How To Choose a Virtual Escape Room for Team Building
You’ve decided you would like to host a Virtual Escape Room for team bonding purposes. How do you choose the best one for your group? There are questions you should ask in order to determine the perfect fit for your goals and objectives. These include…
What technology is required to take part in a Virtual Escape Room?
The “virtual” in Virtual Escape Rooms means that technology must be used in order to participate! It’s important to ask:
- How will my team “meet” to play the game? Will all meet on one web platform? Does each team need to coordinate how they’ll meet up to play?
- If players do access the game via an online meeting platform, can we use ours, or does it have to be yours? Most companies provide a video conference platform, such as Zoom, complimentary for their employees. But many are tied to a specific platform. If you need to use a different platform, such as Microsoft Teams, Webex, Google Meet, etc. that may not be possible with all virtual escape room providers, as their game or experience may be linked to their specific conference platform. So, do some digging if you’re restricted on what your company can access.
- How will my team access the virtual game or experience?
- App Based Games – These require players to download a free app to play the game. If an app is required, search for one that is non-intrusive and ask what permissions it allows for. For instance, if an app asks for permission to access participants’ list of contacts, this may make participants hesitant.
- Web Based Games – These require participants to visit a website address where they complete challenges. It’s wise to ask the provider to send you a link prior to the game, so you can test it to ensure your company’s firewall does not block the website on company-provided computers.
- Game Facilitators – In these games, a facilitator joins each room to share their screen to show clues to participants.
Is this Virtual Escape Room right for my team building needs and goals?
In order to determine this, ask the provider:
- What is the difficulty level?
- What demographic/age range was the game created for? I.e., if it’s designed for families and your group is all adults, parts of the game may not be challenging enough. Vice versa it may be too hard if you have younger participants playing and the game was created for adults.
- How long is the game? There’s a reason why we offer 30, 60, and 90-minute long experiences. Different people may enjoy a shorter experience, while others prefer a longer one.
- Can the Virtual Escape Room be customized? Imagine the look of surprise when your meeting participants come across information about your company in a game! If your provider is not able to program in custom challenges or create a totally custom room, like Wildly Different is, ask if they can at least try to tie in your theme to the kick-off, if provided. For instance, in a spy-themed game, perhaps the spy is working to retrieve stolen company secrets.
- What is the final outcome? In some Virtual Escape Rooms, teams win by escaping before time is up – it’s all about the fun of seeing if you can achieve a common goal as a group. In others, such as in our app-based games, teams earn points for solving clues, completing challenges, and bonus points for escaping before time is up! This may be important if you want to award prizes. Or, if you want to ensure teams don’t rush through the experience, but really take the time to communicate with one another and listen to all players’ input to ensure maximum points are earned.
How much work will I have to do?
- Find out if your Virtual Escape Rooms will be:
- Self-facilitated – You have to buy codes for everyone who is playing, distribute that information, arrange a video conference platform for people to play together, etc.
- Full service with Game Masters who greet guests, conduct a kick-off and ending, take care of breakout rooms, etc.
- Ask what will happen if a situation should arise. Is the game monitored throughout should a tech issue arise, not only in the game itself, but to support participants who may not be as tech-savvy? Is there more than one Game Master present in case the Game Master loses internet connection?
What is the in-room experience like?
It’s a good idea to get a sneak peek or demo of the game before moving ahead with it. Virtual Escape Rooms are very different, and you’ll want to pick the one that appeals to your group the most. For instance:
- What are the graphics like? Is the game “static” with not a lot of movement and a lot of reading? Or, does the scene change throughout with multiple screens/rooms? Does it utilize a lot of video, which could be a problem if someone has a poor Internet connection?
- How will your Virtual Escape Room promote team building? I.e.:
- Can all players move around the room? This is nice so everyone feels involved and it ensures teammates must communicate with one another. Or…
- Is one person on their team – or even someone else, such as a facilitator or host – in charge of the game screen? For instance, some Virtual Escape Rooms are delivered with a “live” person in an actual Escape Room wearing a video camera who is directed by the teammates to perform actions or there may be a Game Master in each room sharing their screens. With this, there is always the possibility that your team will rely on the Game Master more than team dynamics to help them solve clues. Ask how they’ll ensure the team will stay engaged.
- How many people can be in a game?
- It’s best to keep numbers to 5-8 people per team, otherwise, people start talking over one another and introverts will hang back and not contribute.
- If your group is large, it may be important for you to pick a virtual team building company who can give you one link that allows all participants begin the experience as a group vs. having to split people up onto teams in advance and send different information to participants, which could cause confusion.
- Will our game be private, or would we be placed in a room with strangers?
How long have you been running Virtual Escape Rooms?
You’ll want to ensure the virtual team building company’s games are “tried and true.” It’s also a great idea to check testimonials and online reviews. Be on the lookout for those from groups that also used a game for team bonding and to build comradery vs. other social groups who may just have been playing with friends and family, whose needs and expectations may be quite different. There are many virtual escape room companies, be sure to select the one that best suits your needs, including on hands support.
Learn more about how virtual escape rooms work in our earlier blog.