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Puzzle Maps are ways for a hunt to portray the puzzles in a round or the entire hunt in visual form. This can either be done to show the relationship between the puzzles within the space, or just to provide a more playful representation than the traditional list method.
Background[edit | edit source]
Puzzle Maps have existed nearly as long as digital puzzle hunts have existed. Very early in the 2000s, hunts like the MIT Mystery Hunt were already presenting puzzles in visual formats, with the first MIT Mystery Hunt doing so in 2004 (where the maps were literally maps, and were also puzzles that could be solved themselves).
A notable point in this history is the 2005 MIT Mystery Hunt, in which the entire hunt was contained in a map of a small town, with each puzzle represented by a colored circle or star on the map, and each color's puzzles making up one of the six main rounds. It's notable in that, while most past hunts AND most modern hunts comparable to the MITMH will occasionally use a Puzzle Map to represent individual rounds' puzzles, they very rarely do what 2005's MITMH did and present every single one there.
Since then, larger hunts have mostly chosen to present puzzles in creative ways either within rounds (such as for the 2020 or 2022 MIT Mystery Hunt) or by showcasing the rounds themselves on a Puzzle Map rather than individual puzzles. (such as the 2019 MIT Mystery Hunt), but some mid-size hunts, such as the 2021 Teammate Hunt, have still managed to pull off impressive-looking whole-hunt Puzzle Maps.
Hunt Application[edit | edit source]
Notable Examples[edit | edit source]
Puzzle Map as a theme[edit | edit source]
- 2004 MIT Mystery Hunt (web) - Contained several literal Puzzle Maps. The main hub for the hunt was a large map with the locations of each round marked on it, as well as a lot of extraneous information. Similarly, each round had a map with puzzle locations marked. At the end of each meta, the answer would point towards a way to manipulate the map and mark the location of a portal to the next round. Although it went unused during the hunt, the hub map also had several puzzles hidden in it, that would have needed to be solved to reach the finale.
- 2015 MIT Mystery Hunt (web) - A rare case of a modern hunt showcasing all puzzles in a single map. This was accomplished by having a very tall map, starting at sea level and diving deep down into the ocean, with every single puzzle being represented by an image on the journey.
- 2021 Teammate Puzzle Hunt (web) - A hunt where the map not only represented every puzzle, but had multiple forms in order to fit all of them in: since puzzles in the second half were different depending on whether solvers were looking at Matt's side or Emma's side, you could toggle between the two map overlays to see the full scope.
Puzzle Map used as a mechanic[edit | edit source]
- 2005 MIT Mystery Hunt (web) - The locations of the puzzles on the map are used by the metas in various ways.
- Round 2 of the 2018 Caltech Puzzle Hunt (web) - The walls dictating the Adjacency Unlocks are used by a particular puzzle.