EPP14: Hatching A Devious Plan...

Congratulations to Team Ecru

A very dramatic EPP14 came down to the wire, and Team Ecru managed to be victorious by being the only team to complete the hidden puzzle (navigating the old Atari 2600 home video game Adventure and, in 17 minutes, getting to the secret "Easter Egg" room). The team consisted of the following players: The graph to the left (click to view large version) that shows how the teams' scores increased over the 16 hour Puzzle Party (and also shows how Team Ecru clawed their way to first place at the very end after Team Pink held a lead for most of the day.
Title Difficulty Enjoyment # of Solves # of Hints Team Scores Throughout The Day
A Puzzling Easter Egg Hunt 1.586 (46/29) 4.607 (129/28) 12 0
Did I Nod? Egged On, I Did! 2.579 (49/19) 4.158 (79/19) 12 0
Over Easy? 3.211 (61/19) 3.571 (75/21) 11 0
Scrambled Eggs 3.217 (74/23) 3.818 (84/22) 8 2
Goose Eggs 3.100 (62/20) 3.619 (76/21) 11 0
Egg Toss 2.250 (54/24) 2.920 (73/25) 12 0
Humpty Dumpty 4.450 (89/20) 2.950 (59/20) 3 0
In-Cube-8 4.000 (100/25) 3.080 (77/25) 7 6
crack.open.this.egg 4.000 (104/26) 3.720 (93/25) 7 4
Egg On My Facebook 3.500 (84/24) 4.125 (99/24) 9 5
Philosophers' Egg 3.750 (75/20) 3.500 (70/20) 9 0
Easter Basket Case 1.500 (36/24) 3.333 (80/24) 10 0
... Break A Few Eggs 3.577 (93/26) 3.885 (101/26) 9 0
Nest Eggs 2.056 (37/18) 4.056 (73/18) 12 0
Cad, Bury Egg 2.080 (52/25) 3.000 (75/25) 11 0
The Incredible Edible Egg 3.880 (97/25) 2.833 (68/24) 6 2
You Must Be Yolking! 2.773 (61/22) 4.217 (97/23) 11 0
Be Prepared! 3.478 (80/23) 3.304 (76/23) 6 0
Sam-I-Am Puzzled 2.818 (62/22) 4.381 (92/21) 12 2
Hard-Boiled Story 3.048 (64/21) 4.333 (91/21) 11 1
Egg Timer 3.652 (84/23) 3.913 (90/23) 10 2
ADVENTURE! (Hidden Puzzle) 5.000 (10/2) 5.000 (10/2) 1 0
"Difficulty" and "Enjoyment" scores are based on player survey results from after the Party. The aspects were rated from 1-5 (1=Easy... 5=Hard, and 1=Disliked... 5=Liked). Numbers of Solves and Hints are combined from all 12 teams that competed.


  • 5:32 PM: ERROR IN PUZZLE: There is an error that has cropped up on the puzzle EGG ON MY FACEBOK. You were supposed to be able to see *five* TV shows, but evidently only *four* are showing up. The missing one should have a 3-star review and Benedict's comment about it is:

    "Zounds! I expected this to be much better than it actually was."

  • 11 March 2014: I've added rules for "remote players". If you have someone who wants to officially be on your team, but can't be in Auburn on Party-Day, they may play remotely (corresponding with your team via phone or internet or whatever). Their Player Point cost as far as Team Formation Rules is reduced by -2. Note, however, that many of the puzzles will rely heavily on the Auburn environment or physical props, so your team should not rely too heavily on remote players. The team Captain may not be a remote player. This is the first Puzzle Party at which I've allowed remote players, so we'll hope it works out for all involved.


    With EPP14 scheduled one week before Easter in 2014, I've decided to go with an "Easter Egg" theme this time around. This isn't eggs-ctly new (natch, you'll be getting a lot of that); I had a similarly themed party back in the Spring of 2008. That one went over quite well, and I eggs-pect this one (okay, enough of that), to be even better. It will certainly be longer and have more puzzles.

