Team building review: Clue Finders – The Live Escape Game (Liverpool)
King Edward Industrial Estate, Gibraltar Row, Liverpool, L3
Review by Lawrence Saunders
Paintballing, go karting and laser tag are all classic team building activities used the world over by companies keen to get their staff working more effectively as a unit. A live escape game may not naturally be included on this list so it was with a sense of intrigue and slight apprehension that the Move Commercial team – myself and three intrepid co-workers – headed to Liverpool’s Clue Finders.
Located on a small industrial estate on the edge of the city centre, Clue Finders challenges players to break out of a locked room by finding clues, keys and solving puzzles, and claims to offer an “environment a million miles away from the workplace” in which to test teamwork skills.
Now I understand for many of you reading this that spending 60 minutes locked in a small room with colleagues would constitute a cruel and unusual punishment, leaving you wishing you could have gone paintballing instead, but bear with me.
On arrival we were directed upstairs to a briefing room and told to await further instructions. Our friendly game host proceeded to tell us the story of missing spy Remy, before explaining that it was our job to find out where he’d ended up. We were also reminded that the all-important keys to the numerous padlocks were very well hidden, a fact which would soon become frustratingly apparent.
After being handed a locked briefcase and a walkie talkie for our team captain, it was time to get to work.
The first thing that struck the Mystery Movers (brilliant team name) was the attention to detail in Remy’s office. It’s clear a substantial amount of time and effort has been put into making this setting as realistic as possible. Everything from the furniture to the fireplace fitted the 1940s feel to a tee and helped create an absorbing atmosphere.
The Mystery Movers were making solid progress through the room, unlocking multiple padlocks and solving clues until the location of the final key for a large wardrobe eluded the team, despite our increasingly fraught efforts. Luckily, our game host was on hand to gently push us in the right direction with a vital clue displayed on a wall-mounted monitor.
The number of clues provided throughout the escape attempt depended on how well – or not so well – our team was doing, meaning each pointer was tinged with a hint of irritation that we couldn’t figure out the next step unaided. Although without the hints, of which we had 11 (the average is 10), we would never have made it out in time or enjoyed the full Clue Finders experience.
I’m happy to report that just as I had anticipated, the Mystery Movers functioned like a well-oiled machine throughout the escape, dealing with each challenge and puzzle in a logical manner without any one member of the team dominating the discussion.
Clue Finders was a highly enjoyable and novel way to test our ability to function well under pressure within a group, something that is particularly pertinent to our profession.
The challenges were tough without being impossible, the props authentic and the story well thought out and impeccably executed.
When you’re planning your next office team building get together, forget rolling around in the mud or an overpriced day of go karting – give Clue Finders a try.