This past weekend the Burninators and Coed Astronomy teamed up as the Demonic Robot Tyrannosaurs to play in the simulcast of Microsoft Puzzlehunt 12. I had a great time. Everyone in the room got along with each other well. I teamed up with several different people to solve puzzles and made a point to work with people not just on the Burninators. Here's a shout out to Jan, Dale, and Linnsey on Co-eds for helping me play chutes and ladders (and observe a tea party with a duck!), learn the most common chess opening in the game, and wrap my head around a rhombicosidodecahedron. Among many others, of course, both people and puzzles. I greatly enjoyed the experience and am looking ahead already to when we could do this all again.
Rather than gush about how I enjoyed the weekend, I've been thinking about *why* I enjoyed it, so I can replicate those things. They are:
* Fun people to be with. If you can't have a good time with these people outside of solving puzzles, then during the puzzlehunt those puzzles better be *very* good to compensate.
* T-shirts. Doug surprised everyone with shirts for the team, and they're pretty awesome. Great shirts set the attitude of the weekend right.
* Creature comforts. We puzzled at Google where we had a large conference room, a printer that worked, comfortable seating, nearby bathrooms, and parking. Meals were easy to find (nearby restaurants) and it took less than 10 minutes from leaving the room to being asleep *at home* when I needed to take a nap for a few hours.
* I contributed meaningfully to solving puzzles. It seems that, in most hunts, I don't see a puzzle until everyone is stuck on the aha, and I generally don't get the insights that other people miss. Or maybe that the early puzzles in this game needed enough crank-turning that not all the good puzzles were gobbled up before I could blink. It's also possible that, it seemed that few puzzles were Google scavenger hunts for trivia, and so there were more footholds and ways to just try to crack a puzzle by staring at it. So I *did* have a chance to be the person who had an insight that other people hadn't yet had.
* It never hurts to also be doing well. We were in first place in the Bay Area competitive division the entire game, although Wrong Ideas That Appeal To You was a close second for a long time.
So, that's my write up, at least for now.