Personality types and exit games

Myers-Briggs types. Adapted from, released under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Click for larger version.

Some people put a lot of stock in the Myers-Briggs personality types. Other people compare it to a modern-day form of astrology, with all sixteen types being desirable in their own way and people choosing to self-identify with the commentary from their specific type through a process of self-directed cold reading. I tend to be somewhat more towards the latter end of the spectrum – but then, as an INTP, I would say that.

That said, I did enjoy the summary of the INTP type. It’s quite possible that if you’re a MB person, you might have been able to see it coming through in this blog; “They love patterns ((…)) people with the INTP personality type tend to share thoughts that are not fully developed, using others as a sounding board for ideas and theories in a debate against themselves rather than as actual conversation partners“. Guilty as charged.

I also enjoyed the graphic at the top of the Prelude Character Analysis page for the personality type, being a certain sort of logic puzzle. It probably shouldn’t be a surprise that I thought “I recognise that puzzle – and I like it”! It might also explain why this blog keeps a diffuse focus in puzzle adventures and tries to interest people in logic puzzle competitions.

So this post is principally directed towards those who do tend to give credence to personality typing, specifically the MB types; if this isn’t for you, there’ll be another post along tomorrow.

Do exit games tend to attract certain sorts of personality types? Do certain sorts of puzzles in exit games tend to attract certain sorts of personality types? Is there any social science, pseudoscience or just plain tried-and-tested anecdotal received wisdom over why certain sorts of puzzles – irrespective of the quality and originality with which that puzzle is implemented – tend to play well with the sorts of people who would pay money to play an exit game? Could sites do more to help people find which of the several games they offer they would most enjoy based on players’ personality types? (Right, that’s almost enough underdeveloped theories for one post, you lovely sounding-board.)

I also enjoyed reading this recent Escape Games Review post, hinting at an exit game, themed around the Seven Deadly Sins, where every team member started off in a sin-themed mini-room of their own which they had to escape solo before they could work together towards a group victory. Could there some day be an exit game where players had individual puzzles to solve that were tailored towards their personality types – either to play to their strengths, or to force them to overcome their weaknesses?

Now open in Dublin: Adventure Rooms

Adventure Rooms Dublin logoThis site has mentioned the global Adventure Rooms brand in passing previously; a quick trip down a Wikipedia rabbit-hole suggested that they had now expanded to branded rooms in ten or eleven countries, putting them among the world’s most widely spread exit game brands – maybe at the very top, maybe joint top, maybe merely very near the top, further research is necessary. One of these countries, as of earlier in the month, is Ireland; Adventure Rooms Dublin‘s “About Us” page quotes a launch date of March 15th.

The site has a single sixty-minute game, “The Original Swiss Adventure“, which can be played either by one team of two to six or, in “duel” mode, by two teams each of three to five. This site couldn’t swear that the same thing has to apply here, but previously having written about a duel mode at Adventure Rooms in Kitchener in Canada, it might be that the same structure applies for duel games here as over there. The Adventure Rooms Canada blog also has more about the background of the Adventure Rooms operation; fascinating to read the creation story.

Room Escape Artist also reviewed the Swiss Original game at Adventure Rooms in another country still; while there’s no guarantee that the games will be the same in Dublin as the US, the site spoke highly of the cool equipment that the game contained and the way that the puzzles could be solved in a number of different ways. You can find other reviews elsewhere still.

An organisation with such a breadth of experience should be able to learn from its mistakes and spread global best practice quickly and effectively. It’s clear that the Adventure Rooms operation at large has some pretty cool ideas going on; it’s not so clear which combination of cool concepts that it has pulled out to play in Dublin, or which other twists it might bring to the table in the future when more rooms are added. This site looks forward very much to reading reviews and learning what people think!

Looking forward to DASH and more from north to south

DASH logoWhat are you doing on May 30th? If you don’t have FA Cup final tickets and you’re not competing in the London Triathlon, and if you’re not getting married, then you may well want to participate in the seventh iteration of the DASH puzzle hunt, set to take place in London, Montreal and over a dozen cities in the US. The official account has tweeted that “We’ll be opening up registration at the end of March” so time to finalise your team in preparation – or to work out if you want to help run the event instead.

Next scheduled opening is The Room of Glasgow, set to open on Friday and still offering attractive-looking discounts on the regular prices for another week. This site enjoyed reading this preview from playtesters and also a report from STV Glasgow. Very interesting to see mention of a future design intended to be played by couples, as well as the known-about Mansion Room, set to be playable by parties as large as 16. Thinking big and thinking small? There may well be a lot to look forward to from this site yet!

