:: what are they talking about?
Backsolving is essentially a technique used to determine solutions by working
backwards. If, for example, you know the answer to a particular metapuzzle, it's
often a simple matter of deduction to figure out what the answers are for the
puzzles that feed into it.
Short for 'benefit', bennies are the generic name for the awards given to teams
for completing any of the optional Challenges (often through the expenditure of
some challenge system-specific currency). They can be in the form of free hints,
free solutions, freebies, or any amount of bonus points less than the point value
of a correct puzzle answer submission. Typically, they represent a boon to the
team that receives them but they can also take on the form of penalties that the
aforementioned team can inflict upon others.
Typically, teams accumulate points by way of correct answer submissions. Another
way to increase scores is to be awarded bonus points. Bonus points can be
obtained through certain bennies but are also available by way of such things as
the Veteran Hunter Bonus, The Newbie Hunter Bonus, and The Swag Bonus. Regardless of origin, bonus points are added to the team's
total score post-multiplier.
Challenges are activities designed to parallel the puzzle portion of the hunt.
Not as mentally stimulating as the puzzles, they are designed to be a fun break
from all the brain trauma (usually taking the form of board game activities) and,
by way of the bennies awarded through their successful completion, a means to
make the puzzle-solving easier. Challenges are never available at the start of
the hunt, usually requiring some opener to unlock them.
The Final Puzzle is the name given to whatever is indeed the last puzzle needed to
complete the hunt in its entirety, thus solving the mystery surrounding the event. Sometimes it can take on the form of the grand
metapuzzle. Other times, it's another puzzle that is unlocked by solving the
The text accompanying any puzzle is called flavor text. It's there to provide
context and reinforce the event's theme (ie, flavor) as well as subtly clue
certain ideas or concepts to better reach the correct answer.
Freebies are essentially free wrong answer negations. Their point value is always the same
as how much a wrong answer penalty would cost (thus canceling them out). If unused at the end of the hunt,
they become bonus points.
A gimme can describe one of three things: a ridiculously easy puzzle that either does not take much (if any) effort at all to solve or has a blatantly obvious solution, a challenge that is equally effortless to complete, or any portions of the hunt that were not completed in time for the event (or were erroneous) and instead confer completion status to the team automatically.
The grand metapuzzle is the larger puzzle formed from the answers of all the
metapuzzles in the hunt. Though it in itself is a metapuzzle, it is scored as a
standard puzzle (at half value point-wise) and awards no multipliers. Sometimes
the grand metapuzzle is the Final Puzzle. Occasionally, it serves as a kind of opener to
access the Final Puzzle.
Hints are a form of assistance given by the hunt staff to a team who is unable to
solve a particular puzzle. If nudging can be considered a gentle push in the
right direction, Hints are fingers pointed directly at the way to go. Hints
reveal the puzzle's solution method without outright giving the answer. There is
nothing subtle about a Hint. Whereas nudges are free, Hints deduct points from
the puzzle in question. Only a set number of Hints can be requested per puzzle.
Short for "Team Captain Huddle", the huddle is a gathering of captains at the beginning of the hunt wherein announcements are made and event-specific details are given. Presumably, this information is then disseminated to the captains' respective teams.
A metapuzzle is a large puzzle formed from the answers of smaller (standard)
puzzles that specifically feed into them. Unlike other puzzles, successfully
answering a metapuzzle doesn't award a flat point value. Instead, metapuzzles
award a multiplier of as much as 1.5x to the toal points awarded for the puzzles
that comprise them. When Hints are requested for the solving of a metapuzzle, the
multiplier takes a hit.
Though the answer to a puzzle is all well and good, if you don't know how to
arrive at it (ie, what the solution's method is), then it does you no good. When
requesting a Hint, teams will be asked what their approach is and that will
determine if they need a Hint used up or not. It's kind of like math and showing your work.
Nudging is a form of assistance given by the hunt staff to a team who is unable
to solve a particular puzzle. It is not as blatant as Hints and are often as
simple as telling the team in question whether or not they're going down the
right direction. Though they cost nothing, nudges can not be requested.
