Sunday, October 07, 2007

Caught in the net.

Zzzzz. Any minute now I'm going to fall asleep. Just got back a little while ago from Puzzlehunt 11, Caught in the Net, hosted by SCRuBBers. All in all this was a great hunt, even though I am basically the least likely person ever to appreciate a Tron/video game theme. A few highlights and other stuff:

1. We finished the hunt! We finished in the top ten! Just barely and just barely, and in fact somehow they left our team (The Philadelphia Experiment) off the list of finishers in the closing ceremony. Still and all, finishing the final meta and cracking the top ten were our two big goals, since we'd never done either before, and we managed to do both. We snuck in at number ten, right in between Everyday Heroes and 196, finishing at 5:03pm tonight. And I think we tied for the highest number of overall puzzles solved and finished second for overall points. Granted that's because the top few teams finished the hunt at 7am and went home to sleep. But as for us, we only left two puzzles unsolved.

2. There were a lot -- a lot -- of puzzles. I need to go back and look at other hunts to be sure, but I feel like there were many more puzzles in this hunt than there have been in the last several hunts, and that the puzzles in this hunt required fewer steps to solve. On balance I preferred this, though I expect that opinion will be divided over this. The downside is that it really meant it would be easy to get overwhelmed if you hadn't worked out a good puzzle and answer tracking system. The upside is that more players got to experience more puzzles. They also made it harder than usual to backsolve, which in my book is a good thing but I expect that some will disagree.

3. I feel good about our team this year. I feel that I had my strongest individual performance and also that our team did. For me, I feel like I had breakthroughs on way more puzzles than previously and that the types of puzzles that I contributed to were more varied. For the team, I feel like we had very positive energy throughout the event -- no problem personalities this year at all -- and that we did a better job than previously of talking through our brainstorms out loud. Just talking through even seemingly disconnected ideas out loud definitely helped push us over the edge with a number of puzzles that I can think of. The team worked together very well. This year we had two new members, Phil and Peter, since their usual team disbanded this year because someone got married this weekend. I think it might become a bidding war to keep them!

4. We still need to figure out a better solution for lunch on Sundays. I feel like we need a team assistant or something to make sure that we eat properly.

Probably more comments to follow, but it was a great weekend. Thanks to SCRuBBers for a terrific event.


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