How many fingers and toes can I count on for the number of times I’ve heard someone disparage role-playing games because only geeks and nerds play them?

Well, if you’re looking for ways to enhance your skills, it would be foolish to disparage role-playing games. Certainly, role-playing is used for amusement purposes amongst children and by some adults for entertainment purposes. Cops & robbers and historical reenactment such as the Society for Creative Anachronisms comes to my mind, but let’s not ignore how role-playing used in training purposes can enhance one’s future performance in the real world. Anyone who serves in the military or as a law enforcement officer can understand its application.

Those who have never been in these roles should look to escape games as a form of training that can potentially help them survive dangerous events. There’s a large group of folks who mock Airsoft players or those who play paint ball games. Games like those I mentioned here are excellent for building confidence in children and young adults and preparing them for military or law enforcement service is they so choose. Certainly there are clusters of posers who believe playing these games put them on par with real warfighters and that’s far from the truth.

What are escape games? Escape games were said to have originated in Japan and then come to the United States via Europe and Canada. Teams are put into a themed room and given a mission to complete. Some of the popular escape games out there require teams to escape a Haunted House, a Zombie-infestation, an Indiana Jones inspired pyramid or a torture chamber such as those found in the “Saw” movies. With the popularity of escape games there is an expectation that these types of businesses will balloon by the hundreds across America in the next few years. Escape literally means to ‘remove ones cloak’. Certainly playing escapes games means to let it all go and have fun with role-playing. But role-playing can be serious business too.

Role-playing is a common training method used by instructors to teach emergency response groups, military members, and also company employees to succeed when a quick-decision must be made. Certainly there are people, such as tourists, who play it for the fun factor, but it can also be beneficial in other ways: players build confidence, develop listening skills, and learn creative problem solving skills. One of the biggest things people can learn is how to work together to solve a problem. Couples looking to bond would be well served to see if they can solve a problem while under stress- who knows how they’ll react once a real event transpires. Looting, rioting, lost in the wilderness, kidnapping, are just some real world things that happen on a daily basis to couples.

For those who don’t have the option of attending a law enforcement academy at FLETC, or getting into the Army’s Robin Sage (good luck!), they should look to escape game businesses run by guys like Matt Victoriano.

Matt runs an escape game business called Intrepid Life which is seated in the city of Durham in North Carolina. What makes his escape game business unique among the rest is Matt and his team. Intrepid Life uses veterans to share their skills and experience with customers in order to improve their leadership, teamwork, problem solving, and critical thinking skills to handle the weird stuff that’s bound to happen in everyday life.

Matt had two deployments to Iraq as a Marine Scout/Sniper Team Leader and understands what it means to be under-stress. By using escape game scenarios such as his Mission Impossible-Safe House or Top Secret-Missing Asset Matt can prepare players to deal with real world scenarios. Players choosing to do more with Matt can segue into more advanced play. Matt will teach them domestic survival training, which includes resistance and escape techniques. His wilderness survival includes far more: fire starting, water extraction, animal snares and preparation, signaling, land navigation, and shelters.

To get a flavor of Matt’s experience be sure to read some of his articles posted here online. If you get a chance to sign up for an escape game find one where you’ll be really challenged. If you’re in the Durham, NC area give Intrepid Life a try.

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About The Author

Mike credits his early military training as the one thing that kept him disciplined through the many years. He currently provides his expertise as an adviser for the DoD. Michael Kurcina subscribes to the Spotter Up way of life. “I will either find a way or I will make one”.

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