Wednesday, February 11, 2015

I Can Count to Fifteen

...which is the new number of Puzzled Pint cities. Boston had to wave off on Monday, due to weather, but we also added San Francisco proper at the last minute. Here's the current roster, with our February additions noted:
  1. Austin, Texas
  2. Bloomington, Illinois (NEW!)
  3. Boston, Massachusetts (CANCELED)
  4. Brooklyn, New York (NEW!)
  5. Chicago, Illinois
  6. London, England
  7. Montreal, Canada
  8. Phoenix, Arizona
  9. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  10. Portland, Oregon
  11. San Francisco, CA - City (NEW!)
  12. San Francisco, CA - Bay Area
  13. Seattle, WA - City
  14. Seattle, WA - Eastside
  15. Washington, DC
And we continue to get inquiries from other places. Not all of those pan out, obviously, but it's great that so many people are interested in Running More Games. :)

At this point, the "headquarters" team in Portland—six people, four of whom are co-founders (our fifth co-founder is running Pittsburgh these days)—is doing more event management and editorial oversight than actual puzzle creation. Which, again, is great; we love seeing the creativity and diversity of other people's puzzle ideas, and we're glad we can apply our experience to help them develop and refine those ideas.

But with diversity also comes differences of opinion. Reasonable people can disagree, and sometimes both sides have reasonable arguments for wildly divergent points of view. We're dealing with some ongoing issues which I think will come down to us having to make a decision about the fundamental nature and character of PP as opposed to other puzzling events: do we always want to be beginner-friendly? is there any reason we would ever say "no" to someone who wanted to start up in a new city? how much can we modify the structure of an event before it's no longer a "Puzzled Pint?"

I don't have all the answers, but I'm glad to be working with lots of smart people who can help us figure out these things. This is how we build a community. This is how we make something that can outlive us all. You know, like Islam.


1 comment:

davidbod said...

I think the past few months of PP have been great. Maybe January was a little slight but you can't knock the amount of creativity going on - December '14 may have been my favourite set ever, and this month was a ton of fun in how devious it could be.

I can see an argument that 'what, Braille again?' might get a little tedious to some, but I would be sad if PP lost its accessibility to newcomers. For every MIT Mystery Hunt participant, there must be 10? 50? 100? people who like the sound of fun puzzles but wouldn't want to do anything that extreme. While some different metas and code devices might be nice, the puzzles are generally as tough as you'd dare make them for the current crowd.

My only observation is that it would be nice if there was a little more consistency in the puzzle lengths. Some months it has been possible to knock off the whole lot in 20 minutes, which feels slight if you've had to travel 3 or 4 times that long to get to the venue. Some beefier puzzles with more 'chin scratching' time are welcome. The boredom one this week was fantastic in this regard - very inventive.

I don't see why there couldn't not be a PP in every major city. I think it just depends on the quality of the GCs you can find. London has lucked out in this regard in what could have been a tricky staff change.

I'm not a huge fan of the location puzzle. While it can get people on your side in terms of what to expect, to me it seems an unnecessary barrier to entry. And if you forget the venue name, boy is it a pain in the ass to type in the solution URL on your phone in the rain. As a compromise, maybe release the venue details for 'free' in the day of the event?

In general, you guys are doing a great job and PP remains the highlight of my month, as my attendance to every London event to date will testify.