Being A Spy in San Francisco

On LivingSocial, my sister found a deal for Foxhound’s Urban Spy Adventure where you’re split into two teams to complete/destruct missions taking place over San Francisco.

This is easily one of the most entertaining things I’ve done! I mean, how often do you get to be a spy and shoot at each other and go on missions and coordinate over walkie-talkies?! Unless you do it professionally or are a total creep, you probably don’t do it very often.

Scope view of Claudia aiming her bag gun. Yes, that’s a red dot sight on her.

There are three missions total, and each have a time limit of one hour.

When you’re ready to begin each mission, the defensive team is briefed, strategizes and gets a 10min head start while the offensive team is briefed. You’re on offense when you must do/get something from the pickup point, and successfully bring it to the drop off. The defensive team tries to prevent this from happening.

The whole adventure was very well organized, and our group leader, Shannon, had all of the answers we need. Even gave us snacks and water!

How to Prepare

  • Bring water! You’ll be moving pretty quickly, and depending on the weather, you may need more water more often.
  • Sunscreen is also a good idea.
    Wear shoes you’re comfortable in for hours at a time.
  • Bring some cash! You ARE allowed to make use of public transit and taxi cabs. Who knows? You might also want to buy a snack while you’re out there.
  • Don’t wear conspicuous clothing. People will be looking for you 😉
  • Be ready to walk A LOT (unless you plan to use public transit often). It’s SF. There are hills everywhere. Phew!
  • As always, plan to have fun!! Whether you win or lose a mission, it’s all about the adventure!

SPOILER ALERT!!!! My entire debrief is below, including the start/pickup/drop off locations that we had, plus some cool hiding spots. You get all the location info at the beginning of each mission, so it may not be *too* bad a spoiler. Read at your own risk!


Upon arrival to Union Square, our first mini-mission had already begun. It was described in our registration confirmation email. Once we found our director man, we were briefed and got to choose our teams. There were 7 of us, and two other separate pairs of people. We split ourselves among the two pairs who wanted to stay with their partners, and then received our equipment:

  • Walkie-talkies
  • Rear-view sunglasses
  • Monocular scope
  • Messenger bag with built in laser gun (coolest thing ever)

It was a battle against the Cuban vs Chinese intelligence. My team was contracted by the Chinese to find the Cuban mole.

Mission #1:

Start: Union Square
Pickup: Geary and Kearny
Drop-off: The corner of the park on Clay and Kearny

We were on the offensive, so the Cubans had a 10min head start while we planned out attack. We sent some further south to come up on the pickup site without being seen. My partner, Nikki, and I stationed ourselves between the pickup and drop off to hopefully pick off some of the other team.

We found the radio frequency of the other team..they didn’t exactly cover it when setting up 😉 Nikki was running the comm recon, and I relayed it to the rest of our team. We also managed to snipe from the 2nd level of a corner Chipotle and take down two of the Cuban agents.

Retrieving the pickup was the more difficult task since it was rather in the open. With support, Aimee managed to take the surveillance without issue.
The roundabout way that our courier and partner took was unguarded as they made their way with ease to the drop off.

Chinese: 1
Cubans: 0

Mission #2

Start: Clay and Walter U Lum (at the park)
Pickup: City Lights Bookstore
Dropoff: Coit Tower

The Cubans took the offensive position and it was up to us to disrupt their objectives. We left an agent in the safe zone to spy on them to check their routes. After our 10min head start, three of us were stationed at the pickup while two were on their way to the drop off to lie in wait in case the courier made it past our defenses.

The basic direction of the other team was determined by our tailing agent and we waited quietly at our posts until they approached. They were not together.

We managed to hit a few of them as they tried to make the pickup and courier handoffs. There was a full-on firefight across the street outside the bookstore. My location was still secret when fellow agent Aimee was under heavy fire. I had her run across the street, holding shield, to draw fire while I took out the unsuspecting opposition. Another of the Cuban team managed to gun down Aimee not long after as they got kicked out of a hiding spot in a store.

The Cubans still managed to make a handoff as their health dwindled. Brad (Chinese) and April (Cuban) had an unfortunate run-in at the nearby Wells Fargo and Brad didn’t make it out alive.
Another handoff had taken place, but we didn’t see who or where. Luckily, Nikki and Kara (stationed at the drop off) were monitoring and relaying comm.

I managed to scope out April from across the street. We had quite a shoot out that resulted in us running across intersections and down the streets of Chinatown, and a standoff with a truck between us. I knew I’d hit her hard. She took off running and I had tried to follow. My pockets decided to empty themselves onto the sidewalk so I had to stop and pick up the contents. I had lost her.

Using the intel over comm, I tried to pick up her trail, but to no avail. I then retreated to the drop off point at Coit Tower, taking the steepest route by accident.

As it turned out, my adversary had only one health point left. She had ran about 4 blocks, caught a cab to the tower, but was only minutes late as time had expired. Another victory for us!

Chinese: 2
Cubans: 1

Mission #3

Start: Coit Tower
Pickup: Leavenworth and Lombard
Drop off: Fountain at Ghirardelli Square

The roles had swapped again, and we were on offense while the Cubans were on defense. This time, we split into two different cabs, then Brad and I on foot to go around and flank the pickup. The plan was to have him run the last leg and distract the other team with the rest of us.

This would have been great, had we not got lost. We managed to wander off the grid and pick up the trail later.

Meanwhile, Kara grabbed the item, handed it off to Aimee in the moving cab, who made it safely to Ghirardelli Square. After being shot at while in the cab, health was low upon arrival.

After attempting to wait for Brad for cover, time was running too low so she took it upon herself to shield and run right for the drop off… And made it!!!! A great decision to bring home the win.

Needless to say, runners Brad and myself were pretty worthless this mission. We later heard that our non-existence had the other team guessing. That works, right??

Chinese: 3
Cubans: 0

Missions accomplished.

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