Premise: Every city has its secrets. Whether it’s art, histories, monuments—there are so many elements that can simply fade into the background of fast-paced city life. In this game, the city has been taken hostage and her abductor has hidden clues to her whereabouts in one of Los Angeles’s oldest and most dynamic districts: MacArthur Park. Secret City draws participants into a real-life mystery with a noir twist. To advance the story, participants must be ready to explore MacArthur Park and interact with its many landmarks and public artworks. We hope that this will encourage participants to learn more about this historic neighborhood, and to gain an awareness of the layers of “secrets” hidden amidst the bustling cityscape.
The key characters in the Secret City experience are A) the game players who have taken on the role of the intrepid detectives searching for the kidnapped city of Los Angeles and B) the unnamed villain who has taken The Lady of Angels hostage and who has set up all the clues and puzzles leading players through the game. Characterizations for our detective(s) are kept deliberately loose, allowing game players to bring their own personalities to the game. Our villain’s personality is transmitted via the clues, puzzles, and messages, making each clue unique.
This version of Secret City is set in MacArthur Park. Players are encouraged to explore the park in the process of solving each puzzle and finding new clues. We have posted clues all around the park—some in less traveled areas—but players are instructed to stay within the bounds of the park (and are provided with a map at the beginning of the game).
In Secret City, players will have to negotiate a series of clues hidden throughout MacArthur Park. Players will receive their first clue in the form of a ransom note from the CicLAvia booth at MacArthur Park in July. The clue on the ransom note will lead players to their next location, where they will have to find and solve the next clue in the mystery. Each clue is set up to lead players through the park to the next clue.
Rules & Rule Delivery:
The only rules that are explicitly communicated to players beforehand involve the bounds of game play and the forms of the clues. Both rules are marked on the ransom note. The boundary is marked explicitly on a map included with the ransom note, and the note states that clues may come in any form. Other than these rules, players are invited to think creatively and maintain an adventurous spirit as they solve each puzzle and explore the area. Players “win” when they find the final clue and solve the mystery. A more detailed “how-to” for setting up this type of game is included in another post.