It’s similar to a “puzzle hunt.” Basically, it’s an interactive and immersive story that unfolds through emails, website content, and social media. Advancing through the story requires solving puzzles. So it’s kind of like having a role in a movie (but without the big-budget CGI graphics or the Hollywood paycheck: sorry!).
On Thursday evening, February 11th, all Official Contestants will receive an initial packet of info at the email address they provided at registration. This will introduce the storyline and provide material that may be used in subsequent puzzles. It will also remind you of the rules and contain a complete list of anything you might need to complete the Adventure (like, say, internet access or a Facebook account).
At 6:30 PM ET on Friday, February 12, Official Contestants will receive their first batch of puzzles (or instructions on how to access the first batch of puzzles) at that same email address. At that point, you can start solving! Solving some puzzles will allow you to access other puzzles, culminating in a Final Puzzle.
The first six Official Contestants to enter correct answers to the Final Puzzle will receive prizes (subject, of course, to terms and conditions).
The prizes will go to the first six Official Contestants to correctly solve the Final Puzzle as described in the Official Rules. Prizes are as follows:
Grand prize: $1,000 cash*
Second prize: $500 cash*
Third prize: $250 cash*
Fourth prize: $125 cash*
Fifth prize: $75 cash*
Sixth prize: $50 cash*
*Terms and conditions apply. See Official Rules and Terms and Conditions for details.
We’ll reach out by email to all apparent prizewinners shortly after they submit a correct Final Solution in the correct Solution Location. We will also be maintaining a leaderboard that will be accessible to all Official Contestants once they have completed the Hunt.
How can I participate?
You can register as an Official Contestant, or be a teammate of an Official Contestant. Only the Official Contestant will be eligible to win prizes, but they can share their prizes with their teammates (or anybody else) however they like.
To register as an Official Contestant, sign up at Eventbrite.
To sign up as a team, simply pick one of your team members to serve as the Official Contestant, and have them sign up on behalf of your team. No limit on team members!
Official Contestants must be legal residents of the 50 U.S. states or the District of Columbia, and be at least 18 years of age as of February 10, 2021. Only one Official Contestant is allowed per team, and no person can assist more than one Official Contestant or be on more than one team (more on this in the Official Rules).
Absolutely! All of our content is designed to be playable via remote communication apps like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Discord.
The Official Contestant will need to share the puzzles and/or links with their teammates. This can be done via email, by screen sharing, or through another non-public method (sharing puzzles publicly is strictly prohibited by the Official Rules).
Another useful tool for remote solving is Google Jamboard (requires a Google or Gmail account), which can allow multiple users to mark up a puzzle simultaneously. This is especially good for puzzles that benefit from strength in numbers, like wordfinds, crosswords, or spot-the-difference puzzles.
There may be other tools that work better than the ones listed here. We’re only providing these for informational purposes and neither recommend nor have any professional affiliation with any of the companies listed.
That depends on your team size, your skill level, and how much you drink during the Adventure, among other factors!
Our goal is to make this completely solvable in one evening, without hints, by a reasonably competitive team of 4-8 people. That said, your mileage may vary. You might need to split the challenge up over two evenings, or rely extensively on hints in order to finish in one evening.
In order to participate in the Adventure, you’ll need the following necessary tools:
- A working internet connection and at least one device that can use that connection to view, receive, and send information via the Internet.
- A working email address (which you obviously have, since you’re reading this) that can both send and receive emails, including emails with PDF attachments.
- A means to view PDFs. The bulk of the puzzles will be sent in PDF format.
- A phone (either a smartphone or stationary phone with a touch pad) that can make calls to U.S. numbers.
- The ability to access content on social media sites Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as video content on YouTube.
If you don’t have access to one or more of these, please let us know ASAP! In some cases, we may be able to help you find a workaround. Ultimately, however, you’re responsible for your own equipment.
Some other tools we recommend having handy (but which are not necessary to accessing or solving puzzles):
- A means to communicate with your team, if you have a team with whom you’re working remotely. This could include a video communication tool like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or gather.town, an audio/messaging tool like Discord, and/or a shared document like a Google Sheet.
- A printer to print out puzzles, a drawing tool like the Markup function on an iPad, and/or a Google Jamboard to allow you to write or draw on puzzle sheets.
- Pencils and plenty of paper.
- Your favorite search engine (Googling is not only allowed, but encouraged)
- Any other reference books or materials you want to use (Puzzled Pint’s Code Sheet is a handy reference tool)
- Plenty of water (make sure you’re staying hydrated!)
(Referenced products are for descriptive purposes only; we’re not affiliated with nor promoting any particular product or service here)
The puzzles will include visual puzzles, word puzzles, audio puzzles, and video puzzles. Please let us know if you need more details or clarification.
All email communication from Puzzle Crawl to Official Contestants regarding administration of the Contest will be sent from the “firstname.lastname@example.org” email address. Official Contestants should add that address to their safe list (better yet, add the entire @puzzlecrawl.com domain!). If you’re playing on Friday evening, you may also want to set up alerts for that email address so you don’t miss errata or hints.
