Published on July 20th, 2016 | by Dean Love0
Agent November, London – Major X Plow-Shun
Major X Plow-Shun is, essentially, an outdoor escape room. It sounds like it shouldn’t work, but it’s surprising, once you get started and over the novelty, how much like a traditional room it feels.
The game starts by meeting with the host at a nearby pub, and there’s a briefing followed by a quick initial scavenger hunt in the pub itself, before we’re led over to the park. HQ is set up on a nearby bench, including items found the hunt (lock-boxes, etc) and a large briefcase, the nuclear “device” (we don’t use the “b-word” in a public London park) we need to disarm. We’re given walkie-talkies to communicate with each other, and they’re actually fairly decent ones that let you hear what people are saying clearly, which is a first for any room I’ve played…
And with that we’re off. There’s less random searching than in your regular sort of room. You could, especially with a larger team, conduct a search of the entire park for items. But it’s not very efficient, when instead you can follow the directions and photo clues to find everything.
I’m mostly content to let my two, younger, teammates do most of the running about while stay at HQ co-ordinating things and looking at the bigger picture, only venturing “in to the field” on rare occasions. There are some pretty inventive puzzles, some taxing, some less so. Some requiring you to use various bits of information found on plaques, statues, signs and such around the park. The whole thing builds to create a story, and the one thing the game does that I’ve not see before is require you to actually follow it. The final code of the game isn’t explicitly got from one place – you figure it out by putting together everything you’ve seen and heard and figuring out a certain identity.
The host is right there at HQ to provide clues if you need them, and there was maybe one thing we’d never have figured out on our own, but other than that we only really needed the vaguest of nods in one direction or the other. We also got a nice debrief at the end on where we’d worked well as a team and where we stumbled, which would be especially handy if you’re doing this as a team-building activity.
The location is what makes this game. And it’s a weird one. It was lovely, doing an escape game in a nice park in the sun! Certainly made a change from being cooped up in a basement again. But we got lucky with the weather, and while we’d packed umbrellas, doing it in the rain would certainly be somewhat less pleasant! Apparently there are contingency plans where the game can be run in the pub if it’s just too wet, but being outside was part of what really made the game for me. It’s just a damn nice place to play for an hour.
Result – we defused the device with around ten minutes to spare. Though I’d argue that given, once we got the detonator unlocked, one of our team hit it in celebration rather than removing it, you could technically call it a loss!
Date played: 12 June 2016
Team: Dean, Sam, Andy
Summary: Sunny happy people solving