Home Bound Hi-jinx

We know it’s getting old. Staying at home and being isolated from community is hard on both mental and physical health. The feelings of confusion, anxiety, sadness, and anger are complex and completely valid. Right now, the best we can do is keep going and keep doing our best!

April is here, so we’ve brought showers of fun for your week ahead! Doing things and connecting with friends online has been helping us stay motivated. We hope these activities can help you feel the same way.

April 3rd – Clue Keeper is an interactive online puzzle hunt host. This site lets you play, view, and create activities to be enjoyed anywhere in the world! Put on your thinking cap for this one…

April 4th – Saturday night’s alright for fighting, and for a drawing party! With Drawasaurus you can create a party room for you and your friends to play a guessing game. With no need for real artistic talent, it’s a hilarious way to connect and play!

April 5th – Sunday is a great day to visit a museum. But, it’s closed? It’s across the globe? No worries! Google Arts & Culture has an entire database of online museums! From MoMA in New York to the Uffizi in Florence, visit from your very own living room.

April 6th – We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, stories are how we learn best. Luckily, Audible Stories has come out with countless free titles for our entertainment. There are things for the littles too!

April 7th – Take a moment to assess your feelings today. Taking care of mental well-being is just as vital as eating a meal. Anxiety Canada has compiled lots of great resources on addressing your brain’s needs during stressful times. Take a break and a breath.

April 8th – Documentaries are fantastic ways to engage with the world. The Amsterdam Film Festival has much of their database online for free! With submissions from across the globe, there is something for everyone. We recommend starting with Askoo, a tale of a shepherd and his dromedary.

April 9th – Animal house doesn’t have to be your favourite book for this activity. Australia Zoos have put up live-streaming cameras in their animal enclosures, so we can still enjoy the cuteness from afar!

Have a safe and healthy week, friends!

As a special pre-planning announcement, we’ve been invited to host trivia next Friday April 17th at 4pm on CRAIC with KWENCH! Join us for some general nerd-ledge!

Custom-built Enigmas

Custom Built Puzzles for Augmented Reality Games

Custom Built Puzzles and Enigmas

Custom Built Puzzles for Augmented Reality Games

In 2019, we teamed up with Ryan Creighton of “Nights Around a Table” to write a series of custom puzzles for Niantic. Niantic’s game Ingress is an Augmented Reality game; and is the fore runner to Pokemon Go and Harry Potter Wizards Unite.  In Ingress, two sides contest control over cities by capturing and linking energy ‘portals’.  These portals are real world locations – public art, monuments and public buildings – that are linked together to take control of areas in game.  Every two to three months, Niantic runs big public events in cities around the world where the two sides compete in challenges to unlock new lore.  As part of the October 2019  ‘Nemesis: Umbra’ event, they commissioned a set of challenging puzzles and engimas, to be themed around the cities hosting the events.

Writing the Puzzles

Writing and testing these was an interesting challenge, as each had to be non-trivial, but solvable in about an hour.  We had to have a reasonably low on language complexity for the non-English speaking cities; but still give clear instructions where we could.  The puzzles had to use the city as inspiration.  We gathered ideas from reading a lot of travel guides, wikipedia pages and our own personal knowledge of some of the locations. Ryan and Enigmatic Events were in contact most days comparing ideas, and buidling designs. 

We had to not only write the puzzles, but also testing each others work. Just because a step seems obvious to the writer, it may be far too obscure to the solver.  Or it might  require idiom that’s unique to our own viewpoint. And sometimes though the method to get to the solution method may be clear, but the work involved isn’t actually fun.

9 Custom Puzzles to Sample

We’ve collected all nine puzzles that were co-wrote and released here. Each is a PDF file, and the solution is a word or phrase that associates with the city.  Please feel free to message us or comment below for hints.  Please email us directly if you want to check an answer.  I’ve put a rating on each based on the solve times during the event.  A Level 5-rating took an hour or more to solve, while a Level 1 was under 15 minutes.

As a free hint, you may need to do your own research on the cities to solve some of these puzzles.

Asia Sector

Taoyuan City skyline by Photo by Lisanto 李奕良 on Unsplash

Europe Sector

Antwerp Station by Polly on Unsplash

Americas Sector

Guadalajara Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres by Roman Lopez on Unsplash

Please contact us at business@enigmaticevents.com for hints, answers, or to talk puzzles with us!

Week two, but there’s more to do!

Being house-bound continues, but so do the wonderful things for us to be involved with. Talented artists, local community members, and hundreds of people across the globe are at home. Against it all, though, we are finding ways to connect to one another!

One of the strongest convictions we have at Enigmatic Events Collective is that things are better together! These weekly lists are a way for us to connect to you, to our community, and to the rest of the world. During times when it seems like we are alone, it is vital to feel a sense of inclusion! While you might not be joining a sport, watching, learning, dancing, and creating with others can help you feel closer (instead of socially distant!)

With this in mind, please enjoy this week’s list of things to enjoy from home!

March 27th- Have you been keeping creative while cooped up? Mo Willems, author and illustrator of popular childrens’ books such as Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus and Knuffle Bunny, has started a lunchtime doodle channel! Join Mo weekly as he teaches simple tactics for daily doodles.

