Advanced Pass the Parcel, the prototype

What is this?

I’m developing a party game called Advanced Pass the Parcel. These are my thoughts on the first playtests, and where I’m thinking of taking it next.

It’s mostly for my own benefit, but other people might be interested. Maybe that’s you?

The parcel… and the cards


In Season 3 Episode 14 of excellent Australian animation Bluey (a fun show for kids but but even better for adults), the children play a game of Pass the Parcel according to the standard modern rules:

  • Every layer contains a small prize
  • The adult operating the music carefully ensures each child gets a prize (a secret rule that the players don’t know)

Lucky’s dad objects to this and runs the more traditional version:

  • There is only a single prize at the very end – but a much bigger one
  • The music stops at random

This has some dramatic consequences, but it also got me thinking about changing the rules for Pass the Parcel in other ways. I liked the idea of running a really weird version of the game with kids that had all sorts of chaotic shenanigans deployed layer by layer – swapping places, surprise rubber spiders, minigames, dance breaks, ability to control the music, general mayhem.

Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately?) I don’t currently have access to a kids party where I would be able to do that. Fortunately, Clare pointed out that the general idea could work just as well with adults, and I realised she was completely correct!

Basic design

As a game, Pass the Parcel in both the above forms is notable for the complete absence of player agency! According to most definitions, this means it doesn’t even qualify as a game. That’s fine for the kids version, but I don’t think that’s something adults could as easily accept.

Immediately I thought of the most obvious mechanic to fix it: you can play a card after the parcel stops (an ‘Interrupt’) to move it further around the circle. If you got to open a layer it would naturally reward you with more cards. This certainly gives players agency and just might admit a bit of strategy.

There were a lot of other rules and changes I wanted to try, which gave me the second core idea: each layer also reveals a card with some sort of new rule! I love games that do this, but there aren’t many, and it brings some of that feeling of chaos / unpredictability I was originally imagining.

Interrupt design

As a quick way to test the idea I planned to use playing cards as the interrupts. Large numbers would be a bit boring, and I felt there had to be some restriction on what you could play to add some strategy and stop players from just playing all their cards in a single round. I settled on using only Aces (for 1) up to 5 as a range, but I couldn’t decide if an interrupt should be lower than the one played before it (so the parcel would sort-of decelerate), or be +1/-1 from the previous interrupt (for less predictability). I decided to try both by starting with one rule and changing it later on with one of the ‘new rule’ cards several layers deep into the parcel.

Imagined example play

To be very clear about it, this meant a game might play out as follows:

  • Music starts and the parcel is passed around
  • The music stops, so the parcel stops in one player’s hands
  • Anyone can play an interrupt (they have five seconds to decide to do so)
  • If they do (for example, by playing a 4), the parcel moves that many places around the ring – probably to end up at the person who played the card
  • Anyone can then play another interrupt if it is less than 4 (or under the +1/-1 rules, if it was a 3 or a 5)
  • This keeps going with more interrupts, until the parcel stops and after 5 seconds no more interrupts are played
  • The person who ends up with the parcel opens up a layer, gains more interrupt cards, reads out the new rule, and that round is now over
  • Music restarts to begin another round, until eventually someone opens the final layer and wins

Layer design

Gaining one interrupt card for opening a layer would create a net drain on cards in play; gaining three cards would create a very strong rich-get-richer feedback loop, since someone gaining so many cards would very likely get the parcel again. So it kind-of had to be two interrupt cards you gain in each layer.

Physically, the tradition of wrapping paper and tape seemed quite wasteful; fortunately we had a lot of furoshiki cloths of various sizes that were lightweight, quick to wrap and unwrap, and easy to re-use.

I realised there would be a bit of strategy around judging when the final layer was reached, so I planned to have some fun with that. First I had one layer reveal two parcels inside, the new rule being that the parcels moved simultaneously in opposite directions. One of those then ended before the other (with a ‘jackpot’ of 4 interrupt cards), and the remaining parcel was instead a large envelope – which would look quite final after all that furoshiki. However, in that envelope was a hankerchief wrapped around a smaller envelope, to create two further final layers!