Salisbury Escape officially opened yesterday; the site has already earned glowing early reviews, presumably from playtesters, not that there’s anything unusual in that, and a revealing article courtesy of Spire FM. This site looks forward to more and more reviews for their first game, Magna Carta Challenge, coming in as well as seeing more times on their leaderboard. This site doesn’t often promote things without puzzles, but it looks extremely tempting to double up a trip to Salisbury for an escape with a visit to hugely exciting-looking Friday night pinball club Special When Lit which may well live up to its name.

Jamming the odds and ends in

Jars of jam

Right behind these lovely-looking jars of jam is a jar of game jam. (Maybe it’s more of a preserve.) Specifically, it’s the Escape Room Game Jam held at MIT, probably the world’s coolest university, in the Boston area this weekend. It’s organised by the MIT Game Lab in affiliation with Red Bull; the link is clearer when it becomes available that teams will be creating escape room content “escape room based around a moment in a upcoming film”, with the film being DxM, the “second project from Red Bull Media House’s recently launched feature film division CineMater“. The boffo Variety magazine calls the film a “high-octane thriller based around the possibilities of quantum mechanics“. Sounds cool, though it’s not possible to measure precisely how cool without changing how cool it is.

This whole Game Jam is really exciting, not least because of the articles it has already generated. One of the co-writers and producer of the film, Joanne Reay, writes that “the next generation of Escape Room will offer a compelling narrative in which an understanding of the story-world delivers an added advantage and insight into the solving of the clues“. Quite possibly so; this site doesn’t believe there is a single future for exit games, but this definitely sounds like part of the future and one that a great many players would surely appreciate in their games. If it’s an aspect that is to be emphasised in this particular Game Jam then the results will be enticing indeed.

Additionally – and this is particularly interesting – Konstantin Mitgutsch, Affiliate Researcher at the MIT Game Lab, writes, advancing the state of the art, on the topic of turning escaping from exit games into a competitive sport. There’s definitely scope for expansion in at least a couple of ways here: first, how might these general principles be applied to other sorts of puzzle-based live adventures; second, how might Escape Room Malaysia’s Escape Run 2014 event compare in practice to the theory? (Are there any other events that might be compared? This site can’t think of any, but you may well know better…) Certainly if you were an operator thinking of running something yourself in the future, there’s the theory to consider.

The speakers at the Game Jam have remarkable sets of qualifications; the same page suggests that the event is set to be filmed. The designs produced are set to be released under a Creative Commons licence; hopefully, the filming will extend to the speakers and their talks will be released as well. If the content released does go on to be used in a pop-up game supporting DxM, then Red Bull will have probably done quite well in terms of getting considerable development expertise at the cost of enabling a single Game Jam – but the Game Jam material’s release will mean that the world at large will have done well from it too, and gratitude should be given to Red Bull and the MIT Game Lab for that.

A couple of other odds and ends outstanding: thank you to everybody who made a submission to the site survey released to celebrate its first birthday. There were more than twice as many responses as there were for the previous such survey (after a hundred posts) and it represents greater commitment to go and fill in a survey on another site, so this does represent progress. Particular thanks to those who offered additional commentary in the text box section, which will not be addressed here, but the responses were very much appreciated.

  • About a quarter of respondents are in the exit game business and another quarter have their own blog on the topic, so the proportion of “pure players” is just under a half. The suggests that no matter how many people visit the site just for the big map at the top and to find a site location, it takes quite a degree of commitment to scroll further down and read the blog articles, let alone respond to the poll.
  • Nearly 60% are more interested in exit game posts than anything else, nearly 30% are more interested in puzzle hunt posts than anything else, with some clicking both and some neither, which is fine; plenty of reason to keep things varied, but good to get such a clear indication of what you think the main attraction is.
  • The geographic questions were not so well-designed on this site’s part, but it looks like nearly a quarter of respondents are from Greater London, nearly a quarter from the North-West of England, just under 20% from the UK or Ireland but outside both hubs and just over a third from outside the UK and Ireland.

Finally, this site has captured a second quarterly set of live price data towards producing an estimated exit game inflation rate, and with rather a better idea than it had three months ago about what should be in the basket. Still far too early to attempt to quote a meaningful inflation rate, though, but the general trends based on very few data points are that London launch prices are varying at both the high and low ends compared to prior practice, and provincial launch prices are trending slightly lower.

