A 24x36" map of the United States divided into a 4x4 grid
16 6x9" satellite photos of various locations with some of their borders shaded red and/or yellow
A note reading "Dr. Null: Enclosed, please find pictures and notes about potential locations. If you place the pictures on the map, you should be able to determine the correct destination."
16 slips of paper containing clues to the locations:
THE NEAREST POST OFFICE IS IN METEOR.
THE MOST MAGICAL PLACE ON EARTH.
THIS UNIVERSITY CAMPUS IS IN ONE OF THE LARGEST STATES.
AN OFFICE COMPLEX WHERE SOFTWARE IS WRITTEN.
THE EASTERNMOST STATE CAPITOL
IF YOU LOOK CLOSELY, THIS ISLAND NATIONAL PARK IS VISIBLE ON THE MAP.
THIS SOUTHERN CAPITOL DERIVES ITS NAME FROM A LANDMARK USED WHILE NAVIGATING ITS RIVER.
IRONICALLY, THE FAMOUS BRIDGE IS ACTUALLY RED.
THIS LARGE ALASKAN CITY IS HOME TO AN AIR FORCE BASE.
A LOS ANGELES LANDMARK.
THE MOST VISITED URBAN PARK IN THE UNITED STATES
THAT’S NOT THE KENNEWICK TOYOTA CENTER.
THIS CITY WAS NAMED FOR A GOVERNOR OF THE TERRITORY OF KANSAS.
A BIG VOLCANIC ISLAND
THIS CHICAGO TOURIST ATTRACTION IS 3300 FEET LONG.
THE SEAT OF MECKLENBURG COUNTY
PHASE 1: Assemble the Maps
Teams should quickly notice that there are 16 spots on the map grid and 16 photos, and that each photo is conveniently in the exact size of those grid spots. As such, they need to place the photos on the map. But how? Each photo is of a location in one of the grid spots. Teams should start out by figuring out some of the obvious ones (Microsoft, Walt Disney World, Manhattan, San Francisco, Hollywood, etc.).
As they do this, they should notice two things:
It's possible to make the red/yellow borders match the borders on surrounding cells (and on the border of the map).
This always happens when North in the photo is oriented to match North on the map (up).
All of the pictures are from cities or locations large enough to be called out on the map (that is, it's either a from city that's named in large text or an island/geographical feature large enough to be seen directly on the map). If they compare the images to maps available online, they should be able to notice obvious features soon enough
There is exactly one square where no orientation can be determined from the red borders alone. This is Isle Royale in Michigan, which has red borders on all four sides. The orientation is North == Up, the same as every other picture. In playtests, this hasn't been a problem.
PHASE 2: Extract Data
The teams should now have most/all of the map in place. How to extract an answer? If they look at the red borders around the map cells, they should notice the word "FLAG". If they investigate the photos, they should notice that each one has been slightly altered to introduce a semaphore letter somewhere in the photo. Some are more obvious than others and should get them started. If they find all of the letters and read them left to right, top to bottom, they should get "YANKOVICCITYSONG", which should clue them to look for a song by Weird Al Yankovic with the name of a city.
If they do a Ctrl+F for city and submit "Spatula City", they get told that that's not a real location. If they look at the list (or are themselves fine connoisseurs of music) they should quickly notice that the correct answer is ALBUQUERQUE.
|Picture Location||Bing Maps||Modified Semaphore Location||Hint|
|Microsoft Campus X buildings||https://binged.it/2n4u2U5||New gray road in clearing in southeast||An office complex where software is written|
|University of Montana, Missoula||https://binged.it/2mWczQX||Courtyard in the southwest||This University campus is in one of the largest states|
|Isle Royale||https://binged.it/2mW8xIq||New River||If you look closely, this island national park is visible on the map.|
|Augusta, ME||https://binged.it/2n4yMck||New Road in forest, upper right||The Easternmost State Capitol|
|Golden Gate Bridge Area||https://binged.it/2n4ateu||Park Walkways||Ironically, the famous bridge is actually red|
|Denver, CO||https://binged.it/2n4k9Wg||Road, Left Center||This city was named for a governor of the territory of Kansas.|
|Navy Pier, Chicago||https://binged.it/2n4gQhV||Park walkway, northwest area||This Chicago tourist attraction is 3300 feet long.|
|Manhattan||https://binged.it/2mVY7Zc||New Bridge, bottom center||The most visited urban park in the United States|
|Hollywood Sign||https://binged.it/2n4n2GB||Attached to building in center||A Los Angeles landmark|
|Barringer Crater||https://binged.it/2n4ongK||New Road, Center Top||The nearest post office is in Meteor.|
|Little Rock, AR||https://binged.it/2mWi2Y7||Stadium Roof||This Southern capitol derives its name from a landmark used while navigating its river.|
|Charlotte, NC||https://binged.it/2n4fxzx||2 blocks NE of basketball stadium (black)||The seat of Mecklenburg County|
|Anchorage, AK||https://binged.it/2mWeN2T||New Road (right side, roughly center)||This large Alaskan city is home to an Air Force base|
|Big Island, HI||https://binged.it/2n4egbB||Extended Mudflow (right of center)||A big volcanic island|
|Houston, TX||https://binged.it/2mVWieS||White new road, right side, upper half||Not the Kennewick Toyota Center|
|Walt Disney World||https://binged.it/2n4nzse||New Pontoon in Lake||The most magical place on Earth|
FLAG: Are there any flags you can find in the pictures?
FALG: Try reading another direction.
SEMAPHORE: Keep Going.
SPATULA CITY: That's not a real place.
BEDROCK ANTHEM: That's not a real place.