Sievo Culture

Is City Quest the New Escape Room?

Escape rooms have become an increasingly popular pastime. In Helsinki alone, Tripadvisor has 13 of them listed. They are also hugely popular as team event activities for companies and other groups and organizations. So now that everybody has tried them out, what comes next?

At Sievo, we organize four yearly whole company events, which means that we are often in need of new, exciting and fun team activities that we have not tried out yet. And since one Sievonian is really into city quest games, he organized us an introduction to the concept last Friday, when we had one of those whole company events (we call them Sievo Days).

Based on this experience,  it seems that city quests could just be the next big thing to follow room escape games. They are competitive orientative games that combine riddle solving, orienteering and tactics, all done in teams that compete against each other.

The main idea of the game is that all teams receive a list of tasks that need to be carried out in various locations of the city. The trick is that all locations are encrypted within riddles and logical puzzles, and the team needs to solve the riddles first in order to know where the tasks can be completed.

The winning team is the one that completes the tasks fastest, but the total time can be affected by failed tasks (they add penalty minutes to your total time) and completing bonus tasks (they reduce the total time).

Tactics are needed in decisions, like when solve the riddles (all in the beginning or on the move), route planning, whether to do some of the provided bonus tasks and when to give up on a task that you find too difficult to solve. Modern equipment like smartphones provide a lot of help in solving the riddles, and social media can be utilized to demoralize the competing teams.

Personally I really enjoyed the game, probably as much as escape rooms (that I’m a fan of as well). Here are the best parts and why I think city quest works well as a team activity:

  • Game is done in teams – a nice way for people to have fun together
  • Various skills are required – it’s likely that everybody gets to utilize their own strengths
  • You get to see the city and learn new things about your surroundings
  • People (engineers especially) love solving the riddles and logical puzzles
  • Getting around by foot means that some physical exercise is involved
  • There are more than one right ways to complete the game – room for different styles and creativity

Our game was organized by Look & Run Helsinki, who also organize public games in Finland for pedestrians and bikers. So in case you are looking for a team activity, especially if you like escape rooms, you might want to try this out!

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