First of all, thanks for putting on a great event. It must have been a lot of hard work, and there were some really unique puzzles that had us noticing new things all over the park.
As a fan of the Twilight Zone, I also appreciated the attention to theming. Having the "It's a Good Life" quest lead to a cornfield was especially clever, and the TZ Guide was a cute souvenir.
My team attempted all of the quests, and we found most of them to be well thought out, but there are three I feel were somewhat flawed.
What Is Club 55?
"Club 55" refers to at least three distinct (albeit related) things:
1. A real-life group of cast members who worked at Disneyland in 1955.
2. A fictionalized version of the same mentioned on a Main Street bulletin board. (I say "fictionalized" because, among other reasons, the same board solicits bears for a bluegrass revue, and real-life bears can't play instruments.)
3. A fictional golf school headquartered above the Main Street Penny Arcade.
I recognize that the third answer makes the most sense given the first part of the quest, but it is not a requirement that a quest's final question be answered using the same methods that produced the earlier answers.
The first answer calls upon the solver's outside knowledge, but this is not unheard of. One of the quests last spring asked for the name of Disney's Hawaiian resort. The real-world answer, "Aulani," was also the answer to the quest.
The second answer would be trivial for advanced players who had seen the bulletin board the night before, but basic teams (like mine) could have been seeing it for the first time. My team's answer was something like, "a club that meets where the Red Wagon Inn used to be."
Although we were unsure of the exact wording of our answer, we were confident that we had located the correct piece of information on Main Street. Although a better answer was possible, it hardly seems a winning strategy to second-guess every apparent solution in hopes that a better one will reveal itself.
What Is the Name of the Retired Owner Above the Camera Shop?
If this question had been revealed during the Toontown quest, I would consider it fair. As it is, attached to a quest that had us looking all over the park, I'm surprised that anyone's mind went to the Toontown "camera shop" as opposed to the Main Street "photo supply company," especially given that another quest had us looking at second-story windows on Main Street and the answer to another question was intended to be found in the window of the Main Street photo store.
Some may argue that Renie Bardeau's window does not identify him as "retired" whereas B.B. Wolf's does. To this, I would respond that the real-life Renie Bardeau is retired, even though his window does not identify him as such.
Furthermore, although B.B. Wolf's window does specify that he is retired, it does not say that he is the owner of Huffin & Puffin Wrecking Co. So while less speculation is called for in this case, we must speculate nonetheless.
At any rate, it seems dangerous to go down the path of discounting answers that do not interpret the question literally enough.
In the Tom Sawyer's Island quest, for example, we do not know that "black avenger" was Tom Sawyer's nickname in the Spanish main. Rather, his self-styled nickname was "black avenger of the Spanish main."
Similarly, in the Toontown quest, we can't know for sure that there are 17 ears of popcorn growing in Goofy's garden. Two of the ears have not opened, so they might contain normal unpopped corn or even something entirely incongruous, like carrots (this is Goofy's garden, after all).
Clearly, such reasoning borders on the absurd, but is it really that far removed from the literal thinking that says there are 17, not 19, ears "growing" in the garden and the store on Main Street is not a "camera shop" because it sells "photo supplies"?
Who Framed Br'er Gator?
The previous points are debatable. This quest seems to contain a more straightforward error. Only three witnesses placed Br'er Gator at Splash Mountian: Pooh and Piglet (giving a joint statement) and Wendell.
All three made mistakes when testifying. Pooh and Piglet incorrectly stated that Critter Country was founded in 1888, not 1889. Wendell misidentified the "Seth Thomas" clock as a "Bell Thomas." Under the rules of this quest, we should disregard these statements in their entirety.
In other words, no one reliably testified that Br'er Gator rode Splash Mountain.
If there was a late amendment to this quest, it was not communicated well. My team picked up the photo quest from central about 12:30, and we used our hints at the Fantasyland station mere minutes before the 3:00 deadline. At neither point were we told about any change to this quest, though we were told to skip question 12 in the Fantasyland quest.
I can't stress enough that my whole team had a great time at the event, and we're eagerly awaiting the next one. I didn't expect to win (this being only my second time), and I hope my comments don't come across as sore loserdom.
I anticipate that as I become a more seasoned player, I will be better able to anticipate what you had in mind when writing each quest, but if I'm being totally honest, it's kind of off-putting as a newcomer that the quests are so open-ended. It feels too much like a mind-reading contest at times.
I'm not saying that the quests need to be easier. But it's one thing to go away thinking, "Man, that sign was really hard to find." It's another thing to go away thinking, "How could I have possibly known that's what they meant?"
I have a few ideas you may want to consider to make events friendlier for relative newbies:
- Use trick questions only in the advanced division.
- Give some points for correctly decoding the question. Make the answer at the end a bonus.
- Have a sheet that lists the correct answers mixed with, say, 50 random words (e.g., horseless carriage, green, 1959, above the firehouse). If a team gets an answer that isn't on the sheet, they'd know they have to keep looking. (We would have gladly spent the five extra minutes it would have taken to find the golf school, but we couldn't really do that because we didn't know our answer was wrong.)