Puzzle potluck competition canceled due to lack of interest. Replaced with an Iron Puzzlers competition.

Puzzle Potluck 5Edit

Date: 31 January 2015

Time: 10:00am through the afternoon (depending on the number of teams; roughly 1 hour plus 30 minutes per team)

Venue: Auburn Student Union Center (in the area in front of the Foy Information Desk)

Eric Harshbarger will be the organizer. He also plans to participate, but his team will not be eligible for a trophy, so that he can be a impartial judge if critical rulings need to be made (unless someone else wants to assume the judge-role... let Eric know if that is the case).


If you plan to attend, please add yourself to the list of teams below. Teams are two people. If you are looking for a partner, add a ???. We will hold the Potluck if we can get at least 6 teams, and the format can accommodate up to 10 teams (maybe more if there is really that much demand).

  • Eric Harshbarger and Robert Ford
  • Steven "SXC" Clontz ft. Zachary "Zack!" Sarver
  • Kelly Bragan and Andrew Owens
  • Daniel "Daniel" Brice and ???
  • Tim and Sierra Hardwick
  • Mike and Kelly Hollingsworth

NOTE: because Eric started organizing this Potluck after teams began forming for his upcoming EPP15 Puzzle Party, winners of Potluck 5 will not have their player point value increase in regards to EPP15 team formation.

Potluck Format and RulesEdit

Rules will follow fairly standard Puzzle Potluck rules, but there will be some changes since the last one, so please read the items below.

  • Teams are comprised of two people and will have a "Team Number" randomly assigned to them the day of the Potluck.
  • Each Team brings one original puzzle for all of the other teams to solve. Teams should provide enough copies of their puzzle for every other Team. If you are designing a physical/manipulative puzzle, you may want to bring an extra copy in case your original is damaged during play.
  • Puzzles can be of any type (creativity is encouraged! -- suggestions below) but should be designed with the time limit in mind (see next). All necessary material to solve a puzzle should be provided by the designing team (assume competing teams will only have pencil, paper, and simple calculator). For example, you may provide "code sheets" (even if not all codes on it will be used). You might provide a word list of some type. You could even provide a laptop with Wi-Fi access if the internet is needed as a resourse to solve it (do not assume teams will have internet access otherwise).
  • Unlike past Puzzle Potlucks, puzzled designed with partial-scoring answers will be allowed at Puzzle Potluck 5. The minimum score for a completely unsolved puzzle should be 0 points, while the maximum value (for a completely, correctly solved puzzle) should be 100 points; but the puzzle need not be "all-or-nothing". The simplest example would be a 10-question trivia puzzle of some sort where each correct answer is 10 points. The scoring system for your puzzle (whether partial-scoring or not) should be clearly explained in the instructions of the puzzle. If the puzzle requires written answers, be sure to include blank "answer sheets" (enough for every team).
  • Puzzles must not require players to leave the student center in order to be solved.
  • The Potluck consists of one station per team (Station 1, Station 2, etc.), plus a Timekeeper Station, and one 30 minute Round per team. Teams begin at the Station number equal to their team number plus one, looping back to the Timekeeper Station. (Team 1 starts at Station 2, Team 2 starts at Station 3, and the highest-numbered Team starts at the Timekeeper Station.)
  • Each Team leaves a copy of their puzzle at the Station matching their own number. During each Round, each Team solves the puzzle at their Station before the 30 minutes elapses. The Team at the Timekeeper Station is responsible for timing the 30 minutes for the Round and giving warnings at 5 minutes. The timekeeper team will also be encouraged to take pictures (with a camera brought by the organizer) of the other teams during the round.
  • There will be a few minutes between Rounds for each Team to evaluate and reset the puzzle at their Station. Results should be recorded on the Team Scoresheet.
  • Each consecutive Round, Teams progress to the next numbered Station, looping from the final Station to the Timekeeper Station.
  • After all of the Rounds are completed, Teams will gather to explain their puzzles and solutions in order. After these explanations, teams will fill out and turn in Puzzle Evaluation Sheets; essential voting on what their favorite puzzles were.
  • Finally, each Team will turn in their Team Scoresheet and Puzzle Evaluation Sheet to the organizer, who will tabulate the scores and announce the winners.


  • Each Team's "Solve Score" is worth 0-100 points for each puzzle that Team attempted.
  • Each team will also receive an Evaluation Score from 0-100 based on the results of the Puzzle Evaluation Sheets.
  • Finally, since a team will not be solving their own puzzle, they will receive a "Difficulty Score" equal to the average of all of the points earned by the teams that attempted their puzzle.

So a teams Final Score will be points earned from solving puzzles, plus the Evaluation Score earned by their puzzle, plus the average of the scores other teams earned by solving their puzzle.

Team with the highest Final Score wins the Puzzle Potluck!

Puzzle TypesEdit

Here's some advice from Eric on designing puzzles, taken from his Puzzle Potluck II event page:

Having a hard time thinking of a puzzle to bring to the potluck? There's hardly a wrong "type"; just try to design something that you think will keep a team of two people puzzled (in a fun way) for a half hour. Of course, it should be solvable (don't make an impossible puzzle, that will not be evaluated highly). You will be grading the puzzle you bring between each round (i.e. grading the team that just tried to solve it) -- so make sure you'll be able to grade it fairly quickly (in a few minute or so). You may look at the first potluck webpage for ideas or consider this list:

  • Mazes
  • Crosswords
  • Wordsearches
  • Puzzle that requires people to run around the AU Student Union (gather clues, or looking for specific things)
  • Codes
  • Riddles
  • Physcal/Manipulative puzzles
  • Wordplay puzzles
  • Custom Jigsaw puzzles
  • Pentominoes
  • Logic puzzles
  • Or maybe you will be inspired to make a puzzle based on certain gaming objects:
    • Dice
    • Cards
    • Dominoes
    • Chessboard and Pieces

The trick is to try to put your own "twist" on a puzzle. And be sure you have enough copies that each team will have a fresh version at the start of their round to solve it (or that the puzzle can be "reset" properly between rounds).


Eric Harshbarger has volunteered to organize this potluck, and will provide the following:

  • A timer for the Timekeeper Station,
  • A camera for Timekeeping teams to use,
  • Identifying markers for each Station,
  • Copies of Eric's puzzle potluck Code Sheet, the Team Scoresheet, and Puzzle Evaluation Sheet for each team,
  • A laptop for storing and calculating scores.

Team RequirementsEdit

Each team must consist of two players, and is required to bring a single puzzle (possibly multiple copies).

Teams are encouraged to bring the following items for themselves to use:

  • Paper
  • Writing utensils
  • Clipboards
  • Basic calculators

Teams may not bring any other supplies or "cheat sheets" to the event. If other supplies are needed to solve a puzzle, the designing team must provide them.


I believe that at least the Chik-fil-A restaurant in the student union building will be open. If not, we can always gather money to make a pizza order...

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