We played the Secret Mission game with Vancouver Mysteries and it was so much fun! It’s a perfect Halloween activity to play with friends or family.
The Secret Mission can be played at other times of the year too.
In this article we describe our experience with the Secret Mission where we had to save Vancouver from an evil organization called BLACKOUT. To learn about the company behind the game, see our article about Vancouver Mysteries or check out vancouvermysteries.com. To learn about the fun we had on the Secret Mission, continue reading.
Vancouver Mysteries’ Secret Mission Game
Vancouver Mysteries is an outdoor adventure game company. They offer games where teams of 2 to 6 players roam downtown Vancouver, solve clues, prove how smart they are and have tons of fun.
The company has a few games to choose from. We did the Secret Mission where we had two hours to save the city from destruction. My wife and son were on one team and our friend, her daughter and my daughter were on the other. I ran around behind them with my camera.
The Secret Mission is a perfect game to play as a family. It’s also fun to play with friends, or against groups of friends or other families. The game is also great for today’s world of COVID-19 where it’s important to physically distance, socialize outdoors, hang out with people from within your own bubble, and wear a mask when appropriate. Vancouver Mysteries’ other games are equally COVID-appropriate. And they are all so much fun!
For game reservations and more information, see the Vancouver Mysteries website.
What to Expect on Your Secret Mission
To give you an idea of what to expect from a Vancouver Mysteries’ adventure game, let me describe the experience we had on our secret mission from the other day. After that, check out the Secret Mission Video further below. The video shows what our teams looked like and some of the places we went during our adventure.
Players are encouraged to wear costumes when playing a game with Vancouver Mysteries. We treated our game very seriously. As we were secret agents and on an important and life-threatening mission, we wanted to blend in. Consequently, we dressed as we usually do, like everyday Canadians from Vancouver. Being secret agents, we didn’t want to look conspicuous.
NOTE: If you ever see people running around the streets of downtown Vancouver in capes and tights, don’t panic. Either Hollywood North is filming a movie or a group of friends is taking their Heroes & Villains game with Vancouver Mysteries extra seriously!
The Start of the Game
After you sign up for your adventure you get a confirmation e-mail with the game details. You then have to show up on the day at the designated location at the agreed upon time. Our game started at 19:00 hours.
A special agent from Vancouver Mysteries meets you at the start, explains your mission and provides you with your secret agent package of tools. With the Secret Mission game you are told that an evil organization, known only BLACKOUT, is planning to destroy Vancouver. You have exactly 120 minutes to decipher a series of clues, locate BLACKOUT’s leader and return to base.
Solving the Mystery
When the timer starts, you and your team look quickly through your secret agent pack of materials to see what you have. You’ll find a flashlight, map, decoding equipment, microfiche and a number of other items needed for your mission. You then head out onto the sidewalks and streets of downtown Vancouver looking for clues on your hunt for BLACKOUT’S leaders.
When we played the game we did it in two teams. The teams compete for the top score. They get the same clues and have to do the same things on their missions. So that you aren’t on top of one another, the groups head out about 2 or so minutes apart.
You have to solve about 14 problems to complete the mission. Along the way you find clues and secret messages that will help you. During our two hours we walked for between about 2.5 and 4.0 km. We had to find certain buildings, landmarks and even a hidden garden. We also had to decipher codes.
Completing the Mission
Not every team manages to complete the mission and solve very step, but we did. Both teams made it back to base with about 2 minutes to spare. Both also got 1 out of the 14 answers wrong, so our scores weren’t perfect.
One of our teams got 88 points for their efforts. The other team got 90. Had we failed in our missions, Vancouver would have been destroyed. As it turned out, we were successful in saving the city, and thus heroes!
Whether teams succeed or fail, everyone still gets an official Vancouver Mysteries Secret Agent sticker and certificate. Also, whichever group gets the most points gets bragging rights for beating the other team.
For full details about the Secret Mission and other similar games, see the Vancouver Mysteries website.
Secret Agent Video
To give you even more of an idea of what to expect with a Secret Mission game from Vancouver Mysteries, check out the following video. It shows scenes of our two groups playing the game. As you’ll see, for most of the time they were in slightly different areas. Occasionally, however, their paths would cross.
In the video you’ll see places you’ll have to visit and some of the tools you’ll be using.
Why Our Game was Good Against COVID-19
No activity is 100% safe with respect to the coronavirus (unless you live in the middle of nowhere and have zero contact with any other people). We don’t know for sure, but we’re pretty confident that BC’s top health officer would approve of the games by Vancouver Mysteries if she knew about them.
