Singapore Puzzle Hunt
|Singapore Puzzle Hunt|
|Most recent hunt||2022|
|Number of hunts||8 (as of 2022)|
|Location||Online since 2020, formerly onsite in Singapore|
The Singapore Puzzle Hunt (abbreviated as SGPH) is an annual puzzle hunt organized for the local puzzle hunt community in Singapore. The hunt traditionally kicks off on a Saturday in July, and in recent years since the hunt moved online, been kept open until the following weekend.
History[edit | edit source]
The inaugural Singapore Puzzle Hunt was organized in 2015 by Kah Kien Ong and a few local puzzle hunt enthusiasts forming the Puzzlesmiths. The goal was to introduce puzzle hunts to local puzzlers and to expand the puzzle hunt community in Singapore. This was also to address a gap (back then) of the limited number of online puzzle hunts that local puzzlers could have the opportunity to gain exposure to such more challenging and satisfying puzzles. Participation is restricted to residents (and former residents) of Singapore, so the total number of participants annually remained fairly low and constant around 100, only increasing to 160 in 2022 after the team sizes were increased from 4 to 8. Puzzles are archived on the website after each hunt, and available for public solving.
The hunt is modelled after the MIT Mystery Hunt, to give solvers a small taste of the complete hunt experience which includes live kick-off and interactions, event puzzles, runaround, and even dressing up to the immersive hunt theme and story. In terms of puzzles, emphasis was similarly placed on writing, editing and test-solving, to give solvers clean and intuitive puzzles that would be representative of good MIT hunt puzzles. So while puzzles might have more hints incorporated to help the relatively new puzzle hunt solvers, they still contained substantive ahas and solving steps. This gives participants a good foundation for solving hunt puzzles using intuition and inference based on hunt puzzle conventions, without the need for brute-forcing approaches. For the writing team, this was also a way to guide them in the proper process, as there is sometimes less consideration and time on editing and test-solving, depending on the experience of the organizing team.
Given the small hunt size and writing team, a unique feature of the Singapore Puzzle Hunt is that almost all its puzzles are written thematically to the answers, with the puzzle themes also related to the hunt theme. Hence a common characteristic of the Singapore Puzzle Hunt every year is its strong focus on theme and storyline. The hunt theme typically references a pop culture literary work, and the first team to complete the runaround also receives a thematic book, in addition to that year's thematic souvenirs.
Since 2020, due to safety considerations in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Singapore Puzzle Hunt was held entirely remotely online. This is likely to become a permanent shift in the format of the Singapore Puzzle Hunt. An on-site hunt, while preferred, presented several logistical challenges. Without a venue host like MIT, the venue rental was relatively costly for participating teams, and they had to make do solving together in a shared, crowded and noisy ballroom. It also limited the hunt duration to half a day, which was challenging for teams to finish. While the in-person interactions would be missed, these were substituted by live interactions over Discord instead, and it was still possible to maintain engagements with teams given the relatively small participant numbers.