36 players, three levels: RidgeCon ‘mega game’ hopes to preserve knowledge

The Ridgefield Library has had mystery nights before but none quite as big as this year’s RidgeCon After Dark’s “Blackout” — a three-story mega game that sets 36 players off to preserve the information that would be most valuable to humanity should the world descend into chaos and anarchy.

“The idea going into RidgeCon After Dark was how big can we make it?” said Kristina Lareau, head of children’s services. “We’ve had similar concepts in the past but nothing on this scale.”

Six teams of six will face off Friday, Aug. 17, from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m on all three levels of the library.

Lareau, who portrays The Grand Archivist, will give an introduction to the game.

“We don’t want to give away too much of the premise and narrative but it does deal with the global potential for a loss of electricity, which is a real thing,” said Lareau. “It might not happen right away but it will happen in 10,000 years and the fear is everything electronic will shut down. And if that happens, is everything about our civilization going to be lost?”

The Grand Archivist in Blackout wants her teams to gather as much information as possible from the library’s “texts” to see if the situation can be reversed.

“They’ll get a file folder with further instructions and gather research from our different resources and turn them in for points,” said John Casiello, the library’s adult collection specialist who will be playing Lareau’s research assistant. “Most points wins and those players get to join The Grand Archivist in a trip around the world for a solution.”

If researching books in the library all night doesn’t sound up your alley, then Casiello has a selling point.

“The text pieces are spread out across the library … the resources are actually made up of 150 individual puzzles that we have to create,” he said. “There’s a team strategy component to the entire game that will keep the pace up … Progress in the game is time sensitive. You have a limited amount of time with each puzzle piece and therefore teams play differently.”

Oh, and there’s no cell phones.

“They’ll be locked away,” Casiello said.

Casiello and Lareau conceived of Blackout themselves when tasked with expanding RidgeCon’s brand beyond typical superhero events and activities.

“We want to use RidgeCon for gaming, both traditional and nontraditional,” said Lareau. “This game is for people who don’t think of the library has their place for entertainment ...We have a lot of puzzles on the brain. We want to keep engaging gamers in their 20s and 30s — people who don’t necessarily go to the library.”

They might end up saving the world, too.

“This is a good opportunity for young families or couples to do something different in town,” Casiello said.

Tickets and more

Ridgefield Academy is sponsoring RidgeCon After Dark this year.

Part of the annual RidgeCon celebrations, this adults-only night out takes place on Friday, Aug. 17, from 7:30 to 10:30 and includes hors d’oeuvres, libations, dessert, and a one-of-a-kind gaming experience. Tickets are $50 ($25 of which is tax-deductible) and available at ridgefieldlibrary.org.

Kristina Lareau is the head of children’s services at the Ridgefield Library. She may be reached at kjlareau@ridgefieldlibrary.org or 203-438-2282.