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Alastair watson

cgi shipping container escape game

CGI Cyber Escape Room

CGI Cyber Escape Room 2560 1920 Alastair watson

About 4 months ago, we were contacted by CGI; they are among the largest IT and business consulting services firms in the world, operating in hundreds of locations across the globe. The video below shows you a sample of the end result but below we discuss our process to get from inception to delivery.

One of their business divisions in Finland had built an escape room which had been spotted by one of the management team on a visit a year earlier and since then, the UK Cyber Security team had been trying to replicate without really knowing where to turn.

The approached Boundless off the back of our experience working with some other large IT service companies, such as Thales, in the hope that we could take their initial ideas, build on them and bring them to life in the form of a highly immersive experience that would teach basic cyber security principles in an engaging and memorable way.  Oh, and one last thing. – the whole experience had to be built inside a 40ft shipping container, be portable and run off battery power.

Never being ones to shy away from a new challenge we set off as we always do –


Our first step is always to find out as much as we could about our client’s objectives and their world.  In this case, it meant delving into the world of cyber security and taking note of the key concepts and brainstorming how we can weave those themes into the game concept.  This is the same process we go through if the games are purely for entertainment purposes for example, what features of a pirate ship could we make puzzles from? 

At the end of this stage, we create a clear game flow chart which shows each puzzle stream and the interlinking nature of the puzzles, the props that would be involved and the electronic system that would be created.


Our workshop is kitted out with a suite of tools that we use to create our games – we have CNC machines, laser cutters, 3D printers, a spray room, woodworking space and an electronics space.  All of these allow us to create the entirety of an escape game under one roof and have full control of the quality from start to finish.

The CGI Cyber Escape room had some tricky elements integrated into it that required some careful prototyping before finding the right solution.  One particular example being a SMEG fridge mounted to a wall in the kitchen area of the office which, when activated, slides the entire wall back into the transition space void.  Tricky, but the end result is a fantastic reveal mid game and provides one of those wow moments we look for.

The CGI Cyber Escape room is split into four rooms; room one – the office, room two – the transition and room three – the cyber lab and room four – the games masters’ room.


Over the last 5 years, electronics is an area that we’ve paid particular attention to developing and advancing our capabilities in, it’s now an area that sets us apart from other companies; Tom is now an all-round escape room electronics whizz kid.

CGI was our most complex game electronically to date.  The system had to be able to run the whole experience as a one-hour game, but the client also wanted to be able to run the individual rooms and 30-minute experiences for young people or for when visiting conferences.

All of the puzzles in this escape game communicate wirelessly with each other for a couple of reasons; firstly, it reduces the amount of hard wiring required in a room.  It also allows for easy updates and tweaking to the workings of the room once we get into the testing phases.

Training and handover:

Our team have years of experience in running escape games and other immersive experiences so when we complete a game we ensure we send an experienced games master to site to help train your team members up on the technical elements of the game but also the softer side of it – how to deliver a great pre game briefing, when to clue teams and how to deal with the unexpected.

Our detailed handover documents will give your staff peace of mind that they always have a comprehensive reference point when running games and of course, we’re always available on the phone to provide remote support.

The end result:

We’re incredibly proud of the CGI Cyber Escape game that we’ve been able to create in a 40ft shipping container.  The client is over the moon with the final result and is looking forward to using it as a comprehensive training tool for clients and for their STEM outreach work across the UK so keep your eyes peeled for the striking container travelling across the UK.

If you’d like to talk to us about how we can help your brand achieve your goals through the medium of immersive entertainment then email our Chief Executive, Alastair Watson on  We’d love to hear from you.

Thales immersive network training

Level up your brand with an immersive experience

Level up your brand with an immersive experience 2560 1920 Alastair watson

Here at Boundless Workshop, we’re seeing more and more brands create immersive experiences for their customers, whether it’s to raise awareness, to market a service/product or to add a new dimension to their offering. It’s a hot topic. 

But why are brands turning to immersive experiences? 

