Citydash – a game of speed, stealth, and strategy, played on the streets
Today myself and two friends played Citydash, as Team Awesome, and we almost lived up to the name. While we received entry to the race at a discounted price, this review is my honest and unbiased opinion.
Last month I wrote about a pervasive game coming to Manchester called Citydash. Developed by Fire Hazard Games, you have 60 minutes to reach as many check points as you can, while cracking clues, running, sneaking, plotting routes and working as a team.
The play area is approximately 0.4 miles squared in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, and is split into 4 different zones, each patrolled by a guard, who can be distinguished by their high viz vest. While this is helpful to spot them, it also means you will occasionally also run like idiots from bus drivers, traffic wardens, bin men, and almost one guy in a green top, just because you panicked too quickly.
The game starts out with a number of checkpoints available for you to locate, each with a clue and corresponding grid reference for your map. Some are quite easy and obvious, some are quite cryptic, and you can also get checkpoints from finding the codes on the backs of the guards and one roaming photographer.
While I was the least competent runner, having not run since my Couch to 5k last year, I just about managed to keep up. The game is still good fun for non runners, you can quite easily walk between check points, with the only time you would absolutely have to run would be when faced with a guard who is chasing you down. You wouldn’t win, but you would definitely still have fun.
There are many tactics you can use to stop the guards from catching you. In order to be ‘caught’, the guard would have to get close enough to read the 3 letter code on you front or back. You cannot cover these up with jackets, bags or other items in your hand, but you are perfectly fine to throw yourself on someone’s car (sorry to the person who’s car had me thrust against it), ask random strangers to hug you, lie down, or just try to run away sideways. You are also allowed to try and coerce random members of the public into helping you, I actually wanted to try and pay homeless people to go get codes for us that were guarded, but unfortunately none were available in the areas surrounding the check points.
In fact we were off to quite a good start, jumping to first place quite quickly when I managed to get two guards codes in quick succession with my stealthy moves, but we quickly lost this position as the game went on.
After 30 minutes I was flagging, and even though I had been really good at spotting guards and stealthily avoiding them, it seemed that whenever we paused to catch out breath and check the map, we managed to have a guard walk right up behind us. We definitely failed on the vigilance skill for this game, but being caught only 3 times turned out not to be so bad in the end.
After the hour was up we returned to base to find out the scores. Out of 16 teams we came a respectable 8th, with 370 points, although our score was no where near the top 3 (top score 770!), we weren’t too bothered about winning. Our main goal for the afternoon was to have fun, and Citydash definitely provided that for us.
The play area was a perfect size to keep you spread out but not having to travel too far between checkpoints. The clues had just the right amount of local knowledge without making it impossible for non-locals to play, and the fun never stopped for the whole hour. We would definitely play Citydash again, and can’t wait to see what game they bring to Manchester next!
Check out our scorecard! As a geek I love love love the Score Cards and geeky little titbits of info about our team.
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