We will start with an interesting afternoon activity and finish up with a relaxing happy hour.
The main event is a team-based game that has elements of a race and a scavenger hunt that will test your powers of observation. It mixes in some interesting strategy based on choice, the clock, and a point system. The winner will not have to be the first team to check in, nor the team with the most correct answers. We will assemble into teams of 3 or 4 when we start, so individuals are certainly welcome. After all, this is supposed to be fun. To emphasize that point, the finish line will be at Ellicott City Brewing Company.
This fun event is centered on Ellicott City’s historic downtown. The farthest points of the adventure are within a ¼ of a mile from the middle of town. You will be welcome to dash around on foot or use a vehicle (one per team); there are advantages to both. The scavenger hunt part will only lightly tax your powers of observation and are not tricky or otherwise hard to figure out.
All the teams will assemble at a central starting point. Each team will be given the same map identifying 31 clue locations scattered around town and a unique starting code. Answers and clues will be delivered by text message (email works also). I will make sure each team has someone on it with a cell phone that can submit answers and receive the next clues. The teams will begin by texting in their start code and receiving their first location based clue. Each team’s starting clue will be different. This will start the race and the clock.
Your team will hurry off to the first location indicated in the response text message and find the answer to the question. Once you submit this answer, you will get two more location clues. Here the choices begin… The distribution order has been randomly assigned, so you may get lucky and have some close ones, or they may be scattered across the map. The good thing is each correct answer will give you two more clues, so as you get more, the more likely you will have a cluster of locations that you haven’t visited yet.
Here is where the clock, the race, and the brewery parts come in. Gathering more correct answers is a good thing. However, the sooner your team checks in at the finish line, the more points each correct answer is worth. So the strategy of deciding when enough is enough could make the difference between winning and losing.
Example – Your team checks in within 45-60 minutes and gets 8 points per correct answer. Say you had 9 correct answers, your team score would be 72. However, another team comes in between 61-75 minutes for 7 points each and has 11 answers – they would get 77 points. Your map will have all the times and point values on it.
Since I get to pick the finish line and will be dutifully waiting for the teams to return, it will be at Ellicott City Brewing Company. To add some incentive to win besides all the glory and fame, I will buy a round for the winning team. The tricky part is if you come in early, I won’t be able to call the winner until everyone is in or at least the possible point values say the best score is impossible to top. It is safe to say we should be able to call the winner between[masked] minutes. I am just guessing, but I expect most teams will check-in within about an hour and a half.
As the teams are coming in to probably a couple hours after the winner is called, we will be merrymaking and partaking in the fine offerings from the brewery’s food and beer menu. Both are great.
Your team does not need to stay together, but some additional rules of the game are:
• Only 1 vehicle per team
• Only 1 cell phone can be submit answers and receive clues
• Team members cannot communicate remotely from each other (this includes cell phones, text messages, smoke signals, carrier pigeons, contacting outside people, etc.)
• Can only use real, living, human eyeballs of actual team members to obtain answers (no Google tools, internet pictures, Aunt Millie’s memory, etc.)
• All team member must be present at check-in (otherwise, I will assume they quit, gave up, and went home and they will not be eligible for the free drink)
• No sharing, buying, or stealing of answers from other teams
I will explain everything again before we start and make sure everyone understands.
Any text messaging or data usage charges from your cell carrier are your own responsibility. If you get charged per text, let someone else on the team do that part. There will be plenty of folks that we can move around on teams to make sure no one gets charged. There could be up to 100 combined incoming and outgoing texts.
Want to test to make sure it works for you? The clues all go to a Gmail account and most modern cell phones can text directly to an email account. If you have email on your phone and prefer that, it obviously works just the same. Don’t worry, I won’t save or sell your contact info. If you want to spam me, that is cool, because I set this up just for the game. Try this:
Text (or email) the word: test
In about 5 seconds, you should get a response confirming that it worked. You will notice that the response text/email comes from a slightly different address, which is normal.
I am posting this on both the ‘Make New Friends in Ellicott City’ and ‘Columbia/Elkridge Board Game Club’. There will be a joint cap of 40 people that I will have to monitor, so as always, please check your RSVPs and keep it current so someone doesn’t get left out when we really will have space.