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Operation Sabotage Stanwix: A Pop-up Escape Room

This event is now over!


Fort Stanwix News Release
Can you escape? Travel back in time through this team-based live-action puzzle game. Take the 
opportunity to enlist as a British spy trying to spy on Fort Stanwix! This interactive adventure is 
taking place one day only, Saturday, June 13, at Fort Stanwix National Monument.
Groups of 2-6 people will embark on an adventure where they work through a series of challenges 
to sabotage the efforts of Continental Soldiers and learn about Fort Stanwix. “Operation Sabotage 
Stanwix” will be fun for the whole family. No special skills or knowledge is required. While the 
game takes place in the physical world (in one single room of the fort), it is not physically 
Operation Sabotage Stanwix runs for just one day - June 13th - as a pop-up escape room. Teams 
will sign up for a start time and will be busy for about 45 minutes. As with all other park events it 
is free of charge. However, due to limited space, participants must register in advance by calling 
the park number listed below. Children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult.
Small groups may be put together in the same time slot.
The game was developed in partnership with Scott Nicholson, professor at Wilfrid Laurier 
University and former professor at Syracuse University's School of Information Studies and the 
Game Designers' Guild of Syracuse. Fort Stanwix National Monument is the first national park
unit to utilize this kind of interactive adventure to engage with the public and share the park’s 
Fort Stanwix National Monument is open from 9 am to 5 pm. Admission to the park 
is free. For more information about upcoming events please call the park at (315) 338-7730. 
Please visit the park’s web page at, or follow us on Facebook, for additional 
information about the park and up-to-date news about park events. Fort Stanwix is one of over 
400 parks in the National Park System. To learn more about national parks, visit

Fort Stanwix News Release




Final Game Designers' Guild in Syracuse - May 29

The final Game Designers' Guild for Syracuse will be on Friday, May 29th.

We will be meeting in Hinds Hall 347 from 5:30 onward.

Our primary goal will be to test the Escape Room for Fort Stanwix that will be running on June 13.  We'll have two copies of it running, and it will take about 20 minutes to play.

The rest of the time, you can play games, test games you have created, and enjoy each other's company at this last meeting!



Scott Nicholson accepting a new position

I'm heading to Canada!

I have just accepted a new position as a professor of games and director of a new Game Design and Development degree program at a branch of Wilfrid Laurier University in Brantford, Ontario.  This program will prepare students to design tabletop, video, and live-action games with a general focus on games that can change the world.  This program will be the center of a community-based focus on games with partnerships with the city and has received a warm welcome from local press.

I've made two videos talking about it.

If you don't know me, I've made this Scott Nicholson 101 video to introduce myself to you:


If you do know me and want to learn more about where I'm going, watch this one:


I plan to continue my escape room research in Brantford.  Toronto and the surrounding region is the hotbed for escape rooms in North America, so I will be working with the communities there as I continue my explorations.  I have released a living white paper on the topic of escape rooms and am focused on how they can used by places of informal learning like museums and libraries.

So, if you always wanted to have the real-life version of Board Games with Scott, now is your chance!  




What are escape rooms?

Escape rooms are live-action team-based games where players discover clues, solve puzzles, and accomplish tasks in one or more rooms in order to accomplish a specific goal (usually escaping from the room) in a limited amount of time.

I've been studying them since late 2014 and have recently released a white paper where I present the results of a survey of 175 escape room facilities around the world.

Nicholson, S. (2015). Peeking behind the locked door: A survey of escape room facilities. White Paper available at


Video review of The Extraordinaires Design Studio


I went to the 2015 NY Toy Fair (tweets and pictures at and found one product that really got me excited.

It's called The Extraordinaires Design Studio, created by the same group who made Rory's Story Cubes.   It's all about learning how to make a design with a user in mind, which is a valuable lesson for anyone who creates things.  I'm teaching a course on Experience Design this semester, and I was amused how they have taken the concepts I'm teaching in that course and turned it into something for kids and families to explore.


You can see this video over on BoardGameGeek at

And remember rule #1:  You are Not Your User!