Mildly Multiplayer Office Runaround Puzzle Game
January 26, 2009 9:48 PM   Subscribe

I need help coming up with an idea for a short, simple, but immensely entertaining activity at work (banking office). There's about 20 people, and maybe a 15-minute time limit. Half knowledge/trivia test, and half scavenger hunt/capture-the-flag type game.

Initially I'm thinking of separating into four or five teams. Maybe each team has a "base," consisting of one member's cubicle. Each team goes from one question/clue to another, so they get to run around the office (there's also a big break room right across the hall).

The questions might be multiple-choice stuff like "Who's the Secretary of the Treasury?" and "Who's on the dime?" Also observational stuff about the building that people may have never noticed, like "What color are the walls on the first floor hallway?"

The "war" aspect I'm having trouble with. It'd be cool to have each team have a "captain" and if they're somehow captured, they're eliminated. And/or each base has a flag, which the other teams try to steal and return to their base.

Another idea I had was that each correct answer corresponds to a letter, and by unscrambling them to form a certain word, it "defuses" a bomb. And/or each answer leads them to another part of the office, and if they're wrong, they realize they have to go back and guess again.

I'm looking to pare down from a collection of ideas from video games, old-fashioned outdoor games, scavenger hunts, and board games, as well as stuff like the competitions on Survivor, the Amazing Race, and the Mole.

Thanks in advance, and I'd be more than happy to provide follow-up details if necessary.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing to Grab Bag (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This is a little different than your other ideas, but an Egg Drop Engineering Contest is really fun.

Make a space suit or landing pad for your egg, so it will withstand a fall from ceiling height.
There will be a time limit, limited materials, and a scoring system.

Each team gets:
one raw egg
20 drinking straws
1 yard of masking tape
optional: other objects (these can be different for each team, or all the same. Sample objects: small ziploc bag, sheet of newspaper, handful of popsicle sticks, old magazine, bag of cotton balls, handful of paper towels, etc)
You can extend the time by putting all the materials together on a table and giving each team fake money, then auctioning off the items. Or just give each team the same stuff.

Whatever you want- can be as short as 10 minutes, or as long as 30, to build the contraption.

Put a paper target on the floor, surrounded by newspaper.
Boss stands on a desk & holds the protected egg at ceiling height.
Team places landing pad if necessary.
Team verbally directs boss where to hold the egg to drop from, when it's right, they count down & boss drops it (not throw, just drop)

Scoring: (make up something like this)
Egg lands without breaking = 50
Cracked but still mostly intact & not leaking = 30
Busted = 0
Lands right on target = 50
Hits target but bounces off = 30
Misses target = 0
Bonus points for style and ingenuity
Bonus points for finishing construction before the time limit ran out

Keener Bonus Round:
if an egg didn't break, you can do a bonus round of throwing it down the stairs or off a balcony or something for extra fun.

This is reeeeally fun and surprisingly fascinating & competitive.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 11:18 PM on January 26, 2009

Your game is, IMO, too complicated. I like your ambition, but don't lose sight of the fact that you're essentially looking to fill a coffee-break, not embark on an odyssey. Just stick with the station-based trivia challenge and everyone will have a blast. You can tweak that basic framework a bit (rules about who can answer what questions, what happens if you get one wrong, etc.), but adding on an additional, relatively incongruous layer is asking for trouble. It'll sound great in your head, but it'll totally break down when you actually play it.

BTW, I think The Office's recent riff on debates was pretty inspired. Pop-culture-meets-Oxford-style-debates is a recipe for hilarity.
posted by mkultra at 7:28 AM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: (I'm glad someone else liked that episode. Fittingly enough, there's been heated debate on both sides of the quality of that one on the message boards, and the entire season in general.)

Anyway, I am trying to keep it simple, but I just want a unique, active premise to work with. I'd think those reality show competitions would be a good inspiration, but I just can't recall any right now that would be applicable.

And thanks for the suggestion, pseudo, but we had one a similar construction game a while back, and I'm set on doing a knowledge/trivia thing. And I'm sure someone else will do something like the eggdrop when it's their turn (a pair of employees does some sort of informative/motivational shtick each week).
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 10:53 PM on January 27, 2009

Hm. Perhaps for the "war" aspect, you could play something like Werewolf (Mafia)? Might be a bit too long in duration for your needs, though.

More info on Wikipedia here.
posted by anthy at 9:25 AM on January 28, 2009

Best answer: I also saw the Werewolf/Mania before (after finding a link on a previous, and much longer, MeFi group game thread). It sounds fun but I'm not sure I could run that under the guise of an informative/motivational activity.

Anyway, I think I have a solution... I'll have four teams, and each picks a cubicle as their base. They're each given a card with the first question, and a map which shows where some other question cards are scattered around the office.

Any of the team members can stay and answer questions, or retrieve cards, in any order. (If I had more allotted time, I'd probably stick to one runner, or have the entire teams run from one clue to the next).

Each question is multiple choice, and each answer is paired with a corresponding letter. Once this portion is completed, they're given a message with missing letters. They plug the letters in, and the decoded message tells them the location of a particular item they have to retrieve to win.

Unfortunately I won't be able to benefit from using product placement as part of the prizes...
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 11:58 PM on January 29, 2009

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