Rules and Tips

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OrganizationAbout the Puzzles — Tips for Solving and for Collaborating.

  • This event is an online puzzle hunt that has been created for the House Communities in Dartmouth College. The puzzles may include references to the houses and to Dartmouth College.
  • The puzzle hunt will be played on April 3rd, 2021. Participants will meet online and solve the puzzles in teams of 2-5 people, in breakout rooms.
  • There are 4 puzzles in total, available in the Puzzles page: 3 main, independent puzzles, and a final puzzle (“metapuzzle”) which will be available to teams having solved all 3 first puzzles.
  • This is a private event, the Puzzles page is password-protected and accessible only to the participants. Please ask me for permission before sharing a puzzle with someone not related to Dartmouth House Communities.
  • Teams will be ranked according to the time that they take to complete all 4 puzzles, adjusted according to the number of Hints requested. Specifically, a 5-minute penalty will be added to the completion time (recorded in the Leaderboard) for each hint that is requested, regardless of whether the hint turned out to be useful or not.
  • Teams that have not finished all the puzzles by 5pm EST will be ranked according to the number of puzzles completed by that time. In case of a tie in the number of puzzles solved, the completion time of the last solved puzzle will be the tiebreaker.
  • House points will be assigned according to the final ranking, with the top teams receiving gift cards. There will also be a special prize for the first team that completes all the puzzles without receiving any hints.
  • Participants are allowed (and encouraged) to look for information on the internet or anywhere they like. However, teams are not allowed to communicate with each other, even if they belong to the same House.
About the Puzzles
  • The puzzles in this game are in puzzle-hunt style: they come with no, or minimal, instructions. The first step is to figure out what to do, and use the information or data to extract some meaning. They often require one intuitive leap in thinking (or aha-moment) to solve.
  • The goal is to find the answer to each puzzle. The answer is always an English word.
  • Each answer must be entered in a specific field (in a Google Form) just below the corresponding puzzle in each chapter. You should write each answer in lowercase. Submitting your answer in the form also enters your team into the “leaderboard” for each puzzle.
  • To solve the metapuzzle you will need to use the 3 first puzzle answers.
  • Each puzzle is entirely contained in a pdf file. You don’t need to do technical things to the pdf (nothing hidden in the metadata or concealed by steganography!). There are no clues on this website outside the pdf files.
  • It is not necessary to print the puzzles. But it may be useful to have a way to annotate or draw on the pdf electronically.
  • You may use the internet to search for information (some of the puzzles are impossible to solve without looking things up).
Tips for solving

(what to do if you are stuck)

  • If you are confident in your answer, but the form does not accept it, check that you typed it correctly (lowercase, without spaces), and that you indeed have the complete answer (in some puzzles there may be an indication of the word length(s) of the answer).
  • Re-read the title and the introductory text carefully. They may contain clues.
  • Consider what information you haven’t used yet.
  • Thoroughly check the work that you’ve already done.
  • Google things you don’t know. Google things you know.
  • Take a break, look at another puzzle.
  • Request a hint, see the Hints page for the instructions.
Tips for collaborating

(when solving as a team during a videoconference)

  • One team member can share their screen with the puzzle on it, so that everyone can annotate the screen.
  • Use the virtual whiteboard in the videoconference software.
  • Use a shared folder (e.g. in Google Drive) and share notes in documents or worksheets among your team.
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