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Big Digital Fox

Thunder Roost is a remote team building experience through gameplay, designed for corporate groups, and created by Amplio Games.

A wild west town, with an old cowboy.

Format

Style of Play:

Who is it For?

  • People who want to improve their team functioning ability
  • Work colleagues looking for a corporate team-building experience

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, headphones, pen and paper or a digital notepad

Recommended Team Size: 2-5

Play Time: 60-90 minutes of play time, plus another 60 minute discussion session

Price: This product is designed for corporate groups. The price ranges from $1,500 – $3,000 per team, which generally includes the game, the analysis/ consulting, and a follow-up 3 months later.

Booking: contact Amplio Games to book

Description

Amplio Games is specifically designed to be an evaluation tool for teams of people that know each other and consistently work together.

This experience is split into 3 Zoom sessions.

In the first Zoom session, we all navigated to the same web address where we used a code to join into a server. We played a shared point-and-click adventure where we all interacted with puzzles and entered solutions.

There was a second Zoom a few days later to review team interactions. The third Zoom would usually take place 3 months later to discuss how the takeaways from the game have been used by the team.

Power Point slide for "Quadrant Analysis" assessing how the team approached the challenge.

This is not a standalone escape game. It is a teamwork evaluation service.

The first part of the process involves the facilitator observing a team playing a specially designed online escape game. This is followed by a session where the strengths of the members and the group itself, are qualitatively critiqued on a number of relevant dimensions.

The game portion has a few design choices that I would normally prefer not to see in a traditional escape game context. In this case, however, their deliberate inclusion creates an environment which allows certain team behaviors to be observed.

The value of this experience definitely lies in the rich, specific feedback that is generated after the gameplay, and I quite enjoyed the impartial observations on whether the way I tackle challenges is actually as effective as I have intended. This is an actual team-building experience, which other games are usually touted as (but really are just fun games).

This experience was split into 2 Zoom sessions, one for the game and a second one a few days later to review our team interactions. The two sessions had very different structures, so I’ve split comments on them into two sections. With a normal client, there would be a third session 3 months later to discuss how the takeaways from the game have been used by the team.

Gameplay:

  • + First puzzle oriented us on how the game worked
  • + Puzzles were not complex, but were reasonably well-constructed
  • – Some puzzles were designed to drive particular team interactions, at the expense of gameplay/ fun
  • – One puzzle had a strong audio focus that was somewhat tedious to extract information from
  • + Story was simple but clear
  • -/+ Hit a bug for one player, but it was quickly fixed and we continued where we left off
  • ? Not sure there would be enough to do for a large team
  • + Puzzles used a variety of solving skills
  • + Good graphics and video clips to present the puzzles

Team Interactions & Performance:

The goals of the review were clearly laid out at the start, and they were more useful than I was expecting. The review focused on how the team and the individuals within the team approached each puzzle, and pointed out particular characteristics of how the team interacted while solving. There was some discussion of strengths and weaknesses, but it was less about telling the team how they should do things differently and more about describing how the team behaved. This allows the team to decide for themselves if they would benefit from trying a different analysis/ solving process.

I was surprised that there was enough to discuss that it took the full hour, but the 32-slide summary had a lot of detail that was worth the time to review, ending with some suggestions about ways to improve our teamwork. It is worth noting that the full report does not automatically go to management. The team has to agree if they want to send the details or just the summary. I suspect in many workplaces there would be pressure to pass along the full document, but it is nice that it isn’t an automatic assumption.

There were a few aspects of the analysis which didn’t seem as meaningful to me, like identifying where teams fell in a map of linear/ lateral thinking and problem solving/ task orientation, but overall I can see the information being useful for a team looking to find areas where they can improve their team interactions and processes.

Kurtis Rohlf’s Reaction

Thunder Roost was a unique experience that meshed an online point-and-click escape room with a corporate team-building evaluation. Once our team played the game portion we had a separate meeting with the creator to discuss our successes at team building along with areas where we could improve.

The gameplay was fun, but not mind-blowing. The puzzles were fun to solve and varied in nature. Some puzzles provided asymmetric information to team members, and I found it fun having to work together to reach a solution. Some of the puzzles were created to be intentionally frustrating to see how the team addressed that difficulty.

I found more value in this game as a team building exercise, rather than a pure escape room experience, and that’s how I recommend it be played. The coolest part of this experience was when we were debriefed on how we did as a team. Receiving a deliverable outlining our team’s strengths and weaknesses was helpful and well made. Amplio Games has created something special here in the realm of corporate team evaluation.

Amplio Games is a unique tool that focuses on providing a team with useful feedback on how they performed with a focus on the positive aspects.

Disclosure: Amplio Games provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.

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