Palace Games Puzzlers

Palace Games Puzzle Experts – Winners of MIT Mystery Hunt

Four Palace Games’ Puzzle Consultants were among the winners of the 2019 MIT Mystery Hunt earlier this year: Dan Egnor, Brent and Linda Holman and Yar Woo.

Team Left Out beat out 140 other teams participating in the annual hunt. Designed by Setec Astronomy, the 2019 theme was inspired by an actual event from 1919. A
molasses storage container in Massachusetts burst, spewing molasses and killing 21 people.

Setec Astronomy’s story started with Molasses Awareness Day and sent players through a complex forest of holidays to locate a manhole cover and stop the molasses flow. Team Left Out completed 182 tasks over 53 hours to save The Holiday Forest, and take home the traditional winning coins.

The team of 60 players – mostly from the West Coast – has taken on the challenge every January since 2004.

The secret to Team Left Out’s success in 2019? Sleep.

“After many years of everyone just working as hard as they could for as long as they could and pushing through exhaustion, we started encouraging people to sleep for a bit while the hunt was going on, and then come back refreshed,” Linda said. “Having a steady stream of energized people re-joining the solving team really helped us keep our energy up during the early morning hours.”

The most delightful moment? A plot twist at the halfway point.

“As part of the holiday theme, characters came to our team’s room to throw us a ‘birthday party’ which was like a mini-escape room game,” Linda said. “When we solved it, one character shouted out ‘April Fool’ and revealed that it was a trick, which opened up a new part of the storyline.”

Along with bragging rights and souvenir coins, Team Left Out is also tasked with designing the 2020 MIT Mystery Hunt.

“There are a lot of puzzles in our future this year.” Brent said.

Any clue what the 2020 Mystery Hunt will be about?

“The theme is traditionally a closely guarded secret until the hunt begins.” Linda said. “So no. No hints.”

The 2020 MIT Mystery Hunt will take place on the MIT campus starting on Friday, Jan 18, 2020.

Learn more about the hunt at