At the former Exitus Escape Room in Jackson you and your friends were confined to a small space where you worked as a team to piece together clues about how to get out.
With the “new” Exitus you’ll all be on the outside trying to get in by following clues about the whereabouts of a missing person, a mild-mannered granny who’s gone rogue.
And it isn’t a room, it’s a tabletop puzzle box — a group of boxes, actually — that will travel to your party. Locks and screws and other things will keep you from the final clue until you’ve solved a dozen others.
“You read a script that tells you somebody in Jackson has gone awry,” said Emily Edwards, manager of Jackson Hole Experience Group. “Through the clues of the puzzle box you can find her.”
The Jackson Hole Experience Group plans to rent the box and three identical ones for parties, family get-togethers and corporate shindigs. Clients can pick them up or they hire a game master — Edwards will be one — to set it up and coach them through the riddle-solving.
“It would be a wonderful team-building exercise,” Edwards said of the box.
Exitus JH Games is the latest addition to a growing menu of activities the Experience Group offers. The business was started by Shepard Humphries and Lynn Sherwood, who also offer gun-centered entertainment and education through Jackson Hole Shooting Experience.
“We just keep finding these things that people like to do, and we’re good at doing that,” Humphries said.
With the puzzle box, as with all the other activities, the idea is to create a bonding experience.
The puzzle box was designed by Brandi Weesen, owner of the Escape Room. When she was looking to sell it, the Jackson Hole Experience Group concluded an escape room wouldn’t be a viable part of its business but saw the puzzle boxes as an opportunity.
“We bought parts of Exitus because they’re going to fit into parts of what we do and what we are becoming,” Humphries said.
At Jackson Hole Shooting Experience, which he and Sherwood have operated since 2010, people take shooting lessons or buy packages that let them fire a variety of guns at targets.
Over the years the Experience Group added “Western Jackson Hole Yard Games” for groups looking to spice up events. Some are supervised by a professional coach: ax throwing, knife throwing, blow guns, gold panning, and primitive survival skills like building a fire and a lean-to.
“If someone is blowing darts at a target you definitely want someone standing there to make sure it’s going in a safe direction,” Humphries said.
Unsupervised games like cornhole and horseshoes are offered as add-ons to the supervised ones.
The Exitus JH Games part of the operation will include the puzzle boxes, board games and metal puzzles, like one that challenges you to get a ring off a horseshoe. More board games could be added. A family coming in for a weekend, for example, might want to rent a chess set and Candy Land, Humphries said.
For large corporate groups a range of activities can be combined at an event.
The puzzle box “could be on a section of the lawn, and 20 people are doing that while another 30 are doing archery and tomahawks and others are sipping cocktails,” Humphries said.
Meanwhile, the Jackson Hole Experience will continue to grow.
“If something is a good fit we’re always looking for a business to buy,” Humphries said.
Edwards said a Dec. 1 opening is planned for Exitus-related items. Bookings for the puzzle boxes will go through the same line as Shooting Experience bookings.
Find details at JacksonHoleExperienceGroup.com/portfolio.