Parcel Passing Protocol

A classic problem in the original game is that the music can stop mid-pass. Two children both have their hands on the parcel and will tend to fight over it.

With adults I assumed we could instead go with a much less ambiguous approach: the parcel could be lightly thrown from one person to the next!

This was a mistake.

New rules

Here are a few examples of the rules I tried adding to the different layers:

  • Parcel now reverses direction
  • All players draw 1 new interrupt card
  • Give these interrupt cards to the players either side of you
  • Read this out loud: “The next layer has a spider in it. Not including me, whoever is first to volunteer gets to open it.”

I also tried some rule cards that instead you got to keep and play at any time:

  • Shout ‘Objection!’ to cancel an interrupt, then discard this
  • Declare ‘Technically it’s my birthday’, the player with the most cards must give you two, then discard this card.

The 5 seconds to play an interrupt was quite long, but felt necessary when people were new to the game. So I also add a rule card that reduced this to 3 seconds a few layers deep.

What about the prize?

As you might have noticed, games played by adults routinely do not have any prizes at all. People play Monopoly, Catan, Hearts or Waldshcattenspiel purely for the honour of victory. But having the final layer of a parcel contain nothing other than perhaps a bit of paper saying ‘you win!’ felt far too anticlimactic.

Given the direction the game was headed, the answer seemed obvious: the final layer has a blank card, on which the winner gets to write a new rule for the next game.

Expected behaviour

Under these rules, I expected the following:

  • Players would generally play an interrupt only when it brought the parcel to them
  • Players would hoard cards a little bit to ensure they had interrupts to play when some people had run out, and when the crucial final layer approaches
  • Perhaps emergently some players would co-operate. Player A might play an interrupt so that player B got to open the parcel; player B might later return the favour (with the help of the additional cards) so that player A might get to open a layer in turn.

To make the prize a bit more exciting, and with the idea of co-operation in mind, I changed the final prize to be two blank cards – one for the winner to write, and a second they could choose to give to another player.

Playtest 1

I was very lucky to be able to test the game out three times in relatively quick succession with three different groups of people.

Here’s what I learned from the first group, 17 people who work in video game development (so were more game-literate than the average person):

  • Players were excited by the simple joy of passing the parcel and playing interrupts! It may have helped that some players were lightly inebriated…
  • Interrupts having to be lower than the last one played in a round immediately felt far too restrictive, and we quickly switched to a ‘same or lower’ rule. This led to a much more exciting round finish when an Ace could be trumped by another Ace (and possibly another, and another…)
  • We needed a way to adjudicate bad behaviour (holding on to the parcel instead of passing it, throwing it badly, deliberately not catching it and picking it up slowly and so on). I quickly opted for player’s voting which player misbehaved, and penalising that player by having them discard one interrupt card
  • Players were not very strategic with their interrupts, playing them early and often – even when it brought no immediate advantage to themselves. Probably inebriation played a part here too, but it did feel like doing a thing that triggers everyone else to do a thing (pass the parcel the number of times you indicated) is inherently quite fun?
  • Rather than co-operation, players instead formed enmities! They would play interrupts to deny certain players the parcel – players who previously denied them the parcel, or players who were doing too well, or just players where it seemed funny to deny them the parcel for some reason
  • The interrupt that reads “The next layer contains a spider. First player to volunteer gets to open it” is very silly and out of keeping with the rest, but still proved very fun, suggesting a whole other possible way the game could lean. (Also note, it is a trick – there is no spider of any kind)
  • In a large group and a loud party setting, most players can’t/won’t read the new rules loud enough, so a moderator (me) had to do that for then
  • Complicated new rules just do not work in a loud party setting
  • We later needed a way to punish bad behaviour even when a player had no cards left to discard. We concluded they would be excluded from the next round
  • The rich-get-richer problem was actually pretty bad, with one player getting so many cards they would just play them in bulk (e.g. four 3’s for a total interrupt of 12)
  • The ‘+1/-1’ interrupt rule led to extremely long combos that drained almost all cards from the group, suggesting a lack of strategy, or possibly a failure to guess how many more layers were left?
  • The drama of approaching what may or may not be the final layer was tremendous!
  • With 17 people starting with 3 cards each, and 10 layers of parcel with about 2 cards in each, the game went on for about 30 minutes – probably too long
  • The winners wrote their new rules, and while these were mostly good, there was one that was possibly a bit broken and needed a second draft. Not sure how to deal with that…

