Larry Hosken: New: Tag: puzzlehunts

Link: team lowkey in Decathlon 9

I keep saying that puzzlehunt reports don't lend themselves to video, but I'm rethinking that now that I've seen Team Lowkey in: Decathlon 9.

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"We'll likely call it BANG 31 regardless of whether someone else runs one with that number." oho

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Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Musha Cay

My parents forwarded me this article about Adventure activities for travelers.
Every few months, at Musha Cay, a private resort in the Bahamas owned by David Copperfield, the magician gathers his guests and tells them the legend of the unknown pirate. In an old book bought in an antiques store, he explains, he found a pirate, a relative of his. Then he asks the guests for help finding…
Group Adventures, With a Sense of Play

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Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Arlequin Cafe in San Francisco's Hayes Valley

Some scribbled notes about GCing at #terngame14, a.k.a., Twitter's internal puzzlehunt.

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Jotting Notes on Todd Etters' and Phil Dasler's 2014 GC Summit Talk "Famine Game Postmortem"

It's "The Famine Game Postmortem", a talk by Todd Etter and Phil Dasler, the Lead Gamemakers of the Famine Game This here is my notes. [My rambling asides are in italics] and I take some pretty egregious summarize|rephrase|totally-change-meaning liberties with other folks' words, too. Original videos and slides at this here link.

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Puzzle Hunts were Everywhere, even Hayes Valley

Behold, it is most of the puzzles from the 2014 #terngame, a.k.a. Twitter's annual puzzlehunt. I say "most" of the puzzles because there were a couple of "you had to be there" puzzles. Like the one that ran on a custom Android app and expected you to know the names of printers around Twitter's San Francisco office—pretty amazing, but for a rather targeted audience. Still, most of the puzzles should generally make sense to everybody, so here are most of them. (I wrote a couple of 'em; other folks wrote others. We had a couple of first-time puzzle-writers, so that was kind of neat.)

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Looking over the (Google Translate of the) RebusRally #100 announement, something caught my eye:
If the team has immunity (ie, at least half of the team has put rally with the team name)
I wonder if they have a system like BANG, where you might find yourself obliged to run a future event if you win this event. And if, to avoid having the same teams running game after game, they introduced an immunity rule. Looks like it.

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Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Oakham

Puzzlehunters of the world, the Oakhammites of Oakham are calling us out:
Well-heeled readers from further afield might also note that this event is one week before the Armchair Treasure Hunt Club’s annual hunt in Oakham, with a hunt open to non-members. Consider yourself cordially double-dog-dared to travel to the UK for them both, and consider the list of exit games as possible activities to fill up the week in between!
–"Girls and Boys, Come Out to Play… but do it quickly"

Where "this event" is a day-long puzzlehunt wandering around London.

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No-Spoilers SF Leisurely Mini-Game 2014 Report

WOOOO! That was fun!

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Jotting Notes on Rich Bragg's 2014 GC Summit Cluekeeper Update

Cluekeeper is a puzzlehunt answer-checker app. Game Control tells the app about the hunt's answers and hints. Players run the app. They can use it to check answers. The app does time-release hints. If you're running a hunt, you can learn more.

At GC Summit, Rich got hauled up to give an update on ClueKeeper. He mostly announced things that have, in the months between the talk and this write-up, already come to pass:

Still, there are some things you can learn by watching the video

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Jotting Notes on Erin Rhode's 2014 GC Summit Talk "MIT Mystery Hunt Q+A"

It's "MIT Mystery Hunt Q&A", an unplanned Q&A session with Erin Rhode, captain of the team that ran the Alice Shrugged MIT Mystery Hunt This here is my notes. [My rambling asides are in italics] and I take some pretty egregious summarize|rephrase|totally-change-meaning liberties with other folks' words, too. Original video at this here link.

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Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Marin County

Behold, it is my write-up of Shinteki Decathlon 9! Read them to gain great insight into puzzlehunting a la "Oh man I wish the Army Corps of Engineers would install air conditioning in the Bay Model." Uhm, and there are some bits that don't sound quite so whiny as that.

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Puzzlehunts are Everywhere, Even Boston

Just started reading this GC Writeup from Wartron Boston

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Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Mountain View

Want to try some puzzles from Shinteki Decathlon 9 (a.k.a. that puzzlehunt I played in last weekend)? Can you be in Mountain View for a few hours on June 28?*

If you missed the recent Shinteki Decathlon, there is still a chance to check out a couple of the clues! We will be running an open house style puzzle hunt in Mountain View on June 28th, showcasing some installation clues and bonus puzzles from Decathlon 9.

The hunt takes about 2-3 hours. You can stop by and play any time between 10 am and 4 pm. The clues are challenging, but hints are always available if you need them. Teams can be 1 to 4 players, but the ideal team size is probably 2 or 3.

D-Light: A Decathlon 9 Sampler costs $9.99 per team and can be purchased at http://www.cluekeeper.com/play/

This game's announcement went out on the Bay Area Night Game mailing list and Puzzle Hunt Calendar. So if you're wondering how I found out about this and you want to hear about similar such… now you know.

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Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Stanford Campus and/or the Moon

This long weekend was all about location-based games, mostly out in the world. Now I need a long weekend to recover. Fortunately, other people will play these games in the future. So to avoid spoiling them I can be lazy and not write up the experience. (It was all fun, though!)

I do want to remember who I played with: Shinteki with Curtis and DeeAnn; Real Escape with Yuan, Mike, Corby, Curtis, and DeeAnn.

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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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Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even San Francisco, leisurely-ly

OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG

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Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Davis

Once again, I used the DASH puzzlehunt as an excuse to travel. This year, I site-volunteered for DASH 6 at Davis, California. You can read about DASH at Davis and marvel at photos and perhaps start answering the question "What is international man of mystery Paul Rundle really like?"

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Book Report: Don't Get Too Comfortable

It's essays by David Rakoff. The first few in the collection were so unenthusiastic about everything that I wondered how did this end up on my to-read list? Then I was reminded: this collection includes J.D.V. M.I.A., his report on playing in New York City's Midnight Madness game. He didn't like it. On the one hand, as you read over the report, you can see some things about the hunt that perhaps made it not-so-fun: lots of emphasis on "aha," not much "grind" for each puzzle; so if a team didn't spot the "aha", there probably wasn't much for them to do except sit and stew and feel frustrated. On the other hand, there also seems to be some sour grapes; he turns up his nose at folks who enjoy such activities. Since I enjoy such activities, I just thought "Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man" and was glad to have an excuse to stop reading the collection.

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Jotting Notes on Greg Filpus' 2014 GC Summit Talk "Surprises and Aha Moments"

It's a "Puzzle Design: Surprises and Aha Moments" a talk by Greg Flipus, who wrote the Research Triangle #Octothorpean puzzles along with some feats he mentions in the "background" section of his talk. This here is my notes. [My rambling asides are in italics] and I take some pretty egregious summarize|rephrase|totally-change-meaning liberties with other folks' words, too. Original videos and slides at this here link.

I was pretty glad to see this video. As you'll notice, the sound quality was pretty echo-y. At the live event, at any given moment I was only halfway aware what Greg was talking about. It's clearer in the video.

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ClueKeeper's got hunts up in San Francisco, Palo Alto, Richmond VA, Washington DC, Philadelphia, and Telluride. I got excited and started playing the San Francisco one. Which was silly, I should have gathered a team. So far, the only San Francisco hunt is a pub crawl, so I should have got together with some folks who drink. I sure shouldn't have started playing before those pubs open. Anyhow. Hunts are available, but play wisely. Don't make my mistakes.

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Jotting Notes on Debbie Goldstein's 2014 GC Summit Talk "Caring for Ground Teams"

It's "Caring for Ground Teams" a talk by Debbie G, who organizes puzzlehunts and occasionally gets to play in them. This here is my notes. [My rambling asides are in italics] and I take some pretty egregious summarize|rephrase|totally-change-meaning liberties with other folks' words, too. Original videos and slides at this here link.

You can skip to the checklist for core GC's care and feeding of game-day volunteers or you can keep reading…

  • what do you want at the site: amenities, info, etc [If you're following the slides, this as a plain ol' list. But at the talk, Debbie had us write down our guesses.]
    • on the video, you can hear the sf bay area muttering as we conspire on guesses
      "chairs are more comfortable than rocks"
      "well, some chairs and some rocks"
    • portland's guesses [not to be confused with Maslow's hierarchy of needs] food/ bathroom/ shelter/ drinks/water/ most importantly: wifi/ oh, and a place to sit
    • in the "game show", Deb says that these guesses have only revealed one of the most popular answers. yelps of disbelief from audience, Portland's list sounded pretty good
    • seattle's guesses food/ heat/ shelter/ chair/ umbrellas/ internet access/
    • still, no more list items opened
    • sf bay area's guesses a buddy? Deb throws us a bone: Let's say that falls under Contact Information [I bet nobody guessed this since we still had it in mind from the previous question] / If wifi wasn't on the list: uhm, Mobile phone coverage? (nope) / Puzzle materials and how they work? (nope)
    • poll winners
      • Contact info
      • Walkthrough
      • Schedule
      • Solution
      • Snacks
    • [if you're wondering how "nearby restroom" etc didn't even make the list: the poll's original question was "What is most important for GCs to provide a staff volunteer on the day of the hunt?" Folks at the talk were answering a different question, closer to "What is your dream site-monitoring situation, based on built-in site features and GC's supplies?"]
    • tl;dr If you're core GC, here's a checklist of things to figure out to keep site monitors happy. You will probably have issues with this, but make your own list.
    • Scout locations that are safe and comfortable for long periods of time [If there's a not-so-great location, there's a temptation to think: let's put the easy puzzle there. teams will only be stuck here for 10 minutes. But remember that your site monitor will be stuck there for hours.]
    • Identify back up locations for when cold/hot/rainy/dark/tornados hit
    • Provide a cushion of time around time slots. If you tell a site volunteer "from 2-4, you're by the fountain; from 4-6, you're at the coffee shop" you're asking them to teleport from the fountain to the coffee shop at 4. If your real expectation is: pack up at 4, get to the coffee shop by 4:30, make sure they know that.
    • Provide extra copies of puzzles Volunteers can use them to learn the puzzle. If a team sets their puzzle on fire because they were trying to reveal some imagined invisible ink, they'll appreciate it. If some passer-by, perhaps an officer of the law, is curious what's going on, it's nice to have a spare copy to show them.
    • Don't strand volunteers alone. For each volunteer, figure out if they get lonely sitting on their own. If so, make sure they have a buddy. If not, can you still have a "roving" GC check in on them occasionally to spell them for bathroom breaks and the like?
    • Communicate in advance: location, schedule, scoring, bathrooms, puzzle walkthrough/solution,contact information, etc.
    • Of these, the item which I summarized here as "Don't strand volunteers alone" probably had the most heated discussion
      • What if you don't have enough people to double up buddies? It'd be a pity to give up on your event just because you don't have many people. [I didn't think of it during the discussion, but in hindsight this might be another case where advanced communication would help. E.g., "Would you like a buddy at your site? Well that's too darned bad, we don't have enough people. But at least we're telling you that weeks ahead of time so you have a chance to rope a friend/cousin/someone into hanging out with you."]
      • If you do have enough people, buddies can make up for lack of planning in other areas. E.g., if you didn't take time to get permission to use that site, "One person can be talking to the cops, the other person can be talking to players."
      • "Roving GC" is feasible for a walking-scale hunt, not-so-much for a driving-scale hunt.
    • Q&A / lively discussion
    • Seattle (sounds like Jeff Wallace, maybe?) tells a Mooncurser's war story
      • Day of the game, setting up on site. We'd scouted it repeatedly ahead of time. Seattle Police Department pulls up: "You don't want to be here. This is gang territory. Hanging out here in the middle of the night is not a good call." So, yeah, having contingency plans is important.
      • Deb: How could we anticipate that?
      • Corey: You could join a gang.
      • Linda Holman: We've into those kinds of problems as well. A dry run in real time helps you with "what's traffic like at this time of day on a Saturday like" [she doesn't specify whether she's talking about car traffic or weapons trafficking or whatever, but you get the idea]
    • Allen Cohn, sf bay area: at the risk of sounding touchy-feely, it's nice if GC makes you feel included. Sometimes GC will tell day-of volunteers: "Awesome, you're here. Now stand in this spot for the next four hours." Doesn't really give you the warm fuzzies.
      • Of course, core GC is going to be harried on game day
      • Still, you're volunteering your time. A little appreciation goes a long way towards making you glad you did that.
    • (??who?? corey? sean gugler?) sf bay area: what are differences between volunteers who are puzzle nerds versus your non-puzzling buddy who you cajoled into helping out on game day?
      • (Deb: you'd mentioned using TaskRabbit)
      • (Yeah, I guess that's a separate question. If there's an overnight game with a really long spread, if you have to staff a dozen sites at the same time, where do you get these folks?)
      • Linda Holman: on gamer vs non-gamer volunteers. Your mom/buddy/loved one doesn't know that these puzzles can take a long time: teams can get frustrated, eventually get the aha, solve the puzzle, and move on. If your volunteer doesn't fully understand "long time" and "spoilers", they want to help out right away. For those folks, we don't tell them at all how the clue works. [notice that's different from what the survey says; but remember that survey was filled out by puzzle nerds, not by the puzzle nerds' non-puzzling-but-lovely friends/relatives/etc] We can get away with that: we use an automated hint system. But for these volunteers, not-knowing is more painless than withholding spoilers from teams. But we do make sure that puzzlers know how the puzzles work; they know what to do with that info.
      • Linda Holman: Similarly, if someone who works at a bar or an ice cream stand or a pie shop or whatever is handing out your puzzle: Don't tell them how the puzzle works because: They'll just tell teams how the puzzle works.
      • Deb: one way to get "warm body" volunteers: ??Yai-ya?? in NYC DASH got high school students to volunteer. The students get some kind of Public Service to volunteer for something. So she sets up a pizza party for them, walks them through the puzzles, and they site monitor. Nice side effect: students got excited about puzzles; one year later, a bunch of high-school teams played. Meanwhile, she's got this army of high-schoolers, where all they want is pizza. [Yeah, Patrick Blindauer in St Louis got public-service-seeking students to volunteer as DASH site monitors]

