What is “Dynamic Flow”?
Picture a river. It has a beginning and an end. It flows in one direction and has a speed somewhere between fast and slow. And objects and obstacles like bridges, rocks, trees and people can determine how that river flows.
Likewise, escape rooms have a flow. Good rooms have good flows; bad rooms have bad flows. Is it (mentally) smooth? Bumpy? Stagnant? Illogical? Great at the beginning, tedious at the end? Or vise versa? How things progress smoothly (or not) is based on a hundred variables such as: amount of Players; age of Players; types of puzzles; experience level; amount of puzzles; size of the room; etc.
Dynamic Flow is when everything fires on all cylinders. The room makes sense, Players are solving things at a nice clip, and the whole experience is full of energy and fun.
To achieve Dynamic Flow, we advise that rooms have no more than 6 Players. Especially of the same age. And especially if the room is small. We and Enthusiasts in general will echo that 4 actively engaged Players – give or take 1 — is the sweet-spot.
There is a misconception that the more Players you put in a room, the better. This is not accurate. Studies show – and yes, there are actual studies on escape rooming – that more than 6 Players hinder the flow of a game. What might be an A+ becomes a B+. And if the room is small and/or it’s a public (I.e. game with strangers), then a good room will drop to average or below fast.
Furthermore, it should be understood that it takes at least 5 rooms played over a short period – per year, minimum — until you even reach a period where good rooms start to flow the way they were designed. Once you play your 5th room, you will start to play better and faster. Things just “click” more naturally as you understand the language of rooms.
Another variable: Ask for hints! The rule of thumb is that a room should be “started” in under 7 minutes and then you should be averaging a solve every 3-5 minutes. If you reach a 5-minute mark and can’t figure something out, give someone on your team 2 minutes to try. If after a total of 7 minutes you don’t get it? Just get a hint.
True story: as you play more rooms, you will start to solve things quickly and your team will solve several things at the same time. Thus, giving a buffer of time as the game progresses.
While there are a plethora of things to consider, the amount of Players + the experience of the group + getting hints when needed = Dynamic Flow. In no time you will reach a point where the room is flowing beautifully, and you are completing games with 10-15min to spare with minimum help.
So in the meantime, get 2-3 friends together – or go Duo. Just make sure you play like 4 Players – and start playing rooms every 30-90 days. Then leave your ego at the door and ask for help. You do all of that and simply have fun? Dynamic Flow achieved.