I’ve been meaning to write about puzzlehunts! Coincidentally last night, an episode of Elementary revolved around a puzzlehunt. Puzzlehunts (Puzzles + Scavenger Hunt) are puzzle-solving competitions where participants race to solve a series of puzzles. The most famous example is the annual MIT Mystery Hunt (http://web.mit.edu/puzzle/www/), held on the Martin Luther King long weekend. It’s a massive competition with thousands of contestants split up into multiple groups. The prize is the “coin” (a keepsake that isn’t always an actual coin) and the honour of planning the next year’s Mystery Hunt.
The puzzles used in the Mystery Hunts have all been logged and indexed online, and the puzzles are TOUGH. I can see why some teams consist of hundreds of people.
Another prominent puzzlehunt is DASH (Different Area Same Hunt), which has the same puzzlehunt being played simultaneously across different cities.
Puzzlehunts never caught on in Toronto. I’ve done a little research and the majority of similar events have had stronger physical components making them more similar to the Amazing Race. I’ve found 3 events held in Ontario that seem like puzzlehunts, but I haven’t had the opportunity to attend any of them.
Chromatin Events (http://mercury.chromatin.ca/) hosted a bike-based puzzlehunt, with the theme that you are applying for a job at an evil courier service. He previously also hosted a puzzlehunt themed like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book.
FISH (http://www.fishhunt.ca/past-fish/fish-toronto-2011/) seems mainly based in Vancouver, but held a halloween puzzle hunt in Toronto a few year ago.
Spies of Barrie (http://www.whodunnitevents.com/Spies_of_Barrie.html) has participants play the role of a new spy being tested by the agency for placement in future missions.
I think puzzlehunts might be an interesting avenue of marketing for escape room businesses! The population of people who might enjoy puzzlehunts has definitely grown in the past year. Teams of players roaming the city solving puzzles would make a company’s name/logo highly visible.