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  • Puzzlehunts are Everywhere, Even Locked in England or something

    Chris in England started a blog: Exit Games UK. Partly about escape-the-room games in the UK, but also taking in some tangentially-related nerdery. So far, so good.

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    Puzzlehunts are Everywhere, Even Davis

    Davis is a ~1.5 hour train ride out of the SF Bay Area; when the Hogwarts Game put folks on a train to Sacramento, that train passed through Davis. Until recently, I hadn't spent much time in Davis; mostly sitting in cars as folks had discussions in parking lots. But BUT. I enjoyed playtesting DASH in Davis this weekend. I can say that much without spoiler-ifying anything, right?

    Who else was playtesting? Scott and Barry were from Sacramento. Dan went to UCD, but now lives in Mountain View. (And thus, I couldn't whine about the long train ride to Davis: I hadn't even come furthest for this playtest.) Jason(? I think that's his name? That's what I get for writing this down days later) is a UCD grad student. Most of us will come back to site-monitor for DASH day.

    A lot of plant matter blew around Davis. It seemed like a rough place to have allergies.

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    Jotting Notes on Ian Tullis' 2014 GC Summit Talk "Advice from (and for) a Puzzle Snob"

    It's a "Advice from (and for) a Puzzle Snob" a talk by Ian Tullis, who writes Shinteki puzzles. This here is my notes. [My rambling asides are in italics] and I take some pretty egregious summarize|rephrase|totally-change-meaning liberties with other folks' words, too. Original videos and slides at this here link.

    [I was pretty glad to see Ian on the agenda. I still use ideas from his 2010 talk. I catch myself referring to them when talking about puzzle design with first-time puzzlemakers. I catch myself talking about "wow" and "fun" with these kids writing puzzles for #terngame before I realize they didn't attend that talk. Maybe it should be assigned homework. Anyhow.]

    video: part 1

    video: part 2 video: part 3

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    My modeling career continues

    At first I wasn't sure it was me in this image from the excellent (recently redesigned!) Shinteki puzzlehunt website. I recognized Dan and Jesse sure, but the guy behind Jesse is pretty grayed out.

    But then I saw those distinctive pencils poking out of the shirt pocket. "Yeah, it's me."

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    Link: confirmation

    A blog post in which a puzzler reflects on the lack of utility of knowing trivia for Mystery Hunt.
    …people wanted confirmation. They didn’t trust my knowledge while there was a way to confirm on the internet…
    Sure, if you hope for a quick sprint to the end of a puzzle, you might trust your teammate's knowledge of Taylor Swift lyrics. But if the puzzle's a marathon and you want to make sure you've done step 1 solidly before you start step 2, then you're going to go slow and check everything. And MIT puzzles tend towards the marathonic.

    Time to start the betting pool: in which year will Watson, Dr Phil, and their ilk win the MIT Mystery Hunt?

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    Book Report: Little Brother

    Remind yourself it's fiction: after a terrorist attack, the DHS goes police state on San Francisco. That part's all too believable. The less-believable part: our hero is a teenaged computer programmer; he's better at computer programming than pretty much anyone I know. He doesn't do anything in particular that you haven't heard of someone doing… but he's simultaneously expert at programming services, defeating computer security, defeating real-world security… sort of a teenage hacker as trickster god. A fun read; bonus puzzlehunt points for having a puzzle-y ARG as a plot point; inspiring a puzzle hunt in San Francisco; and for listing Seth Schoen in the acknowledgments.

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    Book Report: Shady Characters

    Thursday afternoon, talk at work turned to punctuation. Since work uses a lot of @s and #s, this should not surprise you. Someone hazily remembered that Shakespeare had invented “modern quotation marks.” This morning, I got around to Googling it: alas, that hazy memory was off. So… who invented quotation marks, then? Teh internets have some good info, but for more detail and analysis, I turned to Shady Characters, the book by the author of the Shady Characters blog. It talks about quotes, semicolons, dashes of various lengths… It's a fun book if you're into that sort of thing. There are some surprisingly good stories in there; how does a society figure out how to express a pause with no precedent? (It's kinda like figuring out that zero is a concept that merits a notation.)

    Shady Characters has nudged the course of my life in recent years.

    A few years back, some folks put together some resources to help folks learn the arcana of puzzlehunts. (Yes, there are mysteries, customs. Thinking about answer-extraction yields insights that let you skip parts. You are expected to recognize the six-dot Braille alphabet; you are not expected to know Braille contractions, eight-dot Braille symbols… That kind of thing.) Scott Royer had written an awesome puzzlehunt guide with a walkthrough for one puzzle. I was working at Google's engEDU team, hearing about Instructional Design and Theories of Learning all day. There are plenty of those Theories running around, but most agree: if you want someone to remember what you just taught them, give them a way to apply what they learned right away. So we wanted some more sample puzzles as exercises: nothing super-amazing, but something straightforward for Morse code, something for anagramming, something for indexing… Writing a puzzle with the only constraint "It should use Morse code" ain't so easy—you can do anything. If we had a theme, that would jump-start plenty of puzzles. But what theme?

    I'd been reading the Shady Characters blog, reading about the history of punctuation. Most of these stories are of the form: over history, several symbols indicated the same thing. Before there were modern quotation marks, there were: different marks out in the margin, indented text with marks at the left edge; marks at the left edge with a different mark embedded in the text; different marks embedded in the text. But #'s story in the blog was different: # had been around roughly forever, but it meant different things over time and was called by different names.

    So I used # as the theme for some sample exercise puzzles. Because # meant different things, there was still some variety. Several months later, there were quite a few puzzles. As the blog continued, more puzzle ideas resulted. Someone familiar with Swedish pointed out that # was a map symbol for a lumberyard. As you would expect, that inspired some lumber-ish puzzles.

    Anyhow, when the book came out, I picked it up. It's a fun read; it's probably smoother to read the book than to pick your way through the blog. Usually, I'm a Kindle kind of guy, but I'm glad I got this book on paper. So far, most of the history of punctuation is tied up with the history of printing: scribes' marginalia, early typesetting. The physical book illustrates a lot of the type-ish things by using them itself; I suspect that wouldn't work so well on a Kindle. I read it over, got yet more puzzle ideas. But you might like the book even if you're not using it to get puzzle ideas.

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    Suppose octothorpean.org had photos of you and/or other puzzle nerd teams at various puzzle-y places. Where would be a good place for those photos?

    Soon-ish, Octothorpean will reward you for sending in photos of yourself at puzzle sites with a shiny merit badge. Rather than let all those photos gather electro-dust in a gmail folder, it would be good to do something with them. But what? I'd like to know your opinion. (Yeah, of course, if someone checks the box saying "Please don't post this photo publicly, I'm shy" that photo ain't goin' anywhere. But shy people might still have opinions about where not-so-shy folks' photos go anyhow: maybe they'd find it annoying if _____ pages were cluttered with photos, but charming if ______ had them.)

    Where should photos go?

    Have an opinion? I'd love to hear it.

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    ClueKeeper Looks Awesome

    I tried out ClueKeeper to see how it was coming along. tl;dr: pretty darned nicely. Cluekeeper's an answer-checking program for puzzlehunts, reminiscent of Shinteki's LEON—and in the most recent Shinteki Decathlon, they'd upgraded from LEON to ClueKeeper. (I was checking out ClueKeeper because I wondered how suitable ClueKeeper would be for a nationwide DASH. Deb's making noise about a nationwide DASH, with site-specific puzzles in multiple cities. Does that idea intrigue you? Are you going to talk to Deb about it?)

    I'd seen the GC interface a couple of years ago, tinkered with it. More recently, I'd used ClueKeeper as a player for a test run, Shinteki Decathlon 8, and playtesting the 2013 Elevate Tutoring puzzlehunt. I knew it had changed: there was an iPhone client. Perhaps more importantly, I had changed: I'd finally upgraded to a new-enough phone to run ClueKeeper's Android client.

    So I slapped together a little test “hunt”: answer words tended to be “test”; locations were spots on the sidewalk in front of my apartment. So far, I'd played with the hunt-writing interface and I'd played in hunts, but this was my first time seeing how that hunt would appear to players.

    What did I learn? I learned that the hunt-composing UI is well thought-out. To set up a puzzle, you go through a few screens of UI; those screens are ordered as the players will encounter stages of the puzzle. There's a screen to configure what the players will do on their way to the puzzle (optional message, location, “start code”), at the puzzle (hints, answers, “partials”), and after solving (congratulatory messages, nudges where to go next). Within each screen, the UI elements again correspond to the order in which teams encounter things. In a puzzle's “preamble”, you can optionally specify that a team's GPS confirm they're at the right spot; you can optionally set a “start code” for them to give before the puzzle proper starts. The hunt-composing UI presents the elements in that order: GPS, start code. Thus, you can infer from that if both those options are on, then teams will have to first go to the location, then enter a start code. Obvious once you see it. I needed to see it, though.

