Tom Tries… Fire Hazard: City Dash

Urban orienteering at its best

Fire Hazard is a series of high-energy street games with many different objectives.

City Dash is just one of the games they do and in a word, brings orienteering to the streets of London involving stealth, speed and endurance.

A game that is so hard to explain both in person and over text, yet, is actually quite simple and nothing short of brilliant.

In teams of three or four people you are given a map of an area, in this case, Tower Hill and its surrounding area, which includes Fenchurch Street Station and Leadenhall Market.

IMG_0743This area is broken up into four zones, comprising of purple, yellow, green and red. Within each zone, there are six hidden codes, we’re talking about a four character code, on a slip of paper the size of a business card, hidden within about a square kilometre.

So how do you find it? On the internet your team has a bespoke webpage which you access on either your phone or one of your team mate’s phones, in theory you could all have it up, if you want.

On this webpage, cryptic clues and directions will be revealed for each of the six codes within a specific segment. For example: “On a bollard at the end of Cullum Street”.

You would then run to Cullum Street and find said bollard, locate the code and then type that into your phone. Depending on how difficult it is to find, the more points you get, ranging from 10 to 60. However, if you’re the first team to claim this you get an additional 40 points. As most games, the team with the most points wins the game. Hence why running now plays a major part.

At the beginning of the game, which lasts an hour by the way, there are already eight checkpoints on the webpage. This leads to many teams frantically plotting out routes and tactics on their maps before they have even set off.

IMG_0629Once the game starts new checkpoints are then periodically revealed. In one instance, a checkpoint appeared on the street parallel to our then present location, breaking us into a full on sprint, retrieving the code before anyone else and getting us those vital extra points.

The webpage is really very good, it tells how you many times the code has been found and the current leader board. That’s until the final 10 minutes when it’s completely hidden to add a little extra spice.

Sounds good right? There’s one extra twist, within each segment there’s a guard patrolling the streets.

In a highly identifiable high-vis jacket, these guards have one job in mind, catching you.

These guards have a bespoke webpage of their own; before the game starts you pin on a three-character code on to your front and back, if they see you and your code and claim it, not only does it deduct 20 points from your score but bans you from that zone.

They can also catch more than one of you, it takes one of you to get banned but it’s still worth getting out of there quick because if he or she sees anyone else, it’s another 20 points deducted.

If yIMG_0642ou are spotted, it appears on the webpage and won’t let you enter anymore codes for that zone.

How about another twist in the saga? Sure, there are codes on the guards backs. This adds to an extra bit of ‘sneakability’. Luckily I managed to see the green guards code without him seeing me, much to my delight, an easy 30 points.

How’s that sound? Pretty awesome right?

So how did we get on? Eighth, out of 18 teams. 250 points we ascertained, with three teams above us finishing on 260. For two couples, and three of those people (not me) coming from Essex, that’s pretty good going I’d say.

I’d also like to point out that you run a fare distance during that time, at least 4K, perhaps more, I made the rookie mistake of not tracking it with an electronic device.

IMG_0741We were spotted three times, me twice admittedly, and would have finished in fifth had we remained unseen.

It really is great fun, a different way of spending your Saturday night and you all meet up back at the pub, what could be better?

It’s got an element of stealth, speed and excitement all in one.

We are doing the next one in April, and with the experience from this one, I would have one member looking constantly at the webpage for new checkpoints, another one as a navigator looking at Google maps and the remaining two members simply being spotters for guards.

It would be advisable for all to have the webpage ready on your phone because you never know when you might accidentally come across a code.

Liked what you hear? Find out more about Fire Hazard street games here.

Tom Bristow

Written by Tom Bristow | 118 articles | View profile

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