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WHAT IS A PUZZLE HUNT?

A puzzle hunt is a scavenger hunt style event where teams compete to solve a series of puzzles, many of which are tied together via metapuzzles. Puzzle hunt puzzles are usually not necessarily accompanied by direct instructions for how to solve them; figuring out the necessary approach is part of the puzzle. These hunts may be hosted at a particular location, in multiple locations, or via the internet.

A puzzle hunt usually has no direct instructions for how to solve it, but instead requires solvers to deduce the approach to solving it. The method of solving the puzzle hunt may be hinted by clues. Some puzzles may involve elements of familiar puzzle types such as crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, cryptograms, and others, but they often have an additional twist beyond the usual structures of such puzzles that solvers must uncover. In our case, we utilize landmarks and the environment to tie into the puzzles so that it requires that you be at particular place and/or looking in a specific direction in order to solve.

The solution to a puzzle hunt puzzle is generally a word, phrase or number. The process of deriving the final answer once the main part of a puzzle has been solved is known as "extraction". Extracting the answer may involve a variety of solving methods and change in location. Those solutions then generally tie into a meta-puzzle.

Groups of puzzles in a puzzle hunt are often connected by a metapuzzle, which is a puzzle based on combining or comparing the answers of other puzzles. For some metapuzzles, the answers to the other puzzles must be incorporated into a puzzle structure that is separately provided to solvers; for others the other puzzle answers alone provide all the information needed to solve the metapuzzle.

Puzzle hunts based in a specific location may involve components where solvers are directed to travel to specific sites in order to solve certain puzzles. This is something we use in most of our driving adventures and outdoor adventures.

One of the earliest examples of puzzle hunts is the MIT Mystery Hunt, started by Brad Schaefer in 1981. Later hunts in the MIT Mystery Hunt incorporate a cohesive theme across the puzzles. Of course, similar games existed in the early 1970s which we believe the concept of the Ghost Run (i.e. Danger Run) was formed. READ MORE ABOUT GHOST RUNS As puzzle hunts became more popular, other universities formed their own versions.

Further development of the internet allowed for puzzles to make use of digital mediums, including videos and games. The development of our Clue Portal was created in 2020 as mode of delivering these scavenger hunt style puzzle hunts directly to mobile devices to make some of the most customizable games to date.