Adjacency Unlocks

Adjacency Unlocks is an unlock structure used in puzzle hunts. In hunts that use it, puzzles are arranged in a space where each puzzle could be considered adjacent to at least one other puzzle. When a puzzle is solved, all puzzles that are adjacent to it become available.

Hunt Application[edit | edit source]

Adjacency Unlocks, except in rare cases, require the presence of a Puzzle Map in order to be used properly. This is because there needs to be a way for the organizers and teams to know when a puzzle is adjacent to another. The best way to do this is by having the puzzles laid out visually.

The exceptions to this rule is usually due to a map being used, but only behind the scenes. A hunt or round that features a navigation system without providing a map is a good example of this, as it still allows for clear determination of which puzzles are next to which others, and has the potential to add the creation of that map as an additional challenge.

The inclusion of a Puzzle Map should not be treated as a sign that Adjacency Unlocks will be used, however. Puzzle Maps that function primarily as flavor, assigning images or locations to a given puzzle, often won't have a clear sense of adjacency between puzzles, leaving that unlock system with no legs to stand on.

Notable Examples[edit | edit source]

  • Puzzle Boat 2 (and 3) (web) - Both of these hunts utilized Adjacency Unlocks (as well as Unlock Juice) by starting teams in a certain position on a grid and allowing them to use their Unlock Juice to open up any spaces adjacent to ones they've already opened.
  • Facility R (MITMH 2003) (web) - An example of Adjacency Unlocks being used without a visible Puzzle Map. The navigation system allows solvers to piece together the inter-connectivity of the puzzles in the round.
  • MIT Mystery Hunt 2005 (web) - Even though each set of color-coded puzzles is on its own grid system, the Adjacency Unlocks still function just fine, albeit unlocks in one color don't unlock those in other colors.
  • Caltech Puzzle Hunt 2018 - The second half of the hunt mainly works using Adjacency Unlocks; the connections are not directly given to you Click to revealbecause it can be extracted to an answer of a puzzle.
  • P.I.HUNT 9 - The puzzles/riddles in this hunt are arranged in a graph, where solving a puzzle unlocks further puzzles in the graph.

See Also[edit | edit source]