The Original Show / Our Inspiration

To understand all our jokes and references watching at least one episode of the show would be helpful, but most of the important parts will be explained here. There are links to several episodes here, videos can be found at the bottom of the linked page. (If you have a favorite team, the link color will represent them.)

Each episode of the show featured a different legend from history. Stories like The Lion Headed Bracelet of Chandragupta demonstrate the questionable accuracy of these legends but they were fun to hear either way. Mostly the legends were used as a reference and theme of the episode.

The 30 minute episode was broken down into 2 main sections: the qualifying games, and the Temple. Our main focus will be on the Temple but we’ll be pulling inspiration from the whole show. To explain the goal of each section was a giant animatronic stone head named Olmec.


The qualifying rounds consisted of a moat crossing and the steps of knowledge. The method of crossing the moat was a bit different each time but ultimately the goal was for each team of two to cross a waist deep pool. Sometimes that was easier than others. During The Bonnet of Dolley Madison most teams had a fair bit of trouble getting across. The first 4 of 6 teams to cross and ring their gong would advance to The Steps of Knowledge. This is where we would hear the legend for the episode and the buzz-in trivia challenge would whittle the teams down to only two. The questions were a combination of actual history or geography and bits from the legend they just heard. These two teams would advance to The Temple Games.

Moat Crossing

The Temple Games put the two teams head to head in a three part challenge where they sought to earn Pendants of Life. The first two games would be 1-on-1 and worth ½ pendant each. The final game would be a team challenge and worth a whole point. These games, like the moat crossing, would frequently have similar mechanisms but the explanation would be themed around the legend of the episode. The first two games in both The Mysterious Manuscript of Mary Shelley and The Ruby Earring of Benzibab were the same physical task but had a different story behind them to explain the actions. We will be doing similar games on playa to help entertain anyone standing in line and help them earn ChocoTacos of Life. These will test your Burning Man knowledge and preparedness.

Pendant of Life

Whichever team ended up with more Pendants of Life would advance to Olmec’s Temple. The Temple is our main piece on playa this year. Like the original it’ll be a multi-roomed puzzle maze that participants have to get through in a set time. In the show it would be a tag-team between the two contestants in the winning team. Running one at a time the rooms they encountered were highly varied. Most rooms had a specific tasks to be completed to acquire the key or press the button or buttons, but there were other that were simply obstacles that had to be physically maneuvered around.

The only way to win the grand prize was to run through the Temple, retrieve the artifact featured in the legend, and exit the Temple in under 3 minutes. This sounds easy, but with about 13 rooms in the Temple it was rarely accomplished. Some rooms were harder than others as well. For instance, The Shrine of the Silver Monkey is infamous for being surprisingly difficult to finish for being a seemingly simple 3 piece puzzle. However in episodes like The Jeweled Necklace of Montezuma this was the participants’ downfall.

Failing at the Silver Monkey

Hidden in random rooms were three Temple Guards, dressed as Mayan warriors, who would grab the person who entered the room. When encountered, they could only be placated with a full Pendant of Life. If the contestant didn’t have one or had already used it they would be removed from the temple and their partner had a chance. Plenty of times though both contestants would be caught by Temple Guards and forced to forfeit, such as in The Sacred Ring of Sultan Suleiman. This is one of the things that made completing the run so difficult and rarely accomplished. Our Maze will be guarded by BLM agents, who can be pacified only with a ChocoTaco of Life earned in line.

As you can tell there are plenty of ideas and aspects to choose from to create a memorable experience while being super creative and incredibly silly. The people in camp will help design and build the rooms for The Maze before the burn and help run the events during the week. If you think this all sounds incredible, head over here to join us!.


What team are you?



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