Q: How many puzzles are there? As many as last years?
A: We're aiming for a shorter overall experience, so there are a little over 12 puzzles in this year's hunt, depending on how you count. (Last year there were 20+ puzzles.)
Q: How exactly will the game be operated?
A: We'll release the starting URL at the starting time. Proceed there and follow the directions to download the puzzles for Round 1, which you can then print. (Most puzzles will be one-two pages each.) When you complete a round, return to the same page to input the requested information to proceed to the next round, which you will then be able to print.
Q: What if I'm playing at a site with several teams?
A: Most likely, the host of your gathering has made copies of all of the puzzles beforehand. In that case, rather than printing out the puzzles when you get a new set, you'll simply ask the host for a copy. However, you should still use the website for verification of correctness, and so that we can have a sense of who's where when.
Q: How do I get the starting location?
A: Log on to AOL Instant Messenger sometime before the start time (we recommend one hour beforehand, though you won't have to sit in front of the computer all that time). If you haven't given Foggy an AOL username for us to reach you at, do so when you get online by messaging user "FoggyB42". We'll add you to a chat room consisting of all teams, in which we'll announce the start location. We'll also post it to the web site, but we can't promise that will happen right away.
Q: What resources can we use to look things up?
A: Our recommendation is that you use whatever printed resources you think you need, but please don't use any online resources unless we specifically tell you to. Feel free to disregard this suggestion if your team is short-handed (fewer than 3 people) or if you're getting way behind.
Q: Help! I'm stuck on a puzzle!
A: If you need a hint, send an IM to "FoggyB42" (not in the public chat of course) and we'll do what we can. Please be patient; there are many teams playing and we only can deal with one at a time. Under no circumstances should any comments about puzzles be made in the chat room!
Q: I think I found a mistake in one of your puzzles. What do I do?
A: Send an IM to "FoggyB42" (again, not in the public chat). If there is an actual error, or something that needs clarification, we'll post it to the web site and/or make an announcement in the chat room.
Q: Any other advice for solvers?
A: Glad you asked. This game is probably a bit more difficult than a typical extravaganza at an NPL convention, or at least more time-consuming. That being the case, we recommend that you do some things you may find counterintuitive: if you get stuck on a puzzle, put it aside and move on. It is not necessary to solve every single puzzle to finish, though of course the more you solve, the easier it will be to make further progress. Also, we recommend that when you have several puzzles to work on, you should split up and work on more than one puzzle at once. (On the flip side, certain puzzles may benefit from many people looking at them, so don't stay split up completely.) Of course, you're free to ignore this advice, but in that case you may need more than the allotted three hours to finish.