Educational escape game to save the Earth and get a grip on the EU
This game, developed over a period of two full years as part of the Have Your Say project, lets groups of 4-10 players face the task to save planet Earth from an asteroid impact by securing money for a space shild from the EU. To that end, they must know how the EU takes such big decisions. Finding this out, that's the task, and the hidden learning-purpose of the game.
Taken from reality
Intro text for the escape game
Planet earth is in big danger.
An asteroid is hurtling towards it. There is not much time left until the impact. That is the end of mankind.
Or not yet? A team of scientists has developed plans for an asteroid shield. But the shield would first have to be built, and building it costs a lot of money. Who can afford it?
The scientist ponder: Asking the USA? No, they are occupied with inner struggles. Asking Russia? No, they have spent all their money on a silly war. Asking China? No, everybody is sick with Covid19 there. So who remains?
The countries of the European Union have money, and with the EU they have an organization that can act together on their behalf. But how would you get the EU to assign the money? The scientiest must find out how the EU works! Then, perhaps, they can save the Earth!
The scientists - that's you. - GO!
How to play the game?
This is a real-world escape game for groups of 4-10 participants. Groups can contact VHS Hannover and agree a date for gaming. VHS Hannover provides certain weeks over the year when the game is installed in one of the seminar classrooms. - On special request it is also possible to install the escape room in other venues, e.g. at schools or in any other suitable location. VHS Hannover staff (2 persons) is needed for the role of game master, to control the game as "Space Assistants" from outside.
There is also an other option: VHS Hannover published all the materials developed for the game - game instructions, printable materials, instructions for building physial props - and everybody can build the props themselves. However, this is very time-consuming and needs quite a number of technical skills.
So, in practice, educational institutions turn to VHS Hannover to provide the gaming opportunity.
The props for the game are currently available in German and in English. Other languages can relatively easily be provided, too.
The following pictures show selected materials from the package of printable materials for the Asteorid Alarm game.
Materials in the collection still undergo improvement. Later download will give you improved versions of the props.
Update (Aug. 2023): An new version of the EU Commissioners poster is available now, reflecting recent changes in the Commission's staff. See below, selected materials.
Selected materials for direct download:
Direct links to selected material - allows quick review, without bothering with downloading and unzipping the entire collection.
Item 27: EU Commissioners poster (EN) - (DE) (one-page layout for poster print) / (EN) - (DE) (split layout for printing on 9 x A4) - All four designs show the updated list of commissioners of August 2023.
Take a tour through the room and inspect (some of) the props.
- A classroom pepared for the game. A classroom pepared for the game.
- Puzzle parts... Puzzle parts...
- ... to build Europe. ... to build Europe.
- Earth to be saved. Earth to be saved.
- A box resembling the European Parliament A box resembling the European Parliament
- Tablets representing various cities. Tablets representing various cities.
- The parliament in session. The parliament in session.
- Institutions puzzle. Institutions puzzle.
- The game master observes and can give hints. The game master observes and can give hints.
- Boxes need to be opened. Boxes need to be opened.
- Observing outer space. Observing outer space.
- Secret phone numbers. Secret phone numbers.
- A money box and an umbrella. A money box and an umbrella.
- Here, help from space may appear. Here, help from space may appear.
- The game can become lively. The game can become lively.
- MEPs gathering in parliament. MEPs gathering in parliament.
- Institutions puzzle. Institutions puzzle.
- Boxes that yet need a code to be opened. Boxes that yet need a code to be opened.
- Boxes contain important messages. Boxes contain important messages.
- This box supplies players with an asteroid launcher and further advice. This box supplies players with an asteroid launcher and further advice.
- Smurfs being freed from their box... Smurfs being freed from their box...
- ... and placed on their seats in Council. ... and placed on their seats in Council.
- Props after use. Props after use.
- The team has managed to save the world. The team has managed to save the world.
List of printables for the Asteroid game
This lists shows the various pdfs available in the download package (see above). The idea is to print these so they can be used in the game, either as game utensils or a deco for the room. The list will be refined over time (in 2023 ongoing). Some materials are already available in both German and English. Information about language versions will be added yet. - You can use this list to identify the items in the download package via the Item numbers even if their file names differ.
