if there’s a context-based problem then it’s more Y’s strength, and if there’s a doorjamb, Becca’s all over that. However, we do love teaming up with others! We’ve done a couple rooms with EGR, ERA, and EscaptistTO, and that’s always been a blast, even if we’re not at our full strength. It’s always cool to see how other teams work and talk escape rooms with them afterwards.
Where is your team off to next?
We’ve been eyeing Backstage in Niagara Falls. It’s the only Niagara escape room we haven’t done. We’ve also been looking forward to trying Captive Rooms out and making a trip to Kitchener to try out the other Adventure Rooms location!
Anything I missed?
Depends. Did you watch the Vancouver 2010 Opening or Closing Ceremonies? Because we all missed Shania Twain at those.
Yes, we missed her too! Mike is the foremost expert of the Niagara/St. Catharines escapes who gave us great recommendations for our trip. We look forward to challenging Team Undefeated one day, if it wasn’t for their intimidating record. Sidenote: If you find their secret Facebook page, let us know!
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