In general despite some poor throwing discipline and long running-time, it seemed to go very well. One player afterwards reported “I haven’t laughed that much in ages” – a pretty good sign!

Playtest 2

In the next playtest, I once again found about 17 people willing to play, and once again some of them were slightly tipsy.

As a warm-up I had the group simply pass the parcel in a single circuit, and the relative ease with which they managed (or rather did not manage) to do that convinced me the throwing method was not a good plan. Instead we went with regular passing of the parcel from one person to the next, with the rule being that if the parcel stopped when two players had contact with it, whoever was furthest around the circle (i.e. was just in the process of receiving the parcel) should get it, which proved suitably unambiguous.

I made sure the new rules in each layer were simpler. I also added more new-rule cards that would ensure cards were distributed or replenished to cut down on the rich-get-richer problem.

Finally, rather than using whatever party music was playing, I specifically chose Meute’s track “Rushing Back” because it had a nice beat for passing to (136 BPM, pass every other beat so 68 BPM), followed by Edvard Grieg’s “Hall of the Mountain King” (inspired by a video game it would kind of be a spoiler to name).

Here’s what I learned this time around, with a group that seemed to have a wider range of game literacy:

  • Once again the simply joy of passing and interrupting was much greater than I expected! Interrupts just seem incredibly dramatic
  • This group quickly cottoned on to co-operation as a strategy, enmity formation was much lower. Depends on the group I guess?
  • Given the absence of any agency during the passing phase I tend to assume the gaps between stops should be quite short. But based on how the mood was feeling and perhaps how much people enjoyed the music, it seemed clear that longer periods (with the parcel making 3 or more circuits) actually felt just fine?
  • Changing the core rule of which interrupt can follow which added more confusion than I think is fun for a few people. For a group that includes non-gamers and/or people who had a few drinks, it’s probably best to keep that rule consistent
  • The accelerando of Hall of the Mountain King worked just as well as I hoped, and I was able to time the whole game such that the final stop aligned exactly with the end of the song. So good!!
  • Once again the game lasted about half an hour, which actually felt fine in this case, perhaps because of the more suitable music
  • The nature of the occasion meant no further games would be played, and the appetite to write new rules was not very strong

This now gave me a lot of excitement about the general concept, since two quite different groups of people seemed to have a lot of fun with it.

Playtest 3

I updated the rules again and printed out large-font new rule cards for better legibility than the hand-written ones I started with. Then I tested it out with 14 friends who are much more experienced with my kind of games, and indeed games of all sorts. I repeated the music choices from Playtest 2 since they seemed to work so well. Here’s how that went:

  • The first few rounds were much calmer, with fewer interrupts played, and in particular much fewer ‘frivolous’ interrupts (those that don’t advantage the player)
  • The vibe was initially more serious, and the relatively low amount of player input into the whole process started to feel a bit odd…
  • … but as some new rules kicked in and a few interrupts surprised people (in particular a father playing an interrupt denying his own child the parcel!), I sensed the vibe picking up as people got into the rhythm of it all
  • The climactic ending of Hall of the Mountain King was once again great, although the winner then immediately began to unwrap the final layer, and I didn’t even realise that was wrong – such is the finality of the song. Players pointed out the error and we quickly played out the ending properly (allowing interrupts to take place).
  • Richard B felt that playing an Ace to take the parcel from the player next to you was such a distinct move it should have its own name; he called it ‘batsy’. I like it!
  • Once again there wasn’t a huge appetite to write new rules, although unsurprisingly a lot of this group were very interested in discussing what they could be

Tarim raised that the ‘same or lower’ rule meant that the higher numbers got very little play indeed. This was more obvious in this playtest with the more tactical play. Players had ‘solved’ this problem in the first two playtests by playing their highest cards as soon as possible and without regard for personal benefit!

