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SF Puzzle Weekend – Friday

Woah, hey, remember like a million years ago when I had a big puzzle weekend in San Francisco?  And then I only wrote about the first day of it?  Time to finish the story!  Luckily, past-me has been on the ball this year and already wrote it all up on the plane ride home!  (Present-me just couldn’t be bothered to get the file off the laptop and add photos.) It’s been four months, so I’ll briefly re-cap the last post.  The purpose of my trip was Shinteki Decathlon with Todd’s team, Boneless Chicken Cabaret.  I got in on Thursday, picked…

I Helped Run a Game

…and that’s why I haven’t posted anything for the past two months!  (Warning, this post will probably contain some spoilers for The Famine Game.  All photos are either by Sana Malik or me unless otherwise noted.) Last week, my husband and I flew to Washington, D.C. to help run The Famine Game, a Hunger Games-themed Game organized by Todd Etter and Philip Dasler, and the first ever Game run in Washington, D.C.  In this post, I’m just going to re-cap my personal experience with the Game.  It won’t be a comprehensive report of the Famine Game itself by any means…

SF Puzzle Weekend – Thursday

So, two weekends ago, I got to join Boneless Chicken Cabaret for an awesome puzzle-filled weekend in San Francisco!  I want to re-cap everything we did that weekend so that I don’t forget =) Working from home certainly has its advantages.  Since I could leave whenever I wanted, I got an early flight on Thursday and made it to SFO at about 2pm.  I had only been to San Francisco once before, on my honeymoon three years ago!  The whole weekend, I kept seeing places that we had been to on that trip, so it was a bit of a…

DASH 5 Report Part 3

In the previous post, we had just isolated the infectious agent that was spreading the disease at DASH 5. Puzzle 6: Determine Transmisson Vector Threat Level: BLACK Our next stop was The French Bakery where we were given the next puzzle, which included a wooden cube with crossword-style blanks running around the edge on all six sides.  And this is the poor soul who handed it to us:   The clues on the puzzle page were a bit tough until we figured out the first puzzle mechanic:   each answer could connect to the one before and after it using the…

DASH 5 Report Part 2

My goodness, I am terribly behind in my blogging!  I’ll try and keep the rest of my DASH report a bit more concise than last year since I have a lot of other things to catch up on writing about as well. The rest of these posts will contain massive spoilers (though they will be blackened out), so try to avoid them if you want to solve the puzzles on your own. In my last post, we had just found our teammates and gotten registered.  GC were all dressed in hospital scrubs and lab coats, following an apparent medical theme.…

DASH 5 Report Part 1

The short story:  we had a great time at DASH 5 last Saturday!  The long story is the following multi-part, in-depth, ridiculously detailed report.  If you don’t like hearing about (literally) what I had for breakfast on DASH day, you might just want to skip or skim these posts.  =) Last year, I wrote a post every day until my DASH report was complete.  This year, I still want to get them done quickly, but I can’t get to the good stuff until they’ve run DASH in London this weekend (to avoid releasing any spoilers).  So for this week, I’ll…

DASH 5 Prep

I can’t believe it’s finally DASH time again!  Pretty much since the moment DASH 4 was over, I’ve been ridiculously eager to play again.  Not only did we have a great time last year, we also had a lot of areas where we knew we could do better and couldn’t wait to try again. I feel like my puzzler’s toolbox must have grown a lot since last year, and I even have an MIT Mystery Hunt under my belt!  But I’m definitely expecting DASH to throw some new puzzle styles at me.  And a lot of our flaws last year…

GC Summit 2013

We landed in Seattle on Saturday morning, and there was already a puzzle-related event to attend by Sunday afternoon!  I was worried we’d be a little too exhausted or overwhelmed to make it to the Seattle meet-up for Game Control Summit, but we had a lot of time on Saturday to get settled and Nick knew I would regret it later if we didn’t try to go.  So we made the quick drive down to the Microsoft campus where new friends, pizza, and cookies were waiting for us! =) I think our side had around 13 people for most of…

Too Many Events!

Around this time last year, I was just getting my feet wet in the puzzling world.  The Black Letter Game was about to start, I think I had just discovered that Ravenchase existed, and at some point I had stumbled onto Puzzle Hunt Calendar and the Wikipedia page for The Game (probably from listening to SnoutCasts).  It was a whole new world for me!  I had a great time at DASH a few months later, which I considered to be my first “real” puzzle event, but I didn’t really expect to attend anything besides DASHes and Post Hunts until I…

Elegance

Today I’d like to talk a bit about elegance in puzzle design.  I touched briefly on the subject in my red herrings post, but I think there is a difference between an elegant puzzle and one that just doesn’t have any extraneous parts. Alex Pearson provided a perfect definition for elegance in the comments of that red herring post: Elegant (adj): Everything cluing and everything clued. That means no extraneous parts, but also that all of the parts coordinate in a sensible and meaningful way. I’m learning a lot about elegance as I design more puzzles.  I’m learning certain expectations that solvers…