Shortlog - a log of everyday things
We sent out the post-puzzlehunt survey. A couple interesting notes from the responses so far (N=25):
- Most comments were very positive overall. There's probably some amount of selection bias, but this is a good sign.
- Participants would us to spend our budget on food, shirts, and prizes in that order. Some suggested that a monetary prize would make the hunt too competitive, and that we should stick to nonmonetary prizes. Perspicacity (the team that won) thought the medals that we lasercut were really nice. Looks like we nailed this one.
- Most of the people who sent us feedback said that they plan to participate again next year. Of those that indicated otherwise, all but one said that they wouldn't participate because they wouldn't be at Berkeley. This is also excellent.
- About 40% of the respondents had played in last year's hunt; the other 60% had not (which bodes well for hunt growth over time)
- People thought everything ran very smoothly. Which, for the most part, it did. At least after 2pm. The morning was a bit rough, but I don't think anyone outside HQ would have noticed.
- Participants rated the overall difficulty of the hunt as follows:
- 1 respondent felt it was slightly too easy
- 16 felt it was just right
- 7 felt it was slightly too hard
- 1 felt it was much too hard
- There was much discussion on hints:
- Several teams commented on how hints seemed much easier (or too easy) to get. This was actually pretty close to what we had in mind from the get-go: teams that needed hints would have plenty and wouldn't get permanently stuck and would still have fun, whereas teams that didn't need them could think a bit more, and feel of themselves for solving the puzzles without aid. Furthermore, it provides a nice dial for HQ to spin if people aren't solving puzzles fast enough to finish the hunt in time, or a way to give an extra nudge to stuck teams without having to spend too much time on the phone (which was a problem with the hints system last year). After our planned timeline slipped by over an hour, we felt justified in nudging everyone along a little - apologies if the hints weren't really needed.
- One suggestion offered was to have a "hints" division and a "no hints" division. This is a very interesting proposal * as a larger puzzlehunt culture forms at Berkeley, the hunt will have to cater to an even wider range of puzzlesolving skill levels, and I could definitely see this being a helpful way to keep the hunt fun for all parties. Furthermore, it could give stronger teams a stronger social incentive to try to solve puzzles without hints.
- Another suggestion was to make it possible to buy just the last hint in a set - most teams were successful in figuring out the first steps to a puzzle, and they'd get stuck on the final extraction, but would have to buy all three hints to get there.
- Lunch was appreciated, but noted as "a bit chaotic." It looks like in hindsight we hadn't ordered quite enough pizza for the second batch or late arrivers. Some grad students wished we'd had something less greasy. The undergrads uniformly appreciated the free food.
- People were a little frustrated with a couple aspects of certain parts of the hunt (I'm being vague again because of the rerun). Feedback noted; we'll try to avoid doing the same thing next year and at the rerun.
- The website got multiple comments of approval. AHHH THEY LIKED IT THEY LIKED IT!!
- "Extremely well done. I was really impressed by the web organization."
- "Things went pretty well all around. The website worked well, the presentation was fun, and I love my medallion. :)"
- "The interface was easy to navigate and the length of the hunt was enjoyable"
- "Interface was great. No complaints at all. Well-organized."
All in all, I think the writers, assistants, and solvers all had a fantastic
experience. And that's something to be proud of.