    I said “option” there a lot. As a hunt creator, you have plenty of those. To me, it didn't seem like an overwhelming amount of choice; it might help that I've played in Shintekis and DASHes and so I can look at a terse option description and say “Oh yeah, a Shinteki-style start code” or “I bet this comes in handy if you're using the Universal Longshots Scoring System.” Other folks… can probably figure it out. You can also set hunt-wide defaults for these settings.

    ClueKeeper does not yet do everything I could imagine in my wildest fantasies. By the time you read this, though, it might. Whenever I asked Rich, “Hey, is there some way I could make it do _______?” and the answer was “not yet,” that answer continued with a well-thought out plan of how that feature could be added. That's the awesome thing; this program is being created by folks who are awesome Game Control folks in their own right; and they furthermore know professional and amateur gamerunners who are lavish with design advice and feature requests. They've set up a framework that's well-suited to its task. As folks say “Hey, we're running a game in a few months, can we use ClueKeeper to do X?” the answer's likely to be “Thanks to the advanced warning, yeah you will be able to do X.”

    At the recent GC Summit, Rich said that in addition to live events, they also want some persistent in-the-world hunts available. So if there's some data-lush area of your hometown that could be viewed as a flurry of puzzles, you might want to learn about the platform and talk to the ClueKeeper folks about setting something up. (Of course, if your puzzly city site has a big old octothorpe in it, I think you should turn it into an Octothorpean puzzle instead; but it turns out not all such sites have octothorpes.) Check it out; it's pretty cool.

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    We escaped the @realegame Time Travel Lab room! @Hungrynerd assembled a crack team; the team's puzzlers were so strong that I could just wander around ransacking…even though it turns out I'm not a great ransacker. Each time I looked up from pillaging something, we'd solved enough to make progress. Sunshine and Acorn were on our team; rumor has it that they'd designed the room-puzzle for WarTron. (Which makes sense: we were supposed to figure something out by assembling that variant electromotor; that seems very Acornic in an electronic gizmo enthusiast way. But I dunno; I didn't actually ask Acorn what his involvement was, I just listened to Debbi^W rumors.) In hindsight, I don't think that me [redacted]ing the [redacted] from the [redacted] helped us escape the room, but it probably helped me escape injury when we [redacted]ed the [redacted] [redacted] and [redacted] the [redacted]. Anyhow, I had fun.

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    Link: 2014 #mysteryhunt IT and Infrastructure

    It's a blog post by an Alice Shrugged team member about keeping their team-puzzle-state server up and running. We need jargon for this. HintOps? Solutions Reliability Engineering?

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere and Sometimes Well-Defended

    Back in the Justice Unlimited game, we stepped off the end of a pier to retrieve a puzzle atop some pilings. But you wouldn't pull that stunt nowadays, of course, it's too dangerous. Those pilings are now defended by the Red Baron…and an old Playstation game package because why not:

    [Photo]

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    Have you ever volunteered at a puzzle hunt? Have you not-yet filled out Deb's survey of such volunteers? For goodness' sake, fill it out. Especially the part about things Game Control can do to make volunteering awesome and amazing. Because that might inspire future GC folks to do those things, yes indeed.

    Also, point out things GC shouldn't do. This got me thinking back on my diciest moments as a GC volunteer. Those all involved weather. Like the Tornado-warning that I'm not sure ever turned into a full tornado but oh my goodness it was a big enough storm to impress this California boy with green skies and chunks of hail. Or getting rain-drenched on the way to Stow Lake that time. So I guess aspiring Game Control folks should learn to control the weather, all for the better comfort of their volunteers. Uhm, hmm.

    Extrapolating from the above paragraph, Debbie's not going to get much useful feedback from my answers. So you should fill in that survey.

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    Some folks are playing @octothorpean during #mysteryhunt and that's OK. Puzzle Hunts are everwhere and, between them, welcome folks of all puzzling experience levels. When Octothorpean opened up a couple of months ago, pretty everybody playing was an experienced puzzlehuntist. They'd quickly zip through the "intro" puzzles and not slow down that much for the "real" ones.

    Lately, there have still been experienced folks playing, but there have been these other teams, too. These other teams act differently. They take hints on the intro puzzles—they're still learning to recognize things like Morse code and indexing and all the rest of our sensical nonsense. They're new and I'm excited to see them. And I kind of wish that they were Mystery Hunting today, that they even knew that the MIT Mystery Hunt was a thing…but then again, they're pretty new. Maybe they'll have a better time in the long run if they learn some stuff and then play in the Mystery Hunt next year. Maybe?

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    Book Reports are Everywhere: How to Run a Puzzle Hunt Jonobie Ford of Team Liboncatipu wrote about lessons learned running a Microsoft Puzzle Hunt. The instant I heard of its existence on the Puzzalot blog, I knew I had to read this. And from this descr...

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    I added a puzzle to Octothorpean this weekend. It took longer to figure out where to put the puzzle than it did to write the puzzle itself. I wanted to add a puzzle close to the beginning of Octothor...

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    Link: Some Birthdays are Better than Others A fun blog post in which a team plays DASH, Shinteki, 2-Tone Game, and Puzzled Pint, so west coast USA obvs. Oh wait Northern England wait what? ...

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    Figured out why a location-based puzzle was broken: a misspelled mural. I'm doing more of a "workaround" than a "fix" for that one. ...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even the Virtual Astral Plane I scribbled some notes on Ghost Patrol: Reconstructed. Since my main involvement was setting up the online answer-checker web app thingy, and since the main thing I was thinking about was lessons to ...

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    SF Puzzle Nerds: Real Escape talk: I'm thinking puzzlehuntists' Dinner beforehand You perhaps already knew: Tuesday evening (October 29), the excellent Real Escape folks will give a talk. Some of you have already signed up. More Can. The talk theoretically starts at 7. I propose ...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywere, so Don't try to Think About Other Things Working on the UI for the upcoming Ghost Patrol game, I took some little breaks. (Part of the UI is a little countdown timer that lets you know how long until the game starts—and eventually tel...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Downtown SF That @Mastermindhunts San Francisco hunt was the real deal. Yeah, yeah—they mostly run short hunts for not-so-puzzly people. But but but hey I'm telling you—they also run some more seriou...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, but all at the same time If you're reading Clavis Cryptica's "SF Puzzle Weekend – Friday" post, you might think that there are always multiple puzzle events going on around here. But it's not so. Except as I type this, I'm c...

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    Over-Engineered Walks: Munzee Addendum Last week, the Munzee folks must have spidey-sensed that a puzzle-hunt enthusiast was writing about their geocaching-in-the-age-of-smartphones game. We know this because soon afterwards, they launche...

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    This isn't Even my Final Form In last week's SnoutCast, DeeAnn mused on the recent "save the date" announcement for the Octothorpean Order Opening Day (November 16!): "It's going to be very interesting to see it in its—I ...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Ghost Recon Online oh wait i meant Ghost Patrol Reconstructed, an online puzzle hunt. Folks outside the San Francisco bay area might not know this, but Team Lowkey's Ghost Patrol puzzlehunts are pretty frickin' amazing...

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    Link: Real Escape Game giving a talk 10/29 One or more Real Escapists will give a talk on the evening of October 29. Will include a "short puzzle experience". ...

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    Of course the main thing that will strike you about this mural photograph is the total lack of octothorpes: For a while, this wall had an Octothorpe and an Octothorpean puzzle. The excellent Bonel...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere from Pittsburgh to Chicago It's the Great America Rac— I mean it's the Quest for the Iron Raven! And puzzlehuntists you've heard of are going to blog it! ...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Santa Clara Yesterday, Mystic Fish playtested Elevate Tutoring Puzzle Hunt 2. We had a lot of fun! …[pause as I try to think of something non-spoilery to say]… We had a lot of fun! ...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Amazon.com Sounds like Amazon has a puzzle hunt, as nicely chronicled in this blog post: Amazon Puzzle Hunt 2013! Sounds mostly conference room-ish. I haven't found much else about it. Searching the interwebs f...

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    A few of the usual puzzle-huntists played SCRAP's 1000 Treasure Hunters today; I was one of them. (SCRAP is the organization behind the Real Escape game.) We had a lot of fun! As is usual for SCRAP-i...

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    Urban Morphology is Everywhere, Even Truckee Dave writes: "I wanted to make a puzzle using the parking meters but they changed while I was developing the puzzle and the new look has much less information." That gets a sympathetic chuckle from ...

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    This happy chart illustrates a web server not falling over as twenty-something teams pile on to play Lumber Party: That's requests-per-second. The spike shows the time around 10:30am, when everyone...

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    Link: Truckee Puzzle Hunt The puzzle hunt in Truckee? The one coming up August 17? It has a blog. It's had one for a while, apparently. I could'a sworn it used to just be an announcement or something. ...

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    Link: Puzzle Pile interview about Lumber Party In which we find out that The Octothorpean Order is partly about puzzles but also partly about instructional design, human cognition, and the limited power of written instruction to inspire action. T...

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    Please... Hold Your Applause Sometimes you need an animated GIF of Midnight Madness' Leon presenting a la: If that describes your situation, please enjoy this larger, uncaptioned version: ...

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    It's Afternoon at Isotope a.k.a., one GC member's write-up about about #terngame 2013. I don't know how coherent it is, but by golly if I don't write it down now, I bet that this week's going to expu...

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    Lumber Party: a Quick Online Puzzle Hunt If you enjoy puzzles, you might set aside some time on the 21st (a Sunday) for Lumber Party. It'll be a chance to solve a self-contained arc of puzzles from the Octothorpean Order (which continues to...

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    I listened to the "Famine Game Reaping" snoutcast and then posted a question in the form of a personal failure of imagination: What if you were a GC running an application process and you wanted some...

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    Wow, a third of my theoretically-Shinteki Decathlon photos this year are actually of things that happened on the way to Shinteki Decathlon. That's a little silly, but that's how it goes. Of course, n...

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    DASH LAX 2013 photos DASH5 was a couple of weeks ago, remember? I went to LA to help out. Along the way, I took some photos: DASH LAX 2013. One of the folks there, Francis Hsu, was volunteering in Los Angeles and then vo...

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    Playtesting continues apace. A small subset of the DRT (Demonic Robot Tyrannosaurs) tore through many, many puzzles, as you might expect. Of course, it was tricky figuring out how to transform their...

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    Want to Playtest the Octothorpean Game puzzlehunt 5/25, 5/26, 5/27 or 6/2? Update: OK, that's enough responses to keep me busy for now. Thank you! (If you're from out of town, and June 2 was going to be a rare chance for you to do bay area stuff, then you should still talk...

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    I played a @mastermindhunts public pub hunt and it was fun! I got to play with Tiffany Dohzen and Andrea Burbank. (I kinda think maybe Mystic Fish has been thrown together with Andrea's on some puzzl...

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    Taking Shape (where the shape is #) Months ago, excellent partly-puzzlehunt-naive team Drop_Table was the (brave!) first playtest team of the Octothorpean Game. It took a long time to incorporate their feedback. The game has many, many...

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    Looking for Group: Ravenchase Great America Hunt Are you putting together a team for Ravenchase's Great America Hunt? I wanna play. You should pick me for your team. The good news: Scurrying around all day solving puzzles seems normal to me. The ...

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    Another San Francisco Octothorpean Puzzle Ahead of Opening Day [Update: Don't play this puzzle; playtesting reveals that it wasn't actually fun.] I'm revealing another San Francisco puzzle from the Octothorpean Order online puzzlehunt: Bunny. No, the Octothorpe...

