Outdoor games are inherently associated with hazards. Make your games as safe as possible.
Think about safety when preparing the game
When creating the game, pay attention where you mark locations. Pay attention if there are busy streets, rivers, lakes, railways, cliffs, huge stairs etc on the landscape. Is it possible to mark locations so that players naturally face these obstacles in the safest way? (Like logically crossing the river over the bridge, instead of having to swim through it). Think through, maybe you should avoid some areas? Are there private properties that should be avoided.
GPS is accurate to about 10 meters (sometimes more, sometimes less). Accuracy is worse when there are tall buildings and trees nearby. Mark locations on the map and set pin radius in this way, that players are safe and do not have to put themselves in dangerous situations to activate a task. Like climbing on a tall wall, stepping onto a busy street or jumping into the water.
Match the game to players’ abilities. Your contact person might have different ideas about fun than the rest of the team, so do not go into extremes because somebody insists on it. It is a good idea to ask him or her to discuss it with participants and crank up the difficulty if everybody is into it.
Weather plays an important role in participants satisfaction. You know your weather, so plan accordingly and inform people beforehand so they come prepared.
Depending on your event size and location where you plan to organize it, you might need to apply for local permissions, especially when it is organized in some natural surrounding. Check your local regulations beforehand.
Test your games so you can eliminate safety issues.
In Loquiz, you can test games an unlimited number of times by starting them in “test” mode.
Talk about safety when briefing the game
After good preparation there could still be some hazards present. In every event, cover the hazards and safety issues with players:
- Add a SAFETY chapter in the welcome/info text of a game with contact number of game instructor
- Discuss SAFETY when briefing players orally and cover the most important points
- Send preliminary info by email so players know what to expect and come prepared (especially true about weather and being outdoors).
Important info to cover
- Where the game takes place and who to contact in an emergency.
- Acting in a safe way and being aware of what is happening around you (traffic, landscape etc.).
- GPS is not exact, so do not blindly chase the points on a map. When GPS tells you to jump into the water, climb to the roof of the building or step in the middle of the busy street, do not do it.
- It is ok to skip locations for safety (and how to do that).
Risks to remind participants about
1. Traffic and moving on open roads
Roads are usually open for traffic so players should pay attention to the traffic and obey the rules.
2. Landscape features that pose threats.
These include ponds, lakes, cliffs, stones etc. that might pose threats to players. Point out specific things.
3. Other potential risks
Animals, closed areas, other people, rain, cold, heat, angry neighbors etc.
Act safely when playing
Players are responsible for their own actions and safety. Make sure everybody understood that they should act safely.
In case you need explicit consent from the players, use separate process for collecting the consent.