Exam Solution

How It Works

Each exam booklet was broken up into 4 sections. The mechanisms for the sections were:

  1. Answers were written on the board in the Teachers' Lounge
  2. Answers were in posters around the room
  3. Answers were in other booklets (e.g., question 11 in the red book was the reverse of question 11 in the blue book)
  4. Answers were in posters around the room

Once all three scantrons are solved, teams had to realize that they had answers written in braille on their scantron. The three answers read:

  • ELEMENT#94

Teams then had to realize these referenced items on the periodic table in the classroom. The corresponding elements were "Pr" "Osp" and "Er." When read in R,G,B (based on which book they came from), it reads "Prosper."



Design Notes

This puzzle came as a response to puzzles from other Games. Specifically: World Henchment Organization and Dr. When. In WHO, there was a puzzle where our team was brought into a conference room and was given a test that re-used puzzle mechanics we had seen earlier. Since the event was themed after villians, I thought the obvious answer was for us to cheat. I proceeded to subtly copy off one of my teammates sitting to my left.

He did not know the right answers. Suffice to say, I did poorly. The goal was to legitimately solve the test, so I came out disappointed.

Dr. When also ran an exam, and this one was done at a school and themed as though we were in detention. Once again, we thought the obvious thing was to act up and get sent to the Principal's office. Once again, we were wrong, and what we were supposed to do was actually solve the test.

So I wrote a puzzle where that was the right thing to do. I knew the gimmick I wanted was that team members would be told to work alone, and that in order to solve it they would have to cheat. Early on I came up with using braille on the scantron for delivering the final answer. Then it turned into brainstorming what cheating would mean; I had brainstormed the idea of stealing the answer key (which we had tried in Dr. When, only to discover we weren't actually supposed to do that), Jamie suggested having items around the room that could answer some questions, and Jay helped come up with the answers in one book answering another book. Then it just came down to populating the exam booklet and constructing the puzzle.

Originally, I'd hoped that when teams submitted the answer, I'd be able to trigger some notification to someone in the halls or the teachers to abruptly dismiss the teams. I didn't end up having time to set up something like that though, so teams were just told to write down the answer and show it to the teacher.

Construction Notes

There aren't any real stories here; I wanted the books to look like the Blue Books folks were familiar with from college. Beyond that it was just a lot of printing.

At one point I'd hoped to change some of the language and encodings; instead of wingdings for the Alphabet, I'd hoped we'd have some other encoding used earlier I could reference. Similarly, if Exam had come after Autopsy, I would have re-used the names of the organs in that puzzle. However, since Exam came earlier, we decided not to introduce potential confusion in the later puzzle.

GC Notes

For the most part, teams seemed to have fun, though I (Shane) was told detention got hectic at times. The difficulty running this puzzle lied in the fact that teams were instructed to cheat; we had no real way to enforce rules I'd hoped to keep on teams since they were instructed to cheat in such an open ended matter. As time went on, we got more liberal about letting them take their exam booklets to detention, and one team basically ran in the classroom, stole theirs, and spent the whole time solving in the library. I hope they still had fun.