Bringing “Experience” to your town centre
Rugby, 18 March
Leamington Spa, 1 April
Mansfield, 22 April
BOOKING FROM MAY ONWARD NOW BEING TAKEN
It has long been recognised that just offering shopping alone doesn’t cut it for town centres. If people just want to shop, they will probably go online, and even if they want to buy now, rather than wait for the post, they will go to an out of town retail park, click and collect (or both).
We know that town centres go way beyond just a shopping experience, offering the opportunity to socialise with friends over coffee or food, and do all the things that you can’t, and never will be able to do, online, like go to the hairdresser or get your eyes tested! Services and leisure are an increasing part of the offer that makes for a great “experience”.
I’ve been working with Casebook Events, who are tapping into that desire, aiming at the Smartphone generation, to bring them back into town to do what their parents did; have a great social experience with people, not just shop. It has also proven to be a great opportunity for those locations that offer free Wi-Fi.
In Casebook’s “Mystery of the Star Eaters” the whole town centre is the game board. The first story, The Mystery of the Star-Eaters, was piloted in Norwich & Buxton, this first story is rolling out this spring to Leamington Spa, Lincoln, Mansfield, Ruby and Stratford-upon-Avon. Bookings for May onward are now being taken.
Following on from the huge success of the likes Pokemon Go and “locked room” games this “live action adventure” invites amateur sleuths to become a ‘consulting detective’ and turn the centre into a giant Cluedo board for the day.
Locked Room games have exploded in popularity. I first experienced this a few years ago with Hint Hunt in London as a team building exercise. Teams get locked into a room and, as the clocked ticks down from 60 minutes you have to solve clues and puzzles to find the way out.
As part of a national tour of places that will be transformed into the real-life adventure game, the event has been also been featured in VisitEngland’s influential blog. So, for all those people who have ever dreamed of being Indiana Jones, Lara Croft or even the world’s greatest detective Sherlock Holmes then they can grab their deerstalker and bullwhip and take part in a new live action mystery adventure event.
Players will follow clues, question witnesses and solve puzzles as they investigate the mystery of a vanishing professor. Designed for the smartphone generation, the game will encourage hundreds of people to get off the sofa and explore the town, including some unusual locations.
Casebook Events is the brainchild of graphic designer Stephen Blackwell, “The only way that we could genuinely replicate the feel of an investigation was to actually transform the city centre by hiding the game throughout it and making the whole area part of it. That included coordinating with over a dozen buildings, shops and attractions (some not usually open to the public) and roping in many brave local actors and volunteers.”
“It’s always been a bit of a dream of mine to play out Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade for real so we’ve tried to create something exactly like that, full of adventure, mystery and fun.”
While searching for Professor Macclesborugh, the academic who was researching the towns’ hidden subterranean areas, players find themselves caught up in a web of intrigue involving a thousand-year-old legend, a mythical ancient treasure and a shadowy cult at the heart of the city.
The story quickly progresses into a cat and mouse adventure involving a mythical ancient treasure, an almost supernatural power, a shadowy organisation at the heart of the [town/city] and finally a shocking twist.
The game runs from 9am and the final detectives go out at 2pm. Takes 2-3 hours to complete and a maximum of 500 adult players per day to avoid crowding. The game is not ‘linear’ so the players will visit locations in a different order, avoiding congestion.
Participants are advised to play in teams of 2-6 to fully enjoy the experience although there is no limit on numbers. Families are also being encouraged to play with free entry for under 12 year-olds and a dedicated mini-mystery game for them to play concurrently.
When participants arrive, they will receive a copy of the casefile along with a map and ‘consulting detective’ badge to identify them as they try to crack the case. Everything is revealed at a final location and players can compare notes and see how many clues they cracked.
The host location, often a BID or local authority, the host is “promoter” of the event and has major branding opportunities. There is a set-up fee of £2,000, but there are opportunities to recoup this through ticketing. The base cost for players is £10, which is often much less than the cost of “locked room” games per player, but this can be increased if the host wants to cover costs or make a profit.
Director, Casebook Events