All the puzzle materials for GPH 2018 are available on this site, so you can still go through the full hunt by yourself even though the event is over; however, to best replicate the experience, you’ll have to hide some information from yourself until you “unlock” it.

If you’re working through the hunt from start to finish, here’s roughly what you should do:

  • Read the “Start Your Ovens!” story text.
    • The story text does spoil puzzle content, so don’t read ahead.
  • The first 12 puzzles comprise the “intro round”. You should have 4-5 puzzles open at a time, and once you have 10 puzzles solved, read the “Hunt has Been Won” and “Suspicious Behavior” story texts and unlock the meta (Consolation Prize).
    • During the hunt, teams could click on a large cookie to increase their cookie count by 1 or solve puzzles which increased their cookie counts by much more. Puzzles unlocked at certain amounts of cookies, though after the first 4 it was infeasible to unlock more by only clicking.
    • As teams progressed through the intro round, they would notice a team with the name COOKIECOOKIECOOKIE on the leaderboard steadily accumulating more and more cookies. This team reached 1 billion cookies (and “won” the hunt) right as the team solved 10 puzzles in the intro round.
    • Additionally, during the hunt the Consolation Prize puzzle only consisted of the set of images, which changed depending on your team’s cookie count. This is now simulated with a clickable cookie on the puzzle page, but it does remove that aha.
  • Once you solve Consolation Prize, read the “Important Information” story text and unlock the first two puzzles in each of the Chessmen, Fortune Cookies, and Animal Crackers rounds.
    • At this point in the hunt, 3 more large cookies taking the form of a Chessmen, Fortune Cookie, and Animal Cracker were unlocked and could be clicked by teams alongside the original cookie. Although puzzle unlocks were still nominally gated by cookie counts, manually clicking cookies was an infeasible way of unlocking puzzles.
  • Within these three “main rounds”, solving a puzzle unlocks the next puzzle in the same round, and sometimes unlock puzzles in other rounds. To simulate this, aim to have 7-8 puzzles open at a time.
  • When you solve 7 puzzles in a round (or 6 puzzles in a round and 21 total main round puzzles), unlock the meta for that round.
    • In retrospect, we believe that both the number of open puzzles and the puzzle requirements to unlock the metas were too strict. You may have a better experience if you have 9-10 puzzles open at a time and unlock a meta after solving 6 puzzles in the round.
  • Once all three metas are solved, read the “Find the Cookie Monster!” story text and unlock the Great Galactic Bakery puzzle.
    • During hunt registration, we had three security questions that teams had to answer, which were “What is your favorite compound word?”, “What is buried in your backyard?”, and “What is the first name of your favorite actor?”. These security questions are relevant to the puzzle, and we unfortunately have to spoil this aha since the password reset system cannot be replicated.
  • When you find the Great Galactic Oven, read the “Defeat the Cookie Monster!” story text.
  • When you defeat the Cookie Monster, you have finished Galactic Puzzle Hunt 2018! You can read the “Congratulations!” story text for the thrilling epilogue.
  • During the hunt, teams also received “thin hints” (i.e. tokens teams could use to get a hint from us on a puzzle tailored to their progress). If you would like an additional hint on any puzzle, feel free to email us at [email protected] with your work and we will try to get back to you (no promises on response time, though).