Raiding the V&A Without Running – A Review of Fire Hazard’s Raiders of the Lost Archive

Immersive games group Fire Hazard have come up with an extremely clever way to experience museums. Their immersive game Raiders of the Lost Archive is a high energy way to visit a museum and build some incredible team bonds along the way. Teams are tasked with solving a curatorial cold case, and have 90 minutes to track down crucial clues in the real-life collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. It’s challenging, but also an absolutely frenetic and satisfying way to spend a surprisingly cultured afternoon.

I’ve been to the V&A hundreds of times, but never experienced it quite like this. The clues have you seeking out a variety of artefacts from across the museum. You need to record item numbers, do the most incredible math problems with Japanese netsuke, and do complex but incredibly satisfying elimination work with a series of statues. It’s incredibly clever and every minute of it is tense yet enjoyable.

A fully charged mobile phone is needed for the task. The V&A has (surprisingly good) WIFI, but ensure you’ve got plenty of data just in case. Clues keep appearing on your phone with helpful room numbers by them; once you’ve unlocked a clue, you must solve it by tracking down the artifacts it refers to and answering a question about it. Very little requires outside knowledge. There’s a lot of tremendously clever mathematics involved, but also a good amount of wordplay and a “where’s wally” approach to artworks.

It’s also tremendous fun.

Our group of four naturally gravitated into roles, which definitely helped our efficiency. Two people (one Navy, one ex-Paratrooper) did our navigating – yes, it helped, and no we never made a wrong turn. One person manned the clues and phone – and each stepped up when an area of their (often bizarre) expertise came into play.

More clues appear as you check them off the list. They are divided into levels of difficulty with relative points for solving each. We are under the impression that if you are the first group to solve a specific clue, a bonus question is unlocked – so always double check the phone before running off.

So was it achievable? Absolutely. My team were absolutely stumped by two questions – a process of elimination guess solved one, but the other we had to abandon.

We still managed to finish first out of all twenty teams by a mere five points (entirely obtained by just putting a noted philosopher into the blue box in some desperation) and we were alive with frenetic energy as we eventually tumbled back into the pub.
Fire Hazard have come up with a tremendous activity. It’s just the right amount of challenging, and could possibly be one of the most fun things I’ve ever done in London. 10/10 would do again.


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