: New: 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 description, you've probably already figured out whether or not you need to read this. (So why am I even writing this report? I don't know. Anyhow.)

This book is full of good stuff. It skews towards MS puzzle hunt and/or big conference-room hunts. If you tend towards smaller walk-around-the-neighborhood hunts, some of it might seem a little strange. Like the measures you need to handle hint requests from over 1000 people who are solving puzzles in waves, not just one at a time. You kind of need a support center with some CRM setup (or maybe just a really sweet set of Outlook filters). So maybe I'll never use that advice, but it was still pretty amazing to read.

There's plenty of generally-applicable stuff. Figuring out the cadence of GC meetings early on; changing that cadence as the event approaches. Things to decide early, things to put off deciding until after the first beta test. Some things are universal:

Puzzle Hunt teams vary in ability. There are essentially two events running at the same time under the guise of one Puzzle Hunt: a "for fun" event and a competitive event. Teams often don't realize which category they're in…
Hey, that's not just at Microsoft.

It's good advice, it's free. It doesn't pull punches, but maybe if you know what you're in for, you'll realize it doesn't have to be so bad. As with so many other things about projects, a lot of it is setting expectations: yours and players'.

Tags: book puzzlehunts

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