Themed Thursday: Betrayal

Betrayal: the Kiss of JudasOh, dear. Even when this site tries to do a Themed Thursday, it comes out looking like a Mechanics Monday that missed the boat.

Themed Thursday is an exit game blog initiative whereby anybody who feels so inclined is invited to propose the contents of an exit game, in some way, shape or form, prompted by a specific topic. Last week, the topic proposed at QMSM for discussion this week was betrayal and has brought forward a thought from the back burner.

This will be a relatively rare supposition, but imagine that you are with an experienced team of exit game players and you have played most of the games at your favourite site. You’ve deliberately chosen which one, or ones, to leave because they’re advertised as being towards the easier end of the scale, and you fear that you won’t get your money’s worth. How can you make an easy game more of a challenge?

Many of you may remember The Mole, an originally Belgian constructed-reality game show in which a team take on a succession of challenges. However, one member of the team is the eponymous Mole and attempting to betray the others into not completing them successfully, while also attempting to keep their identity secret. The show has been running for a good fifteen series in the Netherlands and yet is as popular as ever.

Putting it together, is there a way to make an easy exit game more challenging by introducing a teammate who is incentivised to betray the others while keeping their identity secret? Here’s an attempt to codify one. Much as the individual challenges in The Mole only really worked in context of the overarching metagame, this needs some out-of-game structure to implement it, and here it has been posed in the reasonably familiar context of a gambling game with drinks at stake. As ever, don’t bet with money you can’t afford to lose (but if you can afford to play an exit game, you evidently do have some resources…) and this site doesn’t endorse drunkenness. Here’s a bombshell: I don’t even drink.

To play an exit game with a betrayer, you need at least a team of at least three players. Tear a sheet of paper into a number of roughly identical pieces, one more than the number of players. Mark one of these pieces with a cross and the rest with circles. Screw up all these pieces of paper and jumble them in a container so that it is unclear which one has the cross. Each player takes a paper, leaving one left over.

All players secretly look at the symbol on their paper, then keep hold of it until the end of the game. The player with the paper with the cross is the betrayer. (It is quite possible that there may not be a betrayer.) The team then play this ostensibly easy exit game and the betrayer’s aim is to prevent the team from succeeding in time, without being identified as the betrayer. Every player who isn’t the betrayer wants to try to convince the others that they are the betrayer.

Once the game is complete, every player individually votes as to who the betrayer was, then every player reveals their vote and their piece of paper. Any player who cannot present their own paper at the end of the game has lost and must buy the others a round of drinks. Trying to make other players lose their papers is slightly too dirty play for even this game… unless there has been acceptance beforehand that it isn’t. Voting for yourself, not voting at all, or any other sort of voting malpractice, are also offences that are penalised by buying a round of drinks.

If the team succeeds at the room, each player bets one drink against the betrayer as to whether their vote can identify the betrayer’s identity correctly or not. A correct identification earns the player a drink from the betrayer, an incorrect identification earns the betrayer a drink from the player – and the player must also buy a drink for whoever they incorrectly nominated as the betrayer.

If the team doesn’t succeed at the room, the bet is shifted in the betrayer’s favour. If more than half of the non-betrayers identify the betrayer correctly, the betrayer buys the others a round of drinks. (Exact 50% splits are broken in the betrayer’s favour.) Otherwise, every player whose vote does not correctly identify the betrayer must buy a drink for the betrayer and another for whoever they nominated – and a successful betrayer who isn’t voted for at all deserves to be bought drinks all night.

If the team doesn’t succeed at the room and it turns out that there wasn’t a betrayer at all, you’d better all just drink to forget…

One becomes two

Jupiter symbolThis all-purpose symbol for cheating at Sudoku is used here to represent the concept of one becoming two. A third-century alchemist once wrote “Naughty, naughty, ve One becomes two, two becomes three, and out of the third comes the one as the fourth“. Let’s hope that exit games up and down the land can perform their own alchemy as their one room is joined by a second, so that players who came and enjoyed a site’s first room have a reason to visit a second time.

