HintHunt: murder mystery condensed

Posted on May 8, 2012


Is that a code I see over there…?

Imagine a murder mystery evening. Now strip out the amateur dramatics, confine it to a small space and set a time limit of 60 minutes to solve it. This is HintHunt.

When I saw a voucher on Groupon for a ‘timed logic puzzle’ in central London, my geek sensors lit up. I imagined giant sudoku puzzles, code-breaking, Rubik’s cube-style mindbenders. I pictured a Crystal Maze of wonderment.

What it actually turned out to be was intriguingly different.

HintHunt is situated above a tiny art gallery behind St Pancreas station and my logic-loving maths buddies and I were greeted by a sole gent – “Call me Chops” (short for a name we could not pronounce) – who turned out to be the ‘gamemaster’.

The concept, he explained, is simple. We would be locked in a room for an hour. We had to do our best to get out by solving the riddle. A timer would appear on a screen on the wall and if we were struggling, he would pop hints on the screen (since he’d be watching us on a webcam). Anything with an ‘X’ on should not be destroyed.

Up a small, winding staircase we went and into a very small room. A few objects lay around the room – a desk, a chair, a chest – and the door closed behind us. There was no clue as to what we should do.

I wouldn’t want to spoil the fun with too much detail but suffice to say:

  • it was based on a murder mystery;
  • code-breaking in several forms was necessary;
  • there was a lot more in there than first appeared;
  • working together – and writing stuff down – was paramount.

Although it wasn’t what I first expected, it was so much fun and I hope that more are made (it’d be a bit pointless doing the same one again). The hour flew by and we were frustratingly close to completing it – once our hour was up, the gamemaster showed us what we had left to do and, unsurprisingly, we were all kicking ourselves.

We got a discount through the voucher site but I’d say it’s certainly worth the full cost, currently £53. Teams of three to five are accepted.

We were told that HintHunt hopes to open another puzzle later in the year and, if it does, I’ll be the first one down there.

Image from andercismo‘s Flickr photostream.

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