The Final of Red Bull Mind Gamers 2017 on March 25 was a battle of the underdogs, as Slovenia topped Ukraine for the first-ever Escape Room World Championship. What happened to favorites like the USA and Singapore – and the other teams from 25 nations? Fresh details from the Semi-Finals and Finals:

The USA. Singapore. France. The UK. South Korea. Switzerland. Based on prior results and experience, one of those national champion teams should have come home from history’s first-ever Escape Room World Championship in Budapest on Saturday with the historic gaming crown. Instead, it was Slovenia and Ukraine who faced off for the coveted trophy, with Slovenia claiming the world title. Why?

The brilliant game designers and developers behind the vast, technologically sophisticated Escape Room based on quantum physics can now begin to study the data gained from observing 24 teams from 25 nations take on a variety of never-before-seen challenges that tested creativity, logic, visual thinking and strategy. Early insights:

Semi-Final Day One

The Semi-Finals were conducted at an abandoned factory in the tightest secrecy. Each team faced the same seven challenges, and Spain solved the opening Virtual Reality game almost a minute faster than Hungary. In the “Sentry” laser challenge, Italy and Estonia prevailed with Switzerland right behind. The UK shined in the Vortex Tunnel, Austria topped the Firewall, and Spain excelled at the Pegwall, perfectly placing pegs while balancing on a ledge, with Germany and Lithuania also showing well. When it got down to the final two challenges, Wormhole and the Bending Realities construction project, only Slovenia and France were able to complete the Escape Room. France was expected to do well, but Slovenia claimed the spot in the Final thanks to their consistency and strong push to the finish.

Semi-Final Day Two

As 12 more teams faced the unexpected in Day Two, it was Russia who took the early lead in Virtual Reality, followed by Romania and Wildcard 1 (representing Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and the USA). The Russians also won Sentry, but then Wildcard 1 surged ahead with wins of the Vortex Tunnel, where Sweden and Singapore were also dominant, and Firewall, where Team USA finally showed a hint of their promise. Romania schooled everyone on the Pegwall and the "Global Wildcard" team looked to be on the verge of Semi-Final victory in winning the Wormhole. But then in Bending Realities, Ukraine turned the tables and delivered a mind-bending time, like Slovenia winning their Semi by staying cool and charging at the end.

Finals

The Escape Room was completely reconfigured for the Finals, presenting Slovenia and Ukraine with seven new challenges, including electronic components specially created in Serbia. Slovenia swiftly won the first four mind-boggling challenges – Quicksilver, Spinner, Realign, and Unravel, but neither team could solve the reconfigured Vortex Tunnel. In the last two challenges on lighted screens, the Ukrainians rapidly gained ground, for a neck-and-neck finish that saw Slovenia clinch the win in a nailbiter.

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Team Slovenia vs. Ukraine

Red Bull Mind Gamers Rankings

Final Round: WINNER: SLOVENIA

1. Slovenia
Team members: Jaka Koren, Jan Kromar, Roman Zalokar, Srdjan Veselinov)

2. Ukraine
Petro Fomin, Viktor Garber, Oleksii Gurskyi, Diana Remizovska

Semi-Finals Day One:
Rank / Amount of rooms finished

1. Slovenia / 8
2. France / 8
3. Estonia / 7
4. Switzerland / 7
5. United Kingdom / 7
6. Spain / 7
7. Hungary / 7
8. Lithuania / 7
9. Norway / 7
10. Germany / 7
11. Austria / 6
12. Italy / 6

Red Bull Mind Gamers Rankings, Semi-Finals Day Two:
1. Ukraine, 2. Global Wildcard Team, 3. Russia, 4. Romania, 5. Turkey, 6. Sweden, 7. South Korea, 8. Singapore, 9. USA, 10. DxM Wildcard Team, 11. Oman, 12. Azerbaijan

1. Ukraine / 8
2. Global Wildcard Team / 8 
3. Russia / 7
4. Romania / 7
5. Turkey / 7
6. Sweden / 7
7. South Korea / 7
8. Singapore / 7
9. USA / 7
10. DxM Wildcard Team / 6
11. Oman / 6
12. Azerbaijan / 6

Watch the Red Bull Mind Gamers World Championship, On Demand on Red Bull TV.