Last Saturday I almost entirely willingly participated in this year's Journey to the End of the Night. I had not heard of it before which is weird because it had already been held 6 times in Vienna alone. Anyways, a friend of mine wanted to go and the game premise sounded interesting enough: get through a series of checkpoints across Vienna without getting caught.
Before the game begins participants receive a blue ribbon, a red ribbon, and a map. The blue ribbon, which has to be visibly worn at all times, marks you as a runner. The red ribbon you pocket until you get caught by a chaser and become one yourself. In that case you have to hand over your runner ribbon as a trophy and don your chaser ribbon.
Now isn't that pretty? (Should you ever play be sure to check your ribbon every now and then, mine was already down at my wrist at some point without me noticing.)
While waiting for everyone to get their game gear we took a first look at the map.
(I'm going grey D: I'm not old enough to be that grey ._. ) Photo nicked from Christian Leitner's flickr, be sure to check out the rest of the gallery.
Starting point was in the right upper corner. Checkpoints were numbered 1 through 5, the grey areas around them were the safe zones. The only other places to be safe from chasers were on public transports and subway platforms.
So when the game finally started most people sprinted for the closest public transport. In our case it was a bus but once on board we checked the map again and realized it wouldn't help us at all so we got off again and made a bit of a detour to the tram we actually needed. You do get a bit paranoid in a game like this. We kept checking our backs every few meters. But we made it safely onto the tram and it had a station right inside the first safe zone.
At the check point we were informed that a zombie virus had broken out and the best way to get past zombies without getting mauled was to act like them. So to get a signature for the first check point and a hint for the second we had to show the nice people in hazmat suits our best zombie impressions.
Rather than taking a direct path to the next checkpoint and risking having to run from chasers we again went with the detour option. We did not see a single chaser but were still quite paranoid. Though I did not jump at every sound like my friend, I do admit that when we passed a parking car on an otherwise very quiet road and heard Always on my mind playing from within it felt creepy.
We made it safely to the first part of checkpoint 2 - an administrative office - which, trying to live up to its real life counterpart no doubt, took way to fudging long to get through. (This is my only complaint of the night. They didn't think this one through properly.)
You had to get to the front of the queue to get a ticket so you could go back to the queue and ... well ... queue. Once you made it to the front again you were let thought to take a course on how many police officers certain situations (like demonstrations, squatting, or zombies) would call for. To pass and get the next hint the correct number of police officers in a certain case had to be calculated.
We didn't see any chasers on our way to checkpoint 3, though this time it wasn't due to our clever detours (we didn't bother) but rather our unfortunately very late departure from 2. But we did see some fireworks.
We found the "survivors" from 2's hint camping out on the Donauinsel. They tasked us with getting rid of the few remaining zombies in their backyard. We each got a flashlight, green to kill the green zombies, red to kill the red ones.
X marks the survivor of a zombie fight.
On we went to try and "save a soul".
Checkpoint 4 was manned by the Illuminated, who found out that lights and bright colours help against zombies. They had also started a magic circle to protect the runners, to which we had to add. Once the priest found our additions sufficient, we were blessed and painted and on our way again.
It was getting quite late (game-wise) so we decided to go by tram. Since we hadn't seen any chasers in ages (plus headache + running for the tram + bright(ish) lights + moving vehicle weren't the best mix) I got out at our stop without checking the surroundings at all and got captured while my friend made a run for it.
I decided not to go after him and try and catch him (but more due to my headache than anything else) and made my way to the end zone. He told me later on I really would have enjoyed checkpoint 5, they had to do an autopsy.
All in all it was a very fun night and I'm looking forward to next time.
[I just copied and pasted this post from my tumblr >w<]