Comment from Jonathan McCue 2006 Sep 03

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From: Jonathan McCue
Date: 2006 Sep 03

Hi Larry,

I have only recently become aware of the Game and other puzzle hunt activities and am very anxious to make up for lost time. I was able to participate in the Shinteki: Decathlon II event (as Better Late Than Never) and in BANG 16: The Amazing BANG (as Total Perspective Vortex Survivors) however I was much too late to sign up for the upcoming Hogwarts Game.

In my search for all things Game-related, I came across your web site and have enjoyed many of your puzzle hunt stories but it was your first such tale that has sparked this email. In it, you described your own beginnings in puzzlehunting and how a fellow Gamer took pity on you and allowed you to join their team. In the spirit of karmic rebalancing, I was hoping that you might be willing to help me catch such a break.

I have subscribed to both the Orkut and Yahoo! Game groups but my membership is still pending and so I cannot read or send any messages. I realize that the Hogwarts Game starts in less than a week and that there is only the slimmest chance that a team will have an opening, much less be willing to chance a newbie, but it pains me to think that I am missing some opportunity. Has any team posted about having room? And do you have any advice on how I might best put out some feelers without being rude?

Thank you,

Jonathan McCue

Here's what I wrote back to Mr. McCue:

To answer your literal question: how to inquire about Hogwarts openings w/out being rude, I would suggest:
+ Posting something on the Orkut forum and
+ Using the Hogwarts "Contactus" form to ask Game Control if they know of any teams with openings.

I doubt that these will yield anything, though. The Hogwarts game is relatively small, and it's tight. Game Control accepted fewer-than-normal teams, and slapped on a maximum team size of six. Some teams didn't make it in--too late. And people on those late teams called up friends on other teams, asking to join up. So teams that did make it in probably don't have open slots. Mystic Fish didn't make it in to the Hogwarts Game-- and I don't think any of us schmoozed our way onto other teams, unless you count me--but I schmoozed my way onto a play-tester team.

I guess I'm saying that even if it turns out that you don't make it into the Hogwarts game, don't get discouraged. Most games are not this hard to get into. Even if you read my early stories of playing these games, you _won't_ see a story from me about the Genome Game. Why not? Well, that game was smaller than most. Even though I was a provisional member of Mystic Fish by then, I still had to sit out that game because there wasn't room for me. Subsequent games have been bigger, though. Uhm, except Hogwarts.

Anyhow, I think I'm drifting off-topic. It sounds like you're doing the right thing--you're playing BANGs, playing Shinteki. I suggest schmoozing with other teams, letting folks know that you're interested in playing in longer games, letting them see what a reasonable person you are--just the sort of person they'd want to spend 36 hours with in a van.

> I have subscribed to both the Orkut and Yahoo! Game groups

Are you sure that you joined the Orkut group? When I look at your profile, it doesn't show any groups. You might want to try that again.

Anyhow, good luck getting into the game! If you make it in, let me know. I'll be volunteering with GC, and I'll keep an eye out for you.