2009 MIT Mystery Hunt

The 2009 Hunt hearkened back to the glorious past. In 2002's Monopoly Hunt, teams assayed D2: The Mighty Duck Konundrum, which featured a fictional board game called Escape from Zyzzlvaria. As of 2009, it was no longer fictional.

Teams received a Coming Soon! page for the launch of the Escape from Zyzzlvaria board gameā€”in the year 3009. At the ZyzzlCon 3009 convention, each team received their very own copy of the board game. For this auspicious debut, United Planetary Galactic Allied Federation Society President Flash and Vice President Gordon welcomed the guests of honor: Captain Blastoid and the crew of the Brass Rat. These heroes, previously known only as pawns in the board game, appeared in the flesh to thunderous applause. This quickly turned to abject horror as MIT was teleported thousands of light years through space to the heart of Zyzzlvaria. And now, the challenge before the teams was to do the impossible... Escape from Zyzzlvaria! (The script to the opening is here.)

The Covertly Operational Inversion Node

To escape, the teams sought the Covertly Operational Inversion Node, or COIN, somewhere in Zyzzlvaria. The COIN was activated by the team Beginner's Luck at 3:03 on Monday morning, causing everything outside of Zyzzlvaria to be drawn into it, and everything in Zyzzlvaria to be drawn out. Thus, with MIT safely returned to its home in Cambridge, the reunited crew of the Brass Rat blasted off into space for another intoxicating adventure.

The hunt as seen by the teams is here.

Statistics and Other Useful Stuff


This Hunt was brought to you by the letter floob, the number pi, and the Evil Midnight Bombers What Bomb at Midnight. The Bombers are: Nikki Akraboff, Jennifer Braun, Foggy Brume, Zack Butler, Kaitlyn Chantry, Evan Davidson, Evan Davis, Tony Delgado, Brie Frame, Fred Gay, Mark Gottlieb, Francis Heaney, Dan Katz, Michael King, Jonaya Kemper, Lorinne Lampert, Greg Lohman, Amanda O'Connor, Stephen Peters, Mike Selinker, Jonathan Sheffi, Thomas Snyder, Ken Stern, Sean Trowbridge, Ian Tullis, and Graham Wright.

Jenn coordinated the logistics and playtesting, Mike assigned and developed the puzzles, Mark edited the puzzles, Steve built the website, and Dan coordinated the hunt structure and events and, oh yeah, invented Zyzzlvaria.

The metapuzzles were designed in groups. Meta Group A was Jenn, Dan, Thomas, Tony, Francis, Michael, and Zack. Meta Group B was Ken, Greg, Foggy, Ian, Evan Davidson, Jonathan, and Mike.

The Bombers would like to thank Susan Curran, Maria Duaime, Alex French, Evon Fuerst, Stev Katz, Mike Lee at boardgamedesign.com, Karen Lohman, Rebecca Macri, Rei Nakazawa, Michelle Nephew, Mary Linton Peters, Matt Ruhlen, Teeuwynn Woodruff, Jessica Zdon and the MIT Schedules Office, our playtest group at Microsoft, and Zyzzlvarians everywhere.

Photos of the 2009 Hunt were taken by Brie Frame, Kaitlyn Chantry, Lorinne Lampert, and Mike Selinker.


The Brass Rat Crew. Back row: Ralph, Algernon, Scotchy, Captain Blastoid, Ernie, Leah. Front row: Zoe, Harold.
The crew of the Brass Rat, and other space people: