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How a Virtual Escape Game Works

Veronica Brundle - Jul 6 2022, 3:01:03 PM

If you’ve been on the hunt for an exciting online experience for your team, you may have run across virtual escape games. These provide a hands-on, interactive experience that’s great for team building, entertainment, and employee-centric activities. They promote engagement in the workplace and challenge your team to think critically about their surroundings.

Not convinced your team would benefit from an experience like this? According to a Gallup survey, more than 56% of employees feel disengaged in the workplace. As an employer, you should always look for new ways to get buy-in from your employees and keep the morale high.

Even if you aren’t set on booking the virtual experience just yet, we’re here to show you exactly how a virtual escape game works and how you can use it to your benefit in the workplace.

Here’s everything you need to know and why you should book a virtual escape game.

What is a virtual escape game?

Virtual escape games are similar to an in-person escape room with the exception of being completely online. Most games take place over Zoom or another video-conferencing software. They usually have a game dashboard your team will need to toggle to and from.

Throughout the experience, your team will need to look for clues, solve riddles, or complete puzzles before the time runs out. The best part: It doesn’t matter where you are. You can join in on the fun with your coworkers, friends, or family all from completely different areas of the country or world.

How a virtual escape game works

Choosing a virtual adventure

There’s a wide range of online escape game themes you can choose from. Whether you’re looking for a prison break where your team needs to save space from the forces of evil or if you want to go back in time to 1921 and help Sherlock Holmes solve a mystery, the opportunities are seemingly endless. When looking at the different themes, always consider your team members’ interests to find one that everyone will enjoy.

Things to consider

The two largest logistical components are group size and duration. Some escape events are designed for smaller, more intimate groups of fewer than 20, and some can support as many as 1,000 individuals. At the very least, you usually need more than four people for the team-based game to work.

But first, ask yourself what you’re hoping to get from scheduling this experience. Are you looking to improve the relationship between two departments at work, or is your team in need of some relationship building? Either way, you could choose to plan multiple smaller sessions rather than one large one to maximize results.

Next, you’ll need to consider how long you want the game to be. Some online escape games are as quick as 30 minutes, and some can be upward of 90 minutes. Take a look at your team calendar to see how much time you can realistically block out for this team-building event to ensure your team is dedicated and focused on the activity as it takes place.

What you’ll need

Most virtual escape rooms require internet access, a laptop or computer with a large enough screen, and Zoom or another video-conferencing platform. Before the event, everyone participating will receive an email with a URL to log in to the game dashboard and the conference. We recommend encouraging your team to show up five minutes early and ready to play.

The setup

You’ve picked a game and invited all your team members — let the game begin!

But first, a host or game moderator will walk you and your team through the experience. They’ll set the scene, get everyone in the mood, and prepare you for the adventure you’re about to embark on as a group.

After introductions are made, they’ll split your group into smaller breakout rooms. Then, everyone will need to work together to overcome challenges, solve riddles, puzzles, and more. Make sure everyone listens carefully — you never know when you might hear a clue!

Escape before time runs out!

Once the game begins, it’s time to get to work. Unlike in-person escape rooms, everyone is on a camera in a breakout room, discussing everything with their team members. Things can escalate quickly so they’ll need to use their listening skills to connect and hear everyone’s thoughts and ideas.

With only a defined amount of time to solve the puzzle, they’ll need to work fast, talk through the clues, and beat the clock before the other team does to be crowned the winner.

Virtual escape game tips

Come prepared

If you don’t already have Zoom or the video-conferencing software you’ll be using, make sure you download it to your computer ahead of time. Before the virtual experience, you’ll receive an email with the link to join the game. You’ll want to save this email and have it readily available.

Make sure everyone arrives on time (or better yet, five minutes early!) ready to play and hear all about the game. Once the host starts going over the details, be sure to bring up any questions or concerns that may help you decipher the clues.

Use a computer or laptop

Virtual escape games aren’t suitable for a tablet or an iPhone since you won’t be able to access the game dashboard on the Zoom app. Use a laptop or desktop to get the most out of the experience and participate to the best of your ability.

Split your screen

To easily access both the dashboard and video-conferencing app, you’ll want to work on a split-screen or, better yet, two monitors.

Prioritize communication

Communication is key. If you don’t already have experience communicating with your team, a virtual escape game will definitely teach you how to! Things are moving quickly, and you’ll need to work in a collaborative environment, discuss the riddles, think critically about the clues, and everything in between.

Listen carefully

Listening is a vital skill for this virtual game. You never know when a hint or clue might be right in front of you or if a team member has a great idea you all can benefit from. The best path to success is listening carefully to your team members and the game host.

Eliminate all distractions

Before the game, put your phone on silent and have all of your other webpages closed. You’ll also want to put your Slack or Teams channel on “do not disturb.” Your team members need you so make sure to keep your eyes on the game and not that gif that popped up from one of your other coworkers.

Have a paper and pen ready

If you have an idea, write it down so you don’t lose it! That way you can always stay one step ahead, and you don’t forget anything during the excitement of the game.

Stay organized

There’s going to be a lot going on — clues, tips, riddles, items you found, codes, locks, and not to mention lots of laughs from your coworkers. If you aren’t organized, you could miss out on an opportunity to solve the game.

Pay attention to clues

Clues are everywhere. In addition to taking notes along the way, be sure to think out loud to hear if any of your coworkers are on the same page. You never know where one path may lead you!

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

The host will go over any and all the rules and specifics you need to know to succeed. They’re there to guide you and help set you and your team up for the experience. If something isn’t absolutely clear to you, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification, especially since they won’t be there to help once the experience begins.

Speak up

If you aren’t used to working with your team members, you may feel awkward about bringing things up if you aren’t confident enough. However, hesitation can cause you the game. If you see something, make sure you say something. Even if you’re wrong, it could help spark your team members’ brainstorming, which can help you win the game.

Watch the clock

Time goes by fast when you’re having fun. Keep a close eye on the clock to ensure you don’t run out of time. Most games are only 30 to 60 minutes long, and it goes by faster than you think.

Lean on your team members

Your team is there to help you! Throughout this experience, don’t be afraid to lean on them for help and count on them for clues and ideas. You’ll be able to grow a deeper connection with them while sharpening your team-building skills.

Have fun!

Remember: It’s just a game! It's easy to get wrapped up in the moment, so make sure to have fun and enjoy the ride.

Ways to use an online escape game in the workplace

You may be wondering how you can use these types of experiences to your workplace benefit.

Here are a few of our favorite ways.

Team-building activity

These games encourage your team members to work collaboratively to think strategically through the clues. Together, they’ll learn how to work through challenges together, strengthen their bond, and have some fun!

Employee appreciation

Your employees deserve to feel appreciated and needed in the workplace. You can easily show them you care and appreciate all their hard work by scheduling an escape game experience for them. You can choose to book one with a shorter duration so you can plan other activities, like icebreakers and happy hour

Interactive happy hour

Virtual happy hours are fun already. However, sometimes it can be hard to get everyone to warm up in a short amount of time. Instead, consider planning an interactive activity, like an online escape game. Your team will get to sip something sweet, socialize with their coworkers, and put their skills to the test.

New hire orientation

Starting a new job is stressful enough. It can be overwhelming to engage with new people all day and feel relaxed. If you were to set some time aside for everyone to have some fun, your new hires will be much more likely to engage and socialize with others.

Our top 5 escape adventures

We weren't kidding, there’s a wide range of themes to choose from for virtual escape games. If you’re set on scheduling an experience for you and your team, here are five of our top choices.

Puzzled to Death

The owner of a local board-game store has been murdered. Your team will need to go through a series of puzzles to solve the mystery and get to the bottom of this. The murderer placed hidden clues in every game around the store so you and your team members will need to tackle 10 mini-games to solve this mystery. Think you can handle it? This online escape game can support 25 to 600 participants and is 75 minutes long.

Diamond Maze

An eccentric Maze Master will challenge your team in four fully themed adventure zones.  You will have to find your way through the Aztec Maze, Industrial Maze, Medieval Maze, and Futuristic Maze.  Can you solve all the mazes and escape?  The Diamond Maze supports 8 to 200 participants and lasts one hour.  Teams can be selected at random or determined prior to the event.  

Mafia 360

Going back to the days of bootleggers, this escape game incorporates La Cosa Nostra, federal agents, and high-ranking DC politicians.  Can you and your group solve the escape that mixes in a strong cocktail of fun and intellectual challenge?  Everyone will interact through immersive, virtual escape. You’ll need to investigate the room, move objects and access the inventory of props between team members.  Only a group with strong communication and ideas will escape this room!  This event supports 10 to 350 participants and is one hour and fifteen minutes long.

Live-Action Escape Game

This is an unreal experience, unlike any other game you’ve played online. It brings together the best of escape rooms and video games, including a live performance where players help the hero in real-time at a real location. Your team will need to solve puzzles, find artifacts, and explore the scene to solve the game. This experience can support groups of four to 30 participants and is 90 minutes long.

Gold Rush

Be the first to find the gold in the hills of Northern California.  Clyde Hamilton, a greedy prospector, has made too many wrong bets, and now he is missing.  You were tipped off to where is gold is so move quickly and find it.  A game guide will act as your eyes and ears using a live video feed.  This escape is an hour long and supports 4 to 8 participants. 

Book your next virtual escape game with Elevent

At the end of the day, you really can’t go wrong with booking a virtual escape game for your team members. These experiences are unlike anything you’ve planned for your team before. They bring the excitement and the entertainment of an in-person experience and combine it with convenience, allowing you to connect with your team members, no matter where they are.

Remote and hybrid work has its ups and downs, and they pose a challenge for engagement and team building. That’s why taking the time to plan virtual experiences is so important and should be a priority for all businesses.

At Elevent, we have a wide range of virtual escape games you can choose from. You can search through our list of events by duration, group size, or price to narrow down your options and find one that works best for you and your team.

Still not sold on a virtual escape game? We have everything from trivia to murder mysteries.

Book with Elevent today.

Originally published at Jul 6 2022, 3:01:03 PM. Updated on Sep 27 2022.

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