Lost and Escape of Newcastle have opened their second room, The Lost Treasure. It’s a big game, at 75 minutes in duration, designed for teams of 3-7 players and the charge is £25 per person. The Ruby Heart, one of the treasures in national museum, is stolen by Mr. Evil. You, the secret agent, are asked to bring it back tonight. Can you complete the mission? The web site suggests that an unusual degree of physical agility will be required, so especially if you have a parkour or capoiera fan who fancied themselves one of (specifically) Ocean’s Twelve then this may be the one for you. Additionally, on their Facebook page, the site announced that there’s 20% off until the 15th of April.

The Great Escape Game of Sheffield opened their second room a week or so ago – and, with it, refreshed their web site. The Great Escape Game run 45-minute missions; their second room, Homicide, is their first six-player room, and especially cheap with a full complement of six; play before 5pm on a Weekday and a team of six is charged just £12.42/player (including the 3½% booking fee). Like the Saw series? You’ll love this! You and your team of federal secret agents have had an anonymous call from what you suspect to be a serial killer. There has been strange on goings for a while and the suspect has been leaving pieces of puzzle at every crime scene as a taunt. It is now your mission to put an end to all of this and save Sheffield; however when you arrive at this particular crime scene address something peculiar happens…

Lock’d of south-east London have unlock’d their second room, Museum Warehouse. One key harder (4/5 rather than 3/5) than their first room, this 60-minute 3-5-player game suggests Somebody is going to take out of the country five unique masterpieces from City Museum Warehouse. You have to find way into the warehouse, find all the objects and discreetly get out during one hour. This hints at five sequences of puzzles to solve during your team’s hour. Teams of three pay £77 flat rate, teams of four £88 and teams of five £99.

GR8escape York have similarly gone from a self-assessed difficulty level of 3/5 for their first room to 4/5 for their second. Teams of two to six can play their New York Room where the team, seeking to earn a detective’s role within the NYPD, search a possible crime scene. The local police department have found the apartment of master diamond thief Bugsy Bronxton who is believed to have stolen the famous Manhattan Star Diamond. The NYPD have been given a search warrant to look for the stolen diamond. ((…)) You will need to work with your rookie partners to search everywhere in the apartment. There will be clues and hints but you will need to work out how they fit together to succeed ((… and …)) find that missing diamond within 60 minutes. The room is so new that its top ten leaderboard only shows nine teams having completed it successfully, but even the fastest teams will get quite a full hour for their money. Teams of 2-3 pay £48, teams of 4 pay £58 and teams of 5-6 pay £68.

There are also rooms where opening dates have been announced and booking is open prior to their launch. Escape Quest of Macclesfield’s second room, from April 1st, will be Amazon Escape. You and your team of intrepid explorers have entered the Amazon rainforest in search of unchartered areas of land. Inadvertently you have crossed into territory occupied by the Keeyhidi tribe, some of the last remaining cannibals left in the world today; you are immediately captured and thrown into the cage you now find yourselves in. The tribe have a very special celebration planned when one of their men will marry a girl from the neighbouring Yohfindy tribe, giving you and your team an opportunity to escape. The ceremony starts with a visit to the Yohfindy village to collect the girl. It’s a 30 minute walk away, so I’d estimate that you have an hour to make your escape. It’s a game for teams of three to six, charging £57, £72, £80 or £90 depending on the size of the team. The site has been very effective at trickling information about their game out on social media; the world knows that there are tonnes of sand in the room, hinting at a relatively physcial game, and a unique ten-foot waterfall. Even if the flow there may be relatively low, the stereotypical image of colonial explorers points at pith helmets and some sort of headgear might just be a good idea.

Looking a little further ahead still, Can You Escape of Edinburgh have announced that their second game will be Operation Odyssey. Their site reveals more: The International Space Station and its escape pod have been hit by an asteroid shower and they have both sustained serious damage. The bad news is that the escape pod is the only way home, there is a crew on board the ISS who are depending on you to get it fixed. Can you step up and be part of the elite Space Cadets Squad that must race against the clock to restore the escape pod. You and your team will have one hour to repair it to working order before the next asteroid shower strikes. It’s in your hands, Can You Escape? The game can be booked from April 16th; teams of two are charged £40, threesomes £55, foursomes £60, fivesomes £65 and sixsomes £70.

Looking furthest ahead, Escape Rooms Plymouth have only announced theme but not yet a date for their second room, Bizzarro Quest. This “quest to the pharcyde” invites your team of three to six to step into an intoxicating world of bizarreness. Can you make your way out in under 60 minutes? Can you make head or tale of up or down? This fun, crazy game will be sure to test your wits but bamboozle your senses as it does. The prices are £45 for three, £56 for four, £65 for five and £72 for six. Looking forward to reading some more specifics before long.

