Larry Hosken: New: Tag: puzzle-scene

Tonight's Adventure Design Group presentation was about The Go Game. They got their start around here. Thus, it wasn't 100% surprising when founder Finn mentioned early on talking with Alexandra Dixon at the CNYTH. Yes, my team captain Alexandra Dixon. She warned him: it's a tough business to make money in.

Perhaps causatively, perhaps coincidentally, the next part of the talk was about how The Go Game steered away from "Mensa-type challenges" towards activities that 90% or more of teams could complete. (So let's see, 150+ teams have solved the first puzzle of Octothorpean in 2014, but only 19 have solved the big metapuzzle and hmmm.) It sounds like lately the founders have had to concentrate more on the business-y aspects, and entrusted the gamerunner-employees with the Game-y aspects. It's a new set of challenges—turning the business into an employee-friendly place.

Not much turnout this evening, maybe 25 folks; I think a lot of folks watched the potentially-but-as-it-turns-out-not last game of the World Series instead.

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Book Report: The Maze of Games

The Maze of Games is a puzzle extravaganza: about 52 puzzles leading up to four meta-puzzles leading up to another meta, along with some bonus puzzles. The variety was fun; and on those few occasions when "variety" meant that there was a puzzle of a type I don't enjoy, the meta-puzzles forgave me and let me go on with partial data. (Well, the four meta-puzzles along the way. The biiiig meta-puzzle at the end, uhm, I haven't made any progress on that. Maybe that one requires complete data; I looked at it a while and put it down.)

(I signed up for this book as a Kickstarter. At about the same time, I also signed up for another Kickstarter, the Year of Puzzles. That project periodically sends out puzzles. It's also leading up to a meta-puzzle. But I probably won't even try that meta-puzzle. I printed out and solved those puzzles as they came in, over the course of months… and now those printouts are scattered. It was pretty nice that the Maze of Games arrived as a big book; it forced me to keep everything together. Hmm, maybe I should wait for the Year of Puzzles to finish, and then do it all at once so I don't lose track of my notes again. Anyhow: book form factor, handy.)

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Link: A Conversation with Puzzle Master Wei-Hwa Huang

This person enjoys puzzles.

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Book Report: The Puzzle Instinct

This book talks about how humans think their way through puzzles. It mostly does this by walking you through several classic puzzles. If you're already somewhat jaded of the classic puzzles, then long stretches of this book might be sloggish; be prepared to skim. But if you're interested in thinking about thinking (especially thinking through tricky things), then you'll want to put the brakes on the skimming and see how a brain can build up a chain of reason around these.

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The Snoutcast interview with Yuan is a pretty good behind-the-scenes view of Puzzled Pint.

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Book Report: Undiluted Hocus-Pocus

It's Martin Gardner's autobiography. It's about his life. It's not about logic puzzles, tricks with matchsticks, or computer simulations. Those are things he wrote about. His autobiography is about the life that happened in between writing articles. There's academic politics, writing some not-so-interesting articles before stumbling into recreational mathematics, meeting magicians and others which would eventually lead to material. Through it all, Gardner's curiosity shines through, along with his ability to find a diamond of interesting-ness in a rough of noise.

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Nautical Flags, Richmond

Posting this just in case it shows up later as a Shinteki puzzle site, you know?

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Book Report: Random House Puzzle Maker's Handbook

It's a book about how to make crossword puzzles (and other word puzzles) from 1995, a revision of a book first written in 1981. It's about how to make (and edit and market…) crossword puzzles by hand. Back in 1995, that's how you made crossword puzzles. There were just barely some computer programs coming along that would help you figure out which words you could use to fill in that □□Z□□E□□K□□ in your grid.

Why read this book now? Nowadays, when I want to make a crossword puzzle, I load up Crossword Compiler, click a button, and let the computer fill in my grid with answers that, y'know, cross. (OK, I'm exaggerating the ease. Since I work on puzzlehunts, I make puzzlehunt-ish crosswords, by which I mean "gimmick crosswords". To make the gimmick work, I probably need to do some prep. Like if the gimmick is something numeric such that LONDONENGLAND should be written in the grid as LOND1NGLAD and FORTWORTH as FOR2RTH, I have to start by constructing a word list so that Crossword Compiler understands that, for this puzzle, LOND1NGLAD is a valid answer.) This book has plenty of advice that I won't use. E.g., when fitting answers into a crossword puzzle by hand, favor answers that alternate vowel/consonant, since these tend to fit into crosswords better. That's a good rule of thumb when you're working by hand and using your brain; but when a computer can try all the possible "crossings" in a minute, it's less useful. And yet, this book's still useful today.

