Running My First Puzzle Hunt was Anything But Puzzling

With secretly selfish motives, I recently started a puzzle hunt group in Manchester. I really enjoy creative problem solving, having to find solutions or research answers but there isn’t a lot of opportunity to do that recreationally (apart from over-priced escape

Manchester Puzzle Hunt

Team Sherlock ruminating on the first clue

rooms). So, I started a meetup group which has 90 members less than a month later! I designed and ran the first puzzle hunt yesterday, but I am hoping other group members will volunteer to run their own too – and thus my evil plan comes to fruition. Really, I am just hoping that I will get to go on some hunts since I find them so fun. That said, it was really enjoyable and interesting to run one too.

Despite some high winds and the total lack of a sun that has been present all week, the

puzzle hunt clue, puzzlehunt art gallery

Hunting for the solution to a puzzle in an art gallery

event was a success. I met the participants in a pub in Manchester city centre, and handed out their starter packs, which contained a disclaimer, the first two clues and a transparency to be used in later in the hunt. They split into three groups and headed out in to town.  I designed all my clues from scratch rather than just lifting ones from the internet, and they spanned physical locations, public buildings, paper clues deftly hidden from the public, and password protected web pages.

I settled into the Walkers Guide to Outdoor Clues & Signs, but I wasn’t reading for long. I always knew there was a risk of the hunt being too hard, too easy or just not making sense to other people, after all, everybody’s brain works differently. And I soon had to find the teams to offer a little advice. I spent the day shadowing different teams or charging my phone in coffee shops so I could stay in contact with the participants. Only one clue proved too hard for anyone to do on their own, but for a first attempt we all agreed that was quite good going. It was a great learning experience for running other hunts and events in the future.

I collected any clues left around town because I think it’s important to be respectful when co-opting public spaces. 20170506_181225Then most of us went for a drink afterwards, and everyone seemed to have genuinely enjoyed themselves. Here’s a little taster from the hunt:

Clue 1.  A modern giant watches over Manchester. He used to sing but now is silenced. From the clouds, he surveys a traveller’s route, a great hall, and the house of alchemy and creation. You’ll find what you seek at his feet.

One member, Aiden, has volunteered to create the next hunt, so hopefully I’ll be the one fumbling around town a month from now!

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2 thoughts on “Running My First Puzzle Hunt was Anything But Puzzling

  1. Hi! I’m thrilled to hear that it went so well for you. I blogged about you at http://exexitgames.co.uk/blog/2017/04/22/introducing-the-manchester-puzzle-hunts-meetup/ and am thrilled to hear that you will be having more puzzle hunts before long. Just to check, are you aware of Puzzled Pint that happens in Manchester on the second Tuesday of every month? It’s stationary, but the puzzles are always fun. You can find out where this Tuesday’s event is by solving the location puzzle on the Puzzled Pint web site. Fingers crossed that I can get up to Manchester for one of your events at some point!

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