Ten tips using games to make events that suck, not suck

Ten tips using games to make events that suck, not suck

28th January 2022, 12:05 pm

The pandemic has created a tonne of death by PowerPoint. Big virtual events and conferences, watching back to back presentations, barely keeping your eyes open.

But an uncomfortable truth is, most of these events weren’t great in person either. People sitting back, subtly looking at their phone. Will they really remember anything you told them in a year?

So here are our top tips and ideas for making your event memorable – some of them serious, some of them a bad joke. You’ll just have to judge which are which.

Secret Glitter Bomb Envelope Game

Give people an envelope as they enter. When they open it, a tonne of glitter goes everywhere, including all over them.

This is a real divider – they’ll either laugh their head off and get into the spirit of it all, or they’ll walk out immediately, leaving you a bill for the suit you just ruined. Either way, they’re not going to forget it. You can buy them here.

Personality Type Style Games

If a glitter bomb is a bit too wild, try a personality type game. Ask people what they see in a blurry image, and get them to fill in a few questions about themselves, like “’What kind of podcasts do you listen to?”. Depending on their answers, give them their “event persona”.

Keep it relevant. If your event is about marketing, make it “What marketing hero are you?”.

It’s easy to deliver this virtually or in person. Either way, just use a simple form filler like Typeform, which they can use on their phones or laptop.

Played by the Bouncer

Get actors to pretend to be bouncers on the door. Ask people trying to get into the event to perform absurd tasks, like standing on their head, or telling them a nursery rhyme, in a rather arbitrary entry system.

If someone doesn’t complete the task, get the fake bouncers to turn them away. They had their chance.

Escape Room Experience

Build an escape room experience into the event. Very much on trend, they are highly interactive and can incorporate any theme you like into it.

This could be a game everyone plays towards the end of the event as a peak, memorable moment. Or, you could integrate it into the overall event, where code answers are found in different presentations, encouraging them to explore and engage. It depends what your goal is, ultimately.

Take a look at one we’ve done before for inspiration, like this one.

Power Shutdown Game

One for the in person. Have a big timer hanging above the event, counting down to zero. Before zero, guests need to find a briefcase, or something like that.

If it’s not found in time, all power is shut down. Lights go off, presentations go down, microphones stop working, everything.

A pretty anxiety inducing and scary experience for your guests, and one they no doubt will never forget.

Riddle Routes

Put different riddles around the event, or integrated into different speaker presentations, that people can solve for a prize! Riddles might behave like a treasure hunt, leading them to different locations or webpages.

Take opportunities to use the content of the event to inform the riddles – maybe the answer is more apparent if they’ve listened to the content a little more closely.

Skip the usual iPads for prizes – the best prizes seem personal. Order a metal engraved trophy with their name on it, or a mug with “SANDRA HOPE – RIDDLE MASTER 2022” on it.

Maze Mirror

In the walkways between rooms, put in mirror mazes that people have to walk through.

This creates an exciting and slightly frustrating environment where people end up in the completely wrong room, as they get lost travelling through the mirror maze.

Best of all, if they get so frustrated they want to leave, doing so will be nearly impossible, as long as you make the mirror maze difficult enough.

Collect Em’ All

Have guests split into different “houses”, where over the course of the event they’ll be collecting cards for that particular house. At the end, the house with the most cards wins!

Create short 10-15 minute segments throughout the event where people have the opportunity to compete for cards. From quiz trivia to puzzles and fastest finger first challenges, it’s a format that will provide punctuated moments of entertainment, competition and engagement.

We did a Full House style game like this before, which you can check out here.

Scrambled Speakers

Have speakers prepare their presentations. But right before the event, have them draw out of a hat what talk they’ll actually be giving.

Want to see Amir from marketing try and deliver the Q3 financial update? Or Charlotte from I.T. have to give the CEO’s keynote? Watch the car crash unfold, as your guests talk about the event for years to come.

Choose Your Own Adventure Game

Seen Bandersnatch on Netflix, or played those Choose Your Own Adventure books before? Create an exceptional peak moment by delivering a choose your own adventure game with a live actor.

The actor takes them through a story, asking everyone to act out different moments. Pirate story? Everyone sway side to side as we ride the waves!

Have the audience vote on key decision points in the game, so that they decide the story outcome. Take photos or screenshots, and send over an e-book afterwards telling the tale. A great, whole group energiser activity. We have an Interactive Stories game similar to this you can check out for inspiration.

So there you have it. Ten games, ten tips, some of them more realistic than others, that should improve your events. You can find further ideas using our Event Game Ideas quiz here.

Whatever you do, get playing!

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