Arctic Adventure

I wrote this open-ended game/simulation with an obvious Easter application a very long time ago. It is intended to be light-hearted and fun, with increasing gravity, until the punchline at points 9 and 10.

  1. Introduce the game as follows. “Arctic Expeditions is pleased to offer you the adventure of a lifetime. A fortnight inside the Arctic circle. All travel and accommodation is arranged in advance.”
  2. Discuss among the Group for a few minutes – make a list of the things you would you need to take with you on this adventure: e.g. what kind of camping equipment, clothes, food, satellite radio etc?
  3. So now you have arrived in for your first few days in the Arctic. The snowmobiles have dropped you will all your equipment.
  4. Discuss among the Group for a few minutes – what kinds of things will you want to do in those first few days ? All ideas, sensible and silly, welcomed of course.
  5. Announce “I have some bad news and some good news. The bad news is that the weather has deteriorated. There is a blizzard blowing outside, temperatures are now so cold that it is dangerous to go outside for any length of time. (you might refer to the snowstorms over the last month as just a glimpse of the ferocious conditions) The good news is that you have plenty of food and drink and fuel for the heaters to last for the rest of your stay and the snowmobiles are on their way to rescue you.”
  6. Discuss among the Group – how will you cope with this terrible weather?
  7. Announce “I have some more bad news for you. The heaters have broken down. So the temperature is dropping inside the tent. But the good news is that as long as you can keep eating and drinking you will be able to survive the cold. And the snowmobiles are on their way.”
  8. Discuss among the Group – what can you do now?
  9. Announce “Arctic Expeditions are very sad to inform you that the storm is so bad that the snowmobiles have broken down and are now stuck in the snow. The good news is that replacement snowmobiles are on their way and will be with you in 13 days. The bad news is that you have only 10 days of minimum rations of food left. And without the heating, in that bitter cold, if you don’t eat then within a day you will fall into a coma and the next day you will be dead. We hope you will enjoy the rest of your holiday and are truly sorry that help will not be able to reach you in time.” (A little calculation is needed here. Arrange the number of days of food according to the number of people in the Group, and the time it will take for help to arrive, such that the food will run out before help arrives, but if the Group was one fewer person, then there would be enough food for the rest all to survive.)
  10. Ask the Group – what are you going to do? Discuss.

Retell the story of Lawrence “Titus” Oates, who was suffering from gangrene and frostbite on the Scott’s Terra Nova Antarctic expedition. So to save His friends, Oates sacrificed his life by walking out of the tent to certain death into a blizzard at -40 degrees C on 17th March 1912, saying  “I am just going outside and may be some time”,

Lead on to Jesus’s words in John 15:13 “ Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

Explain the significance of Christ’s sacrifice on Good Friday in any way you consider appropriate for the Group.

The first time I used this with an all-age teens and adults group, a sergeant with the Met Police who had been on the front line of the Kilburn riots summed it up by saying, “We all know what we ought to do. But would any of us have the guts to do it?”


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