Crossword puzzle fans will point out a flaw in my reasoning above, and in so doing point out the first useful thing I learned from this book. Crossword puzzle fans will point out: The best crossword puzzles are hand-constructed. So the whole premise of saying that the book might not be useful since it concentrates on by-hand puzzle construction must be wrong. Well… yes and no. I make crosswords that will be used in puzzlehunts. People don't complete these crosswords. They fill in a third of the answers, someone sees F□□R■N□M□D■S□□P in the diagonal, figures out that's FOUR-NAMED SOAP, and folks set aside the grid, figure out DAYS O4 LIVES and… Darned few folks will go back, look at that grid, fill the rest in, and tut-tut over mediocre word choices. I can get away with some things that I couldn't if I were a professional puzzle constructor trying to sell stand-on-their-own-merits crosswords to Will Shortz. And this book told me something I didn't know about making crosswords by hand: even if I were to get good at it, it would still take a really long time to make one puzzle. The book doesn't really point this out explicitly, but you can't help but notice the word "hours" popping up. Hours for this stage of construction; hours for that stage.

With practice, crossword construction gets easier, but it doesn't get easy. Good to know. If you don't plan to make enough crosswords in the future to justify training up, need a high-quality grid, and you value your time, maybe you should hire a pro.

But even if you're just jockeying a computer, this book will help. It has advice on what to do if you get partway through constructing a puzzle and it's just not coming together. This happens on the computer, too; it's just faster. Sometimes you choose a grid, lay in your theme answers, press the "fill" button and… the computer gives up. Or it generates something that's bad even by my low standards. Maybe you can salvage your idea by tweaking the grid: when you laid your theme answers into that arbitrarily-chosen grid, did that mean the computer was going to have to choose a word ending in J? Maybe you should figure out a grid layout that puts that J at the start of a word instead. (Crossword Compiler does a great job of "trying all the words" to find those that will fit into a grid; it doesn't have a notion of "trying all the grid layouts" to find one that will work best with a set of theme answers.)

This book talks about the core of puzzle construction; even though I skimp on the details of exquisite puzzling, there was stuff in here I could use. And if you're a by-hand puzzle constructor (or if this book inspires you to become one), there's even more good advice.

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Link

THIS every-state-in-continental-USA driving route is even MORE optimal (if you're optimizing for Scrabble).

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Dave Schweisguth knew about a couple more Escape-the-Room games, including one whose grand opening is Friday!

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Started a list of Escape-the-Room games on the Bay Area Night Game wiki. I know the list isn't complete—Tyler Hinman mentioned someplace I hadn't heard of… but of course I already forgot the details of what he said. Where by "details", I mean "everything." But hey, it's a wiki. People can who know stuff can add to it.

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Adventure Design Group: Presentation and conversation with JP LeBreton and Brandon Dillon (Double Fine)

I'm up past my bedtime, so just some scribbled notes. They're both game nerds from the computer/video game company Double Fine. They've both come up with project ideas interesting enough such that I voted for 'em. (DoubleFine does some wonderfully transparent things, including their "Amnesia Fortnight" in which any DoubleFiner can pitch a game idea; fans can vote on which of those pitches get built into whatever-can-get-done-in-two-weeks prototypes. This year, the Fortnight was recorded by documentary filmmakers.) Actually—that's kinda why I got less out this Adventure Design Group than others: I knew too much going in. But it wasn't a waste of time. Allen Cohn was there, Tyler Hinman was there. There were more game programmers and fewer experience-designers in the audience. Anyhow, what did I learn?

They're both interested in making platforms for amateurs to create games. The whole point of Hack 'n' Slash (the game) is that it's tweakable; but perhaps there should be a way for players to share their mods with the world. DOOM is an old, now open-sourced shoot-em-up game that allows you to tell any story you want, as long as it's about a space marine shooting demons. But open source makes interesting things possible: DECK, the Doom Engine Creator's Kit aims to add some new art to doom, with some less-shoot-y choices; it aims to make games that flow like Doom, but perhaps with a storyline based on something other than demon eradication.

