How to Write a BANG Puzzle

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(Work in progress... feel free to add, change, improve, etc.)

So you want to write a puzzle, eh? Simple! Create a simple substitution cipher, encode a crossword clue, and have the answer to that clue be the answer to the puzzle. Done.

Okay, so there can be a lot more to it than that. Team Snout has a page dedicated to the ins and outs of different puzzle designs from several different authors, as well as links to 8 years worth of advice from the GC Summit meetings. Included is a direct guide for writing puzzles, entitled "A Clue Design Primer." It is worth reading.

Some Dos and Don'ts

Unless you are somehow using these as intricate parts of the puzzle, some guidelines:

  • DON'T include intentional red herrings. It's frustrating enough when solving and ending up going down your own wrong path. To find out that GC intentionally put a wrong path in their puzzle is maddening.
  • DO make sure players know they've solved the clue. A recognizable word or phrase works best for this; a puzzle that solves to "X(1n0f1" or "disorbilivality" may have teams going back to see where they messed up, or try further manipulate the answer into something more concrete.
  • DON'T make puzzles or experiences that are, as Team Snout is fond of saying, only funny to GC.