Q: How many puzzles are there? As many as last years?
A: Ten puzzles, plus a metapuzzle (which is less than last year's 13 puzzles). Without giving too much away, we'll be taking lessons learned from 2003 (which ran about 40 minutes over) to keep the time on track.
Q: How exactly will the game be operated?
A: We'll release the starting URL at 7PM EST. Proceed there. You'll be given a starting set of puzzles. Correctly submitting the solution for a puzzle will open one or two new puzzles, until there are no more regular puzzles left. At that point, the meta-puzzle will be available. (This is similar to how the 2004 MIT Mystery Hunt worked.)
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. You can go directly to the chatroom via this direct link.
Q: What resources can we use to look things up?
A: All teams will be allowed to refer to the NPL Guide and NPL Member Directory. 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: This game is probably a bit more difficult than a typical extravaganza at an NPL convention, or at least more time-consuming; but it will be easier than the typical MIT Mystery Hunt or even Intercoastal Altercations III. Unlike some previous hunts, you will need the solution to every puzzle. However, if you find yourself stuck, give the puzzle to someone else in your group.