Fingers crossed that the alchemist of old is onto something and that as one has become two, two does go on to become three, then many more…

Late March news

"Top News" newspaperSome news stories today, some expanding sites tomorrow.

The most recent episode of the On Board Games podcast has Prof. Scott Nicholson discussing, among other things, the world of exit games and his recent white paper arising from his survey. It’s extremely clear that he’s found out so much that doesn’t fit into the confines of at least his first white paper and plenty more of it comes up in casual conversation. Well worth listening to.

The Kickstarter campaign for Enigma Escape (not to be confused with Enigma Escape Rooms of Colorado or Enigma Escapes, plural, of Winnpeg) is still in progress; as a Staff Pick, it has attracted more attention and is almost 40% funded with two weeks to go. The campaign has recently announced that one of the site’s principals will be livestreaming a webinar at 8:30pm tonight on “Raising Your Limited Life Standards“, with specific reference to the establishment of Enigma Escape.

Clue Finders of Liverpool recently earnt a mention as item number 44 of 50 fantastic family ideas for Easter, an article within the Event supplement of the Mail on Sunday. Exit games aren’t just for Easter, or for families with teenagers, but certainly it’s one of the many different good fits that exist. This site was delighted to read that the mention has attracted a lot of attention!

Can You Escape of Edinburgh recently earnt a place as one of the five finalists for the Scotland’s Favourite Family Day Out category of the Scottish Entertainment & Hospitality Awards for 2015! It’s up against well-established competition, but it was tough to get to the final five. Fingers crossed that this, too, attracts more attention as well.

Tomorrow’s post will concern a number of sites growing from one game to two, but here’s news of a site which has refreshed its single game: ESCAP3D of Belfast, one of the very earliest sites of them all, has a new room, Paulina’s Revenge. The site suggests the game now caters for parties of three two eight, and suggests you might usefully brush up on your basic chemistry knowledge. Sounds like a plan if you don’t want your trip to their room to end with a BOOM!

Mechanics Monday: Could an exit game change the way you see the world?

Thoughts that rush through your headThe counterpart question to this is: has there ever been an exit game worth playing that didn’t change the way you see the world? Part of the appeal of many forms of entertainment is to help people feel good about themselves, and part of the appeal of puzzles, in whatever form, is that you can delight yourself by looking at a puzzle, thinking “I’ll never solve that”, then finding a way to solve it and prove yourself more capable than you thought.

Taking this further: is it plausible, and would it be cost-effective, that some charity, or some political party, or some cause might stage an exit game with the aim to deliberately raise a certain set of emotions in their players, or to change their misconceptions? Could an exit game set out to raise empathy with a particular group? All things are possible – a deliberate message to help people think about the human condition, as expressed through the medium of a live-action adventure with a time limit, might see the exit game as art rather than as craft. The challenge is whether one that could be made that worked on sufficiently many levels that it could be a stand-alone commercial proposition, rather than just an unusually participative medium through which to convey a message. Similarly, could there be such a thing as a flash (not Flash) exit game based on a recent news story? (Exit games based more generally on larger topics are well-known, such as “Cold War” stories.)

The history of art has been full of such position pieces, and the recent explosion in playable art has been no exception: arguable examples might include Blast Theory‘s Desert Rain, the National Theatre Wales’ Border Game, maybe Punchdrunk’s It Felt Like A Kiss. When the borders between different methods of expression are so blurred, it’s surely only a matter of time until someone comes up with something that identifiably has the exit game nature, or at least a decision mechanic to differentiate success from failure and provide an appropriate conclusion.

Let’s take an example. There’s no “this site” about what I’m about to say; this is a rare personal opinion. I am massively pro- migration, both immigration and emigration, more strongly so than any of the mainstream political parties in this country. (This is not really a subject appropriate for discussion in the comments, and unusual prejudice in this regard will be excised as I feel necessary. We’ll get back onto less controversial ground tomorrow.) As one starting-point, immigration has been massively positive for the exit game industry; furthermore, I conjecture that there is a positive correlation between exit games’ success in a city and that city’s willingness to accept and embrace migrants.

