The first thing you’ll need to do is register and log in. You can use your Steam account to log in, or create a glyph account.
We suggest you form a team of around five people. When creating a team, make sure only one person from your group does so - once you're on a team you can't join another.
The puzzle hunt is arranged into episodes. Each episode consists of a number of puzzles and your goal is to solve them. The episodes and puzzles are arranged into a story to keep you entertained. It is never necessary to read the story text to solve the puzzle—it will not contain hints—but the story may be taken up within the puzzle itself.
The puzzle you see might be, together with the brains of you and your teammates, all you need, but many puzzles will require you to go dig deeper: you might need to search for information on the internet, use a computer program or learn new skills to progress!
The answer to a puzzle is a word or phrase which must be entered into the answer box. It will never be necessary to guess large numbers of possibilities, but...
You should put everything you come across that could be relevant into the answer box. If the puzzle author was feeling friendly, you may receive an unlock to confirm that you're on the right track—or to warn you away from the wrong one. Unlocks may also give you an extra nudge, depending on the puzzle.
In addition to unlocks, timed hints will appear after a certain amount of time on the puzzle, first giving small clues and gradually revealing more detail. The times for these are set so that, if you are doing as well as the puzzle author expects, you won't need them when they appear: therefore if the hints are all things you have already worked out—well done! The precise timings of hints vary from puzzle to puzzle. Admins will generally not tell you when the next hint is coming.
Hints may also only be revealed a certain amount of time after receiving a particular unlock, to allow for hints which would otherwise spoil an initial stage of the puzzle while giving a clue for a later stage. Another reason to guess everything you find!
Don’t worry, it happens to us all! We can’t tell you the answers, but there are some general hints that might help.
Make sure you understand the basics above, and read the tips below.
If you're very stuck and that doesn't help, or if you think a puzzle is broken, send a message to the glyph bot in Discord starting with !stuck followed by your message. If the admins think it appropriate you may receive help, however remember that the puzzle hunt is competitive, and so to maintain the integrity of the competition the admins reserve the right to ignore your pleas!
The admins are constantly monitoring teams’ progress and what they’re trying. We actively try to make sure nobody falls too far behind. If a particular puzzle seems to be unduly difficult or even has a mistake, we might add hints or extra answers.
Things to tryHere are some general tips that could be helpful for any puzzle:
- Run it by someone in your team, or someone else you know
- Try not to overthink – keep it simple
- Go away and think about something else, then come back with fresh ideas
- Eat or drink something to keep your energy up
Useful Free Software
- A collaborative document editor such as Google Docs
- An image editor such as Paint.NET or The GIMP
- A sound editor such as Audacity
- Phone OCR software such as Google Lens
- A barcode scanner app such as Google Lens
- A good text editor such as Notepad++
These next tricks are more specific; some puzzles might not use any, but they're always useful to bear in mind. The majority of puzzles will use an idea at least similar to one of them.
- Google it!
- Check the source code
- Reverse image search
- Think about the puzzle title
- Convert data to another representation:
- Between hex, binary, decimal or other bases
- From Braille, Morse, sign language, ASCII or numbers to letters
- Cook it in CyberChef
- Break numbers into prime factors
- Rearrange the information:
- Chronological order
- Take initial letters
- Treat information as something else:
- Phone numbers
- IP addresses
- Atomic weights/numbers
- Radio stations
- Codes of railway stations or airports
- Say it out loud
- Try common cipher tools (Rumkin Cipher Tools)
- Graph numbers or letter frequencies
- Make patterns and pictures:
- Connect the dots
- Overlay it on a map or picture of something
- Make it into 3D
- Fold it
- Look at letters on a computer keyboard
- Open files in a program to inspect or manipulate:
- Try changing the file extension such as from .jpg to .mp3 and opening it
- Open it in an image editor
- Look at metadata (eg. EXIF, ID3, Vorbis Comment)
- Use a hex-editor
- Guess the correct answer...