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Working on Multiple Main Puzzles

 
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Reca Ra



Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 4:04 pm    Post subject: Working on Multiple Main Puzzles Reply with quote

Was it supposed to be a rule that you were either supposed to solve or scratch 100% in order to get to pick up the next puzzle?

It was very confusing having to talk your way into getting the new puzzle at some (and only some) of the locations with "well, we think we may have to skip the one before" or "we're almost there with it but want to get started on this one" or "I can give you the password from the one before that one" etc.

If that was an explicit rule, it was not implemented well. Personally, I'm glad we got to work on multiple puzzles at the same time but the whole thing was strange as the creeping suspicion that to do so was somehow considered "unfair" nagged at us.

In retrospect, it seems obvious some GC members thought you should not be working on multiple puzzles, though we only realized this slowly as the game progressed.

We had a slow start and arrived at the second location late. We were the last to pick up the puzzle and got in the car to head to the next puzzle while we worked on it, but a GC member explicitly told us not to leave before doing the puzzle. We took a quick look at the puzzle with photos of people digging things up and figured they were being nice by telling us not to leave - that it was a location-based puzzle likely involving digging things up. We made a quick decision not to get farther behind with what seemed to promise to be a long puzzle of walking around and digging so took the 100% hint and left.

We later found out what the puzzle was actually about and that we could have looked at it/solved it after we left. Wow, we flushed a whole puzzle down the toilet because of a rule that was otherwise unenforced. Sounded like a fun one too!

I would have had no problem following a rule like that if I'd realized it was a rule. I do however think it is better without. With the same number of teammates on each team, it doesn't seem unfair in any way.

(I do admit to being in the bathroom when instructions/rules began - maybe this was laid out as a rule and I just missed it? And somehow my teammates didn't catch it either?)
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Greg_GC



Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, this was not made explicit, and we honestly hadn't thought through the implications of our skip system fully. Overworked as we were in our final preparations for the game, we were locked into thinking that since you always have done puzzles linearly before, that's just how it's going to be done this time. But of course the opportunity was there to get more puzzles at once, and people capitalized on it.

In theory we did not have a problem with this, however, when the very fastest teams tried doing this, we realized they were going to get ahead of our volunteer schedule, and end up showing up at our end locations long before we were ready for them. So we on the fly implemented a half assed "ask the team for the answer word" system, that really didn't work because teams could be coming from a variety of previous sites, or, as you say, might have not solved it at all. It was a very enlightening experience overall, and I hope that I (or the next GC) can take something away from it as a novel and more or less successful, if somewhat unintentional, way to run a skip system
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Reca Ra



Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting problem.

With manned locations, it might work to have a time range during which you can pick up a puzzle. If teams are ahead of that schedule, they can only work on one at a time or solve minis for a bit. If teams are behind, they have to skip it. A "pacehorse" for the front teams doesn't seem so bad - particularly when time is only used as a tiebreaker.

Of course, this would have needed to have been decided upon up-front so the envelopes contained locations and both the beginning and end of pick-up times.

Really, I would have liked to receive a matrix at the beginning of the game showing puzzle numbers and the time range during which each would be given out. We could have been a lot smarter about when to scratch hints etc had that been the case.
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Alexandra_GC



Joined: 12 Jun 2007
Posts: 17
Location: San Francisco, CA

PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reca Ra wrote:
Really, I would have liked to receive a matrix at the beginning of the game showing puzzle numbers and the time range during which each would be given out. We could have been a lot smarter about when to scratch hints etc had that been the case.


That's a really good idea - I had actually thought of that, but we didn't have enough time to implement it.

I was curious as to how teams would react to (a) knowing two locations ahead of time and (b) being told their skip deadlines, but it seemed to me, having more information about what was going on, and being able to somewhat manage your time as a result of having that information, was probably something teams would like. Getting a schedule of clue sites' hours would have been a logical extension of that.

The whole scratch-off / directions envelopes thing came about so late in planning (late May) that we had to rush to physically implement it. Earlier in planning the game we always kicked ideas around (almost to death!) and probed at them to see their weaknesses and ways we could make things better. We didn't get to do as much of that as we would have liked, with this system.

As for teams getting multiple clues - when we realized teams were doing that, we told the volunteers to ask for the answer to the previous clue before they'd give out the current clue. This was mostly on the honor system, due to the possibility that the team might have skipped the previous clue, and the site monitor didn't have a list of all clue answers...but when I visited clue sites, teams were being very good about it.

We also decided that about halfway through a site's open time, the volunteers didn't need to ask for the password anymore - if teams wanted to solve in parallel, and they were behind the curve, this would give them a chance to see more puzzles.

That's one reason I thought that it wasn't so bad for teams to know not just the next clue site, but the one after that, so they could be more efficient over the course if they wanted to drive to the next site while solving. I know Golden Booty hated this though - it made sense strategically to solve on the move, but it also meant their driver and navigator couldn't do as much solving as they would have liked.

Unfortunately, ANYTHING that keeps lead teams from advancing over the course, even if time isn't a factor, is going to be anathema to them. Any game in which GC has attempted to manage the spread by delaying the lead teams, has led to complaints. I think the NMS model was brilliant in this regard - have teams stop and solve bonus puzzles at hubs that are open for several hours, but the bonus puzzles count, so the game is really continuing even if the teams aren't moving around.

Also, Reca, I doubt that it was a member of GC who told you not to drive off until you had solved the clue. It was probably a site monitor who was confused, and/or trying to be helpful. Especially at that location - we had not yet figured out that competitive teams would try to solve in parallel by driving ahead and picking up clue X+1 before they had solved clue X.

We knew that teams would know location X+1 when they got to location X, and we didn't mind at all if you drove ahead, we felt it would help keep people from being skipped if they drove while solving. If anything, I was concerned that teams would feel OBLIGATED to drive and solve, which some teams don't like (see above)...

Anyway, I'm rambling so I'll stop there!
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jowens



Joined: 18 Jun 2007
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alexandra_GC wrote:
I was curious as to how teams would react to (a) knowing two locations ahead of time and (b) being told their skip deadlines, but it seemed to me, having more information about what was going on, and being able to somewhat manage your time as a result of having that information, was probably something teams would like. Getting a schedule of clue sites' hours would have been a logical extension of that.


I think I would have rather seen the not-the-next-site sites covered with the silver stuff. Only teams that skipped a clue should scratch those off, most teams would never do so, and then all teams would be solving clues at the same place / at their "natural" sites.

We didn't ever solve more than one clue simultaneously - GC's policy of "give us the answer" at each site was the right thing to do - but we did solve while driving. The disappointing part of that was, as you say below, the whole team can't work while driving. Often in a Game we see a "drive to X" when we pick up a clue, but no more than once or twice in a single event; this event had "drive to X" on just about every clue.

On the plus side we could probably compress more clues into a Game if we're always solving while driving. I think we had 18 clues in Genome and that one went all night!
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