This talk was hosted by the Communications Design Group instead of the usual Go Game HQ. I don't know what those people do, but some of it must be interesting since they had some hexaflexagons attached to a wall. (How can an org named Communications Design Group not have a findable web page in 2014? And yet it seems to be true.)

As we walked from South Park back to Market Street and civilization, Tyler assured me that Puzzle Break is fun times, worth playing. And he says there's a game setting up in Richmond. And he says Egnor says there's one in Santa Clara. Maybe it's time to add a page to the BANG wiki keeping track of them? Or I could sleep.

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Book Report: Puzzle Craft

"The subtitle's a lie, of course. We can't fit descriptions of how to make every type of puzzle into one book." And yet this book does show examples of many many kinds of puzzles. Along with each example, there's a blurb or a page or perhaps more than a page about how you can make such a puzzle. Mind you, many puzzle-types aren't so easy to make. It's not like you're going to sit down, read the section about a Rose Garden, say "oh, that's how it's done?" and crank one out. But that's good to know, too—if you need to crank out an emergency replacement puzzle for that puzzlehunt that's happening tomorrow, you now know better than to attempt a Rose Garden. Though this book is about puzzles in general, there's even some stuff that's especially-useful for puzzlehunt makers. There's a section on embedding secret messages in puzzles; there's a section about puzzlehunt structures.

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Is this like Puzzled Pint for RebusRally folks?

If I knew Swedish, maybe I'd know whether RallyPub is like Puzzled Pint for RebusRally fans… or not. I don't know Swedish, so all I can do is toss around tautologies.

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Link: "It's My Party," a memoir about some Jim Propp puzzle parties, written by David "Pablo" Cohn who it turns out isn't in Antarctica all the time.

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Book Report: The Magus ARGers and Situationists talk about this novel: its plot is something like that of the movie The Game, a sort of paranoid story in which several people playact around our protagonist, hoping to effec...

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Jotting Notes from Kazuya Iwata (Real Escape Game North America) at Adventure Design Group This spoileriffic talk was not recorded. So I'd better jot down some notes. Steering around the spoilers, but that's OK, because the non-spoilery stuff was interesting. Pizza ahead of time was fun. ...

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Book Report: Uncertainty In Games Greg Costikyan has designed more games than you have, so I pay attention when he writes something. Uncertainty in Games didn't contain any startling revelations that knocked me out of my chair, but i...

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I'm Feeling Coincidental A blind man asked me for help boarding the bus, so I helped him board the bus. That almost never happens. A while later, looked down and remembered I was wearing a Braille-Google-logo shirt, somethi...

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But if you meet a friendly horse / Will you communicate by Morse? ...

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Book Report: The Code Busters Club It's young adult fiction in which young adults solve a Real Crime by solving some common codes. Set in the alternate universe like this one, but if you want to get a message to nice people without th...

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Jotting notes on Odyssey Works' talk at the Adventure Design Group, 2013 A few months back, some folks from Odyssey Works gave a talk about their art. I heard about it from the Adventure Design Group meetup. Though I scribbled my thoughts afterwards, if you weren't there...

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Book Report: Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore Like every novel-reading San Francisco bay area tech worker, I enjoyed Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. Its computer and code bits are more science-fantasy than hard science fiction, but they support...

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This isn't jotting notes on @writerguygames' presentation at the Adventure Design Group meetup hosted by the lovely folks at The Go Game. Rather, this is notes on the conversation afterwards. Because...

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The Secret Puzzle Hunt Cabal is a treasure. You can tell 'em "I'm thinking of running a hunt on the 13th" and, between them, they know when the MS Intern Hunt is, the NPL convention, the MS Puzzle Sa...

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Listened to Snoutcast discussion on puzzle-y activities to keep a team enthused during the months between hunts. Does it make sense to create a wiki listing puzzle extravaganzas? Is puzzle extravagan...

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I attended a talk by some folks from Odyssey Works (the inaugural talk of the Adventure Design Group Meetup). O.W. presented about their art: situations, each with an audience of one. It works like ...

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Things Will Shortz doesn't want to do …perhaps revealed via this New York Times job posting for a Director of Games, which I found out about thanks to the excellent Octothorpean playtest team WBYeats. Optimize games for discover...

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Jotting Notes on Jana PouchlŠ's LARP talk: Welcome to Larp. Letís Play It's Nordic LARP Talks Oslo 2013, specifically Jana PouchlŠ's talking about how to make LARP more accessible and welcoming to newbs. It's not a GC Summit talk; LARPing is not The Game; but I'm jotti...

