Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Agent November, 12th July

So, for all you puzzle lovers and treasure-hunt enthusiasts, you’ll be pleased to know there’s another game afoot in London. Brought to you from a Hint Hunt ex-employee is Agent November – a game where you must use your wits and ingenuity to save London from a catastrophic explosion! Born of the same stable as Hint Hunt there are similarities, not least in the time frame and having to race against the clock. There is also a similarly constrained area in which to solve the puzzle, though this time you’re outside rather than in. Everything you will need for the game is provided, unlike with Door in aWall, where you wouldn’t get very far without a smartphone.

I went along to the inaugural game so we were very much the guinea pigs, meaning there are probably some things that will change or run more smoothly as it finds its feet. But we still had a really fun hour and a half and, I’m happy to report, we also managed to solve all the clues and save London from imminent disaster! Of course, I can’t say too much as I don’t want to spoil any surprises or give anything away!

You get about twenty minutes at the beginning of the game to be given the backstory and get a few initial clues together before being lead over to where the ‘action’ takes place. Some things are straightforward tasks to complete but others require a little sideways thinking, and of course there are a few red herrings along the way as well. Even seemingly unrelated things, though, were hidden clues, that made us all go ‘aaahhh’ at the end once we’d figured it all out. A couple of things in particular I thought were ingenious but obviously I won’t say what they were!

Agent November was on hand throughout to help should you get stuck though there aren’t any other characters to meet or interact with. I had a few seasoned puzzlers with me, and we would have preferred a bit less help. Some of the hints were some that seemed to appear out of nowhere when we would rather have figured something out. And, considering we did solve it with several minutes to spare, we wouldn’t have minded a few extra riddles or puzzles to solve, or spending some more time on solving clues ourselves rather than having a hint or clue given to us. I#d probably pitch its ease at a little below that of Hint Hunt, which doesn't help if you haven't been to Hint Hunt! Having said that, there was a point about halfway through where I really thought we were no way near figuring it all out and that time would run out before we did. You never know whether the next clue will pull it all together or lead to something else to solve, and of course it depends on the order you manage to find them in.  We had a full team of 6 which worked well but if you had less I think you could still manage to find everything within the time frame if you don’t mind a bit of running about!

This is a great way to spend a couple of hours, giving your brain a work out with some likeminded friends. If you've already done Hint Hunt or a Door in a Wall, and are looking for something new, or if you're yet to try them and want to see what these live puzzle adventures are all about, then Agent November is your man!

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I work as an editor in educational publishing by day, and then spend most of my spare time discovering interesting things to do in London, and taking people there with my own Meetup.