Treasure Hunting in Covent Garden

A while ago work did this wonderful team building exercise. We all stopped work for the afternoon and were put into teams of three. RANDOM teams of three. Now, we're a small company of about 20-25 people. At little over half those people are very very clever developer/sys-admin type people. Of which a lot of them intimidate me with their smartness, and it's not often that I have to work with them. Well, the randomness insured that we were all kicked out of our little comfortable social crews and started interacting. It was a lot of fun! We got a bunch of clues, none of which was listed in any kind of order. We got given the first clue, and the starting point and if we solved it correctly we could work out what the next clue would be.

So, the starting point was Embankment, and the first clue:

Up the hill you'll need to tread

then Gordon he can guide you.

Down the watery walk you'll need to head

till you find a gate beside you.

Fi and Dei and Cvla

are what you're looking for

but the letter that's before the R

is the one that helps you more.

It makes no sense if unless you're standing there. You go up the hill, till you come across Gordon's Wine Bar where you'll find a lane called 'Watergate Walk'. So down you go, and eventually you'll come across an old school gate that has Fi and Dei and Cvla (among other things) inscribed on it. There are a whole bunch of other letters and things, one of which is an 'R'. The letter before it is an 'N', and so you use Clue N to get you to your next point.

However, there are also two other challenges that you have to complete on the way - The Photo Hunt Challenge + the Observation Questions. The photo hunt challenge meant you had check out your surroundings as you went and spot the landmark, image, or statue. There would be a question, like 'Who is in the gutter here?' with a photo of a mashed face. Looks like this:

I already knew that it happened to be Oscar Wilde, but there were 9 other questions that I had no idea about. Answering each question correctly was worth about 100 points, so I kept an eye out. We got about half, which was good.

The Observation Questions were easier. Like I said, I work with very very smart developers, and had two in my random group. So, while everyone else charged out of the office, we took a moment and googled a whole bunch of questions. London has these little blue plaques all over their buildings to tell the unsuspecting walker by that something interesting happened there, or someone important once lived there. Well, we could have kept an eye out, or we could have used google. We got 14/20, which was a pretty decent score.

Example Questions: What replaced Fishers Alley? What did Sheridan own from 1776? What did Charles Fowler design? (Goodwins Court, Drury Lane Theatre (aka the Theatre Royal) and the Covent Garden Market, the Conservatory, London Bridge + Sion House).

Well, the answers to all these questions were always a little bit off the beaten path which made them tricky to answer. Occasionally we found them, and altered the google answer a bit, but most of the time it was a bit of a guess. These answers (correctly answered) were also worth 100 points each.

Eventually the clues wound us all around London's Covent Garden (past fun places like the Sherlock Holmes Pub, past the Savoy, through the Covent Garden Markets - all around the place, really!) and we all eventually ended up back at a Pub for dinner and drinks. It was a ridiculous amount of fun, a good way to get people who usually wouldn't hang out socially to do so, and a fun way to see London. That last one was particularly good because a lot of us aren't London locals, and haven't been in London for very long.

Definitely one of the better Team Building days I've done. Have any of you got any decent Team Building stories?

(Note: we did it with these folk. The website is terrible, but they were really good, and it was super easy to organise.)