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Jotting Notes on Lars Nerback's LARP talk: Three Ways to Make Games More Inclusive It's Nordic LARP Talks Oslo 2013, specifically Lars Nerback presenting three ways to make games more inclusive. (Thanks to Sara Thacher for pointing out that these talks are online) It's not a GC Sum...

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I played The Cave and it was pretty good All those good things you read about The Cave are true; you should go play it. All those good things you read about The Cave are probably more interesting than anything I'd write; there are a lot of ...

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Link: The International Code of Signals I watched the new Studio Ghibli film, "From up on Poppy Hill" and of course all I could think about was the marine signal flags. In the movie, our heroine, who lives in portside Yokohama, hoists sig...

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Buying tracks to construct a music puzzle. Don't even want to think about what my Amazon recommendations will look like after this. ...

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The Maze of Games is going to be a book with at least 30-something (I lost count) puzzles by folks you've heard of. These are the last 30-something hours of its kickstarter. So if you haven't ordered...

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Have you gotten around to ordering @MazeofGames yet? It's gonna be a puzzly choose-your-own-adventure book. Like The Dextrus of Tempus, only moreso. (But I bet if you know what The Dextrus of Tempus ...

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Link: Alice's Puzzle Page This was a fun puzzle trail. Trail? Extravaganza? Set of interlinked puzzles? You know. One of them things. Give it a whirl. New blog post: One of my favorite #puzzles! Alice's Puzzle Page vroospeak...

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Better decorating through anagramming From a crafty blog post on making a sign of hanging letters: I would have spell Hanuka the ‚Äúnormal‚ÄĚ way, Hanukkah, but I ran out of scrapbook paper since I kept having issues until I figured ou...

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Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Kickstarter The Puzzazz folks want to send you a puzzle a month, a sort of time-release extravaganza. Or something like that, check it out. Be sure to watch the video for a new entry in your "Wei-Hua Puts His To...

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Book Report: Lightning Man It's a biography of Samuel F. B. Morse, the namesake of my favorite puzzlehunt code. So it's about time I read up on the man's life. He wanted to be an artist. He wanted to paint beautiful scenes, n...

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When we figured out that Black Bart's Hidden Hoard would take us to a labyrinth in SOMA, I was certain what GC meant, but wasn't too pleased. Though it turns out I was certainly wrong. On 8th Street,...

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Book Report: Many Subtle Channels in praise of potential literature In honor of USA's Buy Nothing Day, a report on a book that I checked out of the library: Many Subtle Channels It's a book about the OuLiPo. You've probably heard of them: they're a literary cabal in...

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Book Report: How to Sharpen Pencils I'm a technical writer. I write instructions. I often team up with a "Subject Matter Expert," someone who's really good at doing something. I ask them what they do and they write it down. You might w...

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Jotting Notes on Fundamentals of IRL Game Design It's a seminar by @jettstein. (You think I'm typoing "GC summit talk by Bob Schaffer" really badly, but no: instead of watching a GC Summit video today, I did something else.) I attended Fundamentals...

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Saw a Hash House Harriers pack run past, my first time seeing a live pack instead of just leftover chalk marks on the ground. At first I was kind of disappointed. I thought "If I were the hare, I wo...

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Speaking of "what's this kind of puzzle called?", what is "Put together the letter-triples ION ISS NSM TRA to form a word"? It's kind of an anagram, but easier since you've got three triples instead ...

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Tauba Auerbach's 50/50 Floor is on display at SFMOMA. You may recall that Auerbach is an artist who can think like a code-y puzzler though she sidled away from signal and over to noise for a while. T...

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http://ericberlin.com/?p=5066 is Heisenbergian puzzling: the observer gets an answer though it's not a puzzle. ...

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This week's snoutcast had an interesting tidbit "future events: bikes? Seattle? stay tuned!" And also some thoughts on puzzle-based learning if you're an educator. They're interviewing a math teache...

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Book Report: The Vanishing Violin It's another YA puzzle-mystery featuring the Red Blazer Girls. (You might vaguely remember that I read the first book in the series a while back. This time, the puzzlehunt story is a bit more believa...

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Link: Anagramr anagramming game This is me with the high score at an anagramming game: Leaderboard: @lahosken:170 @stalefries:111 @nwerneck:67 @ixpu:56 @ckolderup:55— An Anagram Game (@anagramr) August 30, 2012 You might wo...

