The Really Fun Spectrum v1.0

A couple of weeks ago TheLogicEscapesMe challenged me to come up with a visual representation of the ‘fun spectrum’. The fun spectrum being the term I coined to cover lots of different activities that are related to, or could possibly be liked by people who enjoy, escaping. At the time I was focussing on catching up on my reviews, but having put a dent in that already this week I fancied something different.

The issue with anything like this is that it’s massively subjective. And in order to make it anyway practical I’ve made massive generalisations about each of the activities being described. So I know full well that geocaching can involve puzzle-solving, and that interactive theatre doesn’t always contain puzzles. Conversely, I’ve not yet tried some of the activities included so my understanding is based purely on a description from someone else or a website. With those caveats in place I certainly don’t intend for this to be seen as a definitive answer; more something to think about and possibly discuss, and possibly improve in the future (hence the “v1.0”).

So without further ado, here’s the Really Fun Spectrum v1.0:

fun spectrum photo

The six circles and the pleasing way it fits together was certainly more luck than design

Definitions of the more obscure/vague terms:

  • Party game – Something like Two Rooms and a Boom or Werewolf involve a lot of people and have small scale mechanics, but they’re nothing like a megagame.
  • RPG – That’s Role-Playing Game rather than Rocket-Propelled Grenade. Dungeons & Dragons is of course the most famous but there are many more.
  • Megagame – If only there was a post explaining this.
  • LARP – Live Action Role-Playing can cover a wide range of activities in itself. I’m thinking of people in costumes with fake weapons getting frowned at if they break character.
  • Puzzle hunt – A series of puzzles where the answer leads you to the next location you need to visit. DASH is a great example.
  • Online puzzle hunt – Similar to the above but done without leaving your home. Pablo’s Armchair Treasure Hunt is a great example.
  • Clue hunt – Rather than a competition or a race to a particular destination, a clue hunt gives you something to think about while taking a walking tour around a city or site. It’s what ClueKeeper was designed for.
  • City Dash – Is the current project by Fire Hazard Games. It’s kinda like an outdoor escape game but with a bit more to it. Agent November would be another example but it didn’t fit in the space as well.
  • Interactive theatre – I was initially thinking of events like CoLab Theatre and A Door in the Wall that appear to be more like a puzzle hunt than an escape game, but I could be wrong. I believe they are also outdoors, which would obviously change the diagram (and ruin it!) but then I thought of other things like Knightmare Live you could put in this category which I believe are on a stage, very much indoors.
  • ? – I couldn’t think of anything that specifically involved role-playing, puzzles and lots of people. But you could well tell me that one of the above does, or of something else that fits. Please do!

Okay, that’s enough for now. What do you think?


  1. LARPing can be in the section with the question mark as well. I’ve created and solved many-a-puzzle in my LARPing games over the years. In designing quests for LARP, I always try to have roleplaying encounters, mental challenges, physical challenges, and combats in my quests. It’s not just about cosplay with padded weapons or moody looks.

    • To be honest I know almost nothing about it. A guy I used to work with was into it, as a Warlock in a tribe or something. He always made it sound like just ‘acting’ for a weekend rather than having challenges. Maybe that was a different spin on it, or maybe he just didn’t go into detail.

  2. Perhaps alternate reality games could fit into the question mark section? Involves role playing by both participants and acting parties, puzzles to solve in order to move through the story and when it’s a good one, picks up large amounts of people.

  3. thelogicescapesme

    Had another thought today – Fear/Scare attractions. It kind of fits alongside acting in some sense, but I think it’s worthy of its own circle (even if it isn’t necessarily something to my taste).

    Augmented reality might fit in too – Virtually Dead in London mixed up some VR with real actors.

    You’re going to start hitting the dimensionality problem though – Venn diagrams with more than five sets become tricky to represent in 2-D (although the five set, 2-D one here is very pretty: In fact – you already have, given that LARP is, I believe, predominantly an outdoor activity (although you could argue it’s not inherently outdoors, which is what that set represents).

  4. Alexander Gierholz

    Maybe something like Murder Mystery could fill the ‘?’ space. At least I consider solving a murder mystery a puzzle.

  5. Brett Kuehner

    Games like Wartron, Famine Games, and the upcoming Miskatonic University would fit well in the ? spot. They are heavily themed multiday puzzle hunts, with some cosplay by players and immersive live interactions as part of the puzzle hunt. For example, in Wartron we had to ride bicycles (decked out with neon EL wire) in circles in a parking lot at night to solve a puzzle, after interacting with a character to obtain the rules.
    They also fall into the “being outdoors” circle, which would require at least one more dimension to your diagram to make fit.

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