After a friend told me about Shadow Over Southwark, I knew I was dying to try it out. Fire Hazard games graciously provided me with some tickets so five friends and I could spend our Saturday evening running around ‘Russia Dock Woodlands after dark, cracking cryptic clues and escaping from Lovecraftian horrors’. We were given 2 hours and 15 minutes to do all this with only two maps, a codex and some flashlights to our assist us on our task.
Arriving at Bacon’s College near Canada Water Station, it’s not hard to see that already so much work has gone into the preparation and back story of the game. The setting, early 1800’s and Shadow Monsters such as The Shogghast have taken over the world. It’s up to us, along with the Lumos Society to save the world. The clubhouse itself is equally impressive with leather bound books and mysterious artifacts to examine. The detail is extensive.
Gameplay consists of players using the clues on our phones to locate Summoning Signs and translating the runes on them using the Codex. Players then type the resulting word into their phones to update the scoreboard. Throughout the game, more clues appear on the screen and can be completed in any order. Sounds easy right? Not so much, especially when it’s dark and the patrolling Shadow monsters are nearby. Get too close to these and they’ll drain your teams score.
We were feeling pretty confident when we left the club house as we managed to solve all the clues hidden in the clubhouse. Outside though, that’s where the real challenge begins. Luckily we had David E, a language expert who after one glance at the codex had it memorised so was easily able to translate the clues when we found them. Kristian B was our fearless navigator and his map reading skills had us on the right path. Game play was extremely fun and challenging, from start to finish. Our screams of terror as we ran through the woodlands, often ended up turning into shrieks of laughter.
The technology involved in the game is extremely advanced, though more based for android mobiles than iPhones. As an iPhone user, I didn’t receive the updates as quick as everyone else on my team. This wasn’t too big a deal as the majority of our team had an android. It was pretty impressive how our tracking devices could pinpoint where we were within the woodlands and if we were in close range of a Shadow Monster, points drained from our score. Now these Shadow Monsters costumes are exceptional. Super creepy! Initially we thought given the large scale of the playing field and the large number of people playing the game, that three monsters would not be enough. We were wrong. Three was plenty and definitely challenging enough.
Overall Team Beer Stalkers for ONIN London came 7th out of 12 teams with 1100 points. The winning team, the #LankyBastards won with 1515 points. So overall we didn’t do too bad for our first foray into this type of immersive and interactive game. Fire Hazard games have a history of creating challenging games throughout London and with Shadow Over Southwark, they have another winner on their hands. The staff really look after their players and make sure that each player is safe throughout game play. At one time, I accidentally pressed the security beacon on my phone. Security rang shortly after to check that I was ok and hadn’t fallen prey to one of tripping hazards that could occur in a dimly lit woodland venue.
Shadow Over Southwark runs Thursdays to Saturdays until the 26 November. Tickets are available on line for £25 – 30. Make sure you get your team together and head along for a fun night you won’t forget any time soon.
Starts at Bacon’s College Timber Pond Road, Rotherhithe, London, SE16 6AT
Telephone +44 20 3322 7086
social media: facebook.com/firehazardgames @firehazardgames