On behalf of the Puzzlesmiths, I wish to first thank everyone who participated in the inaugral Singapore Puzzle Hunt for making this event possible.
As the creator of the Singapore Puzzle Hunt, let me start by sharing how the idea to organize this hunt first came about. I have been participating in the MIT Mystery Hunt remotely for more than 10 years, and often lament the lack of similar puzzle hunts or a puzzle community, here in Singapore. In recent years, there has been a surge of interest in puzzle solving locally, with many Real Life Escape Room games appearing, and Real Escape Games being held. However, commercially driven puzzle games have to target a broader crowd base to appeal to a larger audience, so I cannot expect them to be similar to the style of puzzle hunts I am familiar with. Hence I realized that probably the only way I could see this kind of puzzle hunt happening in Singapore, is if I organized one myself!
And what better time than this year, where we could celebrate SG50 and place Singapore on the international puzzle map with our inaugural Singapore Puzzle Hunt. I also weaved the puzzles on familiar Singapore references into the Alice's Adventures in Wonderland hunt theme. Fortunately, we had the support from the SG50 Celebration Fund to offset much of the costs involved, as well as a small group of other enthusiasts with sufficient hunt experience volunteering to put together the puzzles to make this event a reality.
Much of the four months leading up to the hunt were spent constructing and refining the puzzles to ensure that they were fun, fair and solvable. Being the event's first year, we did not have a good gauge of the skill level of the participants, but estimated that most would be new to the puzzle hunt style of puzzles. So most of the edits went into weaving in more clues into the puzzles to help solvers, while still retaining the challenge. In the style of the MIT Mystery Hunt, I wanted to move away from the reliance on external hints typically found in other puzzle games. One of our goals is to connect and build up an experienced local puzzle community. And an important foundation is to rely on teamwork and testing out theories to figure out a complex problem on your own, rather than the instant gratification of solving the puzzle with the help of hints. This philosophy played out during the hunt itself, where we tried not to shortchange participants by dishing out hints early, but gave everyone the time, opportunity and satisfaction of discovering the puzzle ahas together by themselves.
It certainly took a lot of effort to organize the Singapore Puzzle Hunt, but looking at the turn-out and response, I would say it was worth all the time and pain. We hope you enjoyed your first puzzle hunt experience. Do keep in touch with us and the rest of the puzzle community through our Facebook page. We look forward to seeing you at next year's hunt, and have many more puzzle adventures together from now till then! In the meantime, we have shared some of our own memorable snippets from the hunt below. Let us know if you have other anecdotes from the hunt you would like to share too!
Ong Kah Kien
Chao Ta Sunflower - Junwei clarified with Hunt Control during registration, "So we are not allowed to spy on other teams?" Hunt Control, "No... unfortunately not."
Hunt Kick-off - The White Rabbit asked teams for help to follow Alice's Adventures in Singapore and solve the puzzles to find where she is now.
Team Mahjong - Biggest prop(s) for bringing along, and placing a giant "Fa" mahjong tile at their room window to identify their team.
Dance event - Solvers dancing to "Square Rooms" and other Mambo Jambo songs during the big group event.
0711933 - After being informed by Hunt Control, Joanna laments, "Second again?!" and cannot believe they just got beat to yet another first solve.
Beating Chastards - Hunt Control saw the word "Help!" scrawled on their team's whiteboard. And they were indeed waiting eagerly for us when we finally popped by.
Kelong - Hunt Control, "No one has solved Chapters VIII and XII yet." Lishan brightens up and tells her team, "Quick let's look at those! If we cannot solve all the puzzles, at least we can get our team name somewhere!"
Detective GLEB - Liza pleads to Hunt Control, "Take pity on us, we are really noob..." During the next visit 20min later, when they finally got the aha by themselves, Eugenia went, "Liza, you mean you knew that all along and you didn't tell us?!"
Soren Kierkegaards Plads - Melissa turns up with their Chapter IX working, on which the team has faithfully transcribed the positions of schools; the first T is quite clear, for instance. Their carefully-phrased hint question: "Does the answer have to do with finding places that are in the area bounded by the geographical locations of the schools in each clue paragraph?" Hunt Control, ".........................no."
SGoats - At 4.41pm, SGoats strode into Hunt Control for the first time since the hunt started and triumphantly presented the answers for Chapters I through VII all at once, rocketing them into joint second place on the leaderboard. Near the end of the hunt, SGoats turned up again at Hunt Control, this time bearing a submission slip for the Epilogue puzzle on the front. Hunt Control turns the paper around... and sees the words "Just kidding :("
Hunt Wrap-up - Puzzlesmiths explaining the puzzle answers to teams during the hunt wrap-up.
Puzzlesmiths - Shutting down Hunt Control after an awesome day.