Get people talking 

It’s harder and harder for brands to reach people online as they fight for space with millions of other businesses in a small online space. Plus consumers are bored of being bombarded with ad after ad after ad. Know the feeling? We sure do. 

An immersive experience, on the ground, can do wonders for a consumer’s experience of your brand. If people enjoy it, they’ll talk about it online and face-to-face. Make it Instagram worthy and you’ve earned user-generated content promoting your brand. No need for paid ads, just authentic user experience. That’s great for marketing and brand awareness. 

Did you see the XXXX escape game in XXX shopping centre? A great way to raise brand awareness! 

Give a snapshot of your brand

Great immersive experiences give consumers an insight into your brand, what it might be like to purchase your product or visit again. There’s no hard sell. There’s no advert following you around the internet like a bad smell. Ultimately you’re inviting people to experience your brand, to get a taste of what it might be like. In return, you’re delivering a fantastic experience that the consumer will speak about for days, weeks, maybe even months to come.  Get it right and it’s a win win. 

It’s fun

Too many of us sit at the same desk in the same office five days a week. We want experiences that are fun, that get us moving around and our brains thinking in different ways. What better way to do that an immersive experience? 

Delivering an immersive experience 

We’re no stranger to creating immersive experiences. Having built, run and sold our own escape game business, we now specialise in creating bespoke and tailored experiences for brands across the UK. 

Take our project with Elsevier for example. They’re running a worldwide competition that will see the winners jetted to London for an immersive experience. The brand are publishers of medical books and so our brief was to create an immersive medical-themed escape room. Now that might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s been designed for doctors and nurses and brings a fun twist to an already exciting experience.

By running a worldwide competition, they’ve been able to build brand awareness, reach new audiences and show a different side to their usual offering. To fit their budget, we’ve created a range of stand-alone puzzles that can be used again and again, are easily transportable and fun for the target audience. Take a look at some of our work in the photographs below: 

Creating your immersive experience

Creating an immersive experience doesn’t need to cost your brand the earth. Whether it’s medicine, cybersecurity or finance – we can help create a bespoke experience that will get your customers talking for all the right reasons. Get in touch by email on and let us know your brief. We’re happy to organise a phone call to discuss possibilities and go from there.

Doctor Who Cyberman

Doctor Who themed escape room; a companion piece!

Doctor Who themed escape room; a companion piece! 900 900 Alastair watson

We’re a bunch of TV and film aficionados here at Boundless Workshop so you can imagine our delight at being involved in creating the first official Doctor Who themed live escape game for Escape Hunt.  

However, none of us were as excited as Doctor Who super fan James, our Creative Director.  We caught up with him to find out a little bit more about why he’s loving working on this project.

As a big Doctor Who fan, were you excited to learn you’d be working on the first official Doctor Who themed live escape game for Escape Hunt?

I was incredibly excited! My love of Doctor Who was inspired by my dad who vividly remembers watching from the very first episode back in 1963. My first clear memory of the show was the 1996 TV movie as a major event in our household.  At least for me and my dad.

From then on, I would watch any repeats I could find on satellite channels. Eventually they started bringing out DVDs so I could explore the history of the show in a less haphazard way and I have religiously watched every episode since it came back in 2005, sometimes with screening parties in my flat for the grandest episodes. So being able to be involved in any way with a show that means so much to me is an incredible feeling.

For it to be related to another, somewhat newer, passion of mine in escape games is quite a bonus. My favourite escape games are able to tell an engaging story to the players through their involvement in the puzzles and challenges and this was clearly going to be the case in the universe of Doctor Who.

What have you enjoyed most about being involved in the Worlds Collide project?

One part of the enjoyment is being on the inside of the process, knowing the secrets and elements involved in the project that the rest of the fans aren’t going to find out about until later! And I am very excited to have worked on some audio recordings that are involved in the game, it very much felt like I was working in the sound department of Doctor Who!

Without giving too much away, what can you tell Doctor Who fans about the challenges they’ll be faced with when playing Worlds Collide?

