FAQs

Here are the most common questions you have asked us. Contact us if you have any other questions.

  1. When can I play HiddenCity?

    Start your game within the time slot, as indicated within the listing. (eg. if the game listing states, 'Start time: Sun 12pm-3pm' then send the start message after 12pm, and by 3pm.) Certain games have limited availability to avoid overwhelming locations en route. For these game you'll be asked to pick a date and time when booking. Other games can be started within the time slot stated on their booking page any day within 90 days.

    The latest start time assumes you take no longer than the maximum duration. 90% of players complete the game within the maximum duration. If you want to play at a more leisurely pace, then start at least an hour before the latest start time.

  2. What number do I send the ‘start’ message to?

    Reply to the SMS (welcome text) sent to your team 1 captain by HiddenCity at registration. If you don’t receive a welcome text, sign in to your game on our website to check that your mobile number is correct. If it’s definitely correct, give us a call.

  3. How do I sign in to ‘My Game’?

    Your welcome text will include your game number and password. On our website you will find the ‘sign in’ tab in the top right corner.

  4. Can I change my team details after I have signed up?

    Yes - you can change your team captains and mobile numbers any time before you start the game, by signing in to your game on our website. If you want to add an additional players or numbers, see FAQ 5.

  5. How can I add another player or team after booking?

    If you’ve booked for the right number of players, but want to add other players' mobile numbers to receive clues too, just text the number you want to add in a reply to your welcome text. Send the number itself only without any text (e.g. “07900 123 123” instead of “my mate Jenny wants to play too and her number is 07900 123 123”).

    If you need to add an additional player onto an existing team, sign in to your game using your Game ID and password (check your email). Go to your team and click Add Players. You'll be able to pay from here just as you did when you first booked.

    To add an additional team, you'll need to quit your current game and book a new game with the correct number of teams. Contact us once you've done this and we'll refund your unused game.

  6. Can I change the date of my game?

    Yes - you can change the date of your game by signing in on our website and clicking on the "update" next to the date or time window.

  7. I want to be on the leaderboard. Are there any rules?

    The guidelines for fair play are as follows:

    • Using any form of map is fine
    • Using any form of research is fine
    • No conferring with other teams
    • Play nice
    • no deliberately obstructing other teams!
    • If you play the same game twice, your first time is what counts.

    Good luck!

  8. If we play with multiple teams, will they follow each other?

    Generally not - teams usually separate as they solve clues at different speeds. If you have more than one team the first message is specifically designed to allow you to stagger your teams. If you have 3 or more teams see FAQ 9.

  9. I’d like to book for 3 or more teams. Anything I should know?

    If you're running an event for three or more teams, or it's just really important to you that you understand how everything works, then here are some top tips to get the best out of your game:

    1. Prepare: Read the 'How to play' page. Send the link to all team captains to read before you play.

    2. Put yourself down as Team 1 captain: Only Team 1 can start the hunt, so you’ll be in control.

    3. Keep it a secret, if you want: If your event is a surprise, don’t worry – you don’t have to let all your captains know. If you have two or more teams, you’ll see an ‘It’s a secret’ tickbox - tick this so that teams 2+ will not receive emails or texts until the game has started. Double-check that you’ve got the mobile number right for all team captains before you play - you can’t edit these once the game has started.

    4. If you’re concerned about your teams overlapping, then you can stagger them. For groups with 6 or more teams we would strongly recommend doing this. After team 1 captain commences the game (by sending 'start'), the first message each team receives allows them to go when ready (by sending 'go'). We recommend that you allow a few minutes between each team. And don't worry about differences in timing. If you do decide to stagger, each team's time won't start until they text 'go' and begin their individual game, so each team will have an accurate time.

  10. What if it rains?

    Wear suitable clothes! Most of your game will take place outdoors.

    If it's raining a lot and you don't want to be outdoors then play on another day. All games are fully flexible. If you're playing a game that requires booking a date you can change it here.

  11. Where do the games end?

    The final location is secret.

    If you want to organise something after your game then contact us and we'll make sure you have the info you need to plan your onward festivities, travel, or whatever else you need to do in the city...

  12. Why can’t I play HiddenCity without a UK mobile?

    In the majority of cases, players using non-UK mobiles will experience significant delays in receiving messages and this can be frustrating when you're trying to play a game and immerse yourself in a narrative. Don't worry though. If nobody in your party has a UK mobile, you can acquire a UK Pay-As-You-Go SIM card before beginning the game. These are free with a minimum top up amount and some mobile phone shops will even give you a free 'burner' phone. One exception: Lycamobile will not work with the games.

