A Report on Suitcase Mystery 2: Our Exciting New Dispatch Game

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With the end of the year approaching, we’ve been getting a lot of inquiries about our online team building program. However, with lockdown restrictions easing up, our popular dispatch game series, Suitcase Mystery, has become another great option for teams looking for a fun yet mentally stimulating end-of-the-year activity. 

We recently developed a second version of our Suitcase Mystery game, and last week we had the chance to see it in action when one of our clients tried it out. In the following post, we’ll explain some of the unique features of Suitcase Mystery 2 and some of our impressions from the event. We hope this will be useful to you as you make your preparations for end-of-the-year parties and start to plan your team building schedule for next year.

Set-up Suitcase 2 in a flash, anywhere you’d like

One of the best features of the Suitcase Mystery series is that you can play it almost anywhere, giving you more ease and flexibility when planning your event. The whole game is contained within a suitcase, which we bring to you (of course, we have multiple suitcases for larger groups), whether you’re at your office, a hotel, or some other venue. 

Playing the game at your office is easy to plan, gives team members an entirely new experience in a familiar space that feels like “home”. On the other hand, you may want to play in an entirely different space, so that team members can relax a bit and feel more free from office worries. With Suitcase Mystery 2, the decision is entirely up to you. 

For the event last week, the client chose to play Suitcase Mystery 2 in a conference room at a rental workspace in Shibuya, as a part of a longer team event.  Teams were separated and sat at two longish tables pushed together, with a suitcase on top. That’s really all the set-up there is for this game.

How you break into teams is important, but language doesn’t matter

At last week’s Suitcase Mystery 2 event there were 22 players total, split up into teams of four to five people each. The way teams are divided was left up to the discretion of the event organizers. However, we did suggest that they make teams composed of people from different sections who may not communicate with each other, or of people that they would like to see work together more. Of course, random teams can sometimes be fun and spontaneous. However, this is the chance to be intentional about your team’s progress and what goals you want them to reach.

But while your team’s needs and goals should be a factor in dividing teams, language shouldn’t be. This last event was facilitated mainly in English, but all of the staff present at the event were bilingual, so Japanese was also used. And the texts, documents, and instructions within the game itself are also written in both Japanese and English, too. Japanese, English, or mixed teams can all enjoy this event and play together with no worries.

You are in control over how easy or hard the game is

Suitcase Mystery 2 has a unique and innovative hint system that uses messaging apps to give hints when players are stuck. This allows players to use hints whenever they want. However, when organizing the event you can determine the rules about when and how teams can use hints. Maybe you make a limit to how many they can use, or add a penalty whenever they use one. By adding rules you can decide for yourselves how easy or hard you want the game to be.

This time, the hint policy was left open for individual teams to decide. But it was interesting to see the various ways that teams used hints. Some didn’t want to use hints until the very end, while others were quick to get hints as quickly as possible. 

Another part of the game where you have a lot of leeway is at the end. You can choose whether you want to announce the winners and the order of the teams based on how fast they completed the game (or how many hints they used). 

Our staff will make sure your event runs smoothly

On the day of your event our staff will support your team in accomplishing its goals and make sure that everything goes according to plan. Our staff not only knows the game and the puzzles well, but many of us also helped make and design it too, so we know the products inside and out. The fact that our staff is so adept at handling team building events and all the problems that come up is one thing that we as a company are very proud of.

Our staff will often come around and give small hints to teams or check in on their progress. Don’t worry, we won’t give teams all the answers. Our goal is to help guide teams, whatever their ability or level, in support of the goals of the event. We also want teams to work together as best as they can, and so we use that as our guide when giving teams help.

Actually, during the last Suitcase Mystery 2 event, the hint system that I mentioned before stopped working. Fortunately, our staff is used to dealing with unforeseen issues, and so we pivoted to giving hints directly (which is the system that many of our other games use).

Celebrate the individuality of your team

During Suitcase Mystery 2, a suitcase filled with puzzles is placed on the table in front of each team. After a short explanation, it’s off to the races! It’s fun to watch teams at the very beginning, and all the excitement that some teams have as they rush to figure out what to do. Some teams are also very calm and cool-headed, so teams really develop their own approaches and individual personalities. 

Teams also show their individuality throughout the game as they are solving puzzles. Some of the teams use apps to draw things, some take notes with paper and pen. At our last Suitcase Mystery 2 event, teams used a lot of creative ways to solve the puzzles, which we were very impressed by. But whatever method they use or whatever their level of excitement, the most important thing is for teams to communicate. Teams that communicate the most, and in the most effective way, are usually the ones that do the best.  

Just make sure you’re communicating amongst your own team. At the last event, a team got so excited that they all yelled out the answer without noticing.

Feel refreshed after

The game ends after one hour, unless the time limit is extended. This past time all the teams that finished went around and helped the teams that hadn’t, in a nice show of group solidarity and bonding. 

After all the teams finish, there’s a feeling of accomplishment in the air, and you can hear all the team members chatting together and with other groups about the different puzzles and how they did. This is also part of the process, as teams solidify the experience they had into memories, which will shape the team going forward and provide the basis for further bonding. 

For Suitcase Mystery 2, we have introduced a guided reflection time after the game, which includes an individual reflection and group discussion where everyone has the chance to share what they wrote. Reflection is important in these kinds of activities, and the process of writing can make everyone calm down a bit after all the excitement from before. 

A job well done

The participants at this past Suitcase Mystery 2 event had a wide range of experience when it comes to puzzle-solving. And yet all of them talked about, in different words, how much fun they had and how surprised they were by the event. But the proof was really on their faces. You could tell that they were enjoying themselves, laughing, and having fun. Even when a particular challenge was difficult, they still had a good time together.

That concludes our exciting report about Suitcase Mystery 2! Are you ready to try it?

Invite Japan has two dispatch games, Suitcase Mysteries 1 and 2, which can be played back-to-back for a half-day full of fun and stimulating team building challenges. We also have online team building and outdoor team building available to meet your needs.

Photo by Benjamin Rascoe on Unsplash

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