⚠️ This year’s rules are substantially different than in previous years. ⚠️We recommend fully reading this page, especially the sections “What is and isn’t allowed?” and “How will Galactic Puzzle Hunt 2023 be different from past hunts?”.
What are the rules?
- The puzzlehunt starts on and ends on , at which point puzzle solutions will be available. However, we will leave the website running until so teams can still submit answers and go through the hunt at their own pace.
- Teams have a maximum size of 6, but we recommend 3–4 for the best experience. If you would like to include additional inexperienced puzzlers on your team, please email us and we’ll consider your request.
- We reserve the right to disqualify any team for unsportsmanlike conduct.
- If you have any questions about the hunt, or if you want to contact us for any reason, email email@example.com. We will get back to you as soon as we can.
What is a puzzlehunt?
In a puzzlehunt, each puzzle has an underlying pattern or insight, which you need to figure out (somewhat like the theme of a crossword puzzle). Puzzles can come in many different forms; the only real commonality is that you usually receive no direct instructions, so it’s up to you to figure out how to make sense of the information you’re given. You can read a longer introduction to puzzlehunts here.
If you are new to puzzles and are interested in seeing some examples, or if you’re looking for some practice, we recommend looking at previous Galactic Puzzle Hunts or puzzles from other online hunts such as Teammate Hunt, Puzzle Potluck, or REDDOThunt.
What is and isn’t allowed?
- You may not view source code, reverse-engineer, hack, decompile, or otherwise interact with the website in any unintended way. If you’re not sure whether something is intended, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- You may use any external sources for help, including other people, as long as they aren’t helping other teams and aren’t actively participating in the hunt.
- You may not stream or post spoilers for the hunt in a place where other teams might see them.
- You may not create multiple accounts or be on multiple teams.
How will Galactic Puzzle Hunt 2023 be different from past hunts?
The format of Galactic Puzzle Hunt 2023 will be fairly different from past GPHs. Many puzzles this year will need a computer to solve them (i.e., they will not be amenable to solving on a mobile device or offline).
Many puzzles in GPH 2023 will feel more like a “puzzle game” than the more traditional puzzlehunt puzzles in previous GPHs. (Though there will still be traditional puzzles!) We don’t want to give away too much more, but are mentioning this so teams can have appropriate expectations – this may feel different from a normal puzzle hunt.
What is the format of this hunt?
Like previous GPHs, a few puzzles will be available at the start, and the primary way to unlock new puzzles is by solving puzzles and progressing through the hunt. Moreso than previous GPHs, we recommend that everyone on your team is available when you start the hunt, though it’s not required by any means.
Some puzzles have answers. Each answer is a string of alphanumeric characters. Lowercase letters will be changed into uppercase, and any other characters will be stripped before checking for correctness.
For puzzles with answers, you will have 20 total guesses for each one. If you legitimately run out of guesses and need more, feel free to contact us, though we won’t grant your request if we see that you were, for example, guessing random thematic answers, or brute-forcing all 10-letter words thematic to the puzzle title.
How will hints work?
Starting on , teams will receive one hint every 12 hours until the end of the hunt.
You can use a hint to get help on any puzzle, not just those with answers. This can be something like a nudge in the right direction (i.e., you give us your progress on the puzzle and we’ll try to get you unstuck) or an answer to a question (e.g., “Which answers to these crossword clues are wrong?”).
You can request only one hint at a time.
What happens when the hunt ends?
When the hunt ends on , the scoreboard will be frozen and solutions for all the puzzles will be released, and a wrap-up will be available several days later. However, if you have not finished and still want to experience the whole hunt, you’ll still be able to register new teams, solve puzzles on the website, and progress through the hunt until . The only difference is that you won’t be able to use hints after the hunt ends.
After , you can still do the puzzles and check your answers spoiler-free.
What should I do if I haven’t received my keepsake yet?
Please email email@example.com and include your mailing address. Many of our US recipients have not yet received their keepsakes, and we are looking into alternative arrangements to ship replacements, though this will take some time. Thanks for your patience!
Can I still donate for a keepsake?
We are ordering a new batch of keepsakes, but our first priority is making sure everyone who should have a keepsake gets one. Stay tuned after the hunt for details. If you want to donate anyways, you can donate directly to us here.