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Custom Hints are hints written on-the-spot by hunt organizers to address specific questions posed by a team on a particular puzzle.
Background[edit | edit source]
Hunt Application[edit | edit source]
Custom Hints can be applied in two primary manners, depending on the amount of information the hunt runners want to divulge.
The first method, popular prior to the 2020s, limited hint requests to question with Yes-Or-No answers. This was likely to reduce the amount of work required for hint requests, as well as to preserve as much of the solving process as possible. Over time, however, this method became less popular with solvers who valued the experience of seeing as much of the hunt as possible over the individual experience of each puzzle's intended path.
The second method, which gained popularity moving into the 2020s, allows for any questions to be asked, outside of outright requesting answers. Solvers are encouraged to provide the hint-giver with as much information as possible about what they've done, where they're stuck, and guesses as how to continue. These types of hints became more popular overall, allowing for solvers to receive targeted help and ultimately proceed through hunts more reliably. However, they are also much more work for hunt-runners, so they should be used with the time and energy requirements in mind.
Examples[edit | edit source]
- MIT Mystery Hunt 2018 (web) - The last MIT Mystery Hunt to utilize the restricted Yes/No Question version of Custom Hints. It also used a form of Hint Currency, in that hints cost 20,000 'Buzzy Bucks', which could be earned in the Events throughout the hunt.
- MIT Mystery Hunt 2020 (web) - The first MIT Mystery Hunt to utilize a truly custom hint system, where solvers could describe their problems and get full direction for what to focus on next or a clear answer to a particular question.