One way in which some exit games promote themselves is as an unusual team-building activity for corporate entertainment. If Plato is to be believed, “you can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation”; at the very least, there is over two millennia of wisdom in that maxim. However, even the largest exit game centre in the UK at the moment, London’s Escape Hunt, can only deal with ten groups playing at the same time. (They do have a large corporate breakout area, so they can cope with parties of 100; 50 playing the exit games, rotating with 50 involved with other team-building activities.)
Corporate entertainment companies have taken exit games’ popularity on board. While there is a decades-old tradition of corporate team-building, problem-solving and creativity-stretching events, it’s extremely interesting to see the approach that can be taken when you come from a set of corporate assumptions first and foremost, and possibly corporate assumptions about budget, rather than as a public-facing activity where players can be assumed to be paying their own way.
Eventus host Escape! for 6 to 200 people. The scenario takes place onboard an orbiting space-station. Each participant is a space officer candidate about to embark on the final stage of their officer training. […] As decisions are made the team will gradually learn more about their surroundings. In every “room” they enter they find something good (or maybe not so good!), plus a whole more doors leading deeper into the maze. The challenge is to find a way to the space portal (exit), negotiating all hazards en-route. Teams need to ensure their “life-clock” does not run out. There are radiation hazards, predators, and tough decisions to reach as the team builds up a picture of the space-station. And what about The Oracle? Surely every team will choose to pay The Oracle a visit to unearth some sage advice. Or maybe not? This is a table-based activity rather than having a physical maze to explore, but the company also have problem-solving activities that are rather more kinetic in Eliminator for 7-24 and Labyrinth for 15-200. That would be an unusually precious and gem-like labyrinth, if you get the reference.
Escaping from prison is a frequent exit game theme; the photo atop this article comes from adventure.ie, whose Jail Break event can be run in genuine gaols at either Wicklow or Cork. Parties of 20+ split into smaller teams. After an initial briefing each team is allocated their challenge book. This contains information on the 3 parts of their mission. The first part of the Jail Break event is a series of photos which the teams must find the location of and then answer the relevant questions. Part two of the Jail Break sees the teams solve a number of clues which will lead them to various parts of the jail to find the solution to the riddle. For the final part the teams must complete a number of fun challenges in the jail, these are all fun and non-strenuous. Bonus keys are also scattered around the gaol. The same company also offer treasure hunts and smartphone GPS-guided hunts in locations around Ireland.
Finally, with a tip of the hat to Sam from the forthcoming Enigma Escape, more about which before too long, there are a couple of hours left to book (and no time limit to enjoy thinking about) this already completely funded Kickstarter project, an escape game set in a prison in Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The prison is out of use and will be redeveloped in March, so there are a couple of months in which to use it for exciting projects. Up to 120 players will interact with the 20+ actors who inhabit the prison. We have cast of the best improvisational actors in the Netherlands playing different roles, from warden, priest, gang leaders, and many (corrupt?) guards. Maybe your interactions with them will give you the clues you need to find your way out! Some tickets are left for Real Life Gaming‘s public Dutch-language games in the middle of January, but a company that could pay €6,800 (just over £5,000 at current rates) and to pay to get 120 players to Rotterdam could get a private English-language game of their own.
Exciting possibilities! Even if you don’t work for a company progressive enough to take advantage of them, it’s fun and inspiring to wonder what more there might be over time.