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    One San Francisco Octothorpean Puzzle Ahead of Opening Day I'm not a super-duper expert about location-based puzzles. I don't know exactly when the world is going to change and thusly mess up a puzzle. But I know that it happens. This weekend, I found a nice...

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    I'm just back from GC Summit 2013, in which Game Control folks talk about how to run games without going crazy...crazier than necessary. Folks presented on a cool variety of games this year. Well, th...

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    Jotting Notes on Andy Rich's GC Summit 2012 Presentation: MSPH14 Simulcast Post-Mortem It's a talk by Andy Rich, who was on GC for Microsoft Puzzlehunt 14. Well that link is a link to a video of his talk. This here is my notes. [My rambling asides are in italics] and I take some pretty...

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    RFP: Request for Location-Based Puzzles from Your Hometown I encourage you to send me a location-based puzzle from your hometown. Or a few, even. The online-puzzle-trail-in-the-making Order of the Octothorpe now has some location-based puzzles... but they...

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    Link: advice for running a Mystery Hunt art team It's a lot like design+art other web app projects but everyone's a volunteer and you also have to worry about, e.g., spoilers in your stylesheets. ...

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    Resources for nerds who want in to MIT #MysteryHunt ? I'm working on an online puzzle trail for newbs. Along the way, I try to point the newbs at, y'know, real puzzlehunts where they can put their new-found knowledge of Morse code to use. I'd like a pag...

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    Jotting Notes on Linda Holman's GC Summit 2012 Presentation: Resurrecting Aquarius It's Linda Holman talking about Resurrecting Aquarius. (If these "jotting notes" blog entries make no sense to you, that's because I'm jotting notes based on watching videos of lectures. That link ba...

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    Jotting Notes on Scott Blomquist's GC Summit 2012 Presentation: Designing Portable Puzzles It's Scott Blomquist talking about Designing Portable Puzzles. This means "portable" as in "works well for simulcasting." As in "If your puzzle doesn't require a giant troll statue under a bridge, ma...

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    Newbie Game RFP There's this sketch of an online puzzlehunt that's aimed at puzzlehunt newbies—it doesn't expect teams to be able to recognize, e.g., semaphore flags. This game would stick around—if, yea...

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    Playtest went well. Wow, I figured folks would conk out after an hour or two, but they just kept going and going. Not everything got tested with n00bs; some folks showed up who'd played in puzzlehunt...

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    Link: Puzzlehunt Pencils In case you've run low on Shinteki graph paper, Eric Harshbarger will sell you pencils adorned with code alphabets. Hmm, they're #2 pencils. For collaborative outdoor nighttime solving, that's probab...

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    Richard Benjamin on "The Last of Sheila" The A.V. Club isn't completely worthless without their crossword. They interviewed the actor Richard Benjamin about, among other things, "The Last of Sheila." Mostly stuff that you already knew, sure...

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    Jotting Notes on Bob Schaffer's 2012 GC Summit Talk: WHO Recast, Bay Area Perspective It's a talk by Bob Schaffer, who was "Mister Universe" on GC for the SF bay area re-cast of the WHO game and. My rambling asides are in italics and I take some pretty egregious summarize|rephrase|tot...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even SOMA As part of the Come Out and Play festival, the Idryos ran the Black Bart's Hidden Hoard Game. My team conked out early, but I got a blurry photo (and three not-so-blurry ones). ...

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    Noting the location of a shop that laminates, but a cafe is still my fave way to keep a puzzle dry. ...

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    Message to Puzzlehunter Wanna-Bes Someone smart asked for some draft email text they could to a San Francisco-area puzzlehunter wanna-be. So I wrote this: Playing in puzzlehunts is fun, but can be kinda like diving into the deep en...

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    Wanted: Wanna-Be Puzzlehunters near SF You've had this conversation. They ask you what you did last weekend. You say you puzzlehunted. They say OMG that sounds amazing, I wanna play. You encourage them to look at some MIT Mystery Hunt puz...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even NYC New York's opening-soon Museum of Math is holding a puzzlehunt December 16th. On the one hand, I'm theoretically not interested, since the hunt is targeted at teen novices. On the other hand, MoMath ...

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    Jotting Notes on Jett Jones GC Summit 2012 Presentation: WHO Re-Cast, Creator's Perspective It's a talk by Jett Jones, who was on GC for the original Seattle WHO game and, with a few members of GC, flew down to NorCal for the San Francisco re-play. My rambling asides are in italics and I ta...

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    Link: The Animator Letters Project The Animator Letters Project publishes letters from experienced animators, letters exhorting young animators to keep at it, hone their craft, etc etc. It's inspiring; it might be especially inspiring...

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    Jotting Notes on Corey Anderson GC Summit 2012 Presentation: Running Someone Else's Game It's a talk by Corey Anderson, a survey of this year's talk theme: games run more than once. Simulcasts, replays, and the like. My rambling asides are in italics and I take some pretty egregious summ...

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    Link: SpliceVine interview with Sara Thacher @thacher is a big name in the @jejuneinstitute game and other TransMedia experience/game/thingies. This site about video editing(?!) interviewed her, and she mentions an early influence: Janet Cardif...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Portland *SPOILERS* Do you plan to play a game with Los Jefes? If so, beware of spoilers. I just posted a write-up about playing with them in the WarTron Game. After reading that write-up, you'll lose the fe...

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    Book Report: The Puzzler's Mansion It's the third Winston Breen novel. Thus, it's a YA puzzle mystery. It's pretty awesome having a puzzlehunter protagonist who actually thinks like a puzzlehunter. E.g., he's at a puzzlehunt put on b...

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    @_dev_joe, maintainer of the MIT Mystery Hunt Puzzle Index,, has announced an update. More puzzles, more organized, plus a tidbit especially interesting to me since I haven't played in the Mystery Hu...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Joe and Lauren's House in Berkeley A puzzlehunt aimed at beginners, from a beginner's point of view: Cultists of Cthulhu: Part 1, Part 2 ...

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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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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Truckee, potentially "I have been working on puzzles for my own race that I want to have in Truckee as a Girl Scout fund raiser." –Dave Rector From the looks of his sample puzzle, he might have been inspired by Sh...

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    Link: BAPHL of the Bands! BAPHL of the Bands! Puzzle hunts are everywhere, even Boston, yes indeed. ...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even San Jose BANG 33 will be a good puzzlehunt; you should register to play it September 29. It's a re-run; I played it some weeks ago. The good part about remembering it is that it makes me smile. The bad part a...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Chicago @rocketlass took some awesome photos of a puzzlehunt at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo which was maybe called "The Case of the Fabulous Fauna" or maybe that was just a clever name for the photo set. Don'...

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    WarTron Photos I took photos at The WarTron Game. Other folks took photos of the WarTron Game. Please enjoy these photos of the WarTron Game. Special Bonus: also my Portland travelog of the stuff I did before WarTr...

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    Pencil Bandolier: Overloaded The other day I'm walking along and thinking Well it was quite a coincidence running into her here because (1) when am I ever in the Mission and (2) she moved to Switzerland which would normally be e...

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    Link: Ravenchase Great America Race writeup A team of west-coast puzzlehuntists played through the whole Ravenchase Great America Race last week, solving in cities from Washington DC to Boston. They blogged the race, mostly posting a writeup t...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even London DASH, the pan-USA puzzlehunt, is coming to London next year. So next year when I ask the DASH GCs "What city could use another volunteer? Tell me where I'm going on vacation this year." I might end u...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Portland #wartron was pretty superb and Team Los Jefes was a great team to play with. Portland has some great locations, so there was a lot of "wow" as we piled out of the van. (I'm not sure that I recommend ...

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    Tron and WarGames: really thick doors I'm "researching" for WarTron. I.e., I'm watching movies while waiting for batteries to recharge so that I can bring lots of batteries. I re-watched WarGames and Tron. Looking for elements in common....

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    Now that's Tronsta: Identity Disc from Microsoft Puzzle Hunt 11.0. It still lights up! ...

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    Now that's Tronsta: Clipped some glo-sticks to the pencil bandolier. Snapping a photo because, uhm, they might not stay attached very well, so I might not be able to run around and have these thin...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even the Sunset District Shinteki Decathlon 7 was awesome, so you might wonder: why is my Shinteki Decathlon 7 Writeup just a couple of photos and a few paragraphs that don't say much? Hey, gimme a break. It's been an e...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even St Louis You must enjoy this St Louis travelog, aka how I traveled to DASH4. And it's also my report on DASH4 itself. Remember when I micro-blogged about tornado warning sirens? I wasn't kidding. ...

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    Potential Puzzle Hunters are everywhere, even St Louis While I was in St Louis to volunteer for DASH, I did some shoe-leather investigation in search of potential puzzlehunters. I had a lot of fun helping at DASH... but we only had two teams this year. T...

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    Thunder, lightning, tornado warning sirens, golf-ball-sized hail, rain... most adventurous DASH ever! ...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhen in San Mateo Because the dream of the 80s is also alive at Paine Memorial High School, here's a write-up of the Doctor When Game, a pretty amazing weekend-long puzzle-hunt time-travel-story game a bunch of folks ...

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    Just read @jfagone's @wired article about The World Henchmen Organization Game. (It's available on Kindle as part of the magazine.) Fun stuff! ...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere: Embedded Reporter Seeks Team I still dream of playing with your team for the WarTron game and then writing about it. If you're up for that, please let me know. Ideally, let me know before application day (just a few weeks away!)...

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    Book Report: This is not a Game Thanks to a Snoutcast interview, I learned of the existence of This Is Not A Game, a non-fiction book about Alternative Reality Games by Dave Szulborski (not to be confused with the novel This is Not...

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    Sorry About That So as Team Mystic Fish sat down at the finale of the role-playing-intense The Game earlier today, someone seated behind us cracked a joke: "Oh, you're sitting in the front row. So you inherit ou...

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    Book Report: The Timetables of History It's a summary of world history, presented as a timeline. It's a few hunded pages. The rows are years. The columns are different, uhm, sectors of culture: art, science, etc. I hear tell that this is...

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    Spoiler-Free Real Escape Game Notes Team Sharkbait was there! Well, they played the session before us. Rock on, Team Sharkbait. The toughest thing I did all night was give up a spot on the team with people I knew. Leading up to the ga...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere Is [some of] your team hoping to head to Portland for The WarTron Game? If so, I'd like to tag along as an "embedded reporter". I.e., I'd play the game with y'all and write it up afterwards. Folks ar...

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    Nice writeup of Shinteki Disneyland in Wired http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2012/02/shinteki-disneyland/ ...

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    Someone solved the 2-Tone Game meta yesterday, ~6 months since the previous time someone solved it. Hmm, just a few days after I mailed the Real Escape Game info-line to say "You should play this gam...

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    Even SF Japantown Who else wants to play @realegame? It's ~1.5 hours long with about an hour of team puzzling in SF Japantown. They're running a few sessions, so you can choose when you want to play. Most of those ses...

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    Book Report: The Red Blazer Girls: The Ring of Rocamadour It's more young adult puzzlehunt fiction, so you won't impress your grown-up friends for having read this. But it was fun! A group of friends at a NYC catholic school team up to solve a long-forgotte...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, so I'm traveling to DASH again Remember how last year I had a blast in NYC helping run DASH there? I'm doing something similar this year, but this time St Louis. Once again, I put myself into the hands of fate and said I'll volunt...

