These rules may be subject to change without notice. We will only add rules to improve the Puzzle Hunt.
  • Teams may register between one and five people. Each team member must provide their name and a valid email address.
  • Additional team members may be added to an existing team at any time before registration closes, provided that the total number of people in the team is at most 5.
  • To be eligible for prizes, at least one team member must be an Australian resident, with an Australian postal address. You must use the check boxes on the registration page to indicate this. Any team with at least one Australian team member will be regarded as an Australian team for ranking purposes.
  • Participants may not register on more than one team. Any team with a member registered on more than one team will be disqualified.
  • A team must be registered as Australian by 7 p.m. on Tuesday the 27th of December, 2016. No changes to eligiblity will be permitted after this date.
  • Team names and passwords are case-sensitive. Any team registering with a name that can be considered inappropriate may be disqualified, at the discretion of the ΣUMS Puzzle Hunt Committee.
  • People involved with the ΣUMS Puzzle Hunt but who have not seen the puzzles may enter but will not be eligible for prizes. Puzzle writers or puzzle testers may not enter the competition.
  • There will be a total of 20 puzzles, released in five Acts of four puzzles each. There will also be a Meta Puzzle released at the same time as Act V.
  • The objective of each puzzle is to find a hidden word or phrase.
  • There will be a total of three hints released for each puzzle. This includes the Meta puzzle.
  • The puzzles and hints will be released according to the following schedule. All events occur at 7:00 p.m. Sydney local time:

    Mon 26 DecPuzzle Week begins. Act I puzzles released.
    Tue 27 DecAct II puzzles released. Hints for Act I released.
    Wed 28 DecAct III puzzles released. Hints for Acts I and II released.
    Thu 29 DecAct IV puzzles released. Hints for Acts I, II and III released.
    Fri 30 DecAct V puzzles and the Meta Puzzle released. Hints for Acts II, III and IV released. Registration closes.
    Sat 31 DecHints for Acts III, IV, V and Meta released.
    Sun 1 JanHints for Acts IV, V and Meta released.
    Mon 2 JanHints for Act V and Meta released.
    Tue 3 JanThe Puzzle Hunt ends. No more answers can be submitted.
  • Puzzles are initially worth five points. The point value for a puzzle will decrease by one point for every hint that has been released for that puzzle, down to a minimum of 2 points. The Meta Puzzle is worth no points, but the first Australian team to solve it will win a mystery bonus prize (see Prizes).
  • Teams may submit up to 100 incorrect guesses for each Act. Once 100 incorrect guesses have been submitted for an Act, no more guesses will be allowed for any puzzle in that Act. This is to prevent teams from randomly guessing the answers. Unused guesses for one Act cannot be carried over to another Act.
  • Teams must solve at least one regular puzzle before attempting the Meta Puzzle. Teams will have 10 guesses to solve the Meta Puzzle.
  • All answers must be submitted on the Solve page.
  • The puzzle answer consists only of one or more of the 26 alphabetical characters a-z. The answer checker is case-insensitive (it converts all upper-case letters to lower-case). Any spaces, numerals or other non-alphabetical characters will be removed by the answer checker. Thus, the guesses "dinosaur", "Dinosaur", "DINOSAUR" and "1DiNo... +SauR" will all be considered correct, if the correct answer was indeed "dinosaur". If the answer is a number, then you should enter it as a word, (e.g. "twentyfive" instead of "25").
  • Teams may submit answers to puzzles at any time from when the puzzle is released until the close of the Puzzle Hunt (7 p.m. Sydney local time on Tuesday the 3rd of January, 2017).
  • Teams cannot score more points by submitting an answer to a puzzle they have already solved.
Ranking and Prizes
  • Teams will be ranked by their total score, from highest to lowest.
  • Teams of equal score will be ranked by the total number of puzzles solved, from highest to lowest.
  • If two or more teams have equal scores and number of puzzles solved, then the teams are ranked in order from the earliest team to reach that point total to the most recent, as determined by the timestamp on the Team Rankings page.
  • The three highest ranking Australian teams will win the major prizes (pending possible eligibility checks). The prizes are expected to be in the form of Mastercard gift cards. Teams must solve at least one puzzle to be eligible for prizes.
    First Place$300
    Second Place$200
    Third Place$100
  • Prizes for winning teams will be split equally amongst the Australian resident members of those teams.
  • The first Australian team to solve the Meta Puzzle will win a special themed prize.
  • There will be an additional prize awarded at random to an Australian team which has solved at least one puzzle per Act but has not won any other prize.
General Rules
  • Teams may use any source of information, such as the internet and other people not actively participating in the hunt.
  • Teams must work independently of other teams. Any teams working together will be disqualified.
  • Teams engaging in any misconduct may result in disqualification, at the discretion of the ΣUMS Puzzle Hunt Committee. This includes, but is not limited to: stalking or spying on members of other teams, requesting hints or solutions from the ΣUMS Puzzle Hunt Committee, etc.
  • Any decisions on all matters regarding disqualification and prizes are final and no correspondence will be entered into.