Making A Successful Team: The Conduit and The Lone Wolf

In this installment of our Making A Successful Team series, we’ll explore Conduits and Lone Wolves. Conduits, the masters of data cataloging and communication, are at the center of the action, storing information and relaying it to the team at just the right moments while Lone Wolves remain on the outskirts, playing their own game.

When teams enter a new escape room environment, they’re met with a plethora of choices, valuable items, red herrings, and hidden details which all need to be managed. Conduits feel right at home during this chaotic first stage in the experience and they’re usually eager to jump right in and start cataloging the group’s findings. You’ll see them hovering in the center of the room, most often with a notepad in hand, parsing through the group’s discoveries. These data managers  view the experience as one large puzzle and seek to understand the room at a high level. Once they’ve identified the bigger picture, they seamlessly shift their focus and start relaying the knowledge they’ve gathered.

Conduits are most effective in the mid to late  stages of the experience when other team members call out and request information. They will identify connections and place teammates on the right path, but rarely become involved with individual puzzle-solving tasks. They keep the group focused and often check in to make sure that everyone has enough information to move forward. Issues usually arise at this stage when group members request information and Conduits have nothing left to offer. Conduits soon realize that there was a problem lurking outside the group dynamic from the beginning and they focus their attention on the Lone Wolf, usually a solo member who aims to “beat the system” and apply brute force tactics while looking for loopholes in game design.

Lone Wolves see escape rooms differently than the rest of the team. They seek to outsmart the room and attempt to disrupt the game’s foundation by focusing only on the end result of a particular puzzle. They’ll attempt to pick locks, search for secret doors, force open containers, or even sneak in tools to bypass portions of the experience. These tactics can become frustrating to group members because they nullify the reward response for solving a puzzle correctly. Lone Wolves, however, meet their downfall when they encounter a well-designed escape room and their covert methods fail. At this point they have two options:  continue searching for loopholes, or rejoin the team after the majority of the experience has been played. This forces Conduits to backtrack and revisit the information gathering stage to examine any important discoveries the Lone Wolf made while on their own. This costs the group valuable time and could lead to failure.

When forming an escape room team, it’s important for everyone to be on the same page. Conduits help teams achieve that while Lone Wolves cause the team dynamic to break down. Always remember that in well-designed escape rooms, all puzzles will have logical solutions and shortcuts will not be necessary for success. Find a capable Conduit and you’ll be well on your way to working as a cohesive puzzle-solving unit. Bring a Lone Wolf, and you might end up becoming prey to the room.