Browsing CategoryPuzzle and Hunt Strategy

Puzzle Training Lessons

Todd and I worked through a 2011 Mystery Hunt puzzle together yesterday as training for next month.  It was a lot of fun (thanks, Todd!) and we managed to basically solve it in about 2 hours.  Here are a few things I learned or at least noticed during the process: As Dan commented on my original Puzzle Training post, solving alone is hard.  The puzzle we worked on was extremely vague from the start (two lists of meaningless words, essentially), and there were several moments when I felt like we were stuck enough that maybe we would give up, or…

Puzzle Training Update

Well, the update is that there isn’t much of an update!  I think I’ve solved one puzzle this month, and a few bits and pieces of the Greenville Gazette puzzle.  But it’s a holiday week this week, and I’ll probably have quite a bit of downtime as we travel and spend the week with my husband’s parents, so I think I’m going to print off a bunch of puzzles that can be done without computer/internet access and see if I can knock them out. So far, in addition to finishing the Greenville Gazette, I think I want to print out Tabstop’s…

Puzzle Training

I realized the other day that the last puzzle I had actually solved (or even attempted to solve) was Artifact #5 in the Black Letter Game.  That was months ago, and we didn’t even finish!  With my work about to calm down for a bit (I anticipate), and with MIT Mystery Hunt coming up, it’s the perfect time to do a little puzzle training!  Not only will this be fun and help get me ready for January, but it should also help my puzzle-designing abilities as well.  It’s weird, but it seems I’m the type of person who has to…

Weather

It finally feels like October!  I ran an event last week and my players were sweating by the end because it was a ridiculous 80 degrees outside.  Now it’s 50 and drizzling.  October is pretty much my favorite month, but it was hard to get excited when it still felt like August.  So I’m a happy camper now, even though it means running errands in the rain. The weather has me thinking about weather and puzzle hunts/other events.  How do you plan for and deal with it as a designer and player, and what are ideal hunt conditions? My first…

Trust

Dan Egnor left a comment last week mentioning “GC trust,” which is a great topic that deserves a post of its own.  It’s definitely a thought that has come up a lot since I’ve gotten into puzzle hunts and game design. Trust is a two-way street when it comes to puzzles and games.  One side is the trust that players give to the designer or game control, and the other side is the trust that the designers give to their potential players.   GC/Designer Trust What Dan brought up is the first type, GC/designer trust from the player’s perspective.  This…

Competition

Today, let’s talk about competition within puzzle events and other games.  How does it fit in?  How does it enhance the game?  Can it be frustrating for non-competitive players?  First, let’s look at a few different examples of competition in games and events. Post Hunt – Part one just requires each team to solve all five puzzles within the time limit, no competing with other teams (except maybe when it’s too crowded to see the puzzle).  Part two is a race, in every sense of the word, against all the other teams.  Whoever finds all the locations, solves all the puzzles,…

Puzzle Tenacity

One subject that seems to keep popping up now that I’ve been working on puzzles more regularly is tenacity:  how long do you keep trying on a puzzle before giving up? Nick and I have talked a lot about how The Stone developed a good amount of tolerance and tenacity in us when it comes to puzzle-solving.  Pretty much the only way to solve most Stone puzzles is to do internet research until you hit upon the subject matter, and then keep trying various terms as answers until you find a lead.  From there, it can take a lot of…

Post Hunt Prep

Let the countdown begin!  It is now less than two short weeks until the Washington Post Hunt, one of the few big exciting puzzle events on the East coast.  The Post Hunt will be held in downtown Washington D.C. at Franklin Park.  The event starts at 12pm EST and is free to play.  Just show up and they take care of the rest! For anyone who is new to Post Hunt and wondering what it’s all about, here’s basically how it works.  The game consists of five main puzzles spread out across the city (but all well within walking distance).…

The Puzzler’s Toolbox and Pre-DASH Jitters

The Puzzler's Toolbox

  A couple of weeks ago, after a post about the second artifact in the Black Letter Game, I speculated in the comments about what role one’s familiarity with a wide variety of puzzle types plays in one’s ability to solve puzzles quickly and well.  Reader Jude commented the following: “Familiarity with different types of puzzles definitely makes a difference. You just have more tools in your toolbox.” A great analogy!  It reminds me of my recent experience with crossword puzzles.  After a few prominent crossword puzzle makers and solvers started reading and commenting here, I decided to play a…

Puzzle Teams and Leadership

Puzzle Teamwork

I’m counting down the days until next Saturday, April 28th, when I’ll seriously participate in my first puzzle hunt ever, DASH!  I guess technically you could say Post Hunt 2011 was my first puzzle hunt, but it seems different from the other hunts I’ve read about (maybe some combination of free/tons of people/all the puzzle locations being clearly marked/me sort of casually checking it out for the first time?).  DASH will be my first hunt post-learning-that-these-puzzle-hunt-things-exist-and-are-plentiful, so it feels different somehow! Listening to SnoutCast taught me that there exist puzzle teams–groups of friends who frequently attend puzzles hunts together and…