WORKSHOPS & FACILITATION

Escape the BOOM! is awesome for Team Buildings, Agile Retrospectives, Company Workshops, Off-Sites, BarCamp-Sessions, remote Christmas Parties, Family Events… you name it. It works great from three up to an infitine number of players, in remote settings as well as on-site.

PREPARATION FOR ON-SITE SESSIONS

  • Schedule at least 45-60 minutes for the session. Maybe in the afternoon, so the team members can go on playing after hours if they want to.
  • Organize participants into small teams of 3-5 people, ensuring each team has its own table equipped with pens and paper.
  • Bring a printout of the manual for each participant. Because flipping through pages is more fun than scrolling. Printing the manual in color on A5 (half-letter) paper adds a nice touch.
  • Each team will need at least one smartphone or tablet. Don’t worry if you can’t supply enough devices – simply ask participants to bring their own and download the app. To facilitate this, you can put up a poster with a QR-Code with the download location. [Download the QR-Code here]
  • We suggest offering group licenses to all players, so they can share their progress and don’t have the hassle of in-app purchases. It also serves as a nice gift.

PREPARATION FOR REMOTE SESSIONS

These days it’s increasingly important to reflect on our remote collaboration. Escape the BOOM offers an excellent opportunity to uncover teamwork patterns in remote settings, or simply provide a fun team-building experience for teams that seldom meet in person.

  • Organize participants into groups of 3-5 members. If you have more than one group, choose a video conferencing tool that supports break out rooms.
  • Prior to the session, ensure all participants have the Escape the BOOM! app installed on their devices. We highly recommend distributing group licenses to everyone, so they can share their progress, as passing the device around is obviously impossible.
  • If feasible, mail the printed manual in advance. You can even add a bit of drama, labelling the envelope with something like “CLASSIFIED! DO NOT OPEN BEFORE TEAM WORKSHOP!” – for addded fun, some companies include treats or a ‘defuser kit’ in the package.
  • In cases where postal delivery isn’t viable, direct participants to download the manual from this website, and recommend to do a printout if they can.
  • We recommend to use an online collaboration tool such as Miro or Mural to collect and visualise the progress and session debriefing.

FACILITATING THE SESSION

  • Prepare an introduction with a bit of drama, such as: ““Imagine you’re living in the 70s, the times of the Cold War. And you have just found a bomb. Unfortunately, you have no clue how to defuse bombs. But you have the phone number of the folks who have the manual, and you call them immediately. Now talk it out quickly and defuse the bomb!”
  • Now, let every group select an operator. This person is the only one who can look at the bomb, the other ones consult their manuals to guide the operator through the bomb defusion.
  • Now every group can start with Level 1 and play. The first level is really easy – the purpose is to learn the basics. Don’t worry, it will become harder.
  • Some participants might argue that they need to read the entire manual beforehand. Insist that they will have to start immediately. Because the bomb won’t wait until they are prepared.
  • Encourage the teams to rotate roles and hand over the bomb to the next person when a bomb explodes, so that everybody has the opportunity to be the operator. In a remote setting, they can use the “Share Progress” option in the app, so they don’t need to start again from Level 1.
  • Everytime a bomb explodes, encourage the team to hold a short Retrospective and decide on improvement measures.
  • Visualize the progress of each team on a flipchart or online whiteboard. This adds a bit of fun competition, and also helps you to see if a team is stuck and needs some friendly help.

USING THE GROUP LICENSES

* GROUP LICENSES WILL BE AVAILABLE SOON!

Escape the BOOM! now offers the feature to purchase group licenses for all participants of a session. Many companies and facilitators appreciate this possibility, so participants don’t have to buy a license themselves, and it’s also much easier to get the money back from accounting. 😉

HOW TO Purchase group licenses

In Escape the BOOM!, enter the group licenses menu by pressing the coin slot and then tapping on “GROUP LICENSES” (or its local translation). In this screen, you can see the number of licenses that are already purchased and still available. You can add license packages of 1, 5, 15 and 50 licenses to this contingent, with a higher discount benefit the larger the package you choose.