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Book Report: The Mysterious Benedict Society It's a young adult adventure novel that starts out with a puzzly quiz. Kids who do well in the quiz team up to battle an evil conspiracy. This book is science fantasy, and the fantasy lost me. It's t...

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Pencil Bandolier: Subtle Counterweight During puzzle hunts, I run around wearing a bandolier to hold my pencils jauntily across my chest. Pencils don't weigh much, but they weigh something. Thus, I put a counterweight on the back of my ba...

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Book Report: Kobold Guide to Board Game Design Professional game designers write essays on topics in Board Game Design. Along the way, they get into project management, prototyping, usability, playtesting, and other good stuff. As a professional ...

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Pencil Bandolier: the new configuration Before: After: I tested out the pencil bandolier at the Real Escape Game. You ask: How did it go? I say: That's why we test. Perhaps the bandolier's boldest feature were the colored carpenter penc...

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Pencil Bandolier progress is as difficult as you make it Look, ma, no pins! You may recall a few months back I'd attached an over-heavy counterweight to the pencil bandolier with vague intent of letting some of the extra lead weight. Today, I got around to...

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Book Report: Glued to Games It's a book about the psychology of games. Why do we enjoy them? It's all very well to say that "Games are fun." You could say "Paper clips are fun," but then folks would tell you that you need to be...

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Book Report: Crossworld You'd think that I'd like to read a book about competitive crossword-puzzle solving featuring a first-hand report on playing in the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. Crossworld is such a book, fr...

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More Tyro Crossword Construction ramblings Some days ago, I posted some noobish thoughts about crossoword construction. I'd figured out that Nutrimatic's default word lists were good for Nutrimatic's use case, but not so great for a list of c...

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Crossword Compiler Noob Diary Unsurprisingly, creating mediocre crossword puzzles is easy but creating good crossword puzzles is hard. Mind you, I don't feel pressured to create great crossword puzzles. For puzzlehunts, I only ne...

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Crossword Compiler is a Windows application. The last time I tried running it on Linux, a few years back, it didn't work. But today it works. Kinda. Far enough to fill in a grid with words, which is ...

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Comics Report: Torso, Goldfish It was a good holiday season. My cousin-once-removed Paul was in town, and once again wanted a treasure-hunt game. And once again, he wanted to be on Game Control, not just playing. So he and his dad...

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Dr Who's Martians as Puzzle Designers #badpuzzles Cramming for the Doctor When game, I watch Doctor Who. The Pyramids of Mars arc aims at being puzzle-huntish... kind of... Towards the end, there's a Martian stronghold guarding a treasure chamber; ...

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Two steps forward, one slide back I bought a couple of clip-on lights. Also, I bought a new counterweight. To keep this whole mess from sliding forward (until all the pencils are under my elbow), I'...

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Link: Chess Story Dave Hill writes about playing chess for money in Zucotti Park. Right, that Zucotti Park. ...

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Now with carpenter-pencils clipped on. I found carpenter pencil clips for sale online, and they arrived. It turned out they weren't small enough to be "snug" on the pencils so I had to help them ou...

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I'm on my way to a new level of handiness or dorkiness... or maybe both at the same time. ...

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Book Report: Tactile Morse Code Sometimes, you can judge a book by its cover. I don't feel that I need to read the book Tactile Morse Code because its cover explains its system pretty well. Bonus irony points for being a book about...

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Book Report: Deep State If you've been listening to the recent Snoutcast podcasts, you've heard interviews with some ARG (Alternate Reality Game) folks. If you listened to this week's podcast, you might have heard of a Walt...

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Why I love Puzzalot Forum Post by Robotguy: I am working on a type of crossword that is played on the surface of regular polyhedra... [more explanation...] I would appreciate any feedback. And this yielded relevant, practic...

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Book Report: Adventures in Puzzling The cover promises multi-puzzle extravaganzas, and it delivers. There's a fun variety of puzzles here. And they're organized into extravaganzas—into groups of puzzles, with each group leading u...

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Book Report: Puzzle-Based Learning I recently reported on the first couple of Winston Breen books. And then Joe Fendel asked me if I'd read the Gollywhomper Games book. Apparently, puzzle-based young adult fiction is a thing? Back in ...

