If a shadowy cabal traps you in an elaborate contest of life-or-death children’s games, these tips might lead to you winning $55 million and not being shot in the head. Here are tips for how to win every game in Netflix’s Squid Game.
Warning: If you haven’t seen Squid Game, this article is nothing but spoilers.
General tips for winning Squid Game
Many Squid Game contestants lose their lives due to freaking out when the shooting starts, so avoid panicking! Take long, even breaths, use visualisation techniques to picture a peaceful setting, consciously relax your body, and try to focus on something other than the likelihood of your imminent death. If you’re calm enough, you might be the only player to notice that all the upcoming games are painted on the walls of your dorm.
Build trust with other players
If you can get other players to trust you in early games, it will be easier to betray them later, so do not hesitate to share tips and advice. That having been said, I wouldn’t join an actual alliance. Only one Squid Game is team-based, so attachments to others are more likely to hurt than help you.
Play the meta-game
Despite their guns and scary jumpsuits, underneath the square and circle masks, The Managers are people, too, and they are not above corruption. They can’t help you with much outright, but they can tell you what game is next, a huge advantage. You’re in luck if you’re a surgeon who can aid their efforts to sell organs to the Chinese, but if you’re not, try to bribe a guard with half your winnings should you survive. It can’t hurt, right?
How to win at Red Light, Green Light
The first of the Squid Game games had a high body count because contestants panicked. When the guns started firing, most players ran for the exit, ensuring their own demise. But it’s actually a fairly easy win. There is plenty of time to reach the finish line, so taking it steady and easy is key.
Take a moment to gather information, and you’ll learn that the scary robot repeats the same sentence before red-light every time. This should allow you enough advance warning to prepare for your freeze.
When it’s time to stop moving, adopt a comfortable, steady, wide position on both feet, knees slightly bent. Shift your weight from foot to foot to keep still. Breathe slowly and don’t tense up.
When it’s time to move again, walk/slow-run steadily forward, keeping your eyes on the ground for falling bodies or blood stains that could trip you, and listen for the phrase. Try to put some distance between you and the other players so no one grabs you.
I don’t recommend using other players as human shields. It shouldn’t be necessary, and it puts you close to another player who could trip you up if they fall in front of you. (I doubt a human body is going to fully protect you from flying bullets anyway.)
How to win at Honeycomb
This Korean game involves trying to chip a simple shape out of a brittle sugar wafer with a needle. It is, by all accounts, very difficult, especially when the punishment for an errant crack is a bullet to the head.
Obviously the fewer angles in the shape you choose, the easier it will be to complete. Too bad you didn’t know beforehand (unless you bribed a guard.)
Failing that, the strategy employed by main character Seong Gi-Hun — licking the cookie until spit dissolves it enough to make the shape easy to separate — is solid. So is the villain’s technique of heating the needle with a stolen lighter.
How to win at Tug of War
Everything you think you know about tug-of-war is wrong. Forget the advice given by Contestant 1 on the show and whatever you remember from gym class. And definitely don’t run forward!
The way we usually play tug of war is in accordance with the rules of the Tug of War International Federation, but these rules ban some of the powerful techniques for pulling a rope, and these rules do not apply in Squid Game.
Start by lifting the rope to your shoulders and turning 180 degrees. With your backs to your opponents, you can lean forward and you’ll have much greater leverage and strength. It’s a little hard to describe, but if you take a look at this video of an Indian Vadam Vali team in action, it’s easy to see why this is technique, plus teamwork and coordination, will win any tug-of-war contest.
How to win The Marble Game
The minimal rules of this game — you have ten minutes to get all your opponents marbles without using violence — makes this a contest of manipulation and trickery.
If you picked an easily fooled partner, say an old man with dementia or a good-hearted immigrant who trusts you, you might be able to score the easiest win in Squid Game history.
Start by saying something like: “To make this fair, let’s count each other’s marbles.” When they hand over their bag, don’t give yours up — just announce to The Managers that you’ve won.
A more subtle way of screwing your opponent is to suggest a “fair” game of odd and evens, then using rudimentary sleight-of-hand techniques to control how many marbles you have in your palm. Given the stress of the situation, engineering some misdirection at opportune moments should be possible, and you’ll probably only have to fake it once or twice to win.
Hat-tip to this YouTube video that suggests convincing your opponent to play a version of NIM in which you cannot possibly lose if you go first.
How to win at Glass Bridge
In this contest, there are 18 pairs of panels to walk across; half are deadly and half are safe. Winning is all about where you are in the lineup. The law of averages says that once 9 people have tried to cross, the way will be clear, but the first person who goes only has a 1 in 262,144 shot of making it across safely. If that’s you, I suggest never stepping on the bridge at all.
Run to the corner and say you’ll let timer run out so everyone dies unless you go later in the lineup. This probably won’t work, but it has a greater than 1 in 262,144 chance of succeeding.
The only other strategy that makes sense here is the one employed in the series, where a glass-maker can tell the tempered from the non-tempered glass. If you can do that, the most important thing to remember is to not tell anyone, lest The Managers turn off the lights and you die.
Some have suggested using everyone’s shoes to chuck at the glass before you step, but, honestly, I don’t think The Managers would let this happen. Those rich arseholes paid a lot of money to watch you die, after all.
How to win at Squid Game
The titular game was apparently popular in Korean schoolyards in the 1970s and 80s. It has fairly complicated rules, but they probably won’t matter. By this point, there are only two contestants left, and each is armed with a steak knife, so it’s likely to be a knife fight to death.
There are a variety of martial arts that involve weapon training, but I’d advise studying the knife fighting techniques detailed in the U.S. Marine Corps close-quarters combat manual — brutal, efficient, and paid for by your tax dollars.
In a nutshell: Wrap your unarmed hand in your tuxedo jacket to make it harder for your opponent to cut you, then block and parry with that hand while slashing and stabbing with the other. Keep in mind, though, that you’re wielding a steak knife, not a combat knife, so your weapon is going to be relatively fragile. Try to avoid stabbing bony places like the skull or chest so your knife doesn’t break or your blade bend.
How to win the final game
If you’re forced to choose whether someone will help a homeless person on the verge of freezing to death, always vote “no.”