News round-up

News round-up1) Exciting news from Can You Escape? of Edinburgh; they’ll be launching their first outdoor game in time for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. “…we need agents to defeat the evil Nick Knock, after a disastrous appearance at the Fringe last year that saw him heckled off stage, he is back to seek his revenge and ensure no one else gets the limelight. How you may ask? Well Mr Knock has planted an Electro Magnetic Pulse device somewhere in Edinburgh which will cut the power to the city and prevent all future performances. #WTFringe?” The location originally planned to open in time for last year’s Edinburgh Fringe; hopefully the Fringe will boost all four thriving locations in the city.

2) Also delighted to see Time Run of London Tweet that Jonathan Ross, no less, played their game recently. The lad Ross is known as a board gamer and a video gamer (remember his references to Sonic the Hedgehog on They Think It’s All Over years ago? …Just this site?) so it’s logical that he’d be interested in playing live action games as well. Looking forward, hopefully, to a photo being posted. Best celeb spot yet… unless you know otherwise?

3) This site started to discuss a potential industry meetup at the forthcoming The Crystal Maze Live attraction in a recent post, and perhaps there’s the interest. So far, nine sites and six individual players have expressed interest. This is probably only worth doing if we can get to 32 definite takers, not just people who have expressed an interest, so there is more room. All welcome. If you’re interested in starting your own room and want to pick lots of brains at once then this would be a particularly good opportunity.

4) Bother’s Bar are tracking the crowdfunding for The Crystal Maze Live and recently had an amusing twist on a poll about whether it would meet its £500,000 funding target or not. Poll responses were 79% yes and 21% no. It’s already reached about 75% of the target, courtesy of very strong days two, three and four, and – perhaps due to the sums involved? – has been a slightly slower burner of a crowdfunding campaign than most. £500,000 is a target, not a limit; how far can they go? Will there be stretch goals?

5) In more general puzzle news, some links that this site enjoyed:

  • this BBC report upon a marriage proposal hidden within The Times cryptic crossword;
  • the latest monthly Puzzlebomb (.pdf) features a mashup of the two most recent mainstream maths puzzle sensations – Cheryl’s birthday and Hannah’s sweets – and offers quite a challenge; and
  • a review of DASH 7 as it was played in Denver, from a team with a fantastic name that this site called out at the time.

6) Great to see another blogger still from the greater Toronto area, now making six; when an area gets up to forty-plus-to-sixtyish different sites, perhaps six blogs is about right. When there are so many reviewers out there, perhaps the logical next step would be a review aggregator – a sort of metacritic for exit games? TripAdvisor performs this to some extent, but a review aggregator which compares opinions of not just many players but of many players all of whom have broad experiences in the field would be a powerful tool – and one, perhaps, that need not be restricted to one area.

What’s happening this weekend

Puzzlebomb logoA few quick news stories while I’m passing:

I have been extremely slack in never linking to Puzzlebomb other than in the blogroll. This is a monthly assortment of hand-crafted puzzles, and it’s admirable for its breadth of focus. The people who write it have a puzzle hunt tradition, with rather a considerable degree of success, and it shows. You do get logic puzzles and maths puzzles sometimes, but there are very usually word puzzles as well, and at their best the whole package can be tremendously original. I particularly enjoyed the current April edition (.pdf file) with an ambitious arithmetic wordsearch. Solve it now before the solution is posted at the start of May, then enjoy the previous 2+ years of puzzles in the archive.

Puzzlair of Bristol have an amusing promotion right now; book by May 4th, to play before June 4th, using the coupon code FORCE and get 15% off.

Looking further ahead, the dates have been announced for this year’s US Sudoku Qualifier and US Puzzle Championship. They’re on May 3rd and May 17th respectively, which I reckon feel rather earlier in the year than usual, and both contests start at 6pm BST. For the longest time, the US Puzzle Championship was the only contest of its type open to the public at large, so it has long been extremely popular and remains a highlight on the calendar.

From Friday 25th April (or, er, today) until Monday 28th April, the fourth leg of the World Puzzle Federation’s Puzzle Grand Prix series is taking place. This leg is set by solvers from the Czech Republic, who have been an extremely strong presence since the world championships started over twenty years ago. The instruction booklet suggests there will be 16 puzzles to solve in the usual 90 minutes, and they look likely to be good ones to me.

I’ll probably be solving the Puzzle GP on Sunday or Monday, because of a certain little something happening tomorrow called DASH 6, which I believe I may have mentioned once or twice…