As ever with Doctor Who, there is a major global threat on the horizon and you and your team have to do everything you can to stop it! That threat comes in the form of the Cybermen, so it really couldn’t be much worse. Fortunately, you have some assistance from a very special Time Lord to mend the tear in the fabric of space and time that might let the Cybermen through. You will be interacting in a real Doctor Who adventure and I can’t think of anything more exciting than that.

Were there any challenges along the way?

A project like Worlds Collide has to be scrutinised at every step of the way to make sure it is up to the high standards required and fulfils the expectations of all of the excited fans. That makes for a lot of hard work. But everyone involved knows how important it is. That really motivates you. Occasionally we needed to step back and get some perspective on how exciting it is to be working on something so well known and loved, that did make the hard work a lot easier!

As Creative Director, what is your role in the process of designing, building and installing escape games such as these?

My role varies quite a lot, depending on the project. Sometimes I’m involved from the earliest stages in coming up with the broad concept and story, sometimes a client will have a story and some idea of what they want people to experience but no idea of the specifics so I’ll be designing puzzle concepts for approval and sometimes I’m searching online to find just the right prop for players to interact with or maybe designing a sticker that conveys lots of information but has to fit in an area the size of a post it note!

When it comes to the later stages I enjoy being involved in building and installing on site, obviously to check that we’re meeting our quality standards, but also because that’s how I started in this industry, putting games together so that players would have the best experience of our latest adventure. I feel very lucky to have such a varied job that tests and expands my skills every day. And sometimes I even get to work on Doctor Who!

Boundless Workshop are part of the team responsible for the prop design and build of Escape Hunt’s Worlds Collide rooms which are now open in Bristol, Leeds, Oxford, Reading, Manchester and Birmingham. Read more about this project and our other work.

1st birthday cake

Happy birthday to us!

Happy birthday to us! 2560 2560 Alastair watson

It’s been a busy first year here at Boundless, with lots of new and exciting projects under our belt in the workshop.

We kicked the year off by designing and building Edinburgh’s first Harry Potter inspired escape room, Department of Magic, for clients Monkey Barrel Comedy. Also tasked with creating a themed bar, we produced the mystical Magic Potions Tavern to immerse visitors in the magic and extend the experience beyond the game itself. The Department of Magic has gone on to see great success so far in bookings and reviews, and we were delighted to work on their second venue which opened a few months later.

The Boundless team then took a break from the world of wizardry to visit the EuroPython 2018 conference with a bespoke submarine-themed escape challenge for our client ‘Smarkets’ who wanted to drive awareness and attract talent in an engaging way. With over 200 visitors putting their skills to the test against the clock, it was a great way to make the event and our client stand out in the crowd!

Towards the end of the year, we travelled back in time by 1,000 years to immerse ourselves in all things Nordic for a Vikings themed escape game project across four UK cities for global client, Escape Hunt. As part of the team involved in building the rooms in Edinburgh, Reading, Liverpool and Manchester, we certainly clocked up some miles on the van!

Speaking of time travel, we’re delighted to be working on another top-secret project and look forward to revealing more very soon.

Whilst we’re proud to look back on the things we’ve achieved in our first year, we’re also looking forward to everything our 2nd year has in store for us!

If you’d like to work with us on your immersive project, we’d be delighted to have a chat.

Experience The Magic!

Experience The Magic! 150 150 Alastair watson

We’ve built a few immersive games and escape rooms in our time but when clients Monkey Barrel Comedy approached us about creating a Harry Potter inspired experience for their award-winning Edinburgh comedy venue we jumped at the opportunity.

Designing, building and installing escape rooms requires a number of skills across many different disciplines. From creativity and organisational skills to electrical engineering and scenic finishing, this project has pulled together our fantastic team of talented individuals to create a truly immersive experience under the direction of our project manager, James.

The Department of Mysteries is much more than just an escape game; it’s an enchanting experience inspired by the magic of Harry Potter, Dungeons and Dragons and other similar worlds of fantasy. Teams are challenged to solve a series of spellbinding puzzles, riddles and clues in order to collect prophecies and battle with dark forces to save the wizardly world.

