List of sports and recreation puzzle topics
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This is a list of sports- and recreation-related topics that have been used in puzzles in puzzle hunts.
Sports-related topics include any type of competitive physical game or activity, as well as the equipment, terminology, rules, and players involved in them
Recreation-related topics are more broad than sports-related ones, as they include non-physical competitions (such as eSports) and the rules/terminology/players involved, non-physical games, and hobbies (whether they're physical or not).
Sports[edit | edit source]
Individual sports[edit | edit source]
- Archery (wp · list): A sport where competitors attempt to hit as close to the centre of a target using a bow and arrows. Archery targets are usually circular, with concentric rings denoting different point values.
- Bowling (wp · list): A sport involving rolling a heavy ball down a wooden lane to knock down a set of pins. Bowlers have two tries to knock down all of the pins. Knocking down all of the pins in one try is a strike (denoted with an X), and doing it in two tries is a spare (denoted with a /). - can be used to denote knocking down no pins in a try, and otherwise a number is used. Bowling puzzles usually use this notation (particularly interpreting the symbols as mathematical multiplication, division, and subtraction) or the scoring system.
- Darts (wp · list): A sport involving throwing darts at a circular target. The circular target can be divided into 20 sectors with point values ranging from 1-20. Additionally, there are sections which can double or triple the points scored, as well as the bullseye which scores 25 or 50 points. Puzzles involving darts tend to involve scoring in some way.
- Equestrianism (wp · list):
- Golf (wp · list):
- Gymnastics (wp · list):
- Luge (wp · list):
- Racing (Cars) (wp · list):
- Racing (Horses) (wp · list):
- Wrestling (wp · list):
- Professional Wrestling (wp · list): More of a type of performance entertainment, but with the physical elements and competition that is found in most other sports. Since it's more of a performance, the people involved in pro wrestling through companies like WWE, AEW, and CyberFight end up having more over-the-top personalities and gimmicks. Additionally, major events in these companies are very well-documented, so there are many lists of winners, themed matches, and title changes over the course of the organizations' decades of history.
Team sports[edit | edit source]
- Baseball (wp · list)
- Basketball (wp · list)
- Football (American) (wp · list)
- Football (Association) (wp · list)
- Hockey (wp · list)
Miscellaneous sports topics[edit | edit source]
- Arenas and locales (wp · list) - Places that sports are played. Most professional sports teams have a home area or stadium, and many individual sports have dedicated locations for them to be played.
- Athletes (wp · list) - The people who play sports.
- Mascots (wp · list)
- The Olympic Games (wp · list)
- Rules (wp · list)
- Teams (wp · list)
Competitions[edit | edit source]
- Beauty/Talent competitions
- eSports (wp · list)
- Westminster Dog Show (wp · list)
Games[edit | edit source]
Board games[edit | edit source]
- Boggle (wp · list) - A game in which cubes with letters on each side are placed randomly in a grid, where players must make as many words by drawing paths between omni-adjacent letters. While not used much as a topic for a puzzle to be about, Boggle has been used as a frame for other word-based puzzles. A common use is for a puzzle to present a boggle grid and have solvers find particular words in it. This is also the namesake for 'boggle-style' wordsearches.
- Chess (wp · list) - A board game between two players where each side has a set of sixteen pieces that move in various ways and is played on an 8x8 board. The typical objective of the game is to checkmate the opposing side's king by threatening it and leaving the opponent with no way of moving to address this threat. There are also chess variants with pieces that move in different ways, differently shaped boards, or alternative gameplay and winning conditions.
- Diplomacy (wp · list)
- Dominoes (wp · list)
- Monopoly (wp · list) - A game in which players race to collect money, buy property, and place houses/hotels on their properties.
- Pictionary (wp · list)
- Scrabble (wp · list) - A game where players play tiles with letters on them on a grid to spell out words and get points. There is therefore a canonical way to assign a "Scrabble score" to words, which is sometimes used in puzzles. Additionally, puzzles may involve determining the best play on a board, or reconstructing an entire game based on point scores or other clues.