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Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even in NYC audibly Remember how I went to New York and kinda figured out that some of the puzzle nerds there were into some kind of puzzly-geocaching combination thingy that I never really figured out? This week's Snou...

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Book Report: Knuth: Selected Papers on Fun and Games Don Knuth is, of course, one of our greatest scholars of Computer Science. If someone asks you, "What's an efficient way to to sort ______ for quick retrieval?" you are always safe bluffing the answe...

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Swedish Rebusrally team name I would gladly steal: Baron Bosse Behöver Betänketid. I don't know what that means, but I'm sure I betänk like a bosse. On the other hand, not so much: The Sammanswet...

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Why is Corey Anderson so fast at puzzling? Constant practice. While most engineers scribble their designs on whiteboards, Corey draws his backwards on a transparent sheet of glass. Dude is badass. ...

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puzzlehuntcalendar.com makes a difference A few people have been playing the 2-Tone Game this past weekend—referred by puzzlehuntcalendar.com. I checked the IP addresses of three of the players; they were from the East Bay, Spain, and ...

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Book Report: Colossal Book of Wordplay It's a book by Martin Gardner (the Mathematical Games guy), edited by Ken Jennings (the Jeopardy! guy). So you might expect it to be pretty amazing. But it's a book of little word puzzles of the so...

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PhotoCity Pervasive Capture-the-Flag Photo Game Part II PhotoCity is this game where you "capture" areas of a city by photographing them. But you can't play in just any neighborhood. The game only works if you start in a place that they've "seeded". I h...

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Wonderella reminds us that following trails of puzzles is dumb. ...

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Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even the Art World There's this comic book artist, Jason Shiga. He makes these comic books that are puzzles; choose-your-own-adventure books that play with the flow of pages and frames within a comic book. You might ...

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Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Meridian High School in Idaho Tonight I played in a puzzle event. The puzzles were pretty cool! They were designed by Mike Selinker, Thomas Snyder, Tyler Hinman... and maybe others? Eric Harshbarger designed the prizes; he's a ...

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Shopping is Hard; Let's Coin Phrases It turns out that REI's selection of headlamps is not as good as Hallmark's, depending on your criteria. In related news, the Triclops Headlamp is still missing; all hail the Quadruped Headlamp. ...

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Puzzle Hunts are Everywhen: That Article that mentions Sondheim's 1968 Hallowe'en Hunt A while back, the Puzzalot blog had an interesting article on Sondheim's 1968 Hallowe'en puzzle hunt. There was a lot of information there, most of which didn't come from this article by Allan Brien...

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So basically this poem says that codes lack the passion of poetry... well, the passion of good poetry. Maybe still better than, say "Pangolin Bowling" ...

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Braid is a fun game—and ported to Linux. If that's good news to you, don't get too excited right away. It was part of a bundle that's not available right now. But you can sign up to get notifie...

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Wikipedia article data is available again: http://download.wikipedia.org/enwiki/latest/ Now you can tinker with nutrimatic. ...

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Graph Pebbling and a Proof that there is an Infinite Number of Composite Numbers Yesterday, a plurality of the folks hanging out were math nerds. I'm not a math nerd, but I likes me some recreational math. Graph Pebbling has some fun little problems. The idea is that you have...

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Jotting Notes on Scott Blomquist's 2010 GC Summit Talk: Confidence and Acceleration in Puzzle Theory I'm jotting notes about another Game Control Summit 2010 talk: Scott Blomquist talks about Puzzle Theory, conceptual thinking about puzzle design. (Yeah, he talked about puzzle theory in 2009, too.)...

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Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere within and without the bounds of convention A few months back, Ian Tullis talked about puzzles, specifically puzzle-hunt puzzles, and how they've evolved. The quest for novelty drives puzzlehunt designers away from the "plain" puzzles that mos...

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Book Report: Tilings and Patterns I know what you're thinking: Oh no, Larry tried to read another math book. No doubt this means the blog's"unfinished" tag will soon be attached to another book report. But I made it to the end of t...

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Link: Jet Lamp video/talk about Text Adventure Games Yesterday after work I went out to see a movie, sort of. And I recommend you go see it, depending on where you are. The movie is "Get Lamp", and I haven't actually seen the whole thing yet. It's a...

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Comic Report: City of Spies My parents did pretty well playing the 2-Tone Game. Like, I don't think that the Burninators team needs to worry any time soon. But my parents did pretty well. And as they were walking from the &l...