Also tasked with creating a themed bar within the overall space, we designed the mystical Three Cauldrons Tavern which immerses visitors in the magic and extends the experience beyond the game itself.

Escape games have seen a steady rise in popularity over the past seven years and have more recently been adopted by brands as a form of experiential marketing. Last month, Coors Light launched The Challenge Rooms in Ireland, a pop-up game which takes players to the Rocky Mountains where an avalanche has hit their Thermal Research Facility. We are often approached by clients who are looking for a one-off event for a conference or for employee team building and escape game challenges, no matter how big or small, can fit the bill perfectly.

If the initial public reaction to the Department of Mysteries is anything to go by, it’s set to be a great success. Sold out for the first few months of opening and with over 250 bookings and £30,000 in sales taken before opening, we’re really proud of our latest project and hope that visitors enjoy the experience as much as we enjoyed creating it!

For our top tips on what makes a successful escape room, check out our previous blog.

For more information on what we do, visit our website or get in touch for a chat about how we can bring your project to life!

Escape game corporate team building

The Secrets of Escape Game Success

The Secrets of Escape Game Success 1842 1842 Alastair watson

Since around 2011 escape rooms have been taking off all over the world in various shapes, sizes and formats. Consisting of a series of puzzles, riddles and clues, escape games require teams to put their problem solving skills to the test and complete challenges in a set period of time in order to ‘escape’ the room.

The beauty of escape games is that they don’t have to be limited to stand alone venues; they can be created for various audiences in many different locations across a number of different sectors. From entertainment venues and museums to offices and conferences, variations of escape games are a fantastic way to engage, immerse and interact with audiences. But are there certain common characteristics that all good escape games require? From our experience in designing, building and managing escape rooms for a number of clients, here are our top 5 suggestions for success:

1. A compelling story

Unsurprisingly, an engaging story is the glue that holds the experience together. It should be something that the creator cares about, whether that’s based on a time in history, a location or a specific theme. Some escape rooms take their influence from the historic building they’re housed in or the city their based in. If it’s a visitor attraction, the story might have an educational element, and businesses have booked escape games for team building or for conferences, with stories that tie in with the services they offer. Whatever the tale, consistency is ke

2. An immersive setting

Speaking of consistency, the setting is also critical in building the ‘world’ of the game. The scenery has the role of immersing players into that world and ensuring that nothing pulls them out of the story. Teams of designers, builders, artists and scenic finishers all work together to create a final ‘set’ that makes the game memorable and immersive. Our lifelike creations have included an international space station, a submarine, an undercover spy agency, superhero headquarters, a scientist’s study, Edwardian servants’ quarters and a medieval jail to name but a few!

3. Interesting puzzles

Escape games are made up of a series of interactive challenges that teams of players complete by solving puzzles and clues. The challenges ultimately help them achieve their goal of escaping against the clock. The puzzles therefore have to be pitched at the right difficulty level and ideally be adaptable to suit players’ needs. They might also have an objective of their own; we’ve created an escape game in an attraction to educate visitors and we’ve also used them to engage employees and to encourage team work and problem solving within companies.

4. A clear game flow

In order for the game to run smoothly and so as not to confuse the players, the game should flow in a clear way. It should be obvious to the player how to move through the challenges and how well they’re doing at any point in time. The game doesn’t have to progress in a linear fashion, with one puzzle leading on from the other, but there has to be a clear goal and good communication with the players whether that be through the help of a timer or visual and audio updates.

5. An engaging Games Master

Behind every successful escape game, there’s an engaging and effective Games Master! They have the task of introducing the game to the players and looking after them throughout the challenge. Clear communication of the story and the goals of the game are important and a good Games Master will also keep a close eye on things, offering additional clues where requested and adapting the game to players’ needs. As they often have a role assigned to them in the story, many Games Masters are keen performers and easily get in to character! These are all traits that we look for when providing this role for clients.

To find out how we can help you create an unforgettable escape game that meets your objectives, please get in touch for a chat. We’d love to bring your story to life or help you invent one!

immersive escape game

How immersive games can bring your conference to Life

How immersive games can bring your conference to Life 1842 1842 Alastair watson

Each year companies flock to conferences to make connections and build brand awareness, but in a busy and competitive marketplace, how can you make your brand stand out from the crowd and make a lasting impression?

