Microsoft Puzzle Hunt

February 14, 2007 at 4:44 pm | Posted in Microsoft | 4 Comments

It has been a while since I posted due to a severe lack of free time. But today I will tell you about an event at Microsoft that I participated in. It is called a Puzzle Hunt, where basically you make a team of 12 players and then you have to solve puzzles as part of a ‘story’ to get to the final prize. The theme for this year was ‘Atlantis’ and you have 36 hours from the start to finish it. It’s not ONLY about sitting in a room solving puzzles. Frequently you figure out a clue and are required to go somewhere and do something.

 My initial team had a few drop-outs and lack of interest by people – so we merged with another team. We met together at like 8.30am on Saturday (!!!) and began doing the Puzzles. One thing I noticed is some of these puzzles were REALLY REALLY obscure. For example, sometimes you are given a bunch of pictures and no instructions whatsoever and are supposed to figure out an answer. In some cases we were given a CD or some audio and expected to figure things out.

Some of my favorite puzzles though was one where we were given very rough sketches of some Microsoft buildings. When we go to those buildings and stand at the same angle as the artist, we see some letters posted in the Windows of the building. You put them in the sketch (which has some numbers) and then line up the letters according to the numbers – You get a message that says ‘Back of Poster of the Second most popular in Message’ (very roughly). We look at the back of one of the posters of the second most popular letter in the message (S) and we found a picture of the Parthenon (which was the answer).

 Another one of my favorites involved a message telling us to take a swim in the pro club gym (Note: we had to derive this message from a puzzle, but I won’t bore you with the details)…Anyway, Meshref and I went to the gym to “take a swim” 🙂 There were some discs hidden at the bottom of the pool which we needed to collect in order to solve the answer (which we got!). It was great.

 In the end we managed to solve around 17 Puzzles I believe (out of maybe like 50). We also placed 58 out of 75 teams (not so bad considering we didnt have a full team (mainly 6 active people and they ask for a team of 12!) and that many of us were first-timers)…



  1. WOW ^_^…cool stuff ali ;), that’s very interstring….i hope to be part of the team next time 😉

    BTW, how frequent such events occur!?…one a year?

    and, out of curiosity, what is the prize? 😀

  2. It was a lot of fun – although some people think Puzzles and get turned off. I consider it more of a mix between treasure hunt and Puzzles (hence the name Puzzle Hunt :P)

    There was a reality TV Show I liked called Treasure Hunters ( which I felt this was similar to.

    It is supposed to happen once a year, although it has been 15 months since the last Puzzle Hunt. Also, in some cases it has happened twice in one year. It’s basically whenever the organizers are done making the puzzles 🙂

    As for the prize….its solving the final puzzle 🙂 Actually, the winning team does get a small toy (big prizes are usually not a good idea as they are considered income and you get taxed) plus, there are significant costs associated with the Puzzle Hunt and its free to join, so any significant prize wouldn’t be good for the organizer’s budget (remember 12 people in a team as well)…Besides, you will never win anyway – so don’t worry about it 😉

  3. Actually the frequency should go up to about twice a year. The general rule is that the team that wins the Hunt hosts the next one (although it isn’t required), but that rule is changing to the team that wins runs the hunt after the next hunt. The ScruBBers were already into planning Puzzlehunt 11 before Puzzlehunt 10 even occurred. Going forward, the winner of the odd numbered hunts will host the next odd numbered hunt, and the same for even numbers. The goal of this is to give the organizers a year to plan, but the community gets a Hunt every 6 months or so.

  4. Thanks Richard. That’s great to hear actually 🙂

    I’ll be looking forward to the next one soon then!

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