The game we played was COVID-appropriate for a number of reasons. First, the game took place 99% outside. We met at an indoor location and finished at an indoor location, but it was in a wide open space where it was easy to keep our distance from people outside our bubbles. For the rest of the time we were outdoors in the fresh air and on the sidewalks of downtown Vancouver.
In addition to the games being COVID-appropriate naturally by their design, Vancouver Mysteries also takes extra precautions to keep its players safe. The “special agent” who explained the game and gave us our secret agent kit at the start wore a face mask and kept her distance. The materials we received also came in a sealed package that hadn’t been opened for over 72 hours. We felt safe the entire time.
In our game my son and wife played on one team. As they are family, they didn’t have to wear masks, although they did for some of the time to be extra cautious. Our friend and her daughter are sort of in the same bubble as us – the girls go to school together. The three of them wore masks during most of the game though, to be on the safe side.
Tips and Advice
Below are some suggestions to help you make the most out of your adventure with Vancouver Mysteries.
TIP #1: Be sure to sign the online waiver before you head out for your game. Other things you’ll want to take are eyeglasses (if you need them for reading), a good pair of walking shoes, and an umbrella or raincoat (or a spy’s trench coat) if precipitation is in the forecast.
TIP #2: Invite your friends and play against them. The more the merrier!
TIP #3: Plan to go out for drinks or food afterwards. Half the fun is talking about your adventures afterwards. Just be sure to physically distance or wear a mask when with people from outside your bubble.
TIP #4: If you get stuck on a clue or get frustrated, don’t worry. The clues seem to get easier to solve after the first little bit as you get used to what to look for. If you get stuck on something, move on to the next thing and come back to the tough stuff later.
TIP #5: If you find clues at a specific location, but can’t figure out the answer, or you aren’t sure you have the correct answer, take a photo of the location with your phone. That way you can take a look at the scene again later without (hopefully) having to retrace your steps in person.
TIP #6: You don’t have to be especially fit to play the game, and you don’t have to run (although doing so can help you beat the other team). The game is designed so participants can walk at a comfortable pace and still have time to complete their mission. When we played, people in our group probably ran for a total of two blocks (just near the end when time was beginning to get tight).
To learn more about the games, and to reserve your adventure, see the Vancouver Mysteries website.
TIP #7: Having people with different skills and backgrounds on your team can be an advantage. This helps when it comes to thinking outside the box. If you have someone that’s good with numbers, someone else who’s good at solving riddles, and someone else who’s good at reading a map, you’ll likely do well. Having a person with sharp eyesight on your team is also an asset.
TIP #8: Look through your secret agent kit very carefully. In it you’ll find the tools you need to accomplish your mission. Everything has a purpose. If you get stuck on a problem, look through your kit again to see if you can find something to help you.
TIP #9: Play the game safely! While COVID-19 is still an issue, play just with people from within your “bubble”. Wear a mask when appropriate, and play against friends on another team, not the same team, if they aren’t in your bubble. Also, be careful when crossing streets. Don’t focus so much on the game that you don’t watch where you’re going!
TIP #10: The Secret Mission game is suitable for players who are ages 12 and older. Every team though requires at least one adult.
TIP #11: You can play in teams of between 2 and 6 players. In our opinion, groups of 3 is perfect! 4 is good too, as is two teams of 2 or 3 people. Teams of 5 or 6 are good as well, but smaller teams are better. With 3 you have enough brain power and ideas between you, but not too many bodies to get in each other’s way. If you have 6 people in your group, consider playing in two groups of 3. Playing against another team makes it extra fun!
TIP #12: Either before or after your game, explore other places of interest in the neighbourhood. The Vancouver Lookout, for example, is a great nearby attraction. From it you can get an amazing birds eye view of the city (including all the places you went during your game). Historic Gastown is also close by.
Other Games with Vancouver Mysteries
The Secret Mission isn’t the only adventure game that Vancouver Mysteries offers. They also have a Crime in Downtown one where you have to solve a cold-case murder. There is a Heroes & Villains one where you get to save the city from a monster. There is a family-friendly version of this game too. It’s a little easier and fun for adults to play with children ages 8 and older.
The newest game with Vancouver Mysteries is The Case of the Hotel Detective which, instead of playing in the streets of downtown Vancouver, you can play indoors wherever you want (including at home, in your hotel room or at your office).
To learn more about the above games see the Vancouver Mysteries website.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver Mysteries Adventure Games
- Hotels in Downtown Vancouver
- Vancouver Restaurants
- Vancouver Events at Halloween
- Vancouver Halloween Activities for Adults