This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.
I’ve experienced a couple of different escape rooms, where you must find clues and solve puzzles in a set amount of time to unlock the door. However, this weekend I participated in my first CluedUpp Games Event, a fun outdoor immersive adventure that took place in my city’s beautiful downtown area.
Read on to learn more about CluedUpp and my team’s experiences in the CSI Crime Scene Detective game in Joplin, MO.
Before I share the adventure, here’s a little bit about CluedUpp Games.
CluedUpp Games began in 2016, with a desire to move beyond traditional board games to interactive outdoor experiences. They started with downloadable paper-packs for towns across the UK. The next year they expanded into the mobile realm, creating virtual reality gaming events. They launched their game app in January of 2017, hosting 30 teams at the first event.
In 2018 CluedUpp went global with events in the US and Canada. And the following year the company included Europe, Asia and the Middle East in the fun. CluedUpp is now the world’s biggest geogaming company, hosting immersive events around the globe. They continue working tirelessly to bring players brand new mysteries and incredible outdoor experiences.
The company’s mission is bringing family members and friends together to enjoy the outdoors in shared adventures.
CluedUpp offers fun events in more than 1,200 locations in 55 countries worldwide. To date, over a million players have taken on the challenge and immersed themselves in a multi-award-winning CluedUpp event.
How it Works
On the day of the event, which typically runs from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm, teams compete to solve a mystery or crime. Using the app on a SmartPhone, teams explore their city’s streets looking for virtual clues, interviewing witnesses and solving challenges. All of these are done via the phone app, using the GPS system and an online map for guidance.
Piecing together the information and gathering important evidence, teams try to solve the mystery, with prizes awarded to the fastest team.
If you start the game early enough in the day, you can pause at any time, stop for lunch, grab a drink, or just take a break and then unpause the game to continue playing. Stay mindful however that the game ends at 5:00 pm whether you complete by then or not.
Up to six people, age 16 and up, can play together on a team. If you have more than six people simply create a second team and you can still work together. CluedUpp allows children to accompany adults, for free, and the family dog is even allowed to tag along.
The game typically takes 2 – 3 hours to complete. And on average players walk 2 – 4 miles while solving the mystery. You don’t need to reserve a start time. Just show up at the starting point. as stated in the welcome email, and start the app.
Pinkerton Detective Agency
My daughter Elissa purchased the tickets for this event and invited the rest of us to join her. Our team, the Pinkerton Detective Agency, included Elissa, grandson Dayan, daughter Adriel, her husband Nate, Greg and me. Finley was our littlest detective and she did wonderfully well during this experience.
Due to work, Elissa turned the leadership of the group over to me. Together we came up with a name…a nod to the famous Scottish detective agency…and set up a time for all of us to meet in downtown Joplin on Saturday. Spiva Park was designated as the starting point to begin the game.
Finley participated in her first Easter Egg Hunt Saturday morning and Elissa had a 1:00 pm appointment. So we chose 2:00 pm to begin, the latest possible starting time. We were all a bit nervous, being new to the event and knowing we only had three hours to solve the crime.
And a crime it was! Our mission: discover the mastermind behind a string a murders plus uncover the motive. Each of us downloaded the app the day before the event and listened to the briefing to get an overview of the case. Gathering in the park at 1:45, we started the apps on our phones and began.
Tips for Playing the Game
We had such a fun afternoon together, playing this immersive, interactive game. The weather was absolutely perfect…not too hot, not too cold, plenty of sunshine and a cooling breeze. Finley rode in her stroller part of the time and walked with us the rest. And walk we did, all over a six block long by four block wide area. I logged 3.5 miles on my phone’s health app. We all wore comfortable clothes and shoes, smoothed on sunscreen, and brought caps or sunglasses to protect against glare and sunburn.
Here are some other things we learned, during our first time playing.
- carry water and snacks and remember that you can pause the game, if desired, to take a break. Because we started the game so late, we did not take a break however we did carry water and enjoy healthy snacks as we walked.
- make sure phones are fully charged. Mine was at 100% when we started but by the end, my phone dropped to 10%. Fortunately, you can allow another team member to assume leadership. That’s important because only the team leader inputs answers to riddles and puzzles although all team members contribute, read the interviews and investigation reports and vote on suspects, whether they are guilty or innocent.
- the game is reading intensive. Assign someone to read all the info and someone else to take good notes. Daughter Adriel thought to bring a notebook and pen and served as our recorder.
- allow everyone in the group to have input and toss around ideas. The more discussion the better!
- stay mindful of other teams playing at the same time and in the same area. Speak quietly in your group so as not to give away information to others working on their own solutions.
- in the case, there were three different crime scenes. We decided, after the fact, that visiting those places first cuts down on the amount of walking.
- have fun. It’s a timed event. You can subtract time from your score by walking through specific locations and add time to your score as a penalty by asking for hints or incorrectly answering a riddle. However, enjoy the experience. We weren’t going for fastest team. We wanted to solve the crime.
- take photos and submit them on the CluedUpp Facebook page assigned to your city. The game awards prizes for best costumes, if you want to dress up, best team name, best group photo, best little detective and best dog detective.
And the Result…
Keeping an eye on the time and knowing we needed to submit a guilty suspect and a motive for the crime by 5:00, we moved steadily through all the points of interest marked on the map, gathering info.
We found a shady place to sit, 2.5 hours after beginning play, to discuss our findings. After we all agreed on a suspect…the mastermind behind the murders…and the motivation for the crime, Elissa submitted our answers.
Our answers were correct! We solved the crime with half an hour to spare. Out of 72 groups playing in Joplin, our team came in 29th, based on correct answers and amount of time taken to solve the crime. We are happy with that.
And our Finley won best little detective for Joplin!
We all enjoyed playing this game. So much so, in fact, that we are looking at playing again this fall, in Springdale, Arkansas. A new Alice in Wonderland themed adventure awaits.
Have you heard of CluedUpp or played this outdoor adventure game? You can find a location hosting the event near you by clicking this LINK. If you enjoy solving mysteries, playing outdoors and working as a team, you’ll love this adventure!
Dress the Part
Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.