  13. How long should I expect to wait for a reply to a text?

    You should receive most replies within a few seconds. If you are in an area with poor mobile phone reception, you can resend your answer or try adding another teammate's mobile number. See How to Play for more details.

  14. Can under 18s take part and do they need to pay?

    Yes they can - they'll usually love the games - and can play on all games unless stated otherwise on the game's booking page. Any restrictions are due to licensed premises that you visit whilst playing the game.

    We find the games will excite most children over the age of about 7 or 8, especially the immersive games (The Hunt for the Cheshire Cat, Moriarty's Game, The Enchanted Mirror and Mind or the Maker), which have a story to them. Depending on the game, there are up to 3 miles of walking so choose a game that has a suitable length for all children in your party. If you don't finish a game, fear not, you can continue the game on another day, up to 28 days after starting.

    Under 10s can come along for free. Children aged 10 or over pay full price.

    Supervising children is essential (no exceptions, it's the law, guys).

  15. Are your games suitable for wheelchair users or buggies?

    There are two step-free games, sutiable for wheelchaire users: Cryptic Covent Caper and City Lights Evening Trail. Other games require the use of steps to access the answers to locations and clues.

    As for buggies, sorry, tiny ones out there, the games are not suitable for buggies. Leave your little one with a friend, and instead embrace your own inner child.

  16. Will I be able to play if I don’t know the city?

    Yes - none of our games require local knowledge.

  17. Will I be able to play if English is not my first language?

    Our games are written with native English speakers in mind, and we often use British idioms, slang and cultural references. Examples of slang include: tipple (alcoholic drink), wee (small) and pissing it down (raining).

    You can always request help should you come across language you find particularly tricky - text ‘LOST for directions to the next location in plain English, or ‘STUCK’ for help working out the answer.

  18. Do all your games involve pubs?

    Most games involve heading into pubs to obtain clues, and most break and end locations are pubs, though we choose places where you can get coffees or teas too wherever possible. You can minimise the time spent in pubs by either skipping the breaks, taking your breaks in a nearby cafe and/or leaving the end location once you've solved the final clue. For those looking to play a game with the fewest pubs, we recommend Cryptic Covent Caper, or City Lights Evening Game.

  19. Are you paid by the bars and pubs en route?

    No - we select venues on the basis of their contribution to the overall experience.

  20. Why do I have to play at a specific time of day?

    Each game involves venues with specific opening and closing times. Some clues can only be solved by entering these places. The start time windows listed on The Games ensure players can access these venues within the time it takes to complete the game. If you choose to take your own breaks from playing, bear in mind you risk being unable to complete the game. Each game is designed with in-built breaks to avoid this happening.

  21. What do I need to bring?

    At least one fully charged phone for each team, and optionally every team member, so they can follow the progress of game.

    Wear comfortable shoes and weather-appropriate clothes, as most of your game will take place outdoors.

  22. How do I pay?

    You can pay on our website using Visa, Mastercard or American Express. All payments are up front. From when you start making a booking, you'll have 24 hours to complete payment.

  23. Can my brand commission or sponsor a HiddenCity game?

    We can create large-scale bespoke experiences tailored for brands, designed for 10,000+ people to take part in. Get in touch if you're a brand and are interested in working with us. Brands that we've worked with include The Guardian, Time Out, the City of London and Eastpak.

  24. How much do text messages cost?

    Text messages that you send are charged at your standard rate, or may be free if you have 'bundled texts' with your phone package. There is no charge to receive messages.

  25. How can I hear about new games as soon as they are released?

    Join the mailing list. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

  26. Can I get involved in testing your games?

    Head over here: Sign up as game tester.

  27. Can I get involved with HiddenCity?

    If we are hiring you'll find all the information here.

  28. Why do you limit the team size to five players?

    We've found, in most cases, that teams benefit from having a maximum size of five players, so that everyone gets involved in solving the clues.

    If there are six of you or more then split up into teams and play head-to-head. We'd highly recommend giving this experience a go as you'll get to compare notes with each other in the breaks (you'll tend to overlap at these points), see which different routes you take, and then enjoy a comparative blow-by-blow break down at the end...

  29. Can I get a refund?

    Yes, the games are fully flexible which means you can get a refund for any reason.