Sunday, 2 January 2011

A Trained ARG Soldier

After New Year I have come to the realisation that playing too many alternate reality games has turned me into a Cluedo/post-it note game genius. I think it must be all the mind bendingly difficult puzzles, all the late nights staring at cryptic pictures trying to piece together strands of information to gather up a story, but over the past few days I have been a fully functional criminal mastermind.

I went up to my friend's parents hotel as planned, nice journey and its always good to spend time with old friends. Sarah, the friend who was hosting the party had decided (last minute) to add a "murder mystery" theme to the proceedings and so I was armed with my ornate dagger letter opener Swatts had brought back from Venice for me, and I was ready to put my puzzlebox to the test.
The first night was the 30th, the party proper wasn't starting till the night of the 31st (as is customary for New Years eve parties I believe), so we just drank a ridiculous amount of alcohol and played board games. As the night wore on we descended from a pretty intense game of Monopoly (which I still managed to lose, even after getting hotels on Park Lane and Mayfair!) down to the game where you have a post-it note on your forehead and you have to guess who you are. I managed to get my person in 3 guesses! Booyah! Are they male? Yes. Are they over the age of 30? Yes. Are they the Principal of our old college? Yes - you dick.

The next evening was the party itself, Sarah passed around bowls with 3 different categories written on strips of paper - one bowl for names, one for items and one for locations. Now, after we had picked out our three selections, we were informed that in order to "survive" to the end of the weekend, we would have to kill each other off. It was an interesting move for a party, murder, and it certainly put us all on edge! The idea was that we would have to brutally bludgeon our "mark" with our designated "murder weapon" in the location we were assigned, and so their assassination target would pass to us. The person with the most murders to their name by the end of the weekend would be the winner. We were told this at dinner, and I can tell you - noone would accept ANYTHING from anyone else for the rest of the evening: "Hey Sam, pass me the salt", "Oh, I bet you'd love that wouldn't you - here I am passing the salt and then BAM, I'm lying salted in the gutter, dehydrated to death - I'm watching you..."

My mark was my friend Becky, and my weapon was to be a mobile phone - easy freaking peasy. Unfortunately, I picked a freaking doozy of a location. Off the hotel grounds. By the time I found this out it was already well past dark, and I'm not sure how my friend would feel about me luring his girlfriend down into the night in order to murder her with a mobile phone. I had to bide my time, but also, I had to keep an eye open because someone would have picked out my name, and would be baying for my blood! And to make matters worse, Becky was being super-paranoid about it, she wouldn't even accept a sparkler from me - asking that I put it down on the step so she could pick it up!

As the evening wore on, friends were picked off, girlfriend was taken out by a shoe wielded by my friend Ed. She didn't mind, it meant he had to deal with her mark, which was to somehow take out a guy she'd never met with a book. Ed didn't get very far with that either, no sooner had he killed the girl, then he was assassinated by Rob and his oh-so-mightier-than-a-sword pen, in the girls toilet - no less. We decided not to enquire as to why Ed and Rob were hanging out in the girl's loos. Ditt fell foul to a box of biscuits, Shirley to a teacup and Josh was powerless against Sam's pringles tube. But I persevered. In fact, I made it till the morning - the fresh morning air had never smelled so sweet! I didn't even mind that it was infused with the smell of 4 twenty-something guys all sleeping in sleeping bags and exuding noxious gasses - I was alive! Now to enact my dastardly plan:

I laid the seeds nice and early, as early as dinner the previous night. I complained, audibly, to Sam and Becky about how my phone company had messed up with my upgrade date (I think this might actually be true - I'm so bored of my blackberry and am fawning after an Iphone or HTC) and how I really want to ditch my hunk-o-junk phone as the battery is loose and the back keeps falling off. Step one complete. Later in the evening, I casually slipped the back off my phone and pretended to drop it on the floor, one of my other friends being close by, I made sure Becky could hear and asked if this friend would hold my phone whilst I found the back - he obliged, I found the back and reassembled the phone. Step two, I love ya.

Finally, the next morning I suggested we go for a walk. We were in the lake district after all and my friends are big ramblers - myself I'm more of an inside person, I don't even own walking boots, but I suggested we walk it anyway. They were positively gleeful, and Becky was happy to be able to use her walking boots which she apparently never gets to use. Little did she know, they would be the last boots she would ever wear (ish).
So, the seeds of my plan had been sown and now it was time for it to bloom. My heart leapt in my chest, pupils dilated as we walked down the drive, I stuck close to Sam and Becky, but not too close, just within range so that they might be unwilling actors in my great performance. We reached the edge of the grounds and I took out my phone, as if to check my messages from the previous night - but oh no! what horror is this? the back has come off! Woe! Blasphemy! What shall I do? Who will come to my aid!?

"Oops, dammit dropped the back. Becky, could you just hold this whilst I find it?"
"Oh, sure."

I handed over the phone.

"Muahahahaha! You fool! It was a ploy! Look! Look now upon the face of your doom, look deep into the eyes of he who will be your downfall! The swinging pendulum has swung its last fateful swoop, and so befalls you a telephonically disastrous fate. You, madam, are dead!"
"I think you might be taking this all a little too seriously."

Pfft.. what does she know, shes dead.

Disclaimer: No-one actually died, we just handed stuff over to each other and then laughed in each others faces, all totally harmless. Unless you count when I pushed Sam off the Ice Castle we built in the back garden and he fell and got mud on his arse.


  1. Paul PM1 of VA/MoA/15 days4 January 2011 at 23:48

    This, grinningly, is now a new game that I endeavour to play at the next opportunity... mwahahahhhaha.... thank you.

  2. You're welcome! You have to be crafty with it, Becky's boyfriend was almost taken out in the following way:

    Paul (who was my girlfriend's original mark) was hiding in one of the bedrooms, we were playing sardines and so eventually the space began to fill, until Sam and myself were the only ones looking. Sam found them first and the only space, apparently, was to lie next to Paul.

    The sniggering was what gave him away apparently, Paul's task was to take Sam out in the bedroom with a spoon. Crafty bugger.

  3. Paul PM1 of VA/MoA/15 days20 July 2011 at 03:36

    This, grinningly, is now a new game that I endeavour to play at the next opportunity... mwahahahhhaha.... thank you.



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