Events platform, Eventbrite, has recognised that while the UK conference industry is growing, attendees are becoming more and more demanding* so how can conferences and exhibitors ensure they are maximising their return on investment?

Engage your visitors

Conferences can often be dry affairs. Networking and listening to speakers can be motivational but companies should still be looking to engage attendees and fellow exhibitors in other ways. Adding a compelling, interactive element to your stand in the form of participative challenges or games makes delegates stop and focus for a set period of time and gives them a better chance of remembering information afterwards.

Participation makes the event more memorable

The recent move away from traditional forms of advertising and in to experiential marketing highlights that brands that are interacting with their audiences are reaping the rewards. Information is definitely absorbed better if you’ve participated in receiving it! Many conference organisers are looking to the latest technology to live stream talks or to create an app to help delegates become more involved and provide input. Interactive and immersive experiences, however, can engage all of the senses making it even more effective at connecting brands and companies with their customers.

Be bespoke

In order for the activity to help increase your brand or company’s memorability, it has to be specific to your business. Branding has a part to play but so does the activity itself. App development is a great way to personalise the conference for attendees but it’s still faceless. By creating a piece of bespoke activity at your stand or in a central location, you can bring your message to life and engage in face-to-face dialogue with customers and peers.

Know your objectives

Conferences are great places to showcase your business and network with like-minded professionals but if you can be specific in what you want to achieve then interactive experiences can certainly help you meet your goals. Launching a new product that people can try out or attracting top talent through immersive challenges are all ways in which you can connect with delegates. With the heightened emphasis on technology and social media at these events, companies can also use this activity to create compelling online content; creating buzz is a priority!

To find out more about our work or for a chat about how we might be able to create a memorable experience for your brand or event, then please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you!

*Source: Bel Booker, The Latest Conference Trends from 9 Industry Insiders.

Boundless Workshop

Introducing Boundless Workshop

Introducing Boundless Workshop 2560 2560 Alastair watson

We’re very excited to introduce you to Boundless Workshop. We design, build and deliver bespoke immersive, interactive experiences for brands, events and attractions.

We’ve been creating and managing award-winning escape rooms and designing and building interactive installations for a while so we’re really looking forward to taking this expertise and evolving with Boundless Workshop!

Our CEO, Alastair, is the creator and previous owner of an award-winning escape game business with venues in Edinburgh and York. He has designed a portable escape room for team building in businesses across the UK and has delivered various immersive projects in attractions such as Blackpool Dungeon and the National Trust for Scotland’s Pollok House, as well as at events and conferences.

James is our Project Manager. He has extensive experience of working within the escape game industry, having helped design, build and also manage escape rooms. He has worked with Alastair to develop and project manage a number of interactive games for businesses such as RBS, JP Morgan and Money2020 Conference. He’s a mathematician by trade and an actor and comedian in his spare time, boasting organisational and creative skills in equal measure!

Our Development Manager, Victoria, works on client contact and also looks after the marketing and branding elements of Boundless Workshop. Having worked in Brand Management for over 10 years across the drinks sector and most recently in marketing for escape games, she understands the importance of delivering unique and unforgettable experiences that connect brands with their customers.

We’re a small team which means that we’re invested in making your project the best it can be no matter how big or small. But small doesn’t mean we don’t have the capabilities to fully support each project; we have a great team of creators and builders that we work with behind the scenes!

So, what we can we do for our clients? We can help make your event an unforgettable one by adding a bespoke interactive element. We can help your brand connect with customers in new, exciting and relevant ways. We can help your attraction encourage new visitors and provide a fun way to drive education and we can help you engage your employees on a new level with immersive projects for team building. In a nutshell, we can help you create unique, fun and memorable experiences to drive brand awareness and engage new customers.

You can find out more about what we do on our website. We’d be delighted to have a chat to see if we can help bring your project or event to life!

Do not hold back it’s your time to shine

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