How to give a License to a participant

In the Group License Menu, tap on the ACTIVATE SHARING button. This will generate an indiviual invitation code just for you. Send this code to your participants by mail or messenger, so they can unlock the full version of Escape the BOOM! At On-Site Workshops, we also like to generate a QR Code from the unlock code and put it up in the session room. Every time someone (who does not already own the game) uses your code, one license will be deducted from your contingent. You can check the current contingent by tapping the UPDATE LICENSES button.

Keep in mind that anyone with your code can unlock the full version from your contingent, as long as you keep sharing it. To avoid any potential misuse, stop sharing the code as soon as everyone in your group has successfully unlocked their game. You can check if sharing is activated in the Sharing Screen and also in the Home Screen.

DEBRIEFING

It’s totally ok with us if you play Escape the BOOM! just for fun. 😎
If you are in a team environment though, there are a lot of aspects that you can reflect on, such as:

  • Did you feel stressed? How did that pressure affect your ability to figure out the correct answers? How did you deal with mistakes?
  • What were the most important improvements that you came up with? Did you actually apply the improvements that you had agreed to? How can these improvements be applied to our collaboration as a project team?
  • Have there been any communication or behavior patterns in your collaboration that you recognize from your daily teamwork? What effect did that have on your collaboration? This is a particularly interesting question if individual team members tend to be dominant or mavericks.
  • Did you develop a special vocabulary that made your communication much more efficient, but would be hard for an outsider to get into?
  • Have there been moments where you took something for granted and were really convinced about this, and then were surprised that the bomb blew up?
    (This is a great starting point for a further discussion on unconscious bias)

RIFFS & VARIATIONS

  • If you have different team roles in your workshop, such as a Product Owner and Development Team, this is also a great opportunity to give the bomb exclusively to the Product Owner in the beginning, and let the team reflect on their group patterns.
  • Play in groups and exchange single team members after a few rounds, or add novice members to an experienced team. Reflect on how they struggle to blend in and adopt the vocabulary that was already established, and how that reflects on your onboarding process.
  • In teams that highly depend on the expertise of individual team members (the infamous Bus Factor), we sometimes like to remove pages from all manuals except of one to simulate and discuss single sources.
  • Because Escape the BOOM! is translated into more than a dozen languages, it offers a lot of reflection oportunities in intercultural settings. Which manual will we use? Everyone using the English one, or their native language version? Which challenges does either approach reveal? What gets lost in translation? Which metaphors are we using in different cultures? It’s much easier to discuss those sometimes tricky questions around a game than on serious work subjects, but they can lead to analogies to intercultural team collaboration.
  • In a remote setting, play the first rounds without cameras (remember – we’re in the 1970s…), and then activate the cameras after 15 minutes. Observe how collaboration improves as the bandwidth of the communication channel increases. This works on-site as well if you use physical blockers.
  • Play in two groups with different management styles – one that has an overambitious manager making sure everybody works all the time at maximum velocity and another one that does a Retrospective after each explosion. Experience how the manager-led team will be faster in the beginning, but will be overtaken by the continuously improving group after just a few rounds. This can provide a good starting point for a discussion on self-organisation and the value of Retrospectives.
  • Take it to the fresh air, like these folks at #Play14 in Iasi, Romania did.

HIRE A FACILITATOR

If you prefer to hire an experienced facilitator for your team event or workshop, just contact us. We have facilitated a multitude of events already, both on-site and remote, and we can take care of the manuals and the licensing aspects as well. On top of that, we can offer a lot of behind-the-scenes information for those interested in the creation of Escape the BOOM!

If the workshop will happen in a non-english language – no problem. We are happy to have a network of enthusiastic native-speaking facilitators all over the world. Just send us a note, and we will get back to you and find the best match for you.