Before I’d even got home from City Dash: Code Red my team mates were already organising a trip to Shadow over Shoreditch, a monster packed version set over in the City. On the face of it, this looked very similar. Get codes, avoid guards, compete against other teams. We’d enjoyed it last time round, so that was fine, but I was definitely thinking “same old, same old”.
We arrived at Ziferblat around half an hour before the start time and settled in for the game proper. Gwyn, as the leader of the Lumos Society, started the briefing just after 8pm. Horrendous monsters were in the process of opening up portals from other dimensions to allow in their masters. The Lumos Society had discovered their plans and called its members together to hunt down these portals and close them. Our job was to track down their locations, and find the time settings for each one. Armed with that our scientists would be able to close down the portals and send the infiltrators back from whence they came. We would have 66 minutes and 6 seconds…
Before the briefing had even been given, the game commenced. As before, we were given some small clues before we got to London, so knew the location of three of the codes. When we’d arrived, we’d been shown a map and given hints about the monsters roaming the area. It’s a really nice aspect of City Dash that the game doesn’t just fill the hour of running, but kicks off earlier in the day as they start to be feed you clues.
The main event got under way with about twelve teams rushing onto the streets of Shoreditch and scattering. With fewer bonus points on offer for first to finds in this game, it was much more about quantity than speed. That said, we still wanted to get firsts, so this was most definitely running and not jogging.
At this point we encountered two of the weaknesses of this game – the codes were sometimes quite difficult to read, often one of three or four different possibilities and on one occasion just plain wrong. The second problem was that the code space was small enough that there was an occasional accidental clash. Neither were terminal issues, but both took the edge off those opening minutes.
Before we knew it, more clues started appearing and we were working our way around the map, finding clues and evading the monsters. Oh yes, we had to get away from the monsters. The first two City Dashes I’ve played have had guards in high vis uniforms. They were easy to see, but equally you were wearing a big rectangle of card with a code on your front and back, so were easy to spot too. This time round it wasn’t so obvious. You’d think big monsters wandering the streets of Shoreditch would be easy to spot, but on several occasions the first I noticed them was when they were within ten metres, and once it was within two or three. These adversaries were stealthy, not to mention fast and they played to their characters beautifully. It was surprisingly creepy bumping into them, and there was definitely more adrenaline when evading creatures from another dimension. Fortunately, we had RFID tags on this time, so no need to advertise our participation with codes on our front and back.
The cryptic clues this time round were much easier. We got almost all of them, and I’m sure with a little more work we could have cracked the remainder. The difficulty comes from trying to solve them over a square containing maybe four streets, which means it’s not always obvious if you’re looking in the right location. There were a couple of really nice hides, and a couple more where they’d been blended nicely into the scenery. Well done!
Throughout all this, of course, there were other teams doing the same things – criss crossing paths with us, running to clues or away from monsters, and occasional screams when a bad guy appeared as if from nowhere…
We took a big early lead and never looked back, although other teams did close the gap. We were somewhat fortuitous with our initial search path. I led us in totally the wrong direction in the mistaken belief we could crack a clue early, but then new clues opened up just where we happened to be and so we got a couple of first to find bonuses, and didn’t need to backtrack to pick anything up. We scored just over a thousand points and collected all but three of the codes (and one of those was because the clock was wrong!). To put that in context, our challengers were in the 900s and 800s.
Another fantastic event from City Dash. In fact, this was the best of the three I’ve played. Great venue in Ziferblat, a great location to explore in Shoreditch, and then a whole host of small things round the edges that made the game a little more fun to play – slightly easier clues, a smaller playing zone, guards that you encountered scarily often, a nice mechanism to give you codes (even if it proved to be more trouble) and some nice clues in the venue before you started.
Fantastic evening all round. I’d tell you to book tickets, but I believe they’ve sold out…