    Last year's format of ending at 2:00 AM seemed to strike a nice balance of requiring a little bit of sleep-deprived endurance, but did not absolutely exhaust everyone, so I'm going to go with that End Time again. And EPP14 will start at 10:00 AM on Saturday to give teams sixteen hours to try to solve all of the puzzles and challenges.

    Quick Info

    START: 10:00am, 12 April 2014 (Sat)
    Location: Park across the the street from Eric's house (435 E. Samford)
    (park at Jr. High gravel lot or along Dumas St.)
    END: 2:00am (16 hours later)
    with wrap-up at Momma Goldberg's Deli (217 E Thach Ave) Sunday morning around 10:00am

    Teams - Puzzles - Scoring - Hints - Recommendations - Trophies - Past Parties


    Teams will be designated, as usual, by colors. This year's colors, however, have a decidedly pastel/Eastery feel. Sorry, if you were counting on being RED, BLUE, or BLACK team... you'll just have to decided between AQUA, LAVENDER, MINT, and the like.

    Team formation rules will follow my fairly standard system. Each player has a "value" based on participation in, and trophies/wins from, past Auburn puzzle events. There is a point-cap for a team which the total of players' values may not exceed. If a team member has never particpated in an Auburn puzzle event, he or she is worth 7 Team Points, otherwise his or her value is equal to 8 + [number of trophies/wins] from past puzzle events.

    If the player is visiting from out of town, his or her value is reduced by 1 (to encourage out-of-towners to attend). If a player wants to participate remotely (i.e. they will officially be on a team but not in town -- corresponding via internet or phone with their team), the player's Point Value is reduced by 2.

    Here is a PDF of all past-players and their Trophy/Win counts (the final yellow column). Visiting and remote Player Point deductions are not included in that value. If a person's name is not listed in that PDF, he or she must be a newbie (and thus worth 7 Team Points). If there are errors in that PDF, please let me know.

    The total value of an EPP14 Team may not exceed 60 Points.

    As soon as a team has at least two members, it may claim one of the wonderful Spring colors below. Send me a list of team members, what Team Point values you believe they carry, and which are coming from out of town. I will also want one of the players designated as a Team Captain (and will need his/her cell phone number and email address). You are welcome to adjust your team rosters anytime before Party-Day (adding teammates, removing them), just send me an update-email when you want to make changes.

    I will accommodate up to a dozen teams.

    TEAM ROSTERS (60 Team Points maximum)
    Team Captains are in boldface. The Captain needs to be sure that I have his/her cell phone number and email address and needs to tell me a password for his/her team.
    † Visiting participant (-1 Team Point)
    ‡ Remote participant (-2 Team Points)
    (States represented: AL, CA, FL, GA, IN, MA, MD, NC, NY, SC, TN) + one from the UK
    AQUA (53) BEIGE (38) CELADON (52) ECRU (58)
    Erin Beaver (8)
    Ashley Eden (8)
    Matt Goff (7)
    Shauna Henry (7)
    Kayla Johnson (7)
    Ashley Loyd (8)
    Meredith Mitchell (8)
    Gerald Davidson (7)
    Tim Dunlap (7)
    Robert Haberstroh (8)
    Ian Schaefer (9)
    Neil Schaefer (7)
    Alexander Calvert (7)
    Leah Donahue (8)
    Tori Luther (7)
    Laura Macedonia (8)
    Jacob Neely (7)
    Makenzie Reynolds (8)
    Stefan Richardson (7)
    Steven Clontz (11)
    Paul Daniel † (6)
    Robert Ford † (10)
    Julie Gaddy † (6)
    Steve Gaddy † (6)
    Tim Hardwick (11)
    Rex Miller † (7)
    LAVENDER (49) LEMON (48) MAUVE (50) MINT (58)
    Stephen Bennett † (7)
    Gavin Bethea † (7)
    Maddy Coley † (6)
    Cathlena Martin † (7)
    Jonathan Shields † (7)
    Benton Tyler † (6)
    Scott Varagona † (9)
    Craig Davis (8)
    Johnathan Davis (7)
    Paula Davis (8)
    Jeff LaMondia (8)
    Patrick LaMondia ‡ (5)
    Eric Spurgeon † (6)
    Louise Glew † (6)
    Harry David † (7)
    Phillip Ferentino (7)
    Angela Tortomase (7)
    Anthony Tortomase † (6)
    Jose Valenzuela ‡ (7)
    Viviana Valenzuela (8)
    Austin Yuill (8)
    Kelly Bragnan (10)
    Patrick Buckingham (9)
    Alex Byaly (10)
    Charles McPillan † (11)
    Erin McPillan † (10)
    Zachary Sarver (8)
    PEACH (41) PERIWINKLE (48) PINK (60) VIOLET (24)
    Tom Fulton † (6)
    Bryan Leclair † (7)
    Sean Molley † (7)
    John Richardson † (7)
    Brian Schoner † (7)
    Greg Watson † (7)
    Tanner Bain (8)
    Trina Crowdus (7)
    Kelly Hollingsworth (10)
    Allison Miller † (7)
    Deana Schnuelle (8)
    Mary Grace West (8)
    Anne Daniels (9)
    Todd Daniels (9)
    Kyle Fritz † (7)
    Michael Hollingsworth (11)
    David Jarrell † (9)
    Paul Rundle ‡ (5)
    Andrew Thomas † (10)
    Jeffrey Harris † (6)
    Robert Hutchinson † (6)
    Jeff Schwartz † (6)
    Ben Smith † (6)
    "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. If you want me to add your name to the Un-teamed list, email me and let me know an email by which prospective teams can contact you.

