Revolution review at the Vaults, London – ‘engaging interactive strategy game’
Exit Productions’ show is one of the mainstays of this year’s festival. It’s here from first week to last, occupying Unit 9 – a second complex just a short walk down Leake Street – with Revolution, an interactive strategy game pitched somewhere between Monopoly and Risk.
A populist uprising has thrown Britain into turmoil. On arrival, you’re divided into one of three rival factions – the libertarian Freedom First, the communist United People’s Front, or the environmentalist Gaia’s Dawn. From your group headquarters, you plot your domination of London, attempting to outmanoeuvre the other teams on a giant hexagonal map.
In between bouts of board game battle, you have other tasks to complete – propaganda wars to win, alliances to forge, peace summits to attend, policies to draft, all of which contribute to your all-important resources. I was a Freedom First campaigner. Our headquarters: Croydon. Our mission: to fight for the right to party.
Revolution is underdeveloped, in truth. There’s a lot that’s baffling – the relevance of various tactics isn’t clear – but the central concept works and, crucially, the framing fiction is fun and a team of guides are on hand to shepherd the action and make sure you don’t get totally lost.
Ultimately, as with most immersive experiences, you get out what you put in. Hover around the edges, and cynicism will creep in. Throw yourself into your role – whether that be die-hard tree-hugger or bandana-sporting Marxist – and you’ll have a great time. Plus you’ll get to establish a socialist utopia. Win-win.