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Posted (edited)

"That took longer," says the white-haired man, "than I expected. I'm terribly sorry."


Welcome, one and all, to the third and fourth rounds of the Sanderson Puzzlehunt! Signups are now open to both new and returning players. For those unfamiliar for what this is, there is a description of it in the spoiler below:

Spoiler
  • What do you mean, a puzzle?

A puzzle is anything with hidden information, like a crossword, a grid of sudoku, or even (Adonalsium forbid) a math(s) puzzle.

  • So you've made a bunch of crosswords and math puzzles?

Quite the opposite - there will be no math puzzles and crosswords (unless we see overwhelming demand for them. Let me know!) These are puzzles of an altogether different variety. They could be a series of images, descriptions of certain Sanderson scenes, quotes from characters, audio clips, coded messages, or anything that hides information. In a crossword, the aim is to completely fill out the grid. In a puzzlehunt, the solution is a word or phrase that you need to uncover. Lateral thinking is just as important as logical thinking, and you may need to research Cosmere material to help in your solving. However, some puzzles may not require any Cosmere knowledge at all! The variety is part of the fun.

Another important note - there are no or few instructions. Working out what to do is part of the puzzle.

  • That sounds difficult.

Don't worry!

 1) The early puzzles have been designed to be accessible to people with little puzzle-solving ability.
 2) You're not alone - you're working with a team! One person might not recognize that the photos all describe historical Rithmatist duels, but four people will be able to work it out.
 3) There will be a hints system - you can use a hint to ask a question to help with your solving. This is supposed to be fun, so if you're stuck we'll do our best to get you moving and keep you in the competition.
 4) The puzzles all have clues about how to solve them within the title and flavortext (the story introduction before the puzzle).

  • So how do I solve the puzzle?

We can't give you any specifics... but:
 1) Read the title and flavortext again. They include... well, clues to solve it.
 2) You don't need to know every step of the process to get started in solving it. If there are a bunch of crossword clues, work out the answers. If there are some photos of people, identify who those people are. Once you have more information, the way forward will probably become apparent.
 3) If you're stuck, ask for help. The hint system is there for a reason, and if a puzzle is too hard for everyone, we'll try and make it easier. The competition is more fun if everyone's solving quickly, instead of being stuck.

  • So when will the hunt start?

Once we've got enough people interested. 

However, this is a special event! There will actually be two rounds of puzzles that will be released to teams in this round. The puzzles in the first round will be designed to be easier and generally more approachable so that newer players can whet their teeth. The second round shall only be available and solvable to the teams with the strongest of wills (coughs obliquely in Team 5's direction).

There may also be other changes and surprises that I'm not telling you about! But you'll just have to play the game to discover them, won't you?

Due to the size of these rounds, team sizes may be larger depending on membership - I will also try to put new players with experienced ones so that they can work alongside people who have been in the puzzle circus before.

The Rules:

Spoiler

In the Sanderson Puzzlehunt, participants are organised into teams who try to complete puzzles in order to gain points and move up the leaderboard in a given round. The puzzles will be released in waves to all participants at once, and further waves will be released once certain conditions are met.
The Hunt Moderator is, was, and in all likelihood forever shall be MetaTerminal.

ORGANISATION
Each team has received a group PM and a Google Doc for them to work in. The Doc is for collaboration about solving a puzzle, including listing information that may be useful or identifying elements. The puzzles are designed to be completed in teams - we recommend against going it alone.
The Team PM is your main avenue for communication with the Hunt Moderator. You should submit answers, hint requests, clarifications, and possible errors through the Team PM. Do NOT submit any of these things through the thread, email, paper mail, telegram, plane banner, TV broadcast, radio advertisement, smoke signals, beacons from Gondor, Seons, telepathy, passenger pigeons, astral projection, inception, or other unauthorised methods of communication unless indicated to do otherwise by a puzzle.

