What is Gringo Warrior?

Gringo Warrior is a scenario-based lockpicking game. Set in a hypothetical kidnapping situation, participants are placed in custody of fictional captors who are holding them against their will and extorting money or some other ransom.

Instead of complying with their demands, participants use lockpicks, assorted tools, or even improvised items like paperclips and beer cans in order to affect their escape through a variety of impediments.

Starting out in handcuffs, players in Gringo Warrior have to free themselves from these shackles, then escape from the "room" in which they are being held... essentially, they simply have to open a locked doorknob. In this scenario, their captors have taken the player's wallet/passport and have it locked in a filing cabinet. If the participant chooses, he or she may try to open this lock as well. There is one more door lock between them and freedom, but it is a deadbolt and slightly harder than the previous one. Ultimately, if the kidnap victim makes it outside the last door, they even have the option of attempting an automotive lock in order to make use of one of the captors' vehicles as they escape to freedom.

Along the way, as players run through the game course, there are additional challenges to consider including the presence of a guard who must be dealt with and the ability of players to take steps to appear less conspicuous when they finally make it outside, such as picking padlocks on storage lockers in order to steal a uniform from their captors. A great deal of variety exists in how players can tackle the locks and obstacles, making for a game that is accessible to novices yet which can also be challenging even to seasoned lockpickers.

Each "stage" of the game features multiple locks that can be approached in order for the player to have an "easy" "medium" or "hard" challenge. For example, the first "door" is actually presented as a set of three doorknobs. The "easy" doorknob contains a modified lock with only two pins stacks, the "medium" knob is a standard consumer model, and the "hard" doorknob is a commercial product that includes anti-pick security pins.

In this manner, each of the key elements of the game can be tackled quickly and easily, or can be worked with precision and skill. Since the whole game is timed (and time is a factor in one's score) there is a wonderful and delicate balance between running the game quickly on the "easy" level versus taking longer but opening the "hard" locks. Players are permitted to mix and match as they go... they are not confined to one single "track" as they proceed. If an attempt on a "hard" or even a "medium" lock seems to be taking too long, they may drop back to an easier one. Once a stage has been completed, however, the player must advance forward and cannot attempt additional locks on the same obstacle for more points.

Players have five minutes to escape to freedom. At the end of their run, any time left on the clock is converted to bonus points. (Each second remaining is one point.) Each "stage" of the game is worth 20 points, but attempting more difficult locks incorporates a degree of difficulty bonus. Hence, opening the "easy" lock is worth 20 points, the "medium" is a 3x multiplier (or 60 points), and the "hard" is a 5x multiplier (for a total of 100 points).

In this way, persons who tackle the hardest locks (even if it takes them a longer) will prevail over someone who flashes immediately through the course trying only the "easy" challenges. Skill is rewarded, but novices can still experience the exhilaration of success.

Gringo Warrior makes appearances at many hacker cons and security-centric conferences around the world. It has been played at DEFCON, ShmooCon, HOPE, NotACon, LayerOne, ToorCon, ShakaCon, ekoparty, and elsewhere. Often, it appears in concert with members of TOOOL hosting a Lockpick Village where people can learn about physical security, try their hand at picking, and gain insight into how to best protect themselves and their assets from theft or tampering.

If you would be interested in seeing Gringo Warrior appear at an event you're hosting, please feel free to email us anytime at... gringo@deviating.net