Without getting too partisan, and recognising that there are subtleties on all sides that cannot be included in a single paragraph, much of the current UK political rhetoric of the day is anti-immigrant, and some believe that recent immigrants are given immense practical advantages. It would be fascinating for an exit game to exist to provide a ludic version of the immigration experience – how difficult the language barrier is, how unforgiving the bureaucracy is, how expensive the process is, how disaffecting the attitudes of the unquestioning and misinformed are, how terrible and fearful the penalty that the enforcement officers are given to apply is.

Hopefully it could open a few people’s eyes – and stand up on its own merits as an exit game as well.

Coming soon to London: Time Run

Time Run logoThanks to Ken and The Nudge for this one; another exit game is coming to London soon. Tickets are available now, and booking is open for 23rd April to 2nd August, except Mondays.

As suggested above, the game is called Time Run and it concerns the (mis?)adventures of Luna Fox, time travel pioneer, and the upbeat robotic assistant she built, Babbage. The location will have two identical versions of the first game, The Lance of Longinus, described as “for groups of 3-5 people. You and your team will be sent on an action-packed, 60-minute quest across history, in pursuit of a mysterious artefact (…) The object you seek is powerful – a long-forgotten relic, thought to be lost in the midsts of time. If it were to fall into the wrong hands, it could be catastrophic: your intervention is of vital importance“. There are some similarities with the story used in at least one other exit game. Gorgeous, evocative characters, though.

The location is in Hackney in north-east London, in a part of the city where the Underground dare not go. It’s close to a railway station called London Fields, which made this site think for a minute “London Fields? Never heard of it… ah, wait, this must somehow be a Google map of an alternate universe London from another time; huh, that’s pretty cool”. However, no, it’s real – it’s two stops from Bethnal Green, in the general direction of Seven Sisters. The web site is high-end, and the characters are tremendous. The price is also high-end to match: £29/player plus VAT, though just £24/player plus VAT on weekdays before 5pm.

It’s worth looking at the history of the people behind the project. A name linked with the project is Josh Ford, who ran the boutique festival Winterwell for eight years. More recently, he ran a pop-up crazy golf course, Swingers, in a warehouse in Shoreditch, that received high praise from those who know for the course, as well as for the A-list of street food vendors that were attracted. There’s a common thread here whereby Ford is not afraid to close things down once they’ve run their course, so maybe better not to flutter with the announced end of the 15-week run; however, the site’s FAQ does hint that more missions are being developed, and the game’s story would surely permit Luna to go on many more adventures over time.

Perhaps the part of the body of prior work that is most intriguing is that Ford and company ran Who Stole The Tarts? in a previous year: a one-off investigative journey where guests will be invited to solve the mystery to unlock the entrance to a fabulous hidden world. Following riddles and finding secret rooms, all those involved will have the chance to find the true culprit, advise the jury, make the sentence and order the punishment. Now that’s definitely the sort of prior experience to have if you want to get the world very excited about what you might be able to do in the context of an exit game.

Coming up this weekend: the UK Open Sudoku and UK Open Puzzle Tournaments

Selsdon Park HotelThis post is a little closer to a repeat than usual, but it’s an important topic and there’s easily sufficient new information to be worth a nudge.

As previously discussed, this weekend sees the UK Puzzle Association‘s annual UK Open tournaments in sudoku and puzzles. At the top end, this event will qualify two members of each UK team for October’s World Championships in puzzles and sudoku, this year taking place in Sudoku Sofia (what a Freudian slip)! in Bulgaria. For the rest of us, it’s a weekend of good company and fun in-person puzzle competitions.

The sudoku tournament happens on the Saturday between 10:30am and 3pm; the puzzle tournament has its first session between 4pm and 6:30pm on Saturday and its second session between 10am and 4pm on Sunday. There will be a communal meal after the Saturday session and the reports of the catering from the World Championships (and the previous year’s UK Open) were very favourable.

The instruction booklets for the four rounds of the sudoku competition and the six rounds of the puzzle competition have been published. They look superb. Additionally, there are two team rounds, the details of which are yet to be published. Round six of the puzzle competition looks particularly interesting: standard examples of eight different puzzle formats, but the gimmick is that you go on to transfer your answers to the grid of a metapuzzle, which can then be solved for extra points.

In-person puzzle events are always fun; this one particularly caters for those towards the competitive end of the scale. It’s very probably too late to get involved this year, but if you haven’t done so already, do take a look and see if it tickles your fancy. (This site eagerly – and jealously – awaits reports of just how much fun it turned out to be!) There’s always next year for the next in-person UK Open, and there will also be the online UK championships in puzzles and sudoku coming up, probably over the next two or three months.