By: Jeralyn Johnson
Covert Escape Games is an entirely unique approach to the Escape Game industry.
“The whole industry, with the Escape Games, have these themes that are locks and puzzles which is cool, but I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to do Covert Escape Games, and I wanted to do historically themed games that are completely original, and spy-based… But I didn’t want to limit it to just spy games,” Ashworth said.
“I am a huge Alice in Wonderland fan too, which is where Down the Rabbit Hole came from. I also saw the team-building aspect as a [reason] why I wanted to do this. Military life is tough… so whenever we would have a rare opportunity to do something fun it was special, and usually very effective. I wanna do something fun that helps other groups out too. That’s kinda the [reason] of starting this business.”
Ashworth retired two years ago, and he mentioned that while he was debating what he would want to do with the rest of his life, an Escape Game he played in Gatlinburg inspired his now-thriving business.
“This is what I want to do for the rest of my life. This is so much fun…” He said, “Here’s the thing, this game was really well done. It was standard entertainment that I had never experienced before as far as quality goes, and I thought, I wanna bring this to Clarksville. I retired out of Fort Campbell, and I wanted to do something that honored the military and clandestine covert groups we have around the world.”
Ashworth applied his service skills to these specific games but wanted it to be unlike any other Escape Game out there. He creates every idea and template himself and sits down with his teams to plan and brainstorm about what they can do creatively.
They have four different games right now and are currently building another one. The games are Down the Rabbit Hole (Alice In Wonderland Inspired), L.A.W.N. Dart (WWII Themed), Crazy Ivan (Cold War-Russian Spy Themed), 1001 Arabian Nights (Mobile Game, Built the day of), and then The Garden is coming soon.
The Garden is a nondenominational approach to the Garden of Eden story but in reverse. The Garden should be ready before the end of October, along with a special themed game for Halloween.
Covert Escape Games has been opened for business since March 2018, and the business is growing in followers. Covert Escape Games is community based, but they are huge supporters of teambuilding and growth. They do volunteer events each month. They will be at APSU on October 11 for the Career Fair.
“We love students. We have a lot of students that work for us both in highschool and college,” Sam said.
The staff at Covert welcomes students with a $3 off an admission ticket (APSU and CMCSS).
“We are very selective with our staff members, but it has paid off because we have the best staff. For every 100 applicants, we usually have picked one person out of that group. But we could not ask for better employees. [This job] is a science that they have perfected. We tell our staff members that the game is only as good as you make it, and they do a really great job at making sure our guests have great experiences,” said Brett and Sam.
Their employees equally said that their favorite part about working at Covert was the work dynamic, and how everyone gets along with one another.
Jenna Powell, Freshman at APSU, Dental Hygiene Major, and employee at Covert said, “I enjoy working at Covert Escape Games. We are one big family, and always have each other’s back. I love working there because I am always [able to meet] diverse groups of people and getting to be the [reason] for them smiling.”
The job consists of acting, time management, knowing how to read body language, knowing when to give hints and it is all very theatrical.
Linzi Moore, Senior at Rossview High School and employee at Covert said, “Down the Rabbit Hole is my favorite game because it is the prettiest, and I get to scare people with masks, and it’s funny to watch.”
Covert Escape Games is looking to expand, and with the support of their community, they would like to have more than 10 games, and possibly two more locations.
They are located at 480 Warfield Blvd. Clarksville, TN 37043.
Stay tuned for their special themed game on Halloween this 2018.
Ask yourself: “Are you ready to escape?”