March 28th- There is something about the magic of being read a story. Well, now you can join the Enchanted Fables princesses this weekend for live storybook readings and activities! Saturday at 1 pm visit with the fairest princess and Sunday at 1 pm, don’t forget your glass slippers. Stay updated with their page to keep up on future events!

March 29th- Social isolation has some of our creativity pretty stumped. The Belfry Theatre in Victoria is offering a collection of COVIDeos with answers to the question “how do we create theatre together in a time of physical distancing and self-isolation, and what form can that theatre take?” Join at 7pm tonight and stay for the talk-back at 8:15pm.

March 30th- We won’t stop telling you how great roleplaying is, but we know some of you would rather listen to your RPGs. Podcasts are popping up from all over! Some of our favourites are the local NerdsEtc, the musically talented BomBARDed, and the ever present Critical Role.

March 31st- Love Harry Potter? Like puzzles? Need some escapism? This Hogwarts-themed online escape room is designed by a Youth Services Librarian at Peters Township Public Library in McMurray, PA! Enjoy the wizardry of the great internet.

April 1st- Ivy League schools are incredibly prestigious, and now you can attend one from home! Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, and Yale are all offering online options for FREE!

April 2nd- Become a literary legend. These abridged versions of popular books are sure to make you laugh, and maybe even learn something new.

If you have suggestions on what should come next, let us know!

Isola-fun! Entertain Your Socially Distant Brain

With so many folks at home right now, it can be hard to stay engaged. Things can get pretty boring! Enigmatic Events Collective commits to bringing you enjoyable activities during this time of social isolation. We want to highlight the fun and the good that is going on in the world! With so many options for online, worldwide entertainment, we want to curate a list of accessible and diverse creations for you to share.
Enjoy our compiled list for week one!

March 20th- An easy starter, with a fun theme to boot! In Pour Taste combines our love for craft beer with our adoration for puzzles.

March 21st- It’s important that we keep moving, even if we’re all cooped up at home. Dancing Alone Together lets you watch, learn, and take part in dance classes internationally!

March 22nd- Our partners at the Puzzled Pint have released their previous puzzles here! If you’re looking for a few hours of head scratching, this is the link for you.

March 23rd- The National Film Board of Canada has released a whole database of Indigenous Cinema! We recommend starting with an animated short called Lumaajuuq.

March 24th- Ever play roller-coaster tycoon? Imagineering in a Box guides you through building successful theme parks and attractions like the Disney Parks. Let your creativity flow!

March 25th- Vital to this climate: roleplay! Roll20, D&D, and Critical Role have partnered to bring a free adventure you can play with your friends online. Have fun in Wildemount!

March 26th- In an uplifting series of photos, Washington Post compares typecast roles and dream roles for actors of colour.

If you have suggestions on what should come next, let us know!

Visions of the Future

A metal telescope for our visions

Company Visions of the Future

When I started Enigmatic Events, I had a vision. I wanted to take my experience of running murder mysteries into something more. I thought there was a powerful way to build interesting courses with the use of game play. I wanted to mix up board games, theatre exercises, and creative problem solving. I still have that belief – but I also have a better understanding of what I am good at. And thus where my visions meets what the world wants to see.

This year, I want to build on the base I’ve grown in the last four years.

A metal telescope for our visions

First, We Collaborate

Natasha and I met in a work situation and quickly realized how much we enjoyed bouncing ideas off one another. We discovered as we built our three fringe shows that there is an innate power in co-operative development; and that we work well together. Understanding how we work together will be a continuous process of improvement, but we’ve built a solid foundation. I know we are both excited to see that develop.

Second, We Create

The next base to build on is new, original creative work. We’ve created a good body of work over four years. These works include original murder mysteries, developed one-act shows, treasure hunts, puzzle sets, card games and role-playing games. Our most popular events by far are the murder mysteries. People love being suspicious of their friends and coworkers!

Our actor-driven mysteries are a form of immersive theatre. It is exciting to write characters and to see how talented actors take them further during a performance. Everyone brings their own ideas to each event. I want to see how we can use this to build new concepts outside of the murder mystery genre. By developing an understanding of what we, our actors, and our audiences enjoy, we can create further thematic events. Our task now is to understand how we engage audiences, and how to get them to have an emotional engagement with the worlds we create.

These explorations will also help us write new murder mysteries with novel twists. Beyond writing for new themes, we will add new concepts that make our events immersive in new ways. If we can engage more people and create more conversations at events between the guests, we have succeeded. We want people to talk, build connections, and foster trust with each other!

Finally, We Puzzle

The final base is building more puzzles. Over the last two years, we have partnered with a puzzle writer in Toronto. Together we have created intricate puzzles for use in Niantic’s game Ingress. The game distributed our work world-wide. Through this collaboration we’ve understood puzzle design better. We understand what people find interesting to solve and what draws players into a puzzle. It was also key to learn how to build many ‘aha’ moments into the solution.

Those latter pieces of fun are key for entertainment. Getting a little brain chemistry surge rewards us humans, making us want to delve further. Feeling a reward helps us get into a flow state, where we can see progress to an end. Entering a flow state during a single activity has shown to have positive effects for the participant beyond the initial action.

So, for me at least, 2020 is a year of growing what I’ve planted already – I don’t want to try all the new things, but get better at things I already do.