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    Book Report: The Seventh Level It's more puzzle-hunt young adult fiction by Jody Feldman. You remember how I liked her Gollywhopper Games book, aside from the magical realism parts? This book has a school that's also somehow the h...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even inside Puzzle Hunts The MIT Hunt had an amazing recursive puzzle. @Prestemon blogged his solve so you can experience the majesty without having to bust your own personal brain for eight hours. (Well, as I post this, he ...

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    Todd Etter: best day job ever? ...

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    Book Report: The Gollywhopper Games It's young adult fiction answering the question: What would happen if there was a puzzle hunt in a toy warehouse that was magical like Charlie's Chocolate Factory? On the one hand I wanted to read th...

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    kinda-Puzzle-Hunts are everywhere, even SFMOMA I went to SFMOMA today to play their ArtGameLab games that I mentioned a couple of days ago. Though I only actually played the Bedcannon Game, a fun scavenger hunt in the permanent gallery plus a hi...

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    WHO SF Bay Area re-run Writeup By the time you finished playing the World Henchmen Organization game a couple of months back, most of the mysteries had been wrapped up. Which supervillain betrayed Big Boss. Who was Big Boss? Can t...

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    Link: thelatitude The Nonchalance website (GC behind Jejune Institute) updated recently The Jejune Institute is now CLOSED. Our adventures concluded in 2011 with hidden episodes IV and V. For information on our ne...

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    Just got back from the Mystic Fish interview with the folks from the Trenchwood Institute. Glad we weren't following Team Lowkey. It looked like they had some kind of art/science thing going on that ...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, and worth documenting if you ship them to Seattle or something I'm catching up (caught up now) on Snoutcasts, and just listened to the BANG 28 Debrief. You might wonder: what information was in the BANG 28 puzzle playbook? Folks kept raving about it (and about t...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere and/or Everywhen, and I bet I prefer Everywhen Catching up on Snoutcasts, I just listened to the SNAP 8 Debrief. SNAP 8 was a "rerun" of BANG 28. (Surprisingly, it was run by the same folks who ran WHO. I think there's some kind of karmic balance...

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    a few WHO game photos Seeing as how it usually takes me approximately forever to write up a game, maybe I shouldn't wait to post these WHO game photos. ...

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    Back from WHO Back home from The World Henchmen Organization Game. It was awesome fun! And now: sleep. ...

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    Intercoastal Altercations: team login, UI, play flow You might recall that for the Two-Tone game I wanted a good way for teams to log in, but didn't get it right. (Moral of that story: Don't assume that only the captain will want to log in; therefore, ...

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    Books Report: The Puzzling World of Winston Breen, The Potato Chip Puzzles The Potato Chip Puzzles is a puzzlehunt novel. You might want to read The Puzzling World of Winston Breen first, since The Potato Chip Puzzles is its sequel. Both of these books have some crime mixed...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, and can become your landmarks This week's Snoutcast is a conversation with Rich Bragg about traveling to play in puzzlehunts. Rich talks about the feeling he gets when playing a game in an unfamiliar city: it's as if the city was...

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    Puzzle Hunts were everywhere, even the Magic Mountain area at Coyote Point park I went for a walk partway down the peninsula this morning. At one point, I realized I was walking past the Coyote Point playground, the one with the big castle-themed play structure. This site was th...

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    You don't understand. I coulda had class. ...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Bainbridge Island MS Intern Game got written up in Inside Bainbridge ...

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    SFMoMA wants game-ish installation proposals http://www.mesart.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1151&sid=b7daa4852154c4c7ffce75f2d1b2d2b3 via @avantgame ...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Morgan Hill Hey Seattle puzzle people: don't click the link in this blog post. I'm talking about a BANG, but some SNAPpish folks are talking about re-running this event in Seattle. Actually, you know what? Don't...

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    List of Puzzlehunt Team Names I threw together a list of puzzlehunt team names, gathering names from a bunch of old game signup sheets and results pages. I didn't try to "combine" clusters like { Burninators, The Burninators...

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    Jotting Notes on GC Summit 2011 Panel: My First Game The 2011 GC Summit tried something new, albeit something that's worked out well at conventions you've heard of: a panel discussion. So I looked at the video and jotted notes on GC Summit 2011 Panel D...

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    There was finally an entry puzzle on The Master Theorem simple enough such that even I could solve it. I kinda wish that had happened before DASH3, where I met one of the Master Theorem guys. Because...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, including NYC, NYC, NYC, and NYC Happy 4th of July! It's USA Independence Day, a good day for us Americans to set aside our customary humility and exult in what makes our country great. So it's a good day to remember that not all th...

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    Jotting Notes on Allen Cohn GC Summit 2011 Presentation: Doctor When It's Allen Cohn in a video of his presentation at GC Summit 2011 about the upcoming Doctor When Game. Click that link to see the video and/or read these here notes. Wei-Hwa's advancing the slides t...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even the new Online Journalism Sweet article by Sara Faith Alterman in the Bold Italic with awesome illustrations by juan leguizamon about the local puzzle hunt scene. No wonder a bunch of people suddenly showed up at the 2-Tone G...

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    Jotting Notes on Sean Gugler GC Summit 2011 Presentation: Puzzle Design Case Study Sean Gugler talked at the 2011 GC summit about the Hogwarts Magic Mirror puzzle (which was awesome). (You should watch the video instead of just reading these notes. Much of the talk is about art, d...

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    Jotting Notes on Larry Hosken GC Summit 2011 Presentation: 2-Tone Game as an Overnight Game, Sorta It's Larry Hosken talking about time and the 2-Tone Game. My goodness, what a handsome and debonair speaker. They should have this guy back every year. And how cool is it that he was wearing a "Hec...

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    Jotting Notes on Curtis Chen GC Summit 2011 Presentation: Everything I know about Running the Game, I Learned Trom Running The Game Curtis Chen of Team Snout talked about stuff he's figured out from running the game. Specifically, he talked at the recent GC Summit and if you follow that link you can see the video. But here's the ...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, including water-related places in the SF Bay Area I was sooooo sure that the Shinteki Aquarius Remix water-themed puzzly treasure hunt game thingy would send us to the Pulgas Water Temple. I remember a few years ago, back when I started playing thes...

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    Jotting Notes on Bill Jonesi GC Summit 2011 Presentation: Rallye School It's a talk by Bill Jonesi about Road Rallys, especially about the local varieties favored by The Rallye Club. This was a good talk. Going into it, I thought "road rally" just meant time+distance r...

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    USPS-mailed some puzzle printouts to a hotel so that (I hope) some out-of-towners in town for Shinteki can use them to play 2-Tone on Friday without having to slow down to print stuff out at a Kinko...

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    Non-spoilery Shinteki Aquarius report: Bliss. ...

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    DASH3 NYC Photos Buddhists would say that I should live in the now, but jetlag says otherwise. I'm sleepy as if I were three hours in the future. But I guess I'm awake enough to cull and crop some photos and then sho...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even San Francisco I saw an interesting flyer on 9th Avenue today. I haven't done much with it, so it might not turn out to be as interesting as I hope it is. And I early on encountered an instruction which prevents me...

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    My Ubuntu box auto-updated a bunch of packages with names like "libavcodec" and "ffmpega". Hey those got mentioned on all those troubleshooting pages with which I totally failed to use Pitivi edit a ...

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    I'm trying to figure out if I'm set up to shoot and edit simple home videos. This Linux distro comes with a video editor called "Pitivi". As near as I can tell, that name is short for "I piti the foo...

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    Thank you, individuals from Blood & Bones and Team Longshots. ...

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    Book Report: The Art of Game Design The Art of Game Design is pretty awesome. This book is about design. In theory, it's about game design. But if you're designing something for humans, this book contains plenty of wisdom. I think thi...

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    Someone visited my website searching teh internets for [playdash oxford]. No pressure, folks. ...

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    Zine Report: EPS 99 If you're looking for something serious, go look at earthquakes. Today's zine report is pretty frivolous. It's a publication of the Elsewhere Philatelic Society. Their twitter feed said it was avai...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even the greater Seattle Area I'm reading about the World Henchmen Organization The Game coming up, and I realize part of the reason I'm excited is that I still have that lasso from the Justice Unlimited Game. You remember, the ...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhen, even the so-called "Stupid Hours" A coupla weeks back, I gave a talk at the 2011 GC Summit. (Many thanks to Shinteki and Snout for organizing!) My talk was about time and the 2-Tone Game. E.g., at what time of day did teams mostly p...

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    2-Tone Game: What do you want to know? Suppose I gave a short talk on the 2-Tone Game at the upcoming GC Summit. What would you want to hear about? Yeah, I wrote designer's notes, but those are hard to slog through. Yeah, the Snoutcast fo...

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    I Dare you to Travel to DASH DASH is a puzzle hunt that's held in several cities. Last year, Deb, one of the bay area organizers, flew to NYC where GC was short-handed. She had fun, got to know some puzzle freaks, and she knew ...

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    Salvaged from Facebook: More on Observing Playtesters A while back, I posted a plea for Game Control folks to offer up insights on how they Observe Playtesters. That got some interesting replies scattered around the internets. It also got some replies...

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    Jotting Notes on John Owens' 2010 GC Summit Talk "Metas I Have Known" Jotting down some notes from John Owens' talk about Metapuzzles at GC Summit 2010. I sometimes think that people think too much about metapuzzles... but on the other hand, just last week I was helpi...

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    Jotting Notes on Dan Egnor's 2010 GC Summit Talk "Computer Tools for Puzzle Creation+Solving" Jotting notes about another Game Control Summit 2010 talk: Dan Egnor on Computer Tools for Puzzle Creation and Solving. When I saw the talk live, I didn't follow it all, and got distracted from the ...

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    Thinking about Puzzle Hunt Answer Systems, Unlock Codes The goal of the Universal Longshots Scoring System is: A team's score should consider hints and time spent on puzzles; it should not consider the time between puzzles. You can agree or diagree that ...

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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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    Jotting Notes on Debbie Goldstein's 2010 GC Summit Talk "DASH 1: One Game, Eight Cities" I just watched the video of Debbie Goldstein's 2010 GC Summit talk about the first DASH game. It was pretty cool to see Debbie talk. If you want to know how someone can be nice enough and energetic...

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    Ghost Patrol BA'NG: some photos and a line chart I posted some notes about Ghost Patrol BA'NG, mostly some photos from one of the puzzle-construction parties. I attended two puzzle-construction parties. (But during the second one, I didn't work mu...

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    Question for GCs: Observing Playtesters The latest episode of Snoutcast is about location scouting for games. But my brain got ahold of one little twist in the conversation, and then drifted off to a little incident and then... Like, when...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Bvrlingame Behold, it is a handful of photos from BANG23. You notice how I'm carefully staying ambiguous about whether there's a full writeup coming anytime soon? Let's see how long it takes me to finish writi...

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    Jotting Notes on Ian Tullis' 2010 GC Summit Talk "Reflections on Puzzling" In this talk, Ian Tullis talks about puzzle design; in general and in the puzzlehunt style. He talks about what makes puzzles interesting in general; and the weird areas that the puzzlehunt communit...

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    Book Report: This is not a Game It's a thriller/mystery, so you wouldn't expect me to like it. But the main characters are Game Control for some big Alternate Reality Games a la I Like Bees. So along the way, there are diverting m...

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    Fear and Loathing in Alternate Reality Warning: this blog rant contains a mild spoiler for act two of the Games of Nonchalance a.k.a. "The Elsewhere Public Works Agency". It won't spoil any "puzzle": what makes the situation so dreadful...