The story of the game, as to bepresented to the players at start.
|002||EU-Institutions-Poster||Poster size||Game essential||A poster showing the most important EU institutions and the way they cooperate.|
|003||Messages||Office paper||Game essential||Messages to the players, to be placed in boxes of the game, and messages to be read by the game master orally, in certain cituations of the game.|
|004||Strassbourg map||Poster size||Game essential||A city map of Strasbourg, plus a visiual hint to identify the town.|
|005||Map of Europe||Poster||Deco||A large map of Europe and neighbouring regions, mixed political-geografical presentation. Not technically necessary for using the tasks in the game, but anyway helpful in various phases of the game, e.g. for solving the Europe puzzle|
|006||Earth Full||Poster size||Deco||A picture of planet earth in space.|
|008||Telescope Mirror||Poster size||Deco|
|009||EU legislation diagram||Poster size||Instructional||A diagram showing the ordinary legislation procedure of the EU. This is not technically needed for solving the tasks in the game, but can be a crucial element in the reflection and consolidation discussion afterwards.|
|010||Secret Telephone List||Office paper||Game essential||2 pages A4 with telephone numbers, one of them a real one linking to the game master's telephone, where an automatic response is recorded. Players have to find, by comparing codes with the Commissioners' poster, which number to call .|
|011||Country plates||Office paper (strong)||Game essential||A set of 31 cards each with the map of one European country (EU and some not EU) including info on their population and number of MEPs. - Print this on A4 paper, ideally a heavier variety, e.g. 150 g/m2.|
|012||Institutions puzzle||A3 paper or larger||Game essential||A puzzle based on various not so prominent EU institutions. When solved, correctly, it reveals a code. - Print the various sheets and glue them to cardboard, creating a frame and puzzle pieces.|
|013||Word gap puzzle||Poster||Game essential||Fill-in-the-word puzzle, for players to identify and correctly place the EU's three main institutions. - Print, glue on thick cardboard, cut out the pieces and slots.|
|015||Code cards for the towns||
A4, and cut
|Game essential||A set of cards to be stuck to the wooden town plates, with codes to be used in the puzzles. The Strasbourg plate must be marked with the "5000" sign. The other cards can be distributed randomly. - To be used together with Item 19.|
Treaty of Lisbon Â§13
|A3 or A4||Instructional||A faximile copy of Article 13 of the Treaty of Lisbon, about the institutional setup of the EU. Not really needed for solving the puzzles, but can later be used in the reflection round to demonstrate the legal foundations of the EU. Shows also the rules for the number of parliamentarians per country.|
|017||Asteroid in space||Poster size||Deco||Print this, glue it onto cardboard, and use it as general deco for the room.|
|019||Town cards||A4 paper||Game||A set of A4 cards showing European cities by way of famous buildings in them. Used to mark the wooden town plates where the parliament can be "weighed".|
|020||Meteorite poster 1||A4 paper||Deco||An artist's impression of an asteoroid and of earth. We use this in the introductory round to make the situation more visual.|
|021||Meteorite poster 2||A4 paper||Deco||An artist's impression of an asteoroid approaching earth, with flames around it. - We use this in the introductory round to make the situation more visual.|
|022||ISS poster||Poster size||Mere deco||Photograph of the International Space Station. Can in the introduction round be presented as the place where the Space Assistants reside.|
|024||EU Council Sign||A4 paper||Game essential||A sign "Council of the EU" (Ministerrat) to put on the Council table in the game room.|
|025||EU Parliament model||A3 paper||Game essential||Print on A3, glue on flexible cardbord, cut, and glue together to get a cylindrical container resembling the EU parliament which will host the 705 parliamentarians (feebles)|
|026||Strasburg rebus||A4||Game essential||A set of cards to give a rebus clue for "Strasbourg". Alternatively: a set of letter cards for "Strasbourg".|
|027||EU Commission poster||Poster||Game||A poster showing the current EU commissioners, with some personal data and codes and clues needed for the puzzle.|
|A4||Game||Footplates for the Smurf figures (to represents ministers in the Council), and corresponding cards for the stars on the Council table cloth.|
|030||Space assistants monitor frame||Poster||Deco||Deco frame for the computer monitor used as communication interface between the scientists and their assistants in space. Print (e.g. on several sheets A4I, glue on cardboard, cut out the opening for the screen.|
|033||EU parliament session poster||Poster||Game|
|034||Map of Europe||Poster||Deco|
|035||Europe puzzle||(Bought)||Game essential||A cardboard puzzle with European countries cut out as pieces. This can be purchased in various versions and languages from booksellers and suppliers of teaching materials.|
|036||Cryptex letter codes||A4||Game essential||Paper strips with letters, to be used to replace the original ones of the Cryptex container. This makes the Cryptex have the "Europa" code to open.|
|037||MEP per country||A4||Instructional||Piece of Info about the EU parliament. To be hung somewher ein the room.|
|038||MEPs and their parliamentary groups||A4||Instructional||Piece of Info about the EU parliament. To be hung somewher ein the room.|