PUZZLES
A puzzle can be anything with encoded or hidden information - a series of images, seemingly random letters, or a group of playing cards or game instructions. Solving a puzzle will require noticing, deciphering, and extracting this information.
The answer to each puzzle is an English word or phrase, usually between 3 and 20 characters. When a team thinks they have the answer to a puzzle, they should submit it in their Team PM (NOT the thread), and will receive confirmation as to whether or not they are correct. If they are correct, they will receive points for solving that puzzle, and no further points can be received for working on it. If incorrect, they are free to continue to work on the puzzle. 
Puzzles will mostly be based on books by Brandon Sanderson, although they may incorporate elements from other areas (such as simple arithmetic or codes). As a general rule, knowledge about yet-unpublished works will not be required for solving.

POINTS
The Hunt Leaderboard lists each team and how many points they have received. Each team starts with 0 points. In the Earth round, a puzzle grants 15 points. Completing a round by solving a metapuzzle grants 25 points.
Puzzles can still be solved and points can still be received after a team solves the metapuzzle for a round. In addition, points can be deducted for serious rule infractions.
There are no point deductions for incorrect answer submissions, unless those submissions break other rules.

HINTS
At any time in the Hunt, teams can use a hint to aid them in their solving. All teams start with 2 hints, and receive 1 more for every two puzzles they complete, or for a long period where they are actively working in the Hunt but make no progress on any puzzle. Exceptions to both giving and withholding hints may be made under the Hunt Moderator’s discretion.
In addition, hints may be more or less stringent depending on where the team is placed on the leaderboard. A team which is in the running for a first or second place will receive very stringent rules for hints (yes/no questions only, and nothing that grants excess or meta information) and hints that are deemed outside these rules will be rejected. A team in last place (depending on the spread of other teams) may be able to request a general and stronger hint to help them get unstuck. 
A rejected hint is not used, and you are free to rephrase the question to fit the breached rules.

PROBLEMS AND BUGS
If you find an issue or error in a puzzle, please report it to the Hunt Moderator. If there is a sizable bug, and the team who found it is the first to do so, the identifying team may receive a reward of an extra hint or a Good Samaritan bonus. If Meta discovers it, he gets nothing. Otherwise he would probably win somehow.

MISCELLANEOUS
Do NOT submit hint requests, answers, puzzle clarifications or found errors in the thread. Submit them in the Team PM.
Do NOT try to brute force puzzle answers. If you’ve narrowed it down to three possibilities, trying each of them is a valid strategy. Submitting every word in the English dictionary until you get the right one is not.
DO be sensible about answer submissions. Don't try anything that you wouldn't be willing to put in a public post.
DO be very kind to fellow competitors and teammates. Especially in the latter case: you're all in it together.
DO read the spoiler on How Do I Solve a Puzzle? These puzzles will most likely be unlike anything you've seen before, unless you played the previous rounds. If it wasn't intended to be helpful I wouldn't have written it.
DO ask for hints and help if you need it. The competition is designed to be fun. If you're not having fun, let me know.

JOKE
DO follow the Act of Animal Inclusion where indicated, under threat of Uno, unless Doris Hill is in Nid; in which case the President must allot nine Eggs to the current Wandering Merchant to restore balance to the game.
Do NOT begin revolutions; French, communist, carousel, Matrix sequel or otherwise. It always ends poorly.
Do NOT read the rules. (Just kidding!)

Answer submissions, hint requests and error reports should take the following rough format (in the Team PM):

  • Puzzle Solver: @MetaTerminal We're submitting the answer ANSWER for the puzzle THIS IS AN EXAMPLE PUZZLE.
  • MetaTerminal: Your submission of ANSWER was correct! THIS IS AN EXAMPLE PUZZLE has been solved. The Leaderboard will be updated shortly.

Given that both Puzzle Solvers and Moderators are generally very lazy, it is unusual for said above wording to be used. 

How do I solve puzzles?