If an Official Contestant believes they’ve found an error in a puzzle, or is encountering a technical or administrative issue — for example, if they’ve entered what they’re sure is the correct answer to a puzzle, but it’s not being accepted, or a web page fails to load, or something else doesn’t seem to be working the way they think it should, they should email us at email@example.com. We’ll be closely monitoring that email address during at least the following hours:
6:30 PM ET Friday – 2:00 AM ET Saturday
10:00 AM ET Saturday – 2:00 AM ET Sunday
UPDATED: 9:00 AM – midnight Sunday
If, for some reason, you can’t reach us via email during those hours (because, say, your email account crashes), or you don’t get a prompt (within 5 minutes) response to your email during those hours, head to our Facebook page and send us a message. We’ll be monitoring the Facebook messages we receive as well, but email will be our primary form of communication.
That doesn’t mean you need to stop playing at 2 AM, night owls! The Contest should still be playable, and the Adventure should still be winnable! We just won’t be able to guarantee a speedy response to emails sent outside of those hours.
We certainly hope there won’t be a need for errata (i.e. corrections to errors in puzzles that we don’t discover until after the Contest has begun), but it’s always possible that even our rigorous testing missed something. Errata will be announced via email as well as on a “certain web page” (which will be revealed to Official Contestants). We will also work to correct puzzle materials as quickly as possible once any errata are discovered. Emails announcing errata will contain “ERRATA” in the subject line, followed by an identifier of the affected puzzle.
However, as specified in the Official Rules and Terms and Conditions, the presence of potential errata will not affect the outcome of the Contest.
The online interface isn’t going to be as sophisticated as you’d find at something like the MIT Mystery Hunt or the Galactic Puzzle Hunt (that’s one reason we’re calling it a “Puzzle Adventure” and not a “Puzzle Hunt”). We decided to put our resources into the prizes and the puzzles rather than into website development. Also, the puzzles are generally going to be easier and more straightforward.
This adventure will also make more use of nonconventional puzzle delivery methods. In other words, all the puzzles won’t be available in a list through an online portal.
If the MIT Mystery Hunt is Major League baseball, this is probably something like the Frontier League (go, Florence Y’alls!). And we are not ashamed of that.
Our goal is to make it fun and challenging, but not hard or frustrating.
We don’t know your skill level, but we would be very, very surprised if you find you can’t solve any puzzles at all.
We’re trying to provide puzzles that people of all skill levels can enjoy, while still keeping things interesting for beginners and expert solvers alike.
Here are some comparisons that might help:
- If you played the Mission: Treasure experience in Cincinnati in November, this will be much easier.
- For those who have attended our Puzzle Crawls in the past, a majority of the puzzles will be at roughly that difficulty level. However, some will be easier and some will be harder.
- For those who have played the MIT Mystery Hunt, this is going to be way, way, WAY easier.
- You can also check out our Virtual Bar Crawl to get a sense of what difficulty level to expect (Note: the Virtual Bar Crawl consists exclusively of pop culture puzzles; this Adventure doesn’t).
That said, if it was too easy, it would be over too quickly! Some of the puzzles will require some thought, and you may even need hints to complete them.
Here’s what you’ll need to know about how hints will be delivered:
As specified in the Official Rules, in the interest of fairness, we will make any hints we release available to all teams simultaneously. Hints will be announced in two ways: on that same “certain web page” (the address of which will be revealed to Official Contestants by 5:00 PM Friday), and via an email sent to all Official Contestants.
The emails will only announce that hints for puzzles have become available: they will not reveal the actual hints! So don’t worry about opening or previewing an email and finding spoilers. Emails announcing hints will state, “HINTS AVAILABLE” in the subject line, along with an identifier of what puzzle(s) now have hints available. Teams can visit (or refresh) the “certain web page” to access them.
This will likely mean that your team will receive notices about hints for puzzles you have already solved. Apologies in advance, but this is a GOOD thing! It means you are ahead of the teams that needed the help!
Because this is a contest, we will not be able to give hints that could unfairly advantage any team over another (for example, giving a hint to the second-to-last puzzle when only one team has solved it and is still working on the last puzzle). No hints will be made available until 6:45 PM on Friday at the earliest. We have systems in place to monitor the progress of the teams, and will check every fifteen minutes to determine whether we need to release hints for certain puzzles.
Yes, as long as fewer than six other Official Contestants have correctly solved the Final Puzzle before you have.
We have no idea how many contestants will enter or how long it will take each one to solve all the puzzles, so we can’t really answer this question definitively.
That said, the sooner you start, the sooner you’re likely to finish, so we recommend starting as close to the release of the initial puzzles as possible if you want to win a prize.
(We think, though, that the Adventure is fun and well worth the cost of registration, whether or not you win a prize)
Our business is — or rather, was, before March 2020 — creating monthly themed bar crawls with pencil puzzles. Our January and February 2020 events were some of our most successful ever… and then COVID-19 brought our business to a screeching halt.
In the year since then, we’ve watched some of our favorite partner bars close their doors forever, and others struggle to survive. We want to get back to doing live events, but the only way to do that is to beat this virus. And the only way to beat the virus is to encourage people to socially distance just a little while longer while vaccine distribution ramps up.
We know there’s going to be tremendous social pressure to take your significant other out for Valentine’s Day, and for singles to go out and “meet someone.” Heck, we all want to go out, because we’re sick of being cooped up in our homes!
But recent holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas brought spikes in the number of COVID cases, and we don’t want that to happen again. So we’re putting up our cold, hard cash, hoping to encourage people to stay home this Valentine’s weekend while still having fun with friends and loved ones.
We’re not expecting to make any money off of this experience: we’re charging less than we would for a live event and offering much bigger prizes. But if we can help slow the spread and get things “back to normal” even a little bit more quickly, it will have been well worth the expense.