Yesterday I got to participate in the the Beta test for the 2009 Microsoft College Puzzle Challenge and really enjoyed the event. Thought I’d share some info.
The College Puzzle Challenge takes place at universities across the US and Canada each year. Teams of four students each spend a Saturday solving puzzles and competing to win prizes. Members of the top team nationwide each receive an XBox 360 and a Zune HD. 1st through 3rd at each school also win prizes. Not bad for a day that’s pretty fun in and of itself.
The 2009 event is scheduled for November 14 at 25 schools, but before it all goes live, the puzzles need to be tested to get the kinks ironed out. That’s where the beta event comes in. My team of 4 (along with twenty or so other teams of relatively new Microsoft employees) spent yesterday in a test run of the competition, solving the puzzles and giving feedback to the puzzle writers on how reasonable (or not so reasonable) their puzzles were.
Our team placed fourth, solving the second-most puzzles overall (1st and 2nd tied, we tied with 3rd). We really enjoyed the majority of the puzzles and the theme held things together nicely (while the theme is still under wraps for now, note the website’s stylings as a major hint :-)). We didn’t get to test the meta-puzzle (they’re still finishing putting it together), but it promises to make things even more interesting.
Anyway, if you’re a student at one of the 25 universities where this event is taking place, I highly recommend getting a team together. Registration is free, you get to compete with students from across the US and Canada, there are great prizes, and its fun. Plus food is provided all day. Can’t beat that.