Why? Why Do Teams Stay Small?
It’s because that with a relatively small group of players you have optimal engagement. People feel more comfortable contributing when they don’t feel like they are “on stage.” Public speaking is the #1 fear in the world. More players means more of a chance of “looking stupid” or being censured or criticized – ruining the fun and likelihood of players getting the most out of the game.
Less players means you can take more risks, brainstorm and experiment more, express your ideas with a more light-hearted sense of fun and engagement.
Every Person’s Contribution Matters More.
People feel like they are needed and that they matter and therefore step up to the plate and do their best. Because escape rooms are very challenging by design when someone contributes something that enables the team to solve a puzzle it feels very empowering. It is very good for the player’s sense of self-efficacy and esteem. It’s like scoring a goal or a touchdown or rocking out a great guitar solo in front of a crowd of fans!
It’s Easier to Communicate.
Keeping the size small offers every player the chance to step into a real leadership role within the team (sometime for the first time in their lives) and still, above all else, have it be FUN! But if you get more than 10 or 12 people in a room invariably group psychology causes a percentage of them (often times the introverts and intellectuals to whom these kinds of games can mean SO much) to feel intimidated by the numbers and shrink into a corner rather than participate. I have seen up to a third of really large groups shrink away – ruining what is usually a super fun, and often an amazing self-esteem growing experience for them.
And of course there is the practical side of things: We write these games to be challenging to a group of 10. So if you have 20 then it makes it too easy, they get out too soon, don’t feel very challenged and are let down by the experience.
But we ARE here for you and want to fulfill your needs! So, for colleges that want to work with larger groups here are a couple suggestions…
Split Them Up and Compete.
We have multiple iterations of the same room, so if you like we can put two of the same games side-by-side. We can bring out two rooms of Patient Zero for instance and each half of a 20-person group can enter the rooms at the same time and race. Whoever gets out first wins! And if neither gets out, which can happen a lot, they can compare notes and see who got further in the room (solved the most challenges). That’s ALWAYS fun!
Play a Mega game.
We also have a “mega game” called Watch the Skies that you can consider if you want to have a giant game for a really large group to participate in for an all-day kind of event. It’s more of a role-playing game than an escape room so it doesn’t involve re-decorating (unless you want to) – but the energy and synergy of everyone playing together in a giant group is a blast. The plot is that aliens have been buzzing earth and the nations of the world are meeting to decide how to handle it. It’s a game of international diplomacy during a time where we don’t know if they are hostile or not. We can handle up to 60 players at a time! (But wait… you just said… but how?) We do that by breaking them up into smaller 5-10 person “nations.” We teach student volunteers how to be “control” personnel or referees and it’s a great 8-hour day.
Of course our traditional escape rooms are much more popular for practical and scheduling reasons – and to me they are still my favorite for mind-engaging fun. Whether students are trying to heal zombies, auditioning for the school of wizardry or defusing a bomb – a quick 45 minutes in-between classes is convenient and easy and provides a real “aha!” experience you can’t get from anything else. Plus we have cool lighting and innovative puzzles that stretch the mind and tease the imagination in all the best ways. We look forward to working with you!
Neon Entertainment can deliver an escape room to your campus, anywhere in the US. If you’d like to learn more about the escape room experience, just give us a call.