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START: 24 March 2012 (Sat)
       AU Student Center
END:   6-7 hours later
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EPP12: Back To Basics

24 March 2012

Congratulations Green Team!

It turns out team size didn't matter this time around. Despite fielding the smallest team out of twelve, members Mark Brady, Tracy Cobbs, and Andrew Thomas pulled off a win in this fun one-afternoon Puzzle Party.

All of the teams scores were close in the first half of the day, and even as the final hour approach no team ran away with it. Any of the top six teams had a strong chance of claiming the top prize (and with a couple volatile challenges still waiting to be graded, really any team had a chance to bubble up and make a run for it).

In the final minutes, however, Green Team submitted an answer for the palindromic maze puzzle (#5), and they squeaked out a win by about 650 Points. Here's a chart of the final scores. I'll add links to some of the puzzles as well as survey results about Enjoyment and Difficulty soon.

Thanks, as always, to everyone who participated!

1. WHOSE _____ IS IT ANYWAY? 1025 1000 1050 1100

2.55 4.36
2. COLORFUL MUSIC 1959 447 579 1722 1584 1692 342 690 1395 771 777 1323 3.82 2.70
3. DO YOU SEE THE CONNECTIONS? 1025 1000 1050

2.55 4.72
919 854

2.64 4.45
5. EZ A MAZE 1000

1000 1050 1025 1000 1100

3.00 4.18
6. CUT TO PERFECTION 1200 2080 960 1880 1080 1440 1840 1840 1840 1400 760 1040 3.73 3.33
7. SIXTEEN PATHS 361 382 356 361 329 373 373 359 371 332 360 359 3.55 2.77
8. MISPELLED CROSSWORDS 1100 1050 1000 1000 1000 1000 1000 1000 1000 1000 1025 1000 3.64 3.00
1050 1100


2.45 4.54
10. CHEMICAL MAGIC SQUARE 987 232 892 552 566 598 316 358 294 830 758 416 3.64 4.00
11. PAISLEY PUZZLE PARTIERS 1050 1000 1000 1000 1000 1000 1100 1000 1025 1000 1000
3.82 2.40
12. I SPY 1000 1000 1000 1100 1000 1025 1000 1000 1000 1050 1000 1000 4.55 2.20
13. ALPHABET CUBED 1100 1000 1025 1000 1000 1000 1000 1050 1000 1000 1000 1000 3.73 2.30
TRADING CUBES 2000 2000 2000 2000 2000 2000 1570 1560 1030 0 1570 2000

TOTAL 13807 13160 12866 12715 11709 11153 10566 9957 8955 8383 8250 8138

Update (6 March 2012)

Here is the Introduction that will be on the cover of the puzzle booklets when I hand them out the day of the Party. I present it early here so that you have a chance to proofread it, obsess over non-existent hidden messages, and generally just familiarize yourself with it. It is subject to change before Party-Day. It is written from my perspective as I will stand at my "headquarters" station in the Student Union Building.


This Spring Puzzle party is going to be a little less ambitious than recent ones. It will not be a marathon. Much like some of the first Parties I hosted at my home, this year's will just take up an afternoon of time (but possibly a long, excrutiating afternoon). It will not be held at my house, but rather, at the Student Center on Auburn University's campus (which worked quite well for our recent Puzzle Potluck I.

Team sizes will also be smaller than marathon Parties; I've tried to establish team formation rules that will create groups of about 3-5 people typically.

The Party will start at 10:30am and teams will be given all of the puzzles/challenges upfront, at the start. Internet access will not be allowed as a tool for solving the puzzles. So, you will not be allowed to use Google, Wikipedia, or any other Internet resource. We will rely on the honor system to enforce this (all you players with smart gadgets will have to resist the temptation to use apps and such). Your team need only bring basic materials: pencils, pens, scratch paper, simple calculators, and such. Any additional resources I will provide if I think they are needed.