- The Settlers of Catan (wp · list)
- Snakes and Ladders (wp · list) - A game where players take turns rolling dice and progressing through a board (usually 100 spaces). Some spaces let the player advance (via ladders) or fall behind (via snakes, or chutes). The positions of the snakes and ladders are fixed, so given a set of dice rolls it is possible to determine exactly where the player is at any given time.
- Tabletop RPGs (wp · list) - Games in which people create a character and explore a world, often with one player acting as a game master to guide them through the rules and settings of that world. Most TTRPGs focus on fantasy or sci-fi worlds, and have the players fill out character sheets prior to playing, which have been used as a framing device for several puzzles. Another common mechanic is dice-rolling, with the results of particular dice rolls determining whether actions succeed or fail. The most common type of TTRPG is a 'pen-and-paper' RPG, in which very little outside of paper, writing implements, and dice are needed to properly play it. Popular TTRPGs include Paranoia (sci-fi), Call of Cthulhu (horror), Fiasco (noir), and Pathfinder (high fantasy).
- Dungeons & Dragons (wp · list) - By far the most popular TTRPG of all time. D&D has gone through multiple 'editions', changing rules along the way, and has had dozens of pre-made adventures to accompany these editions. The game features several core races, classes, and backgrounds that can be mixed and matched to create a character, and uses 20-sided dice rolls for skill checks and combat, primarily. Notably, Pathfinder is an offshoot of the 3.5 Edition ruleset, and therefore shares many qualities with D&D.
- Trivial Pursuit (wp · list) - A game in which players race to collect six multicolored pieces by answering trivia questions. Featuring a circular board divided into six 'wedges' and pieces shaped the same way, the game boasts multiple versions since its creation in 1979, and over 1000 questions throughout the game's many cards. Notably, each category is also color coded. In the original series, Geography was blue, Entertainment was pink, History was yellow, Arts and Literature was brown, Science and Nature was Green, and Sports and Leisure was orange. Over time, these colors shifted somewhat, and in themed editions the categories sometimes changed entirely.
Card games[edit | edit source]
- Blackjack (wp · list)
- Bridge (wp · list) - A game played between two teams of two, with players facing opposite of their partner. Teams bid on how many tricks that they think that they can take, without being able to directly show the contents of their hands to their partner. Therefore, all communication must be done via the bids, and there are several "conventions" developed to do so.
- Magic: The Gathering (wp · list) A collectible card game set in a fantasy setting, with a wide array of interactions and mechanics.
- Mahjong (wp · list)
- Poker (wp · list)
- Set (wp · list) - A card game played with a set of 81 cards, with four different attributes. The goal is to find sets of three cards such that for every attribute, the cards either all match or the cards all differ.
- Yu Gi Oh! (wp · list)
Video games[edit | edit source]
Specific games[edit | edit source]
- Animal Crossing (wp · list) - A video game where the player lives in a town populated by anthropomorphic animals, with the most recent entry being Animal Crossing: New Horizons. In the series, players can do various activities like fishing, bug-catching, and fossil-hunting, all of which contribute to various collections. As a result, the series has been used for its various lists of things, including fish, bugs, fossils, art, furniture, music, and the villagers themselves. The newer entries have also introduced the ability to breed flowers, which have a complex hybridization system (that has spawned some very helpful tools)
- Blaseball (wp · list) - A simulation video game in which a fictionalized version of baseball is played. In 2021, the game contained 24 teams (each with a home locale, name, and stadium) and had run 24 seasons (each with a subtitle and ultimate winner), with each team's games being played over the course of an hour, and 12 games taking place each hour (one game per pair of teams) The game is well-known both for the amount of player participation in an otherwise passive, observatory experience, and the amount of lore written both by the developers and the fans. Similarly to the sport of baseball, Blaseball contains many statistics and notable events from its 24-season run, making it a bounty of information for puzzle writers. Blaseball also has its own wiki.
- Dance Dance Revolution (wp · list) - A rhythm game in which players have to step on large arrow pads in time with a song.