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    "And they look at the puzzle and they say 'Oh that's so hard; I could never do that'" SnoutCast #25: "Puzzled Pint #1 Debrief" (around minutes 17-19 or so) talks about folks who say "I could never do one of those puzzle-hunt things; the puzzles are too hard." And if you're a BANG enth...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Justin Herman Plaza and SoMa The Shinteki folks say that they're not keeping Decathlon 6 under wraps anymore, so now I can reveal more photos on the Mystic Fish vs Decathlon 6 page, along with a couple of photos from t...

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    Link: Snoutcast If you're wondering What is this mysterious "conversation" for which Larry felt he needed to come up with "talking points" ahead of time? the truth can now be revealed: it was a Snoutcast interview. ...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Hypothetical Magazine Articles This afternoon, I talked with a couple of people about puzzly treasure-hunt game thingies. Now this conversation was kind of important, so I'd planned for it. I'd sketched out some talking points....

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    Paranoia is Everywhere You See It, even just South of Market When Debbie talked about why she wasn't that enthused about continuing with the Games of Nonchalance, she described her experience as "creepy". And there's plenty of creepiness going on. A few weeks...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, albeit one less place Corby sent me mail yesterday: some of the environmental data for the 2-Tone Game went away. I was already planning to take today as a vacation day, so now I had a morning activity. Confirm that the...

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    Puzzle Hunts^W^W LARPs are Everywhere, Even the Transbay Terminal Girts noticed something Nonchalant-Game-ish to do this evening in San Francisco. There was a nicely-done stroll. (It was fun! I'm glad I went! I still don't want to do Nonchalant-ish things that don...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, and yet you can be in the wrong place Yesterday after work, I stood on a painted rectangle of sidewalk for about 45 minutes. I did this for what turned out to be no good reason. I thought that somebody was going to call me on a payphone...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Even the Prelinger Library So I finally visited the Prelinger Library, after having heard about it for months. The front door was locked. I wasn't expecting that. But it made sense: the Prelinger Library shares space with o...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Even ****where (and more than usual today) I [think I] finished off another episode of that Jejune Institute San Francisco persistent treasure-huntish ARG thingy. I guess I should call it Games of Nonchalance. Advertising posters went up re...

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    Shinteki Decathlon Photos Behold some photos from Shinteki Decathlon 6. I played last weekend, volunteered this weekend. It was pretty awesome. I got to see some places in San Francisco I hadn't visited before. Speaking o...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Decaying You remember how I wrote that Blood and Bones behaved particularly classily on a spaceship-sized climbing structure? That climbing structure is gone now, it's just a big sandpit at the bottom of som...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, but the Edges are Fuzzy On my way to Saturday's excellent Shinteki Decathlon game, I swung by a few places to take care of a few things. E.g., I stopped to take an unhurried look at that worn-down Jejune sticker I'd spotte...

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    The One with the Hats Yes, I am behind on writing up games and such. And I really hope I get around to writing something more about DASH2 than one photo. But wow, what a photo. ...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Sharing Space After the playtest on Saturday, we walked and talked with Debbie. We talked about the Jejune Institute, which Debbie and Sunshine had played; the rest of us had not. I'd seen mention of Jejune on C...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, like Lindy Hop Yesterday, Debbie Goldstein was at a playtest and so was I. And thus I got to hear a little about her trip to New York City. Debbie is, as near as I can tell, the force of cajolery behind the DASH ...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Even Places that are Gone This is another spoiler-free (I think) post about the 2-Tone Game. Things change. Cities are things. Therefore, cities change. Last weekend, I was in the neighborhood of a puzzle site, a puzzle f...

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    McSweeney's is running a riddly hunt. There's real treasure at the end. Doesn't sound like my kind of thing, but maybe it sounds like your kind of thing. ...

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    Book Report: Pervasive Games (Theory and Design) Several months ago, I ran into a little post from a blog called "Pervasive Games". The blog post was interesting, so I wrote a little blog post about that, as one does. But I didn't really notice th...

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    2-Tone Game: Pacing Yar wrote some email talking about the 2-Tone Game. One of my answers got pretty long. I guess eventually it should find its way into a game write-up. But it won't if I lose it in my old mail queu...

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    Link: Blue Door Puzzle Trail I ego-surfed for mentions of the 2 Tone Game, and found one: a post on an ARG (Alternate Reality Gaming) forum. (Thanks for that!) The poster there called the 2 Tone Game a "puzzle trail". Apparen...

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    Puzzle Hunts Are Everywhere, even in Brent Holman's Memories (but not so much in writeups) Veteran gamist Brent Holman Facebook-replied to my post yesterday about recaps, the internet, and memetic monoculture. His post deserves a wider audience than my Facebook friends, so I'm posting it ...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, with no hidden niches There was this conversation at the GC Summit. Brent Holman of Shinteki/the Scoobies said something. It troubles me. Maybe it shouldn't but... We were talking about making these puzzle-hunty games...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Even Disneyland Excerpt from the bottom of Matt Haughey's Disneyland travelog Another highlight of the trip was using the Wishing Stars iPhone app in the park. It's basically a photo and clue-driven scavenger hunt ...

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    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 tell...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Even det kravmärkta molekylärgrönaprogrammet It's a wonderful time to be alive. Of course, I'm referring to widespread automatic translation, the magic which allows me to find out about Swedish puzzle-hunt-like activities, like, say, a team bu...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere simultaneously I posted some notes on DASH #1. There's a photo. This would be a good time for me to mention: "playdash". (My DASH photo is not as cool as the photo of Jack o Lanterns including one with a hi...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Stanford I uploaded a few photos from BANG 25.Labels: photo, puzzlehunts, site...

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    Tiny Update: finally posted zombie chess puzzle layout photo Finally posted a photo of the Zombie Chess board layout to the directory of Zombie BANG photos. Why yes, that did take a while.Labels: photo, puzzlehunts...

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    Jotting Notes on Red Byer's GC Summit 2009 Talk "Run More Games" OK, jotting some notes about Red Byer's GC Summit 2009 talk "Run More Games". Yes, the talk was months ago; my notes are not timely. Oh, before I even start, I should link to Red's own notes about ...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Even Marx Meadow, Hawk Hill, and other places around the San Francisco Bay Area Against all odds, I wrote about Shinteki Decathlon 5. I played the first weekend; the second weekend I volunteered. Thus, there's a pile of semi-related stuff in that write-up. It's mostly ab...

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    Link: Bang XXVI The web page for BANG XXVI gives my browser window a hard time, but it's announcing a SNAP simulcast, and that's a good thing to know about.Labels: link, puzzlehunts...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Even Russia, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, and Ukraine According to an article linked from the Pervasive Games blog, Dozor is a Russian team-based game that sounds Game-like. You'd think I'd be glad to hear about it. Except I'm not so glad. Because--why...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Even Brevard County, Florida Brevard County Florida was already cool what with Cape Canaveral and all. But it's even cooler now: they have Midnight Madness Brevard. It's pretty The Game-like, but different. The activities are...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Even in the News Alert reader Mahlen spotted this article at SFGate, an essay by Dave Blum of Dr Clue: ..."The Amazing Race" definitely has boosted interest in treasure hunts, but that sort of competition and dysfu...

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    Jotting Notes on the Ghost Patrol talk at GC Summit 2009 [I went to the GC Summit 2009, at which various folks talked about how they run The Game. I didn't take notes then, figuring I could watch the video later. So now I'm watching the video, specificall...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, which helps explain how we kept showing up at clue sites Behold my notes from the excellent BANG XX. Yes, that game was a while ago. Hey, if I publish the notes for BANG 20 before BANG 21 starts, that's not late, right? What's that you say? Something a...

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    Non-Spoilery Shinteki Report Yay! That was awesome!Labels: awesome, puzzlehunts...

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    Jotting notes on Teresa Torres' GC Summit 2009 Lecture "GC Transparency" [A few months back, I went to the 2009 GC Summit, where Game Control people exchange philosophy, anecdotes, and techniques. I didn't take notes then. I retain things better when I take notes. So t...

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    Jotting Notes on DeeAnn Soles GC Summit 2009 Presentation: Being GC [DeeAnn Sole of Team Snout spoke at the GC Summit 2009. You remember when I volunteered on the Hogwart's Game, I followed around this one lady who, operationally, had the whole game in her head? The...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Tampa A few years back, I pointed out a multi-day Game shaping up in New Zealand with a bionic theme. That game never came together. But all was not lost! Eagle-eyed Justin Graham got word: The GC for tha...

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    Puzzlehunts are Everywhere, even my Parents' House Yeah, I should really work on a write-up about BANG XX. But today I hung out with family. My cousin Nancy, her husband, and her son came over to my parents' place for a visit, staying last night &a...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even appearing simultaneously in Redmond and Palo Alto Behold, it is notes from Microsoft Puzzle Hunt 1[23]. I volunteered at the bay area simulcast. I took a couple of crappy cameraphone photos of the playtest. I dressed up as the angel of death and ot...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even scattered around San Francisco I typed up some notes on BATH 4 DIchotomY. Like some notes about things I worried about that turned out not to be problems. And things I didn't worry about that turned out to be problems. And, at l...

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    Link: XXX, Poison Picnic Puzzlehunts I'm not cool enough to attend SXSW, but when folks there twitter about attending a puzzlehunt lecture, I pay attention. A lecture about puzzlehunts, forsooth. Apparently, a couple of folks put togeth...

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    Link: McGuffin GC post Burninator Corey dug out some notes from being GC on the excellent The McGuffin Game. Some good stuff in there for aspiring GC folks, I bet. Securing a location is a lot like investing: it doesn't...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even San Jose I like The Game. I like the puzzles, but in between puzzles, I like hopping into a van and zipping around, visiting interesting places. Even though... all too often we don't really linger at the in...

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    Link: Arising like a Phoenix from a Bathtub Further evidence of Darcy's ongoing awesomeness: she rescued the contents of the team Taft on a Raft web site. It's back! Including the material from the The Apprentice Zorg game! If you sadly too...

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    Ghost Patrol Links, including Photos Yeah, yeah, you were waiting for the Ghost Patrol results, but me, I was waiting for Wesley's photos. And he posted them: Wes Chan's Ghost Patrol photos. Mostly photos of puzzles and of our team (M...

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    Link: Muppet Movie Game Blog I was was avoiding linking to the Muppet Movie Game Site, but have since figured out that was dumb of me. You might say I avoided linking them due to philisophical differences... but really it was m...

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    Ghost Patrol: It was awesome, yes The Ghost Patrol Game was awesome. You just want to lock the creators up in a basement somewhere and force them to crank out more of these things. Uhm, but that would be wrong. Anyhow, there's a wr...

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    BANG 19 (aka SNAP 4 simulcast): Photos, Scoring Data, Puzzles On game day, I mostly watched over the Zombie Chess Clue. Most of the time there was nobody there. Some of the time, there were plenty of people there and they kept me pretty busy. But a couple of t...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere: Iron Puzzler BANG BANG 18, the Iron Puzzler BANG was last weekend and it was awesome. The excellent organizers--the Burninators, Coed Astronomy, BootyVicious, Evil Geniuses for a Better Tomorrow, Platonic Solids, and...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Including a State of Inebriation Rich Bragg of Blood and Bones sent me some mail about turning BANG 18 into a drinking game, vis a vis a strategy to avoid being obliged to run a future BANG. ...By the way, re: your blog post, whil...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere: a web-crawling puzzle-hunt robot that didn't work When the applications for the Ghost Patrol game started appearing, it was pretty humbling. New videos kept showing up on YouTube. The videos... the videos made me glad that my team (Mystic Ghosti) ...