Spoiler
Congratulations. You're looking at a puzzle and have no idea what to do. It's a rite of passage - at some point in their lives, every puzzle-solver will experience it.
However, there are a number of foolproof tricks to fix this situation.
1) Don't panic! These are puzzles. It's okay if you're puzzled by them.
2) Are there things in the puzzle you haven't identified yet? Like a set of pictures? Audio clips? Quotes or phrases? If so, identify them and see what comes up.
3) Read the title and flavour text again. Do they suggest a course of action (maybe looking at things from a certain angle, or sorting data in a certain way) you haven't taken yet? If so, try that.
4) If you've tried something that you think the puzzle is hinting at, but it didn't work, check your work. There will be at least one team that is held up because they mistranscribed a letter. I've been on that team, on multiple occasions. Check your work.
5) Work with other people. Someone else might notice the way forward where you have not - you can also identify things twice as fast. Two heads are always better than one. (Google Docs are great for this.)
6) Finally, if you're completely stuck: ask for a hint. They aren't free candy - you'll only ever get a limited number - but if you can't see a way forward, then a hint is always helpful.

The last two rounds (for looking at sample puzzles and solutions):

(In other, somewhat unrelated news: Puzzle Potluck (a non-Sanderson puzzlehunt run by someone who isn't me) is on June 15 - you may want to organise for your team to join that, depending on your teammates' preferences.)

This event looks to be larger than Earth and Scadrial put together. Therefore, while I would put the ballpark on the first round being completed in two to four days, I have no idea when the final round will be finished. I would be very surprised if someone finished in under a week. Maybe someone will prove me wrong. Regardless, the hunt will begin whenever enough people have signed up, the puzzles are prepared, when the phase of the moon is correct, Sagittarius is waxing, Mars is in fifth house, and most importantly when I feel like it. 

The hunt has begun. Signups are now closed.


Leaderboard:

Spoiler
  1. Team 3 - 65 points
  2. Team 1 - 50 points
  3. Team 2 - 40 points

 

Edited by MetaTerminal
Leaderboard now up in preparation of the round opening.
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Me 2.

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I think I’ll spectate this round, (as I’m likely to disappear from the internet during the middle of it.)

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I'm in!

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I'm in! (Should have more time this time, too)

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My schedule is still busy... but I shouldn't need to pull all nighters to work on this one!

Sign me up!

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I’m in!

can we do some new randomized teams?

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8 minutes ago, Furamirionind said:

My schedule is still busy... but I shouldn't need to pull all nighters to work on this one!

Sign me up!

Hooray for proper sleep cycles!

5 minutes ago, I am a stick!!!!!!!!!!!!!! said:

I’m in!

can we do some new randomized teams?

If people are okay with some shuffling, then I’m happy to. It might be interesting to get different team matchups as well.

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Just now, MetaTerminal said:

If people are okay with some shuffling, then I’m happy to. It might be interesting to get different team matchups as well.

Last time it was 2 teams always in 1st or 2nd place...

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9 minutes ago, I am a stick!!!!!!!!!!!!!! said:

Last time it was 2 teams always in 1st or 2nd place...

Hey! My team fought for those top 2 spots too! : P

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Posted (edited)

Just now, Furamirionind said:

Hey! My team fought for those top 2 spots too! : P

Wait, were you were in one or not?

Edited by I am a stick!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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I was in team 4 from the first puzzlehunt.

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26 minutes ago, I am a stick!!!!!!!!!!!!!! said:

Last time it was 2 teams always in 1st or 2nd place...

That’s fair. I’ll see what I can do.

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Can I join?

 

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8 minutes ago, ebfritz said:

Can I join?

 

Of course! Signups are still open.

Note to self: @Gancho Libre has signed up via a PM.

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OH YEAH!!!

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Can I join the easier round (if I read that right)?

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9 minutes ago, AonEne said:

Can I join the easier round (if I read that right)?

Of course! All teams will play through the first, more accessible round at the same time, regardless of skill. Once the second round is unlocked, teams will have certain options around how they want to approach it, and you can work out with your team whether you want to keep playing.

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Posted (edited)

When is the estimate start time at this point, because I might be able to do the first round.

Edited by Snipexe
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48 minutes ago, Snipexe said:

When is the estimate start time at this point, because I might be able to do the first round.

I initially thought Sunday, but @xinoehp512 expressed wanting to start earlier or later. I’m happy to start anywhere between American Friday and American Sunday. Would earlier be better for you?

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 Yes. Last time I missed the start, so I fell behind. That's why I was so inactive.

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