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UK Puzzlers' Convention and more - Many a mickle maks a muckle

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January 22nd, 2011


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09:11 pm - UK Puzzlers' Convention and more
1) Next month sees the first UK Puzzlers' Convention! The organisers are starting small: a conference room for the afternoon of Saturday 19th February, at the National Motorcycle Museum, not far from Birmingham International Airport. (I want to say I've been there once, years ago, for a postal games convention.) We can all dream rather larger for future years, though.

Even between now and then, there's the mid-to-high-teensth (depending on what you count) annual OxCon board games convention, taking place at The Mitre pub in Oxford on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th January, or "next weekend" as it might be referred to for a few more fleeting hours. Tournaments in The Settlers of Catan and Puerto Rico, lots of non-tournament games and a good chance of a good curry. For some reason there isn't really a proper web site for it any more; a short ad on the last page of the Queen's Lane Advertiser (.pdf) is pretty official and there's a Facebook page, shudder.

Both of these promise to be somewhere between "pretty good" and "spectacular". I probably can't really afford to go to either, but this doesn't necessarily mean that I can't be swayed into going to one of them. We shall see.

2) Last weekend saw the thirty-first annual MIT Mystery Hunt, which started with a wedding and finished with a happy ending (a very cute .mp4 file - spoilers, obv.). It was completed in about 42 hours, which is definitely on the "not outstaying its welcome" side as Hunts go, and I get the impression that history may well judge this to have been among the best of them. This year's hunt was won by an evolution of the Codex team with whom I hunted seven years ago - and they weren't a new team then. (I haven't had any involvement with them since.) Congratulations, prettydaisies and others! You win the booby prize; setting next year's hunt. it's the prize that keeps on giving! The mystery_hunt community has more information.

3) Weekly, rather than annually, PuzzleFountain is a web site that holds contests in Nikoli/WPC-style culture-free logic puzzles. They're a mixture of solve-using-the-online-Java-applets contests and print-out-the-.pdf contests. The Java applets take a little getting used to, but are fine. So far all the contests have used fairly standard puzzle types, though there's certainly the prospect of variations from time to time, at least in the printed contests. The contests have time limits (normally 90 minutes); I managed ten correct puzzles in the contest two weekends ago and six correct puzzles in the contest this weekend, and I'm not a particularly accomplished puzzler; anyone who's ever taken part in a WPC qualification test, or has played around with Simon Tatham's Portable Puzzles, or just done a few like-Sudoku-but-not-quite puzzles in magazines or newspapers, would find fun there.

4) OK, the latest computer game music remix that I'm really into is this remix of Nemesis the Warlock for the Commodore 64 by a remixer affecting the pseudonym O2 (or o2 or O2 or maybe even o2 - I don't know, I haven't seen it written down). I've never (to the best of my knowledge) played the game, I've never (similarly, TTBOMK) even read the comic strip which inspired the game. The music is a real grower though, with a really elegant progression of the sort that gets me every time. I wasn't sure how long the tune was, so I timed it, and my guess to its length would have been about a third or a half of its actual length, which has to be a remarkable testament to how it makes the time fly. If this is the sort of thing you like...

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