A leaderboard is a core puzzle hunt element that keeps track of teams throughout the hunt. While they usually show live team statistics like solve count or finish time, some hunt choose to keep placements hidden until teams have finished the hunt, showing only finishers and their statistics.

Hunt Application[edit | edit source]

As a statistical tool[edit | edit source]

Leaderboards in puzzle hunts tend to contain three primary things. First, a list of all teams participating in the hunt. This list may or may not have links to team pages, allowing people to see the team's membership or their progress (usually post-hunt). In addition to this, most leaderboards will show a team's solve or score count (depending on whether the hunt assigns different values to different puzzles), and their finish time (if they finish).

Leaderboards are very common in smaller, online-focused hunts, in which placement on the leaderboard can be both helpful to teams wishing to know how close they are to finishing and an ego boost for those who finish high (or simply higher than they previously have).

As a story or puzzle element[edit | edit source]

Some hunts choose to have their leaderboard represent something in the context of their stories, or use it as a storytelling device on its own. This can be achieved quite well by placing fake teams on the leaderboard that might real, but instead are either controlled by the hunt runners or aren't real accounts in the first place.

Notable Examples[edit | edit source]

  • Galactic Puzzle Hunt 2018 (web) - In this hunt, solvers raced to bake one billion cookies before any other team. However, as they completed their first few puzzles to contribute to their total, they would most likely be informed that one team (who had been steadily climbing up the leaderboard in terms of cookie count), had already reached the milestone despite not solving any puzzles. Solvers would go on to unmask the mysterious individual, and the rest of the hunt would be dedicated to stopping them.
  • Puzzle Potluck 3 (web) - Hidden among the leaderboard of this hunt were 6 teams that would later contribute to one of the hunt's metapuzzles, each representing an aspect of one of the Infinity Stones (seeing as the hunt was Endgame themed). Not only did they have fake teams, but those fake teams had fake members, adding an additional level to the deception.

See Also[edit | edit source]