This month’s Cog Night started 24 hours earlier than we were expecting. The evening before we were booked to play Jekyll and Hyde, each of us received an email from ‘our friend’ Edmonton – a Victorian lawyer.
Edmonton explained that he was very concerned about our behaviour during the previous night, and was even more worried that we might have forgotten the exact details of our crimes. He told us to meet him on Leake Street, outside the entrance to Vault Festival, under the cover of darkness. We were hooked.
The game began in Leake Street tunnel, where three Victorian characters – Edmonton, Dr Fray, and Goldman – explained that we had gone on a rampage last night, after taking some of Dr Fray’s serum, and were now suffering terrible amnesia. To find out what we had done we would have to retrace our steps and discover our fate.
The premise of the game was simple but effective. We divided up into teams of three and each team had to ‘remember’ what they’d done the night before, by going on a scavenger hunt to various locations around Waterloo and Southwark. We were presented with a map that had areas of interest marked on it, and were sent a link to an app that would guide us through the game.
Ed had chosen some Cog-appropriate team names when he booked the tickets. So my team, ‘Works on my local’ (me, Anna, and Morena), competed against team ‘Indoor Garden’ (Ed, Michael, Francesca), and team ‘export to PDF’ (three designers: Claire, Toni, and Kristina).
Our team decided we would head to the river to start off with and power walked down to the Southbank to find our first clue. We were immediately met by Goldman, who warned us that we might get in trouble for our actions of last night and offered us a safe escape to a sanatorium in Sweden. We were quite dismissive of the idea, surely what we had done couldn’t have been that bad?
The app updated with new locations to head to each time we solved a clue. From Waterloo Station, to the Young Vic and Southbank Centre we certainly covered a lot of ground, bumping into a few interesting characters (and other Cog teams!) along the way as tried to find the hidden details we needed.
With five minutes remaining we rushed to Lower Marsh Street for the final showdown. We begrudgingly accepted the offer from Goldman to go to the very comfortable asylum in Sweden, and hoped that we would be able to get away with our terrible crimes from the night before.
Our three Victorian guides reassembled and wrapped up the evening with excellent gothic gusto. The amoral Dr Fray confronted Goldman and Edmonton, arguing that his serum had made us all stronger. After this semi-improvised argument the fate of each team was revealed. Toni, Claire, and Kristina had tried to seek the protection of Edmonton the lawyer, but unfortunately he wasn’t able to save them from the police so they were going to be sent to prison. Ed, Michael, and Francesca had decided to lean in to being evil, and allied themselves with Dr Fray. Little did they know that this would mean they would become his lab rats. We were feeling very smug about the asylum in Sweden now.
Our team were pleased to discover that we had solved more clues than team Indoor Garden or Export to PDF had. So even though Jekyll and Hyde wasn’t billed as a competition, our high score and our hypothetical trip to Sweden felt like a pretty clear win for us.
Over a drink at the Vault Festival bar afterwards we all agreed that the experience had been a lot of fun. Jekyll and Hyde combined exciting storytelling with clever puzzles, and gave all of us a great opportunity to explore Waterloo and Southwark and notice details we’d never spotted before. For a game about amnesia, this Cog Night is not one I’ll forget any time soon.