- GeoGuessr (wp · list) - An online game where players are played at a random location in Google StreetView and must identify where they are based on contextual information. The game is used as a basis for many geography-based puzzles, and while the game does not provide much information unique to itself it has provided a precedent for puzzles requiring solvers to identify locations based on StreetView images. There are repositories of tips and tricks that help high-level players do well, and have the potential to be used in puzzles beyond simply being helpful for identification.
- The Legend of Zelda (wp · list)
- Mega Man (wp · list) - A series of platformer games where players control a blue robot as he fights his way through themed stages and their bosses known as 'robot masters'. A notable part of the games is that each boss grants Mega Man the use of their weapon, which is usually extra-effective against at least one of the other bosses, allowing them to create an optimal chain through all of them. There are also multiple spin-off games, some of which share a similar concept, such as Mega Man X. Others stray further away, such as Mega Man: Battle Network (a deck-building action game where people control programs known as 'Navis'). The Mega Man and Mega Man X series both have unique stages, bosses, and weapons that can be used as puzzle topics, which the Battle Network series contains many operator/Navi pairings, bosses, and 'chips' that can be used to a similar effect.
- Minesweeper (wp · list)
- Persona (wp · list) - A series of RPGs involving teenagers fighting monsters in various settings, often involving shifting realities and themes of 'the true self'. There are 5 main-series games (including one two-part game), but all are part of the large Shin Megami Tensei series, which uses many of the same assets. In particular, the Persona series from Persona 3 onward uses the major arcana tarot cards to represent Social Links and Confidants; relationships between the main character and other people in the game. In addition, the game assigns those same major arcana to the various 'Personas' the main character can equip, which can be used in a crafting system in order to create special weapons or new Personas. The system is well-documented, and the most recent version of a calculator used to determine the results of a 'Persona Fusion' can be found here.
- Pokémon (wp · list) - A series of RPGs where the player plays as a trainer who catches and trains Pokémon (short for Pocket Monster). The player assembles a team of Pokémon to fight other trainers' teams, culminating in defeating eight gym leaders and then the Elite Four to become the Pokémon champion. There are a lot of data sets usable by puzzles, including the cast of over 800 Pokémon, the type system of strengths and weaknesses, the maps of routes and cities, and more.
- Super Mario (wp · list)
- Tetris (wp · list) - An arcade game where the goal is to orient and drop tetrominoes (blocks of four squares) on a grid of fixed width. Filling up an entire row clears it, allowing the player to stave off losing, which happens when a piece reaches the top of the grid.
General video game topics[edit | edit source]
Other games[edit | edit source]
- 20 Questions (Animal, Vegetable, Mineral) (wp · list) - A game where one person picks an object or concept and answers yes-or-no questions from players, allowing them to whittle down their possibilities before guessing what the first person picked. Many version allow for a non-yes-or-no first question, as long as the question is "Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral?".
- Bingo (wp · list) - A gambling game played using a 5x5 grid of numbers (from 1-75) and a randomly-selected series of number (from 1-75), with the goal of being the first one to have five numbers in a row on your card (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally) picked by the caller.
- Mornington Crescent (wp · list) - A fake game played on the BBC Radio 4 comedy show I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue, in which participants allegedly are trying to be the first one to say 'Mornington Crescent'. Despite being a fake game (in that participants are simply trying to entertain listeners rather than play a game with clear rules), the various 'rules' made up throughout the show's run are well-documented, and can be found in full here.
- Rock, Paper, Scissors (wp · list) - A 1 vs. 1 game where players reveal a hand gesture representing one of the three things in the title. Traditionally, rock crushes scissors, scissors cut paper, and paper covers rock, creating a cycle of strengths and weaknesses. The game is also called Ro-sham-bo/Rochambeau.
- Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock (web · list) - A five-way version of RPS, originating in the sitcom The Big Bang Theory.
- RPS-101 (web · list) - A 101-way version of RPS developed by David Lovelace. While not commonly played in real life, it contains a staggeringly large amount of information in a single game.
Hobbies[edit | edit source]
- Yoga (wp · list)