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    Link: Ghost Patrol Application from Mystic Ghosti You won't find the Mystic Ghosti application on YouTube because... it's not a video. We played to our strengths, creating a ghost-capturing cryptic crossword. Where by "we", I mean "not me". My "c...

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    Link: BANG Suddenly Looming on Horizon As one of the bureaucrats of the Bay Area Night Game wiki, I sleepily go through my chores. My feed reader monitors the "recent changes" section of the wiki. When it detects something, I go to the ...

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    Site Update: The Smoking GNU: Back to Basics You are, of course, far too tactful to point out that it took me over two months to write up the wacky fun times playing in the Midnight Madness game with The Smoking GNU. It takes a while to write ...

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    Puzzle Hunts were Everywhen, even 1973 Holy #$!) check it out: It's old Game invites to pre-Midnight Madness 1970s Don Luskin et. al puzzle-y Games! And newspaper articles describing those games! It seems like they were pretty heavy on ...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Minneapolis Remember a while back, I mentioned SF0, a not-really-a-puzzle-hunt dealie, more of a mutual-dare society? Well some folks on SF0 bridged the gap to puzzlehuntdom: they hosted a puzzle hunt in Minnea...

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    Site Update: a Pretty Plain Code Cheatsheet I made a pretty plain code cheatsheet for puzzlehunts. It doesn't have all the codes you want, but it has the biggies and it's not too crowded. PDF is here: http://lahosken.san-francisco.ca.us/friv...

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    Site Update: Extended Shinteki Decathlon 4 Kvetchfest The Shinteki series of games is so awesome that you can remain bitter about a van breakdown for several days afterwards if that van, you know, interfered with... Oh, I'm just going to go sit over her...

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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 are Everywhere, even Stanford I enjoyed reading this write-up of a recent Stanford Game. You might, too.Labels: link, puzzlehunts...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even San Francisco I posted some notes on the excellent SF Minigame. There's one photo. Usually I have zero photos or many photos. This time, one. In other news, yesterday The Great Urban Race came to San Francisco...

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    Just Three Shinteki Photos I didn't take any Shinteki photos. That's not quite true. I took a photo of an easel while GC was still setting up. Then Brent put a cover over the easel, like folks weren't supposed to see it so ...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere: Midnight Madness Photos I went to the Midnight Madness: Back to Basics Game and all I got was a t-shirt, a pencil, a card announcing an upcoming Game, eight photos, and the most challenging adventure of my life.Labels: phot...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Even Overhead This past weekend was the excellent Midnight Madness: Back to Basics Game. I'll post photos soon, a write-up eventually. Yes, yes, I'm slow. But I'll post about one thing now, because it happened ...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere; but so is Problem-Solving A while back--long enough ago that I'm probably getting details wrong--someone told me how the Scoobies tackle a puzzle. They set the puzzle out where everyone in the team can look at it. They look...

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    David Hill on Hypotheses and Blurting David Hill replied to yesterday's blog post on hypotheses in puzzle-solving. He replied on Facebook, so you probably didn't see it. I'll post his reply here. I have a couple of reasons for wanting...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere: The Elementarizer Yes, it's another blog post about programming & puzzle-hunts. This one isn't a web crawler. Dr Clue runs team-building puzzle hunts. Alexandra's done some puzzles for them and I've proofread a...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere: Simple Website Monitor Waiting for the bus, Jonas asked me: "Why did you start beeping during that tech talk?" People at work occasionally start beeping. We're an internet company with many servers. When servers have pro...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere: an elegant Mastermind Crawler Last time, I wrote about a brute force web crawler. This time, I'm writing about an elegant web crawler. As you would expect from elegant code, I didn't write it. The Pirates BATH game had a pregam...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere: Dim Memories of GC Summit 2008 The lovely Just Passing Through put together a fun & educational event last night: a GC Summit. Folks who had run Games and/or were considering running Games showed up to eat, talk, and watch i...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere: Brute Force Web Quiz Crawler It's another blog post about how web programming skillz can aid in game-ish activities. A couple of years ago, Team XX-Rated hosted the Paparazzi Game. I was sorry that illness made me miss the gam...

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    Embedded Reporter Seeks Team Is your team playing in the upcoming Back to Basics/Midnight Madness game on April 5? Would you let me play with your team and then write about it afterwards? If so, please get in touch with me (we...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Bless Them Traffic was bad this evening; my commute was long; I emerged from the bus nauseous. That happens when the commute goes too long: stare at the laptop screen too long while on a moving vehicle, don't ...

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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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    Puzzlehunts are Everywhere: Save the Burninators In case you're wondering why my Facebook Status says "Save the Burninators", I just finished an IM conversation with Ian Tullis. He says that most of the Burninators headed into San Francisco this m...

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    Puzzlehunts are Everywhere: At least one Burninator Reported as OK (albeit Tired) Save the Burninators It looks like they're OK. Tell the rescue party to stand down.Labels: ok, puzzlehunts...

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    Site: Seattle Travelog #13 The exciting news lately is that I've had free time and I've been keeping solid food down. Thus, I've finally put together travel notes from my recent Seattle trip. There are some notes from MS Puz...

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    Puzzle Hunts are everywhere, even Golden Gate Park I am back from a 2.5 week trip to the greater Seattle area. I volunteered at the MS Puzzlehunt, which was pretty cool. I guess I'll write something about Seattle soon. But life is still busy. Las...

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    Site: Shinteki Decathlon 3 Notes I was talking with Matt A. at Paul and Anisa's wedding reception yesterday. He said that he read this blog, but he didn't make it all the way through most posts. He's not so interested in book revi...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Richmond When the Great American Race was going on, several west coast folks were watching various team blogs. I didn't spot Team A2's blog until just now. They've done well in past events, including winnin...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, but the Go Game Isn't One of Them (Not that it Claims to Be) This afternoon at work, I snuck into a certain cafeteria. Thus I was there when hordes of interns streamed in for a late lunch. They were late because they'd been at the intern scavenger hunt. I w...

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    Book Report: All the Right Enemies Here is a mini-puzzle from BATH3 (that pirate-themed puzzle hunt from earlier this year): Prepithets Ye seek a four-letter word. Jack Flash _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Bill Cody _ _ _ _ _ ...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Including a Route Eerily Similar to BATH3's Route I finally finished writing up my notes from No More Secrets. You're going to wonder why it took two months to write up something so short. But, you know, the writing isn't the only step. There's a...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Redmond I was planning to visit the Seattle area this autumn. MS Puzzlehunt 11 is happening around then. Any Microsofties reading this... any suggestions on how I might volunteer as slave labor for the fol...

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    Link: writeup of La chasse au tresor de paris I enjoyed this (English) writeup of a Paris treasure hunt game. Yeah, even though it sounds like it was one of those spot-landmarks-based-on-riddly-descriptions games.Labels: link, puzzlehunts...

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    Site: Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, but no longer Trapped in my Camera The Debian upgrade is not going well. OK, I kinda lost X Windows. "Where was it when you saw it last?" "On my monitor." "Well, did you look for it there?" "Yeah, it's not there now." Fortunately,...

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    Puzzlehunts are Everywhere: even the Googolplex I just woke up. I thought I was running late for work--it was 9! But it turns out it was 9pm, not 9am. I was most of the way through my morning routine before I noticed it was dark outside. Why i...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even the site of buried treasure I finally figured out how to make some progress on the No More Secrets write-up--I'm sitting at an undisclosed location in the Googleplex, volunteering for the Gooooogol Game. Nothing to do but sit...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Even in ur phonez dispatchin ur teamz I liked the part in Dale's post-Game GC writeup where he talks about programming the phone system. I especially like the part where he mentions that it was cheap to set up for inital development/tes...

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    Can I Mooch a Ride from San Francisco to Mars Saturday Morning? Dear Lazyweb-- I'm volunteering at the Googol Conglomerate tomorrow, i.e., Saturday. I could spend three hours getting there from San Francisco on CalTrain. But I'd much rather mooch a ride with y...

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    Site Update: BANG 17 Writeup I know, you're bored of hearing about BANG 17, and now you're ready to read about No More Secrets. But I'm really slow, so all I have is a BANG 17 write-up. Featuring cameos by Paul of the BANG wi...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Even the Courts Peter Sarrett wrote about that scary mine shaft accident in the Shelby Logan's Run game that happened a few years back. Playing these games, you hope that you won't sleepily run around someplace dan...

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    Site Update: More Library Handcarts Yeah, I know you want a game report. Yesterday was BANG17, which was pretty awesome. Even if the game hadn't been awesome, it would have been a good excuse to hang out for a day with some folks who...

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    Site Update: Conversations Before the 2007 GC Summit Maybe you've already watched the videos of the GC Summit 2007 presentations, where folks talked about how they make The Game fun. I'm sure glad I watched it. I'm a Game newbie and it was pretty eye...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Even Sweden Oh, cool! Raymond Chen posted a comment about rebusrally. At least I guess it was Raymond Chen. Maybe it was just some other Swedish/English speaker, and they wanted to mess with my head.Labels: p...

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    Pirate-themed Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even the Castro Even if it didn't conflict with No More Secrets weekend, I'm not sure I'd play in a treasure hunt run by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. That sounds like more fun than I could stand.Labels: arr...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Including the Googleplex I am not a hardcore puzzler. I found out that even if the puzzles are great and fun and elegant, I go stir crazy if I try to sit in a conference room and solve puzzles for 24 hours. Now some folks a...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Even my Head Last weekend was a puzzle playtest party for BATH3. BATH is a sort of pot-luck puzzle hunt in which each team makes up one puzzle. Game Control strings all of the puzzles together and runs a game a...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Even the Hearts of True Loves Dave Blum of Dr. Clue writes: ...And every year, on the anniversary of our first date, we write treasure hunt clues for each other. ... It's a wonderful thing when two geeks--whose geekiness overl...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Even Arkansas I know, you're still trying to decide which MIT Mystery Hunt puzzle was your favorite, but I nevertheless encourage you to go read David Hill's recap of Midnight Madness 2006. Torrential rain! RC b...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Even Under One's Nose The team name "Coed Astronomy" of course invokes memories of "SETEC Astronomy," the mysterious code name from the movie "Sneakers." In the movie, "SETEC Astronomy" turns out to be an anagram for "To...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Book Reports I read many blogs. According to Google Reader's new Trends feature, in the last 30 days, I've read 1977 items in the past 30 days from 302 feeds. (And I've been cutting back. When the Trends featu...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Agile Programming I haven't memorized the Braille alphabet nor the Morse alphabet. I even set up a little Morse training drill web program dealie, learned a little more Morse that way. But it doesn't stick. When I'...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Phinney Ridge I never saw the Team Los Jefes web site before today. I suspect that it's new. I think these people were team "Accio Brain!" in the Hogwarts Game.Labels: puzzlehunts...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even the Bay Area Save the dates!Labels: foreshadowing, puzzlehunts...

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    Link: No Morse Egress Those wacky kids at Coed Astronomy have just announced an upcoming game No Morse Egress. At last, a game in which you just solve Morse puzzles and never exit. That's going to be so awesome. Jessen...

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    Link: 200 ways to represent words or a message Not exactly puzzlehunt-related... Someone brainstormed 200 ways to represent words or a message: ... 41. classic do you like me, do you love me, maybe note. 42. New car sticker 43. Error message 4...