    • No un-teamed players at this time.

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


    Puzzles will be of a pretty standard format. There will be nearly two dozen of them and teams will get them all up front, after solving the Opening Puzzle (which will take place at kickoff in the park across the street from my house at 10:00 AM). Most of the puzzles will lead teams to locations around Auburn where they will find stickers displaying certain decorated egg icons (a "Clutch-of-Eggs"). Here is a sample Clutch-of-Eggs sticker:

    An online team dashboard/console will be available online through which players enter those eggs descriptions for that particular puzzle. By doing so, they will earn a certain number of points for their team. A few puzzles may be a bit different: presenting teams with an optimization or physical challenge in which they try to maximize a problem to earn some number of points.

    As usual, puzzles will encompass a wide variety of types: wordplay, numbers, manipulative/physical puzzles, cryptic ones, and plenty of running around town.

    Of course, there may be meta/secret/hidden puzzles as well.

    The team with the most Points at the end of the Hunt will win.


    Most of the puzzles will be worth a base 100 Points for the first team to solve it. After the puzzle has been solved by one team, its value will be reduced for other teams at the rate of 1 Point for every 12 minutes (5 Points per hour) after the initial solve time. You are allowed multiple attempts when submitting Clutches-of-Eggs for an answer, but you will receive a penalty of -1 Point for each incorrect submission (whether from bad guessing or careless data entry).

    Basic puzzles that do not follow this scoring scheme will have their values explained clearly in their instructions.

    All scoring by teams will be halted at 2:00 am Sunday morning (the end of the puzzlehunt).


    You may, for any of the puzzles, request a hint if your team feels it is completely stuck. To receive a hint for a puzzle a team member must come to my house. Upon arrival tell me what puzzle you need help on, and I will ask how far you've gotten on it. I will try to get as good a feel as possible as to where you are in the solving process of that puzzle so that I can give you a valuable hint (without just giving you the answer). Once I have the necessary information, and if I feel I have a worthy hint to give, I will ask if you want to receive it. When you definitely state that yes, you want the hint, I will tell it to you.

    Hints will cost your team Points. The number of Points subtracted from your team's score will be randomly determined by rolling a number of dice equal to which number hint this is for your team (i.e. the first hint will demand one 6-sided die be rolled, the second hint -- regardless of whether for the same or a different puzzle -- will require two dice to be rolled, etc). The player receiving the hint will roll the dice as I watch, and I will deduct the Points (you will soon see it on your team's dashboard).

    You may request multiple hints for the same puzzle (which will necessitate multiple dice rolls, of course). I do not guarantee that my hints will be crystal clear, but they will be relevant.


    Here are some recommendations:

    The Trophies

    Trophies will be particularly special this year but won't be revealed until the day of the Hunt.