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A Puzzle Packet is a particular type of hunt structure where teams receive every single puzzle in the hunt at once. This term is also sometimes used for hunts that release large batches of puzzles at set times, such as in the College Puzzle Challenge.
Background[edit | edit source]
The name of the Puzzle Packet stems from the often physical nature of such hunts, where teams were given a stack of papers containing all the puzzles in the hunt. The format is also reminiscent to puzzle competitions such as the USPC, where contestants are given a large number of logic puzzles to prioritize and solve in a set time period.
Hunt Application[edit | edit source]
In direct contrast to Puzzle Trail, Puzzle Packet hunts give solving teams as wide of a hunt width as possible, by giving teams all the puzzles at once. This allows hunt organizers to not have to worry about unlocking structures, which may be difficult logistically to implement in live hunts (which usually requires multiple people at different stations in order to implement). For online hunts with the Puzzle Packet structure, the puzzles are usually delivered as a PDF containing all the puzzles. This also eliminates the chance that a team gets bottlenecked. Cons of the format include the fact that teams may enjoy unlocking puzzles as a way of getting a concrete reward for solving puzzles. Teams may also get overwhelmed if too many puzzles are released at once, limiting the size of Puzzle Packet hunts to about 10-15 puzzles normally.
Strategies[edit | edit source]
Since all puzzles are unlocked at the start, this type of structure usually favors teams that can parallelize well, especially larger teams. If the hunt is ranked by meta completion time (instead of, say, time to solve all the puzzles), it is usually helpful to quickly look at all the puzzles at the start in order to determine which puzzles are the easiest or fastest to solve.
Notable Examples[edit | edit source]
- Cryptex Puzzle Hunt 2019 - The hunt was released as a magazine. ClueKeeper was used to facilitate answer checking in this hunt.
- CS50x Puzzle Day
- Labor Day Extravaganza - An annual hunt run by Mark Halpin, this hunt usually features challenging wordplay, crossword, and logic puzzles.
- Panda Magazine - A bimonthly magazine written by Foggy Brume.