My concern about the alternative ‘+1/-1’ rule is that it can encourage very long runs of interrupts draining ‘too many’ cards. That said, it does still have a nice slowing effect as players reach the lowest (or highest) numbers available, since only a single number can interrupt from there…

Where next?

In general the game seemed a lot more fun that I would have guessed, so seems worth developing further. I see two obvious but very different paths to try.

Path 1: Fix what seems broken: less luck, more agency, more strategy

Even with a more strategic group playing, it became clear that the game was barely more strategic, at least in outcome, than just stopping the parcel randomly and opening it. But in a game with many players, where only one will get to open a layer, how much strategy is even possible? Most of it will surely cancel out.

The ‘rich get richer’ problem is also quite annoyingly baked into the concept. Even though ensuring every other layer had a rule that to some extent redistributed cards or allowed new ones to be drawn, that dynamic does feel a bit antithetical to strategy.

My working theory for a solution to both problems is as follows:

  • Each card has an interrupt value AND a special effect, players choose which one to play
  • Players can only play one card per round. Having more cards gives you more choice, but not as much overwhelming power
  • When you open a layer, it contains three cards – choose one for yourself, give one each to the players either side of you
  • Special card effects could follow a ‘tableau’ style of play – you place them in front of you to grant some sort of mild buff that stays with you for the rest of the game. In this way, even though you don’t have much control over a single round, you get to be strategic over the course of the game. Even if you don’t win, it would probably feel better than just playing an interrupt to gain the parcel and then immediately have that play ‘wasted’ when someone plays another interrupt.

Possible example card effects:

  • Interrupt: Play this to reverse the direction of the last interrupt
  • Interrupt: If 3 interrupts have been played this round but you have not touched the parcel since the music stopped, draw 2 cards
  • Tableau: You can add 1 to any interrupt, but must discard a card whenever you unwrap a layer
  • Tableau: When a +2 interrupt is played, once per round you can draw 2 cards and discard 2
  • Tableau: Whenever a player’s hand reaches 6 cards, they must give you 1 and another player of their choice 1

The dual-function of cards (interrupt or effect) mitigates the weakness of high numbers under a ‘interrupts must be lower than the last’ paradigm. But I also like the idea of including a small number of ‘Joker’ interrupts which can be played after an Ace and pass the parcel directly to you – but can be followed by an interrupt of any value.

That all feels quite promising to me, but leaves a lot of unanswered implementation questions, and also just would not work with a large group.

Path 2: Build on what works! Frivolity, group activity, spontaneous alliances / enmities

Leaning in to the fact that apparently just playing cards and having the group do things in response seems fun, perhaps don’t worry about strategy and just have fun with it?! This leans in a direction I’m actually very interested in – pushing away from games and into something I’m currently calling ‘co-ordinated activity’, which I think is a vastly underexplored space.

Perhaps keep the ‘1 card per round’ restriction to stop the game running on too long and avoid the rich-get-richer problem a little bit?

In general have rules that are a lot more varied and surprising, or give the players a different kind of agency. Some example rule cards you might unwrap alongside your interrupts:

  • Ask a quiz question. First player to get it right (excluding you) draws 2 cards
  • Pass the parcel, each player adds one word to the story as they pass it. Parcel stops at the end of a sentence or when it completed a circuit. You choose who to award a bonus card based on their contribution.
  • Everyone High-5 one player next to you. Successful high-5s swap places.