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Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Even Sveden A page with a couple of RebusRally photos makes me think that Rebus Rallies happen more than once a year, though I rarely hear about them. ...

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Link: PhotoCity Pervasive Capture-the-Flag Photo Game Just watched a video of a recent talk by a University of Washington professor named Popovic. His schtick is crowd-sourcing difficult tasks by turning those tasks into games. (Have you heard of Rosett...

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Book Report: When You were a Tadpole and I was a Fish What's that you say? The Gathering for Gardner was this last weekend? Then I'm a few days late to be topical with a book report on When You were a Tadpole and I was a Fish. But books are a slow me...

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Comic Report: Meanwhile... The local members of the National Puzzler's League had a party last weekend, their Equinox party. I didn't go—I'm still not quite enough of a puzzle enthusiast to want to join the NPL. But I wa...

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Book Report: Between Silk and Cyanide It's the autobiography of the codemaster of the SOE an English spy organization during WWII. Wait! Dont' run away! It's not just math and cryptography and war. There's good stuff in here, too. Th...

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Link: Puzzle Forum @ Puzzalot If you're a puzzle-huntist, I'm sure you're already subscribed to the excellent Puzzalot blog, so I don't know why I even bother to link to link to his post announcing that he set up a puzzle forum. ...

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Puzzle Things are Everywhere, with Local Witnesses A while back, I blogged about Stuart Landsborough's Puzzling World, a tourist spot in New Zealand with a big maze and other weirdness. Why do I bring this up? Local gamist Chiu-Ki Chan went there, a...

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Book Report: The Snowball It's a biography of Warren Buffet. It's pretty long. But there are some good stories in here, the writing is good, and it smells well-researched. It edges around some touchy topics, but it's prett...

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Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even the world of corporate training... hey, don't fall asleep when I say that At work, I work in a training group. I was just listening to one of my fellow trainers talk about an outfit that makes some service for education/train-ish folks. It's called Moving Knowledge. It's...

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Link: Stuart Landsborough's Puzzling World Puzzling World is a tourist destination in New Zealand. It started out as a big maze for people to wander around in. Then they added some strange attractions. Some of the ad copy worries me, thoug...

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Book Report: Lewis Carroll in Numberland This book is about Lewis Carroll/Charles Dodgson as a mathematician. There were errors in the parts that I understood. So I didn't trust the other parts to help me to understand new stuff. Maybe I...

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White Ninjas-Specific Show Report Hey, somebody tell Bay Area Night Game Team White Ninjas that I found the perfect band to play their theme song. It's Leather Feather! Most of the people in the band dress up as white ninjas! (Or ...

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Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Even the Marin Headlands and maybe the Seat in Front of me on the Bus There was that awesome Shinteki Decathlon game a couple of weeks ago. One of the clue sites was Hawk Hill, a high hill in the Marin Headlands. It seemed like a neat site, so... yesterday I went bac...

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Book Report: Super Spy It is a comic book, a collection of little spy stories. I bought it because it was an Amazon recommendation (albeit a tepid Amazon recommendation) and it had Morse Code on the cover. I didn't like ...

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Jotting notes on Scott Blomquists' GC Summit 2009 Lecture "An Analytic Framework for Estimating Puzzle Quality" [I re-watched another 2009 GC Summit lecture. In this one, Scott Blomquist of Team Sharkbait talks about measuring puzzle quality. It's kinda a measure of puzzle simplicity--avoiding putting stuff ...

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Zine Report: Wired 17.05 (May 2009) I picked up the latest issue of Wired. A bunch of famous puzzlers made puzzles for it. There's, like, hidden puzzles inside. I didn't make it very far. There's a lot of stuff in Wired magazine. ...

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Link: Ken Jennings roolz San Francisco City Hall runs this town. And who runs city hall? Not Gavin Newsom--he's bumbling around, grooming himself for a gubernatorial run. Fortunately Jeopardy star Ken Jennings stepped in to keep city ha...

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Link: Warren Spector, Playing Word Games Warren Spector does not, as far as I know, play uppercase "T" The uppercase "G" Game. But he designs lowercase "g" games. He worked on some good stuff for the Paranoia pencil-and-paper RPG... uhm, ...

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Book Report: Going Postal Skott raises an excellent point: The diskworld novels also have golems. E.g., I read Going Postal. I read this Diskworld novel because it's where the puzzler team "The Smoking GNU" got their name. ...

