Operation Incognito

With summer winding down, teens getting bored, and the temperatures still unbearably hot, it’s the perfect time for an off-the-wall, air conditioned adventure game. Meet “Operation Incognito”.

The Location:

Pack the group up and head to your favorite indoor mall (the bigger, the better). Or make it easier on yourself and have everyone meet there.

The Object:

It’s a people scavenger hunt. Groups will compete to locate as many of your “secret operatives” as possible. Your operatives will be hiding in plain sight around the mall.

The Setup:

Recruit 10-15 people (“operatives”) to go “incognito”. It’s a great way to use college students who are home for the summer. A week before the game, take a headshot of each operative. Then challenge them to come up with the best disguise they can. The key is to hide their identity while blending in with the crowds at the mall. Wigs, mustaches, glasses, fat suits, hair dye, make up all work great. Even just a drastic change in clothing style goes along way (have the guy who normally wears cowboy boots and wranglers go goth or have the girl who is always very stylishly wear baggy sweats).

Each operative needs to come up with a codename.

Have them arrive at the mall 20 minutes early and scatter all over the mall. Make sure you have all of their mobile numbers.

Prepare a print out for each group with the rules (see below) and headshots of each operative (as they regularly look).

The Rules:

  1. Each team should consist of 4-5 teens randomly chosen. Have each team come up with a one-word team name. Make sure each team has a decent camera phone (you need to have this number stored in your phone).
  2. Starting from a central location, give each team one hour to locate as many operatives as possible.
  3. Once an operative is found, the entire team must take a picture with him/her and text the photo to the game leader and include the text: “[Team Name] has located [Operative’s Codename] in [Location]”
  4. Once a team locates an operative, the team leader waits 2 minutes then texts the entire group that “An operative has been spotted near [Location].” (Hopefully the operative is smart enough to have left that place by then.)
  5. The team that locates the most operatives by the end of the hour. Have all the teens and your operatives meet back at a central location once the game is over so they can all laugh at the disguises.

Other Ideas:

  • Give certain operatives a gift card for a restaurant in the food court for them to give away to the first team that finds them.
  • If people are having trouble finding your operatives or if you’re in a really big mall, start sending out clues to their locations every 5-10 minutes.
  • Pre-arrange with some of the stores in the mall to let your operatives work undercover as employees or mannequins.

Michael Marchand

Michael is a Catholic evangelist, author and speaker.

After spending 11 years as a parish youth minister, Michael left parish ministry to work full-time with ProjectYM (a ministry he cofounded a few years earlier).

Michael's resume also includes preaching gigs at events and conferences around the world, a Catholic theology degree, authoring a book on Catholic evangelization, years of training and consulting with parish/diocesan leaders on technology and social media, countless online projects, and the founding of 2 ProjectYM mission bases: one in Uganda and one in Chattanooga, TN.

Michael is blessed to be part of an amazing missionary family. Michael, his beautiful wife (Crystal) and four kids serve the local Church in Chattanooga, TN.


Michael Marchand


Michael is a Catholic evangelist, author and speaker.

After spending 11 years as a parish youth minister, Michael left parish ministry to work full-time with ProjectYM (a ministry he cofounded a few years earlier).

Michael's resume also includes preaching gigs at events and conferences around the world, a Catholic theology degree, authoring a book on Catholic evangelization, years of training and consulting with parish/diocesan leaders on technology and social media, countless online projects, and the founding of 2 ProjectYM mission bases: one in Uganda and one in Chattanooga, TN.

Michael is blessed to be part of an amazing missionary family. Michael, his beautiful wife (Crystal) and four kids serve the local Church in Chattanooga, TN.



Questions or Comments?

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