Friday, May 1, 2015

Citydash - Fire hazard, 5th April

I guess cos solving clues in a locked room isn’t enough for me, I decided to sign up to a similar thing but one where you’re chased. That’s right, there are guards protecting the very thing you’re seeking and they WILL pursue you to stop you getting your goal. It’s terrifying and exhilarating and the hardest running I’ve done outside since I was a child.

So, the premise – there are, hidden around a certain (and rather wide-ranging) area, various checkpoints – in our case, cos it was Easter, they were little eggs. These eggs had codes on them. The aim of the game is to get the most points out of all the teams playing. Each checkpoint has a code and when you enter it to the web page for your team, you collect the points. The clues you have to solve help you figure out where these checkpoints are. Smartphones are essential. But that’s all very simple and this game is not. No – there are extra points for being the first team to reach a checkpoint, and checkpoints have different amounts of points allocated to them depending on how easy they are to either find, or just get to. You see, points are deducted if one of the guards (in our case dressed as bunnies because Easter, again) spots you and ‘catches’ you. When you start the game you pin individual codes to yourself and if a guard enters your code into their web page, you’re ‘caught’. You’re not out of the game, but as well as points being deducted from your team, you get frozen out of that zone and can’t collect anymore checkpoints. So, when you see those guards, you know what you do? You RUN! And run and run. And then you cautiously creep back to where that checkpoint is, and they’re still there! And they’re after you again! And you’re pelting it away until you can be sure they’re not on your back. Me and my team got trapped like this for what felt like an age early on when we’d actually found our first checkpoint but couldn’t go to the next one without a guard being in the way.

But, you can get your own back a little. Each guard also has a code pinned to them and if you enter that then you get points as well. This is actually a key thing to remember. My team happened to be spotted quite frequently and we forgot to take advantage of entering our guards’ codes when we had a chance.

This is a really fast-paced game – you get given a set of checkpoints to find at the start but as the game keeps going more and more open up – you need to constantly be planning and strategizing on the fly to get as many points as you can. Your original strategy may go completely out the window, especially if you’re frozen out of a zone.

Now, this happened to us frequently. We’d get to a checkpoint only to be told the code we’d entered wasn’t counted – we’d been spotted again. More accurately, our over six foot friend wearing the bright red top had been spotted. We were caught so much we actually won a prize for it at the end. When us two, smallish girls in dark clothing stood up with our giant red teammate, everyone laughed because it was immediately obvious who had cost us so many points. However, he was also our secret weapon because he lived in the area we were running around and knowing the area was invaluable in figuring out where the checkpoints were. He may have cost us lots of points but we probably also only got as many as we did because of him. Knowing the area is a huge advantage.

This sort of game is quite physical so it’s not for everyone but I found all the running around to be a blast, even though I didn’t exactly enjoy being chased. Next time we’re coming back faster, stronger, and stealthier!

I think one reason I might have enjoyed all the running is that it made me feel a lot less guilty about going to the Fry Hard pop up straight after where we indulged in lots of deep fried goodness – my friend and I shared deep fried: cheese strings, cherry bakewell, slice of lemon cake, Tunnock’s caramel, pickle and a fudge. So incredibly bad but oh so good. Probably good it was only there for a weekend.  



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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.