A few years ago, my friends and I took part in a weekly themed activity night. Each week for three years, we all got together for a few hours of fun.
Theme Nights were budget-friendly affairs, designed to offer a mix of food, games and entertainment and most importantly, a break from the real world. Every week, the themes would rotate, sometimes taking the form of simple topics (Film Night, Quiz Night etc) and sometimes being a little more elaborate (Deal or No Deal Night, The Crystal Maze Night etc).
In this post I’m going to talk about our Batman themed night. The post will include a few photos (captured back in July 2015), along with an explanation of what we did and how we did it.
Want to create your own Batman game? Or simply looking for Batman party ideas? Then read on!
Batman: Escape from Arkham game night
Now, before I begin, it should of course be noted that I don’t work for DC Entertainment and that the type of game I set out below can be applied to any other subject – not just Batman. This was a fan-made game inspired by a love for the Batman mythology and was/is in no way endorsed by Warner Bros. or DC Comics/DC Entertainment. The game was merely played at home, for fun and nothing more.
This was one of our more elaborate theme nights, which required a bit of preparation. However, once the basics of the night were worked out, it was a fairly straight forward theme to execute and a heck of a lot of fun.
The crux of this night centred around a game (lasting around 90 minutes). The object of the game was to work through a series of mini-challenges, followed by a treasure hunt and then a final puzzle.
The game provided the main entertainment for the Batman-themed night, but to add to the occasion there was a bit of Batman-related food and decorations (including a Batman-themed cake etc).
The premise of the game
The Riddler had escaped from Arkham Asylum. Batman and the Bat-family were out of town on a case, so it was up to the Police Department (i.e. two teams of players) to track down the Riddler. In order to find him, players had to complete a series of missions that would eventually lead one team to the missing inmate.
All of the missions were delivered through a specially created video, which I made ahead of the evening.
How to play the Batman theme game
Players were divided up into two teams (one or more players on each team), with one additional non-player (me) taking on the role of the host. The role of the host was to introduce the game, and play/pause the video at the appropriate times.
In the video, players were introduced to various Arkham inmates who would aid them as they investigated the case. As you can see below, one of the inmates was Clayface.
Round 1 – The challenges
Each inmate in the video provided the players with a challenge, which was effectively a mini game. The challenges were simple activities which related to the villain (a fears and phobias quiz for the Scarecrow, a punchline round for the Joker etc).
Both teams played the rounds in turn, answering questions/completing the challenge. As the host, I kept score, awarded points, and played/paused the video.
Once all of the rounds in the video had been played, the team with the most points had their points converted into time (5 points equalled 5 seconds). This time allocation was then used in the next round: A treasure hunt.
Round 2 – The hunt
Once the players had met every inmate, the video explained that in order to find the escaped inmate (i.e The Riddler), the teams had to search out a series of clues in the form of a treasure hunt. These clues took the form of objects (Baby Doll’s lollipop, Maxxie Zeus’ lightning bolt, Killer Croc’s ID tag etc).
On the back of each clue was a letter. The aim of this round was to find as many clues as possible, to get more letters than the other team.
Prior to playing the game, I had hidden these objects around my building. The teams were then set loose to find the clues, with one team granted a head-start based on the amount of points/time they had acquired in Round 1.
Round 3 – The case file
Once both teams had returned from the treasure hunt, the host (me) presented the final piece of the game – a case file. Each case file contained a sheet of paper with a partially filled in location name.
Using the letters hidden on the back of their clues, players filled in the sheet as best as they could. The winner of the game was the first team to successfully work out the final location and answer the question: Where is The Riddler?
What you need in order to play this game
- A short home-made video
- A series of challenges
- A collection of clues
- A case file with a missing letters worksheet
How the Batman Arkham game was created
The video: This sounds complicated, but it wasn’t! It was made with a voice phone App.
Simply create some short clips, each lasting 30 seconds, which feature different villains introducing their challenges. Then edit all of these clips together using basic movie maker software which is included on all laptops/PCs.
The challenges: For the mini-challenges (aka the games in Round 1), simply create some basic word searches, Q&A sessions, puzzles etc and print them off on paper. These can then be handed out at the appropriate point in the video (as indicated when the Arkham inmates set the challenges).
The treasure hunt: For the ‘treasure hunt’ create a collection of clues (either objects or cardboard cut outs) and place a letter on the back of each clue. Remember, the letters must match up with the missing letters on the case file (Round 3).
Prior to playing the game with your teams, hide these clues around your home/garden/building etc.
Case file: For the case file, simply set out a folder with a sheet of paper inside. The piece of paper must have part of the final location written on it, with gaps to be filled in by players.
In the example used earlier, the final location was Gotham State University. As you could see in the photo, some of the letters were filled in, some were left blank for the players to complete.
OK, so there was quite a lot to explain, but I promise once you get your head around the basic premise of the game it is pretty easy to set up and present. And there’s no reason why you can’t do something similar.
A game like this takes a bit of planning, but the clues, and case files can all be bought very cheaply and adapted to suit your budget. I probably spent around £10 on the clues, but the App/editing software was all free.
So, what do you think? Fancy creating something similar?
Why not try it out? You can adapt the game to a different theme, such as the Avengers, the X-Men, or Spider-Man, then create your party around your game.
Whatever you do, let me know how you got on.