Monday, February 12, 2007

Puzzle Hunt Weekend!

This is one of the best weekend I had in a long time. I joined a team for our semiannual company Puzzle Hunt weekend. It is a great traditional here where people divide into groups of no more than 12 and do a 48 hour puzzle hunt marathon. The puzzles are devised by the previous' year's winners over couple months and they are extremely complex and entertaining (and totally geeky!). This year's theme is Atlantean Culture and all the puzzles are devised to solve 5 meta puzzles that will lead us to the Atlantean WMD that is going to destroy the world at 6 pm on Sunday. There were 72 teams involved. That is close to 1000 people all together. We completely took over buildings on main campus and it was a hard fight to schedule a conference room as our headquarters. But we managed to secure a building right across from the Puzzle Hunt headquarters for easy retrieval of puzzles ( they are released throughout the day to teams based on their progress). I haven't done puzzles in a long time so it was very hard to get into that frame of mind at first but soon I was pretty engrossed in it. The puzzles are extremely complicated in that they require 15 steps to arrive at the final answer which is then used to solve the bigger meta puzzle. This is often frustrating as I was only able to go through the first 3 steps before i am stuck and have to move on to something else. The first meta puzzle came in the form of 6 foam squares with intricate holes cut into them, we had to figure out 10 smaller puzzles and use their answer to assembly the squares and then at the end, pour seed down the top of them so that they go through the right holes and form a phone number at the buttom which we can call to get the next clue. I wish I had a picture.


There is nothing more fun than being in the same room as 10 other nerds for 14 hours straight solving puzzles! I don't even think I ate food on Saturday because we are concentrating so hard we don't notice the time pass by. Our team was by no means the best as we came in 55/72 in the final rankings and we were only able to solve maybe 1/3 of the puzzles but it was still a great time. I think I will definitely do it again in the fall!

ETA: I just remembered something else, besides word and math puzzles, there were also spacial puzzles like assembling a celtic knot. The field puzzles including diving down the gym pool to retrive a clue and figure out buildings from sketches and go there to look at the windows for clues. So we did get some exercise haha.

5 comments:

Velius said...

Sooo, did your team save the world?

Ender said...

You Microsoftians always have all the fun. No fair!

Tochi said...

Wow! Sounds really fun! What's the grand prize for the winning team, aside from the bragging rights and having to devise next round's puzzles? :o)

Kabitzin said...

My daily puzzle at work is figuring out what I will have for lunch =D. Did you verify that the Atlanteans really had WMD or was it all a scam??? BRING OUR PROGRAMMERS HOME!

moonfleck said...

HAHA, there are no grand prize except bragging rights I guess. They probably ran out of money after they made us all order a pizza from our pizza sponsor that has specific olive toppings with an opening cut into them which corresponded to a crossword puzzle positions where the opening points the letters in the crossword puzzel we need to scramble to get the answer.