Unique Event Formats: CityDash

Unique Event Formats: CityDash

This is part of Decibel’s series on Unique Event Formats, where we feature off-the-beaten-track approaches to event organization, and some of the more interesting ways event producers are bringing people together.

Everyone has super agent fantasies, man. Don’t tell us you’ve never wanted to hand someone a manila envelope under a Viennese bridge. Or back-handspring through a laser field. Or evade Storm Trooper ninjas while cracking riddles. You want to do this. I want to do this. All people want to do this. And now you can.

What is it?

CityDash was actually created by the guys over at Fire Hazard, who specialize in “high-energy immersive experiences”, and who totally did not pay us to write this (no, really. We’re just super into it.). With plots inspired by action RPGs, CityDash is a multi-player live action game that blends brainpower with motive power. From the horse’s mouth:

[Citydash is] an hour-long team game in which players try to locate hidden codes while hiding from guards. Finding the codes scores points, but being spotted by a guard stops your team from being able to use some of the codes. The game rewards caution and stealth as well as speed and cleverness, and requires teamwork and strong leadership to win. Each team plays with a smartphone logged into the Citydash web site, which provides them with clues about the location of the codes. The codes are printed on small stickers which are hidden in difficult to find places: under benches, on the backs of signs etc.

Decibel actually batted around the idea of creating an IRL immersive experience at one point, but there were ton of moving parts, the planning required was incredibly complex and the project timeline couldn’t handle starting from scratch, so we reluctantly set that aside. Seeing what has been done with Citydash, our hats are off to the organizers.

Why it’s cool

I’m sorry, did you not see the part about evading guards? You need another reason? Ok: how about we throw in “chased by the Mad Hatter”. CityDash events can be themed, like the upcoming Alice in Wonderland version slated to run in Adelaide (“Peer around corners, duck behind cover, and recruit passers-by to help you outwit and outrun the Red Queen’s guards. Will you escape detection.. or lose your head?”), or the May 2015 version with a Sherlock Holmes twist (“Can you stop the evil Professor Moriarty before he destroys England? Will you uncover all of Moriarty’s calling cards in time to evade disaster…and attend tea?”).

How do I hold one?

Wise to get in touch with the dudes that invented it, wethinks. Yes, you could do your own, call it something else, blah blah blah. But events like this require more than knowing where to put the port-a-johns: the narrative element is key, and the timing is also touchy. So do call in and partner with the experts for consulting and help organizing.

David Sonntag
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