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    Site Update: Hogwarts Inside Out I posted a write-up of the wacky fun times I had in and around the Hogwarts Game. Some of you puzzle-hunt freaks have already found this. Typical. Play-testing with Continental Breakfast: As an exp...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Even Oklahoma Oklahoma has it going on. I'm not just talking about Martin Gardner. A Treasure's Trove: A Fairy Tale About Real Treasure For Parents And Children Of All Ages is an illustrated children's book wri...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Sacramento Team Snout has revealed their secret behind-the-scenes view of The Hogwarts Game. How much planning went into this game? A lot. Go read. And if they spelled your name wrong, you can fix it. Tags...

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    Site Update: Puzzle Hunt Write-Up Thank you for your patience. After months of procrastinating, I finally got it ready: a write-up of the Google intern scavenger hunt.Labels: puzzlehunts...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Even the Void Today at work, my main machine's monitors kept blanking out. I don't know what the problem is: bad video driver, bad video card, bad aetheric harmonic vibrations in the astral plane. At the risk of...

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    Names of Nonexistent Puzzle Hunt Teams I used to think of band names. I couldn't help it. That doesn't happen to me anymore. Now, something else happens. Sometimes on the bus I stop reading, close my eyes, and just think up names for p...

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    "Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere" is Everywhere JessicaLa researched an old puzzlehunt, and wrote some interesting things about it. I don't have anything to add to that, but in the tradition of boring bloggers blogging about other bloggers bloggi...

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    Hogwarts Photos A few weekends back, I helped to playtest the Hogwarts Game. Then I went to a few puzzle-construction parties. Last weekend, I volunteered for Game Control for the duration of the Game. I'm workin...

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    Shinteki Write-up Addendum: More Photos Pete came through with some photos, which I sprinkled into the Decathlon II report. Now the truth is revealed: I was carrying a clipboard, rocking a headlamp, and wearing travel pants with zip-off l...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Even Auburn Pete extracted some more Shinteki Decathlon II photos from his camera, and I posted some of them in the write-up. In other puzzley news, Eric Harshbarger's running a puzzlehunt in Auburn in Sep...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Santa Barbara I didn't know that people were allowed to think very hard in Santa Barbara, but I may yet be proved wrong. Tags: puzzlehunts | just kidding santa barbara | jeez you're so touchy&...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even New York City This write-up of the recent Midnight Madness game in NYC has the title I never dared to use: Some serious nerd-ass shit. There are strange things afoot in Toronto, which are perhaps only tangentiall...

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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, even Redmond I'm still working on that Shinteki Decathlon write-up. I got a draft ready, sent it out to my team-mates. Emily wrote back with a bunch of cool jokes that I'd forgotten. Yeah, I forgot plenty; usu...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Even New Zealand Again Ages ago, I went to New Zealand and observed that Puzzle Hunts are everywhere in New Zealand or at least Christchurch and Nelson. Now it looks like some outfit wants to run a Big Game in New Zeala...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Even at Work (Maybe Especially at Work) The other day at work, I caught up to my mentor on the way to dinner. He was asking Wei-Hwa why Wei-Hwa wanted to borrow a baseball bat. And I'm looking around the table, and it's mostly folks from...

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    I Don't Know as much Braille as I Thought Today Google announced Google Accessible Search, which favors web pages which are compatible with web browsers that visually-impaired people use. You might think that's pretty awesome, a great step ...

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    Puzzle Hunts Were Everywhere, and So Shall they Be Again I was sick for the XXTra Online/Paparazzi game, stayed home, missed it. But through the modern medium of blogovoxology, I think I kinda understand what happened. CKL: Palms Down Ian: Paparazzi l355...

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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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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, but not where I am Four conversations at work yesterday, vaguely remembered: Avani the intern and me: Me: Yeah, that phone conversation I had yesterday must have sounded pretty weird to you. All that stuff about "War...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, and entangled with life Yesterday afternoon, I was loitering in a Berkeley coffee shop with friends, and the conversation was pretty interesting: they had just got married. A few weeks back, they're talking about maybe get...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhen, even before Midnight Madness I have finally seen the movie Midnight Madness. Well, not quite all of it. I just paused it in the end credits. I'm looking at this: Certain Game Techniques inspired by DON LUSKIN   &...

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    Site Update: Notes on the Construction of the Triclops Headlamp Less elaborate than the Mystic Fish Hat or the Battery Bandoleer, today I made a sort of triple headlamp, and I kept some construction notes. Because the more I thought about it, the more I thought...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, So Why Did I Try to Make them Easier to Find? Today, I tinkered with Google Co-op and created a search boost. If you subscribe to it, you can use it to tweak Google web search behavior for certain searches. For now, I set up some boosts relate...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, including my pager I received this message on my pager with mixed emoticons: :-!:-% :-!:-@ :-$ :-!:-# :-( :-!:-@ :-!:-@ :-!:-^ :-! :-!:-* :-!:-! :-!:-# :-( :-!:-@ :-!:-@ :-@:-@ :-! :-!:-@ :-!:-@ :-% :-@:-% @ :-* :-! ...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, from Seattle to Siena Some awesome folks in Seattle are contributing to their local Game community by setting up a web site with announcements and forums and stuff. Check it out. I fed their RSS feed into my reader so I...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Even Sveden Shinteki signups are happening. And that is awesome. But if you follow Bay Area treasure hunt stuff, that's probably not news to you. So instead I'll tell you that I sat next to Jonas from Sweden o...

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    Apprentice Zorg: Addenda, Erratum In the weeks since I did that write-up of the Apprentice Zorg game, new facts have come to light. Well, I shouldn't act like anyone was trying to conceal these facts. OK, I think most people involv...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Including Fhloston Paradise Good grief, it's another game write-up. A few days back, part of Team Mystic Fish played in The Apprentice: Zorg, a fifteen-hour puzzle hunt game in the East Bay. In a lazy bold writer's move, I typ...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, from coast to coast Puzzle hunts are in Vermont. Puzzle hunts are in Florida, if somewhat clunkily. Puzzle hunts are in my mailbox: Tags: puzzle hunt | mail | philatelyLabels: puzzlehunts...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Seattle and/or annoying movie promo internet sites. Peter Sarrett enjoyed the SNAP game in Seattle a couple of weeks ago. In tangentially related puzzling news, many people worked on the Google/Sony Da Vinci Code game. At least a couple of them were...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Even at Big Meetings at Work Today, at work, there was a big meeting. At one point during this meeting, a bunch of students were on stage--specifically, it was a bunch of Anita Borg Scholarship winners. Their names were projec...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Especially Petaluma. Furthermore, Petaluma generally has it Going On On Saturday, Team Giant Die Protocol played in BANG 15 (BANG Appetit), a puzzle hunt game in Petaluma. Then we played boardgames. These things are more fun to do than to read about, and yet I did a...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, but where will Zorg start? Yesterday, we of Team Mystic Fish got our collective act together long enough to figure out the time & location of the start of the The Apprentice Zorg game. This was, of course, a puzzle. Or, ...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Except When Preempted If you follow The Game/Bay Area puzzle hunt stuff, you might be surprised to see that I posted to this blog this afternoon. I should be with Team Mystic Fish at Menlo Park turning in an application ...

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    Site Update: McGuffin Ho! The Burninators ran a Bay Area Night Game last weekend, and I wasn't there. Looking at the BANG 14 puzzles, it was pretty awesome. What was I doing instead? Well, I was working on writing about a ...

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    Link: The Apprentice The Mystic Fish team of space mercenaries has signed up as contestants on The Apprentice: Zorg!. Oh, I hope we get in. Oh, I'm on tenterhooks. Or maybe those aren't tenterhooks. Maybe I just consu...

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    Site Update: Shinteki Decathlon Write-up Posted It's late November, and NaNoWriMo people around the world are in the final sprint, churning out huge amounts of fiction. Me, I'm just horking up little bits of reportage. For example, I just posted ...

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    Site Update: More BANG 13 Photos, pointer to YABA photos Tom Lester sent in three awesome photos from the recent Bay Area Night Game. So I put them on the Bay Area Night Game 13 page. In other puzzle-hunt photo news, Wesley Chan posted his photos of YABA ...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Including Far From Redmond I typed up some notes about the Microsoft Puzzle Hunt. No, I wasn't at this weekend's Microsoft Puzzle Hunt IX. I wasn't cool enough to get invited. So what did I write about? I finally type...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, including San Francisco's Union Square [ There was a blog entry here. It was kinda long for a blog entry. And then I added some photos, and it was even longer. So I moved it to its own article/web page/whatever: BANG 13 Notes ...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, including outside a local cafe Today was the YABA 2005 treasure hunt game, run by Alexandra Dixon. I volunteered to help out. Game control has to do many things. Scout the course, design puzzles, playtest, print puzzles, set up...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, But Not Everything is Puzzle Hunts I was walking with some Gamers around my neighborhood. Specifically, we were right across the street from my apartment. One of my colleagues stopped and looked at a parked vehicle. Specifically, lo...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, but not in my apartment Another thrilling tale of behind-the-scenes Game Control action from yesterday's YABA 2005 game... Registration was done. Teams had their first batch of clues and were spread out on a lawn, solving...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Seattle Because I am a lame-o, I didn't play in the recent Mooncurser's game. But Matthew "Defective Yeti" Baldwin did, and he's a better writer than I am. Go read his write-up. As of today, there's just ...

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    Publishing News: XXtra Online magazine My new plan: finish up my existing writing projects by June 2006 so that I can apply at XXtra Online magazine. Tags: foreshadowing | fave celebs |paparazzi |Labels: foreshadowing, lin...

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    Home Games I sit here wheezing and sick at home in front of my computer, cheering myself up with memories of happy days. E.g., the previous six days. Wednesday my department at work had an offsite outing. ...

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    Baby vs Bathwater: Fight! Yesterday, I talked with Griff, who I'd seen at a couple of recent puzzle-hunt activites. Griff used to work at Microsoft. He may have interned there, since he mentioned, On the first day of summer...

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    Switching Gears Today I felt like I'd lost a fight with the interior of a passenger van, but that wasn't the problem. I'd had a great weekend playing in the Griffiths Game, a 24+ hour puzzle hunt run by the Burnina...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere I stepped off the streetcar two stops early tonight. I wanted to walk a ways. I had recovered from my wild and crazy weekend. I was no longer hobbling around--I could walk. So I wanted to walk, g...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere Peter Tang just rented a new apartment. Today Steven, 'Lene and I went over to paint some of the walls. Watching paint dry is not interesting. So between coats we headed out for lunch. As we walk...

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    Park Challenge Today Team Unwavering Resolve (a.k.a. Steven Pitsenbarger, Paul du Bois, and I) played in Park Challenge, a puzzle hunt game organized by the Desert Taxi folks. It was a fun stroll in Golden Gate Pa...

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    Bay Area Night Game Wiki Puzzle hunts are everywhere, but it's not easy to find out about them. Some mysterious person started a Bay Area Night Game wiki, so now BANGers will have a place to look for information. A place th...

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    Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere I walked from U.C. Berkeley towards the BART station. I was at the tail end of a comics and library run. I'd picked up a few good books, and many good comics. So my pack was heavy and it was hot a...

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    Book Report: Oxford Pocket American Dictionary This evening I picked up a copy of the OxFord Pocket American Dictionary. Such false advertising--it's much bigger than any of my pockets. Tags: book | title | foreshadowing |Labels:...

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    Site Update: Shinteki Untamed with the Lester Tang Conjecture Uploaded a write-up of the Lester-Tang Conjecture's Experience at Shinteki Untamed. That is, I wrote about a puzzle hunt. It's a big week for puzzle hunts. There is gobs of new info at the Genome G...

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