: New: 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 end of the pool. You get a sheet of paper with some funny-looking squiggles. On other teams, experienced puzzlehunters are saying "Oh, this is obviously Morse code!" But gee whiz, you haven't seen that much Morse code lately because you're, y'know, not a Victorian telegraph clerk. So you're looking at a page of squiggles, feeling kinda dumb, and wondering when the fun starts.

This one puzzle nerd named Larry has a rough draft of a puzzle hunt for beginners. It's a web app that you play; it shows you puzzles, it doesn't assume you know Morse code or whatever. You should be able to learn a lot quickly. But it's a rough draft; hardly anyone's played the game yet. It's probably fun in some places and frustrating in others. He hopes to watch more folks play it, see which parts they enjoy and hop in to smooth over the not-so-enjoyable places.

You, and perhaps whatever friends you can talk into playing, would gather with laptops somewhere--maybe at a cafe, maybe at someone's living room, maybe at someone's office. You'd play this game for an hour or two while this puzzle nerd watches. (If it's fun, you can keep playing whenever/wherever; your account on the game will stick around.) By the time you're done, you should have a good head start on standard puzzler lore. Plus you can get your name listed as a tester on the game's credits page; that's "good karma" in some circles.

Sound good? If so, you can reach Larry the puzzle nerd at gc (at) lahosken.san-francisco.ca.us and/or 415-868-4629 to figure out logistics.

There, they might have more luck with that than with reading the original announcement, which was written from one scarred-veteran-ish puzzlehunter to another.

Tags: puzzlehunts testing instructional design

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