In April 2011, I took a trip to New York City to help run a puzzle hunt.
At the time, this was not a typical thing to do. But I swear it made sense.
- In 2009-2010, a new puzzlehunt series emerged, DASH, "Different Area Same
Hunt". This was an attempt to run BANG-like (hours-long, walking-around)
puzzlehunts in places that didn't already have a BANG-like tradition. I
played in these hunts. They were fun, but the puzzles were targeted at folks
new to puzzlehunts. But I wasn't new to puzzlehunts.
I was jaded, felt a little bored. In the back of my
mind was the thought, If it's a game kinda like what you like, but not
quite, maybe you'd prefer to help run it than to play it.
- In 2008, I ran out of sensible ways to pick vacation destinations. I came
up with a
weird scheme using census data, but in 2009 that scheme sent me to
Texas. I wanted a destination picker that wasn't entirely
under my control, but not one that sent me to Dallas with
no-particular-plan. That way led boredom.
- I'd figured out that my
embedded reporter puzzlehunt project had hit a snag. The project plan
was brilliant: for the first weekend-long puzzlehunt each year, I'd play
with my usual team, Mystic Fish. But for the second such hunt, I'd play
with a different team each year and write about it. But since 2008, there
hadn't been any year with two weekend-long games. I still wanted an excuse
to write about puzzle nerds I wouldn't normally encounter, but maybe I
needed a new excuse.
- In 2010, Debbie Goldstein flew to New York City to help run DASH. She
came back and reported: Wow, that was fun! Traveling to DASH is fun!
You should try it! That sounded like a great idea.
I could help out DASH. I could travel. I could meet new puzzle nerds.
When DASH3 was announced, I mailed the DASH organizers: which city
wanted a volunteer? Say the word, and I'd book the travel. Brett Rogers
from New York City piped up.
Along with the puzzlehunt stuff, there were plenty of
other things to do. So I gave myself a week ahead of DASH3 just to have
fun in New York. I was in town April 23-May 1.
In this list, the puzzle-hunt-ish and location-based-games-ish
things are towards the end. Click accordingly.