The Thrill of Winning

Yesterday I had the extreme pleasure of running my first puzzle hunt/race for Ravenchase Adventures.  It was for a small group, split into 3 teams of 5.  It was a huge learning experience in so many ways, and while there were many interesting moments throughout the day, the image that sticks out most vividly in my mind is that of the first team arriving at the ending location.

They approached in an excited half-jog and handed in their answer sheet, eagerly asking whether they were the first team back.  I confirmed that they were, and they all cheered.  Then they wanted me to check their answers and see if they had gotten them right (looking back now, I should have made them wait until the awards part to build up the suspense), and to my surprise and delight they had an answer for all of the clues, and they were all correct!  (This being my first real puzzle hunt of any capacity, I didn’t really know how my puzzles would go over, or if there was even enough time in the event to solve them all.)  The players were absolutely thrilled with themselves, giving high-fives all around.

Their excitement was infectious and left a huge smile on my face!  I’ve certainly had experiences being on the winning team of something, but a puzzle hunt is not one of them.  I almost felt a little jealous of this team!  They clearly had a blast being super competitive and coming out on top.  Winning isn’t everything, but it sure does feel good. =)  It’s exciting to think that as I gain more experience in running and attending events, I’ll have a better chance at moving up that ladder.  And maybe someday my team will be the one cheering at the end!  If nothing else, I’ll get to see a happy winning team at every event I run!

Any readers out there have any really satisfying winning experiences with puzzles or games?  I’m definitely planning on tracking down whoever wins Post Hunt this Sunday to try and get an interview!

4 comments on The Thrill of Winning

  • tabstop

    I was expecting a link to your event! How much of it was you? Writing? Planning? Etc?

    Well done!

    • clavicarius (author)

      Thanks! It was a corporate teambuilding event, so a custom hunt for a small group.

      I basically did it all with a previous hunt as a sort of guideline, and lots of guidance from my boss =)

  • Jason

    BoardGameGeek Con has a really nice puzzlehunt, and one of the few that I know of in the Dallas, TX metro area. In 2006 my team (Errant Gamers) competed in the BGG hunt for the first time, and we didn’t even finish the 3rd round out of 4, despite spending nearly 5 hours on an event that was planned for 2-3 hours. Other teams were an hour or more ahead of us, and, at times, we were pretty well lost. It was an all-around dismal showing.

    After that event, we practiced solving more puzzles, both individually, and as a team. For the 2007 BGG hunt we dove in head first and felt like we were doing a lot better. We still got stuck in places, but we were never so lost as the year before. When they announced the top three scores, we weren’t among them, though. Again, we were somewhat discouraged, until we found out that we had finished in fourth place, not far at all from third. Hey, that wasn’t so bad, and it was so much better than the year before that we felt pretty good about our performance.

    The following year, 2008, we had a decent showing, finishing a couple of puzzles faster than any other team, while trailing a bit on others. Only first place was officially awarded that year, but, based on our points, we were around 4th or 5th place. In 2009 we did very well. We flat-out aced one puzzle and finished so fast that the moderators wondered what was wrong when we showed up so soon. They basically said, “You shouldn’t be finished yet.” The next fastest team showed up more than 15 minutes later. We did really well all the way through, basically heading into the final puzzle in second place. And, when it was all over, we wound up (unofficially) in second place. It was a very close race, and more than a little frustrating, but it was clearly our best finish yet.

    In 2010 we won the BGG puzzle hunt. We won by 1 point and beat some really solid west-coast-based competition with our little backwater Dallas team. It felt really great to have finally pulled a first place finish. We had grown so much as puzzlers – our team had come together like a well-oiled machine. We had come so amazingly far since our first dismal attempt in 2006. That made the victory ever so much more satisfying.

    • clavicarius (author)

      What a great story of your progression as a puzzler! Thanks so much for sharing =) Very inspiring… your 2006 BGG experience sounds like my DASH experience this year! Maybe by 2016 we’ll be winning something ourselves! It definitely sounds cool to have a really solid team that works together well.. I hope I can develop one over the years.

      BGG sounds interesting. What is the format like? I’m imagining a big hotel ballroom with tables for each team and a day of sitting and solving (an image that seemed appealing after running around at DASH).

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