Openers are certain puzzles or puzzle events that do not award the same number of points for their
completion as a standard puzzle (they are worth half) but rather allow access to other (previously inaccessible) portions of
the hunt. All Challenges are considered locked until their opener is completed.
Submitting an answer that has gone a step too far in its solving is what is
referred to as oversolving. Occasionally, teams will think that a particular
answer arrived at is a puzzle in and of itself and will attempt to solve that.
For example, a puzzle solution may resolve to the word "radar" but the team may
think that the actual answer is "palindrome" because "radar" is one. Sometimes
the simpler answer is the right one. Oversolved answer submissions are always
penalized. (Compare with undersolve.)
Penalties are negative adjustments made to a team's score. Regular penalties are
meted out when an incorrect answer submission is made. These points are
subtracted at the end of the hunt (ie, post-multiplier). Some bennies provide a
mechanism to inflict penalties on other teams. Hint penalties are done
pre-multiplier, thus subtracting from the total score a puzzle can yield (see Hints).
A Perfect is a special rating conferred to a competing team for doing all of the puzzles and all of the Challenges that make up a particular hunt. They do not need to have a Perfect score (ie, the most points possible) nor the highest score.
Any run-arounds that require the use of a digital camera to capture photographs of either an event transpiring at a certain location or the discovery of scavenger hunt items.
Points (bonus points or penalties) are often described as post-multiplier or
pre-multiplier. Post-multiplier means that the points affect the team's final
score at the end of the hunt. Being outside of any multiplier, the resultant
point value is at face-value (this can mean a small bonus or a small penalty
applied to the team's final score).
(Compare with pre-multiplier.)
Points (bonus points or penalties) are often described as post-multiplier or pre-multiplier. Pre-multiplier means that the points affect the net points for a
metapuzzle group (usually taking on the form of a hint penalty associated to a
particular metapuzzle grouping). Do note that this happens before the
metapuzzle's multiplier is taken into consideration, thus affecting the total
points earned for that group. Being within the bounds of a multiplier, the
resultant point value is larger than face-value (this often means a large penalty).
(Compare with post-multiplier.)
puzzle or standard puzzle
The hunt is comprised of individual games or problems that require ingenuity and
persistence to solve or assemble. Completing these awards a team a set number of
points and, typically, an answer that can feed into a metapuzzle set for more points.
A red herring is something specifically designed to mislead. Or it's simply a
fish. A cute fish.
A registered team is one who has officially entered the competition and is
acknowledged by the hunt staff as active participants of the event.
Any puzzle that requires physically exploring or otherwise visiting an area is
considered a run-around. Traditional scavenger hunts are run-arounds if only
because they require participants to pretty much run around to get the sought
Team Bonuses consist of those bonus points conferred to a team based on the status of their component members. The Veteran Bonus, Newbie Bonus, and Swag Bonus make up all the Team Bonuses.
The team captain is the one member who is the sole point of contact for issues regarding
answer submissions, hint requests, and the usage of bennies. Having one person
per team with this responsibility thwarts the possibility of another team
falsifying submissions for another team as well as introduces some semblance of
order within the team.
the title connotes some kind of leadership, it is really a designation for ease of convenience.
Rather than have the hunt be simply a collection of disparate puzzles with no
relation to each other whatsoever, each event has a theme or story that links the
various ideas together and gives it some focus.
Many puzzles have multiple steps in their solving. Given that pretty much all
puzzles resolve to one word, arriving at the answer "The opposite of no" and
submitting that as the puzzle's solution would be an example of undersolving it.
Take it one step further and the final and correct solution would be "yes". A
team is never penalized for submitting an undersolved answer (that is headed in
the right direction). (Compare with oversolve.)
The whodunit is the puzzle that resolves to, in the hunts that involve a mysterious murder, the identity of the killer. More often than not the whodunit is the Final Puzzle (whether or not it is the Grand Metapuzzle is a separate issue). Sometimes, the whodunit isn't an actual hunt puzzle but rather something clued at from the various pieces of flavor text laid out in the hunt's puzzles. Figuring this out (despite the lack of a puzzle as a vehicle to deliver it) awards a bonus.