The Party will go on for about 6-7 hours (I'll pick an exact duration once I have finalized all of the puzzles). There are a few restaurants at the Student Center, and you will have to manage food breaks on your own. I am not ruling out that a puzzle or two might require part or all of your team to leave the Student Center at some point, but most puzzle will be solved without running around. Your teammates are allowed to leave the Party area for non-Party reasons (going out to eat, etc) as long as they don't violate the honor system resource rules above.

Some puzzles may be graded on speed, others on whether your team is the first to solve it. Some may be "optimization" problems with variable scoring, others all or nothing. Each puzzle will have its scoring rules clearly explained, and it is up to your team to read the rules fully and decide which ones to do when. As always, I will try to provide a great variety of puzzle types (wordplay, mathematics, physical puzzles, mazes, environmental puzzles, etc) so that everyone, regardless of their solving strengths, will feel like they can contribute.


Team formation for EPP12 will be similar to my most recent Parties: each individual will have a "cost" based on whether or not he or she has participated in past Parties and how many trophies he or she may have won. The cost for a person who has never participated in or helped organize a past Party (including all EPPs and APPs) is 6 Points. Players who have attended past Parties are worth 7 + [the number of trophies won]. A PDF listing of all past players (and trophies won) is available for review (if there are inaccuracies, please let me know).

If a person is not on that PDF list, he or she is worth 6 Points, otherwise: 7 + Trophies (the last column in gray in the spreadsheet indicates Trophies). Finally, if a player is attending EPP12 and is from out of town (away from Auburn/Opelika), they have their cost reduced by 1 (this reduction is not indicated on the list above).

The total value/cost of a Team roster for EPP12 may not exceed 33 Points. Note that I am purposely using a scoring scheme that will result in teams that are smaller than the most recent Spring Parties.

Team colors may be reserved on a "first come, first served" basis; email me when you have at least two people ready for a particular team, and tell me what color you would like to be.

Currently I plan to accommodate up to ten teams. If these fill up, I might be convinced to add another team or two.

TEAM ROSTERS (team names are optional but encouraged)
"I'm So Meta, Even This Acronym"
Kelly Bragan (8)
Daniel Brice (8)
Alex Byaly (8)
Zack Sarver (7)
Rob Beaty (7)
Ian Schaffer (7)
Billy Symon (7)
Amanda Bain (7)
Tanner Bain (7)
Kristen Oliver † (6)
Deana Schnuelle (7)
Tom Beard (6)
Robert Ford † (9)
Tim Hardwick (10)
Scott Varagona (8)
Mark Brady † (12)
Tracy Cobbs † (12)
Andrew Thomas † (8)
31 21 27 33 32
"Rhymes With Orange"
Patrick Buckingham † (5)
Erin McMullin † (7)
Charles Pilman † (8)
Paul Fonstad † (5)
Jason Schmurr † (5)
Justin Anthony † (5)
Adam Carter (6)
Thomas Carter † (5)
Lorelei Schellhammer † (5)
Philip Worland † (5)
Erin Beaver (6)
Heath Hopkins (10)
David Jarrell † (8)
Emily Norman (9)
Bob Gillis † (8)
Marsha Gillis † (8)
Adam Syfrett (7)
Katie Syfrett (8)
Brent Fritz † (5)
Kyle Fritz † (6)
Chelsea Harrison (8)
Bryan McMean (8)
Drew Williams (6)
30 26 33 31 33
Jaye Herrod † (6)
Michael Hollingsworth (10)
Kelly Hollingsworth (9)
Allison Miller † (6)
Mark Erdberg (5)
Brandon Hernandez † (5)
Amy Steinkampf † (7)
Calvin Thomas (7)
31 24      
† Out-of-town participant
"Un-teamed" players. These are players who have said they will likely show up on Puzzle Day, but for one reason or another have not yet settled on a team. If you are looking to bolster your team's roster, you may want to try to recruit these folks:

Wil Kilpatrick (7)

Of course, you are also encouraged to invite other friends as well.

The Trophies