Creatures and clues in Canada Water: Shadow Over Southwark

I made excuses to avoid last year’s Halloween-themed wide game from Fire Hazard Games, Shadow Over Shoreditch, on the grounds that I am a raging pussy at the best of times, and being chased by monsters in the dark holds as much terror for me now, aged 27, as it did 20 years ago. 

To clarify, that’s a lot of terror; I wasn’t some sort of prodigal bad-ass. I don’t like scary things, or horror movies, or sudden movements. I don’t even like musical stings. They startle me. But unfortunately this year my flatmates’ enthusiasm won out and I found myself running around a woodland in Southwark trying to a) not shit my pants and b) win.

Here's Mike and Chris and I poring over clues. Not seen: creatures from the fourth dimension.
Here’s Mike and Chris and I poring over clues. Not seen: creatures from the fourth dimension.

Without giving too much away, the game follows a similar format to Fire Hazard’s previous creations, using a cryptic map and a zippy smartphone app to solve and unlock clues, which win you points. But while City Dash divides its maps into quadrants and posts a reasonably non-scary guard in each, Shadow Over Southwark deploys actors in fancy dress monsters from the dread portal to prevent players from reaching their checkpoints. And they’re really fucking scary. There’s one dude dressed as a giant octopus, a Woman in Blackesque witch type and a guy dressed as a tree who’ll leap out at you from scary woodland trails like this one:

Shadow Over Southwark Fire Hazard GamesExcept it’s pitch black. (Pro tip: you need a torch. Also sensible shoes. And a spare change of underwear.)

The whole experience lasts about 90 minutes and, in retrospect, I think I enjoyed myself. I’m not sure if the poor dog-walker who ran into Octopussy 2.0 did, but hey ho, the casualties of fun, eh?

You can play in teams of up to five, but we reckon smaller teams are better, especially when you’re falling over each other trying to escape the clutches of the Waldergeist. We played as two teams of two and three, which worked really well. We actually came first and third, though by now we’re Fire Hazard veterans. 😉

Mark and Ellis on the run from the Harpy.
Mark and Ellis on the run from the Harpy.

It’s no secret how much I love pretty much Fire Hazard Games’ unique brand of wide game – I’ve written before about City Dash and Raiders of the Lost Archive – but this is the only one with real fear factor (and if I can do it, so can anyone). It’s not around for long though – catch it until 26th November. Tickets cost £25 and are available here.

Author: Emily Gibson

Emily is an urban adventurer, blogger and glutton foodie on an epic quest to uncover the best things to eat, drink and do in London. She lives in East London and loves ceviche, cycling and magic shows. Lifelong nemeses include beetroot, beards and wine served in tumblers.