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Photo by flickr user Kate Geraets, used under Creative Commons license.

A “puzzling” form of entertainment gains popularity

By Apartment613 on October 27, 2016

Post by Lisa Xu

Escape rooms have been all the rage in the recent years, an interactive experience for groups to try their luck solving a series of puzzles in a limited span of time. They’re a great deal of fun, but not everyone enjoys locking themselves in a room faced with the pressure of a ticking clock. For the more laid-back puzzle fans, Puzzled Pint is the event to go to.

The concept of Puzzled Pint was modeled after the annual MIT treasure hunt, in which students run around town solving puzzles. A few students from Portland had the idea of hosting the event in a bar, which would eliminate the need to travel.

“[They’re] kind of like an escape room, but you never have to leave your table,” says Kevin Pollock, one of the game patrollers from the Puzzled Pint Ottawa chapter.

The idea caught aflame, and chapters started popping up all over America, came to Canada, and eventually spread to cities around the world, from London to Auckland.

Every second Tuesday of the month, puzzlers from all around the world spend two hours from 7pm- 9pm hunched over puzzles, trying to crack the code. This event is unlike any other, because there’s this idea of a community, where people from one city are connected to like-minded individuals thousands of miles away working on the same puzzle.

To make it more enjoyable, the location of the event remains a mystery until a location puzzle is solved. They’re usually posted the Friday before the event.  

Puzzled Pint is an introductory-level puzzling experience open to everyone above 19, and prior experience or knowledge is not required. Participants range from students to seasoned trivia experts, according to Stephanie DeGuire, another game patroller from the Ottawa chapter.

Puzzles can be solved in teams, with many brains working together, or alone, if one’s feeling determined and adventurous. Overall, there’s a welcoming and social atmosphere, where people can meet new friends or keep in touch with old ones.

The puzzles are paper-based, usually with a theme. With many varieties ranging from Sudoku to crosswords, there’s something for everyone. They are multiple stages, and the answers from individual puzzles make up a bigger, “meta-puzzle.”

While some teams are teams are more ambitious than others, devoting their concentration to cross the finish line first, having a fun time with friends is the foremost important thing.

In a fast-paced society where everyone has a packed schedule, it’s good to have a designated night to slow down, socialize, share some pints and enjoy good times together.

Follow the Puzzled Pint Ottawa-Gatineau Facebook page for details on upcoming events.