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Jack O' Lantern Hidden Message Pumpkins? This year, I can't deal with pumpkins. This year, I'm leting Hallowe'en slide. My free time goes into BANG 19. Puzzles and logistics, logistics and puzzles. That's plenty to think about....

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Not exactly Puzzlehunts Tom Lester and Annie Burnham got married today. You might remember them from BANG 13... but it's been a couple of years, so you don't have to feel bad if you don't remember. But they're married now,...

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Puzzles from Down Under I don't know anything about the puzzles announced at the Google Australia Blog which is a little frustrating because I'm apparently not supposed to register to look at them.Labels: link, puzzle scene...

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PuzzleHunters.com : Register or be Anti-Social Behold a lovely forum for discussing puzzle hunts, puzzle magazines, and stranger things. It's new, so there's not much there yet. Scott Blomquist set it up and seeks your frankest feedback. He wri...

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Puzzle Hunts aren't really Everywhere I saw a campaign poster for Obama. It read Fired Up And Ready To Go ...laid out with those line breaks. I'm so acrostically minded that I found it crudely funny. I blame the puzzle hunts. (I a...

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Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, I Get Tired Just Reading About Them Dave Hill posted his write-up of Hot Springs Midnight Madness 2007, which sounds like it was pretty awesome. These people are outside, at night, in the snow solving puzzles, if I'm interpreting thos...

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Not-exactly Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere Item: Saturday, I wanted to vote, so I walked through the Haight and down to City Hall. In the Haight, I noticed some young folks in matching t-shirts scurrying around. So I observed and eavesdroppe...

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Puzzles are Everywhere, Maybe Even mental_floss I work at an internet search company. I think that the awesome part about internet search is that you don't have to remember stuff anymore. If you might need to know the capital of California in th...

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Book Report: Brainiac It's a book about trivia by Ken Jennings, that guy who kept winning at Jeopardy!. Fortunately, this book is about a lot more than just Jeopardy!. The author explores the world of trivia--the histor...

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Link: Changing Roles of Katakana (and Italics) I just read an article with some conjectures about the cultural significance of the rise and fall of katakana amongst Japanese writing systems. Hey, gimme a break, I'm waiting for a slow download, I...

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Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, but I guess they get lost anyhow I don't read Eric Harshbarger's LOGOLOG blog very often. Hey, give me a break--it doesn't have a feed. Thus, I have to remember to check it. I checked it today, thus finding some week-old ne...

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Book Report: Ilium Raymond Chen, celebrity blogger, gave a talk at my place of employment yesterday. Afterwards, I went up to ask him a question. (Well, OK, to request that he apply his combination of knowledge of En...

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Not exactly a Book Report; Not exactly PuzzleHunt-Related If you've always meant to check out the magazine Giant Robot but never got around to it, now you have some more motivation. Issue #44, in stores now, has an interview with Tetsuya Nishio. Yeah,...

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Link: Iron Puzzler If you're on the Bay Area Night Game mailing list, then you already know that Iron Puzzler is coming up. So I don't know why I even mention it.Labels: puzzle scene...

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Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere / Sad News If you've played in bay area puzzle-hunt games, you might have met a sweet dog named Libby. She traveled in the company of Alexandra Dixon, captain of Team Mystic Fish. Libby died on Friday night; s...

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Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere as Is Music Yes it is the Shinteki Decathlon II report, in which team Underlying Metaphors ("We will not be understood until it is TOO LATE") sweats a lot. Fair warning: there's not much in there abou...

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Puzzle Hunts are Everything I Read About, Even When They Aren't Saturday, there was a lot of puzzlehuntish activity on the peninsula. I wasn't playing in it. Well, not much. I knew that a bunch of folks were gathering for that PerplexCity hunt--people would ru...

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Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere I Go Long day at work; long bus ride back to my neighborhood; I blearily walk along Irving Street, thinking about dinner. But then I recognize the map-festooned jacket ahead of me. It's Dwight Freund, f...

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Links: Quality Content on the Internets Wow, it's a blog entry with a small pile of misc links. That's so retro. If you're into puzzles, set up your Personalized Google Home Page, and add some content to it. What content should you add?...

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Hiding Data in Metadata I'm flipping through this telegraphic code book which E. E. Morgan's Sons used for encoding messages long ago. Most of it consists of code words to convey phrases. E.g., instead of sending "one hund...

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