Hell mix, part 2 -- "Round and Round", Ratt
"Mouse's Tank" describes a natural
rock formation a short hike from the road within Valley of Fire state
park. But that's not all it meant to Game Players...
Mouse's Tank - The Setup
After a short, 1/4 mile jog down the red sandy trail, players arrive at
Mouse's Tank. This rock formation is so named for its 15' diameter
cylindrical shape, reminiscent of some kind of natural holding tank, with a
sandy floor at the base of its 10' depth. It's easy to climb into the
tank, but a little bit of a challenge to climb back out-- especially if you
aren't a human, and are instead a "mouse"-- well, really, a rat--
who has been waiting inside the tank for game players to rescue you and
take you with them.
Mouse's Tank delivered not only a traditional
envelope clue to each of the team players, but also a new teammate and novel
challenge-- Shelby Logan had left behind his old pal, "Templeton"
the rat, who carries with him a numerical decryption key which will enable
players to infiltrate the chip inside Shelby's brain and begin their
disarming attempt. The problem: how could Shelby have
hidden a number inside a live rat? Examining the outside of the
rat revealed nothing-- so that mystery was left to the players to solve on
their own. See "hidden info" page for the answer, and listen
carefully to Shelby's A# messages for hints.
Players were instructed that they must treat
Templeton as if he were a friend and teammate, and care for him by creating
a nice home for him, feeding him regularly, and by bringing him with them in
person to many of the forthcoming clue sites.
Templeton's care and
feeding instructions explained not only how to keep him comfortable and fed,
but also that he really enjoys riding around on people's shoulders.
Many of the teams really took this to heart and became great friends with
Templeton over the next 18-20 hours.
Gold was first to arrive, still before dark. At the time, we had just arrived
and were using the "pay for a rat" approach-- this was our
method of keeping an eye on the rats and keeping them away from the tourists
while the tank was crowded and before we just let them run loose. After
the rats were freed they tended to hide in the dark crevasse lower corner, which made for a great glowing eyes effect. Most teams jumped down and grabbed a mouse in this phase, when the rats were still "sleepy".
As it got darker the rats began to liven up! They began jumping straight up,
about 4 feet high, which made catching them very amusing. As the last teams got there they were having to use
their jackets as nets because the rats were able to move so fast and jump so far. It wasn't until the last
team (black) that we had collected the rats and were offering them at regular price if they jumped down to catch them, or a slightly higher price for
our wrangling and catching of the rat on their behalf.
About half the teams thought it was the coolest thing. The others were very interested in
the cost of the minimum bribe necessary for us to give them one of our boxes
(which we NEVER did).
Behind the Scenes
When the rats were loosed in the tank we discovered that nearly all of the tourists found it irresistible to take a picture because it was so unbelievable that there
were mice in mouse's tank! One French visitor even jumped in to see if they were friendly and ended up with one on each shoulder.
Also, we found that the rats amazingly could scale the walls of the tank and were even able to hang up side down for extended periods of time. This meant that
we had to stay on on Templeton-sitting duty to make sure they didn't go for a swim in the next tank.
There was one rat that was a bit bitchy to us and then to the team as compared to all the others,
who were very affectionate. After the game, we returned the rats to the pet shop
and we were informed that this rat was pregnant! We realized that-- had she given birth-- the phone call from team Plaid would have had GC rolling on the
floor! ("Is this the clue!??")
Special thanks to the Valley of Fire for granting us a permit to use the
park after dark and to "distribute" our well-cared-for animals here.