Escape rooms do naturally have a competitive atmosphere, as they tend to include either a time-sensitive or score-sensitive objective, but beating the clock or the leaderboard isn’t quite as satisfying as beating some other humans. That’s where versus games come in…
So, what is a versus escape room? Well, they include everything we know and love from a traditional game format, but with the added element of there being two copies of everything, in two identical spaces, so teams can compete directly against each other. Some games stop there, but some go further to include cool elements that make use of intertwining the two teams.
As the industry evolves, new ways of designing versus games are popping up. But even so, here are some common qualities that are usually found in them:
For the average escape room the maximum capacity tends to be six, or in some cases eight. But what happens when you’re a social butterfly with a larger group of friends, or you have a work team bigger than this? Well, versus games are here to save you because their very nature means they can accommodate twice the number of a traditional room, holding at least ten and up to 16 people. While escape rooms just don’t work well with too many voices in the same space, versus games are the perfect way to fit in those bigger teams, while still allowing them to talk about the experience afterwards!
At TimeTrap we have our own versus room, Station X, which is able to accommodate up to ten people at once thanks to the versus feature.
It’s a very common sight to see teams get competitive when they enter an escape room space, especially when they see a leaderboard. Whilst the incredible times of perfect strangers can be amazing motivation, the competition really gets ignited when you can go head-to-head against some in-the-flesh work colleagues, friends, or family.
Instead of taking turns completing a room or playing two different experiences, a versus game allows teams to battle it out in real time with a directly comparable experience, adding to the excitement and rapport. This quality can really kickstart an adrenaline rush and pile on that extra pressure to complete the mission successfully and quickly. If you’re one for thrills then a versus game can certainly enhance the average escape room trip.
Escape rooms are already a niche activity but versus games even more so. A lot of them are more than just two copies of the same game, having unique design features which can only be done through the versus format.
Some allow you to see the other team for the entire duration, some to communicate with them, some to hear their plans, require cooperation or even sabotage. In others, you may be granted the ability to affect the other team with things like temporary black outs, jump scares, practical jokes or other interruptions. There are even more strategic elements like bargaining and self-sacrifice. These features create an experience that would just not be possible in a standard escape room.
If you’ve been intrigued and think it’s time for your team to play a versus game and add that extra bit of something something to your escaping, we’ve got you covered! Station X is our experience set in war-time 1942 at Bletchley Park Train Station. It’s your job to work out the identity of an undercover spy, as well as recover stolen decrypted intelligence messages. Compete in two opposing teams to find the spy’s identity in the quickest time, and collect the most decrypted intelligence messages, to be crowned the champions!
Don’t worry, if the versus experience doesn’t sound like the thing for you, you can still play Station X in solo mode!