Everything You Always Wanted To Know About BAPHL 7

How do I sign up?
Register your team here. Registration costs $15 per team and will close on Tuesday, April 23 or when we hit 40 teams, whichever comes first.
Just what is BAPHL?
BAPHL stands for the Boston Area Puzzle Hunt League. As the name implies, it is a recurring series of puzzle hunts taking place somewhere in the Boston Area.
What is a puzzle hunt?
A puzzle hunt is an event where teams of puzzle solvers are given difficult puzzles that require various logical, lateral-thinking, and creative skills to solve. BAPHL, like some other puzzle hunts, adds an element of exploration by tying the puzzles to specific physical locations that teams have to get to.
That sounds pretty cool! When's the next one?
Saturday, April 27, 2013!
Will the hunt be indoors or outdoors?
Outdoors. All teams are highly encouraged to dress for outdoor activities.
What if it’s raining?
We’ll get wetter than usual. There is no rain date or alternate course; it would take a severe weather emergency to make us reschedule BAPHL.
Will the hunt involve running from place to place?
Sometimes, but not always.
Do we need a vehicle?
No! BAPHL 7 will be taking place in a fairly constrained area that is fully able to be covered on foot.
Will we be entering private buildings, or places that require admission?
No. There will be no need to pay a fee to enter a building, or to enter any area that is not publicly accessible for free. If your team discovers something to the contrary, you are on the wrong course.
What’s the difference between the Easy and Hard puzzles?
If you’ve done events like The Game, MIT Mystery Hunt, or past BAPHLs and are more experienced with the types of puzzles events like these contain, you’ll want to choose the Hard track. If you’re less experienced with puzzles like these, choose the Easy track — we’ll be providing more hints so you can enjoy the hunt without getting too stuck along the way.
What size should our team be?
The hunt is designed to be solved by a team of 4–6 people. Smaller teams are allowed, and if you’re a lone hunter looking for a team, email baphl7@baphl.org and we’ll try to hook you up with a team that’s open to taking on more hunters.
What supplies should we bring?
Bring things for working with paper, such as pencils, highlighters, scissors, tape, and a straight-edge. Definitely bring a clipboard or two.
You will be given any reference materials the hosting team deems necessary during the course of the event. But if you want to bring paper references, such as a Scrabble dictionary or the Encyclopedia Britannica, go ahead, as long as you are willing to let us take pictures of you towing them along.
Provided they still own such things, teams are encouraged to bring simple cameras or calculators — though phones may also be used for these restricted purposes.
You may also want to ensure you have at least one member of your team without major food restrictions or allergies (such as peanuts, chocolate, or gluten) to be able to fully enjoy one of the puzzles.
What time should the hunt end by?
You should expect that the hunt will be over around 6 PM, at which time we will present the winners and have our wrap-up ceremony. We’ll call your team when we know exactly where and when the wrap-up will be.
What do we get if we win?
You’ll win a fantastic prize*! Oh, and if you win the “Advanced Studies” division, we’ll ask if you want to write an upcoming BAPHL.
So how much does this thing cost?
There’s a registration fee of $15/team — this goes to the cost of printing the puzzles and making sure we have all the supplies, props, and other items to make this event super awesome.
When will I actually be charged the registration fee?
At the time of registration. Contact us if that didn’t work.
Are teams allowed to use the Internet?
Can you say that again, but with more words?
BAPHL should be solved using paper and your mind. Don’t bring a computer, and don’t use any sort of Internet connection. The puzzles have been designed with this restriction in mind.
In fact, in order to resist the temptation to use the Internet, we suggest turning off your phone’s data connection.
You may use the phone for speech or text messaging (to humans, not search engines), as a simple camera, or as a simple arithmetic calculator — but no smartphone apps or web access. And if you need to be on call or something, you may use it for things entirely unrelated to puzzle solving. As with past BAPHLs, you’re on the honor system, and your integrity is at stake.
Can we ask random strangers on the street for help? Or call a friend?
The “phone-a-friend” approach is discouraged, since that kind of planning effectively makes your team bigger. Don’t call people you know and ask for help — you can ask HQ for hints if you’re totally stuck.
However, if you think polling a random stranger on the street can help you answer a question, that’s fine — especially if you are just asking for directions, or about some local factoid. As long as they don’t use the Internet, or sit down and solve puzzles with you, that’s not against the spirit of the rules.
You said we could ask HQ for help?
Yes! We’ll even answer specific questions for you if we think they’re reasonable. But if you’re doing well, you might find our answers less helpful.
What if it’s getting late and my team is totally stuck?
Ask us for hints. We won’t think less of you for it.
Is this one of those corporate-sponsored “scavenger hunts” that’s actually advertising things to us?
Heck no. BAPHL is written for the love of puzzling, and is funded entirely by your registration fees.
Who are you guys?
The writing team for BAPHL 7 is “Phlogizote”, a mix of hunters from two BAPHL Teams. We agreed to write this BAPHL after Azote won BAPHL 5 and asked Phlogiston (their sister team) if they wanted to help write.
I’m still hung up about the Internet thing. Can you give me copious examples?
Fine. But the following are just examples, some of them implausible. You’ll have to extrapolate using your common sense and your sense of fairness:
  • Use your phone as a phone, not as the Internet in your pants or as a reference material. You may use it to call teammates and HQ, as a basic arithmetic calculator or camera, or for things that are entirely unrelated to solving puzzles (like texting your mom about how awesome BAPHL is).
  • In particular, don’t use smartphone apps to solve puzzles.
  • Don’t use a laptop or a tablet for anything.
  • Bringing a few paper references, if you want, is fine. We hope you don’t have to use them. We reserve the right to poke fun at your library-in-a-cart, unless it appears to be a racing library-in-a-cart, which would be excellent.
  • You may look up information in printed materials in a bookstore, newsstand, or public library if you want.
  • If you have Wikipedia printed on microfilm and a microfilm reader... never mind, that’s kind of awesome.
  • Google Maps is on the Internet. Don’t use it. We’ll give you a map of the area on paper if you really need one.
  • Google Latitude is on the Internet. Don’t use it. If you lose track of where your teammates are, call them and ask.
  • Text messages are kind of not the Internet. You may text your team members. You may not text Google or any service that answers questions for you.
  • If you use a service on the Internet as a complete substitute for a cell phone plan or a text message plan, you may continue using it for exactly that during BAPHL.
  • If anything makes you stop and think “is this lame?”, it probably is, so don’t do it.
  • If anything makes you stop and think “is this a really clever loophole?”, it’s probably lame, so don’t do it.
Specific HQ contact information will be given in writing to each team Captain on the day of the hunt, along with other essential information.
Email baphl7@baphl.org with questions about the BAPHL 7 event.
Email baphl@baphl.org with questions about past or future BAPHL events.

* fantastic prize yet to be determined.