Larry Hosken: New: Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Rashomon Gate

The BANG 25 Writeup Addendum over at Puzzalot gets into a tricky aspect of team puzzle-solving: figuring out who had which insight. It's a hard problem; I've given up on it myself. If Player A tells Player B something and Player C writes down this conversation... we don't know that Player B didn't already know. Player B might be thinking

From Player A's point of view, he figured it out first. From Player B's point of view, he figured it out first; Player A was just the first to articulate it.

If Player A blurts out "It's Morse!" no sane team takes the next five minutes to work out who did/did not already know the puzzle was Morse. Instead, they're going to pull out their Morse code cheat-sheet and start to work on the next stage of the puzzle.

Afterwards, Player C's chances of capturing how the idea spread through the group... Yeah, basically doomed. That's too bad. And there's a non-trivial chance that Player B will eventually become grumpy as he keeps reading about all of Player A's insights. "Oh, hey, I'd already thought of some of these, where's my credit?"

Finding out how ideas move through a team is darned interesting. Writing about it is interesting, too. My approach is: leave people's names out of it. If someone pipes up with an idea, I tend to say "someone" instead of "Dwight" or whoever. I talk about the strange ways that theories make their way through a van, but usually stay hazy on exactly who was sitting in which van seat. It seems to keep folks from yelling at me about the writeups. YMMV.

Tags: puzzle hunts teams link
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