Qualification for the World Championship ran in 23 countries around the world and was devided into 2 rounds – Online qualification and National qualification.
This round was solved at home and didn’t have any team element as each team member solved it individually. As a team time was taken a sum of times of all team members. A player solved a serie of 8 logical puzzles of 4 types. Everybody could have any number of attempts and just a best time was taken as his time so it was quite easy to spend all evening playing these games and hoping for easier series and improving of your time 🙂
The best teams in Online qualification had a guaranteed slots for a National qualifiers. Actually in Slovakia there were 150 slots for Nationals that was more then number of teams playing online part so as it turned out it was just a training for us. But I guess in other and especially bigger countries the competition was much higher already in this round.
In Slovakia there where National qualifiers in 3 locations – Košice, Trnave and Bratislava and ca. 100 teams took part. As there were no Nationals in Czech republic a few strong Czech teams took part as well.
National qualifier game was held in a portable cube of maybe 4×4 metres and could be called escape room already. It was still not a real-life escape room game as all the puzzles ran on 4 touchscreens in the middle of the cube. As they were from the outside of middle block it was possible to see just one of the screens at each moment. There were again some logical puzzles to solve but already connected with a team element. There was one screen for each of us but not all of screens were active for whole time. Screens also affected each other so we were running around, coordinating what to do and helping each other. Time limit was 20 minutes so it was really hectic. We escaped in 14 minutes and took a lead. We did not make any big mistake but there were still 40 teams to go so excited waiting could begin. At the end we were still on the first place so we started to look forward to the World Finals in London.
World Finals in London
On the Thursday 11th April evening there was a briefing where we saw a short scene about a game theme and then Dr. Scott Nicholson explained us the rules. When we saw that some big teams are recording the presentation on their phones we got a feeling that maybe we are not taking it seriously enough. Our confidence was also hurt when we saw few other teams in jackets from previous championship. If they won the National qualification two times in a row, they have to be really good. So after the dinner we at least took a look on a youtube video with 10 tips how to solve any escape room by Dr. Scott Nicholson himself and went to bed.
The semifinal round took place on Friday 12th of April. All teams solved 3 small escape room one after another. Every room had a time limit of 10 minutes. To make the competition as fair as possible and not let anyone to get stuck too long they showed us hints and even made puzzles easier after fixed times of the game. For the same reason were the final door opened after 10 minutes and the team that did not finished the room yet got a time of 10 minutes.
Authors put a special attention to avoid any cultural bias in puzzles so they did not use any languages or letters. They also avoid using symbols or colors that could get any advantage to any team.
Team were assigned to one of 8 groups of 3 teams that played their games in different times. The teams that had not played yet where strictly separated from the teams that had already played. They had a different program and also they took us our mobile phones. We were assigned to the first group with Austrians and Germans what meant we needed to start already at eight in the morning. We did not like it that much but at the end of a day we found it better then to play for example in late afternoon.
The game itself was real fun, finally a proper escape room what we like. Rooms were really different with just few puzzles but it was enough at the end. We finished all 3 rooms in time but we were aware of a few mistakes so we were sure that a quite a few teams had to beat us. Come on, there were 21 winners of national qualifiers also from countries like USA, India or Great Britain where has to be much bigger competition then was in small Slovakia. However when we heard from Germans and Austrians that neither of them solved more than 1 room we told to ourselves that maybe it wasn’t that bad. The same told us during they the Russians what again made our feelings better. The first team that frightened us a bit were Americans with wild card, who found their result as “pretty good”. Later we found out that as usually confidence of Americans is always much higher that the one that Slovaks have :).
In the evening was planned announcement of the results but just very limited. They announced just names of 2 finalists but did not tell who was faster and non-finalists did not find out if finished as the third as the twenty second. Fortunately we didn’t have to care about that because after Croatians they announced also us what meant we were in the Finals! Of course we hoped for that but definitely did not expect that it can really happen. It was a great feeling. We have guaranteed one more day of fun and already exceeded expectations as to be the second in the world is actually amazing.
Later we found out that the fastest team in the semifinals were Croatians who totally dominated in the second room. On the other places were the differences really small but as we were one of just 3 teams that passed all 3 rooms and the other two were slower than us (Croatians failed in the third room) we think that our advance to the final was deserved :).
The second place at the World Championship is amazing but when you get so far you want to be the winner of course 🙂 Before the finals we wanted to do everything possible for the win so we analysed all our mistakes from the semifinals and tried to learn on them.
In the finals on Saturday there was already a full 60 minute escape room to play. It had 4 independent sections but they were connected with each other. The principle was similar with semifinals – hints came in fixed times and if you did not passed the section in 15 minutes, the door from it would open.
We did not play at the same time but one after another. There was no timer so we didn’t know our final time even after the finish. We had much better feeling from our game that in semifinals but we had no idea if the Croatians couldn’t be even faster. The results were announced again in the evening.
In the evening we found out that we made a big difference already in the first section where we made more than 5 minutes on Croatians that did not pass it at all. They were a bit faster in second section but we gain another 5 minutes on them in the third section. And as we were faster also in the fourth section we are the Escape Room World Champions!
Red Bull Escape Room World Championship Finals Times:
Brainteaselava (Slovakia): 27:16:850
TG 170 (Croatia): 38:06:250
Finals Room 1
Brainteaselava (Slovakia): 09:57:430
TG 170 (Croatia): 15:00:00
Finals Room 2
Brainteaselava (Slovakia): 06:01:570
TG 170 (Croatia): 05:17:850
Finals Room 3
Brainteaselava (Slovakia): 06:47:660
TG 170 (Croatia): 11:55:810
Finals Room 4
Brainteaselava (Slovakia): 04:30:190
TG 170 (Croatia): 05:52:590
Red Bull Escape Room World Championship Semi-Finals Times:
- 1- Croatia – 21:57:23
- 2- Slovakia – 23:26:19
- 3- Belgium – 23:34:91
- 4- UK – 23:42:63
- 5- Estonia – 23:42:98
- 6- Greece – 24:09:61
- 7- Latvia – 24:25:85
- 8- France – 24:44:23
- 9- USA – 25:06:98
- 10- Wildcard – 25:44:74
- 11- Brazil – 25:51:62
- 12- Switzerland – 26:08:06
- 13- Germany – 26:34: 20
- 14- Portugal – 26:36:07
- 15- Ukraine – 27:31:26
- 16- Lithuania – 27:43:93
- 17- Slovenia – 27:58:80
- 18- Austria – 28:03:13
- 19- Turkey – 28:04:05
- 20- India – 28:32:08
- 21- Australia – 29:08:41
- 22- Russia – 29:38:93