Maybe each of these is great for very different groups – or maybe the right answer really is some kind of strange combination of the two? The experiments continue…

  • Transmission ends

Tim now posts on Bluesky as and has previously written about making games about sandwich making and blindfold roleplaying


Weird Family Fortunes


Family Fortunes (Family Feud in the US) is a brilliantly subversive quiz concept.

They set things up by conducting a large survey asking people all sorts of questions that have multiple answers. On the show, teams (families) then compete to guess the most common answers to those questions. So unlike a conventional quiz where you are rewarded for knowing obscure things, instead you are rewarded for being as similar as possible to the average person! Or at least being good at guessing what an average person would think.

I ran a ‘Weird Family Fortunes’ survey/quiz that compressed this idea into a single step. Players completed a survey of Family Fortunes style questions – but needed to anticipate what other people’s answers might be as they did so. Initially this was quite easy, and then it started to get a bit weird.

There were 3 sections, with 8 questions in each, and 38 people sent in responses – if you were one of them, thanks for that! Here are the results.

Section A: Majority Wins

In this section the rule was similar to Family Fortunes: ‘majority wins’. Players get a point if their answer matches the most commonly given response out of everyone playing.

For example, if 10 people answered ‘Pinball’ and 7 people answered ‘Snooker’, the 10 people who chose Pinball would each get a point, since theirs was the most commonly given response.

I grouped together responses that I consider equivalent, e.g. I would combine ‘Football’ with ‘Soccer’ when considering the totals. This sounds superficially simple, but gets into some quite difficult judgement calls later on, as you’ll see.

A1: What is your favourite colour?

Inspired a little bit by Monty Python and the Holy Grail, this seemed like an easy place to start. Perhaps informed by the first response in that film (but also just possibly what is most popular in general), the winner by quite a long way was ‘blue’.

Some of the responses suggested to me that people either had not realised the goal was to guess what the majority of all players would guess (‘Pastel Pink’ and ‘Aquamarine’ were two ambitious responses), or simply did not care.

I also think the kind of people I sent this to are generally very smart and original, and I often run games that allow them to flex those strengths. In this round at least, this is pretty much the opposite of what you should do, so perhaps it was just force of habit that led to the particularly unlikely response of ‘radio wave’.

A2: What is the best animated Disney film?

Given the demographic of respondents, perhaps ‘The Lion King’ was the inevitable winner. But I was very interested that ‘Toy Story’ came second, given that it was – at the time – a Pixar film, not a Disney one. Years after Toy Story came out, Disney bought Pixar, and the argument could be made that it has now become a Disney film. In a traditional quiz that would probably be debateable, but here it doesn’t matter! If everyone makes the same mistake, it becomes valid. Albeit second place in this case.

A3: Which is the least awful social network?

This one is a bit of a popularity contest, since I think on average most people only use a small number of social networks. Still I was surprised to see Instagram take a convincing lead. Good to know!

A4: How do you distinguish the file name of the final version of a document?

As a subject of personal interest, I find that the version of a document one thinks is final turns out not to be final in the vast majority of cases. This creates the problem of distinguishing the document you first thought was final from the one that is actually final (if there ever even is such a thing).

The results here suggest that other people don’t have that problem, or other people don’t think other other people have that problem, or they don’t care, or think other people don’t care. In other words, these results don’t actually tell us very much.

Still I was disappointed that only 3 of the responses reflected my experience – there is no final so name accordingly – and actually one of them was me, since I was the first respondent to the quiz!

A5: What is your favourite video game?

The big problem here was categorisation. ‘Zelda’ and ‘Mario’ do not uniquely refer to a specific game, and it seems too much of a generalisation to group all games in the Zelda  or Mario series as a single category. Then there is ‘Mario Kart’, which is also a series with many iterations – but ‘Mario Kart’ was what ‘Super Mario Kart’ was generally called (just as Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace was generally known as Episode 1), so probably stands. As noted, in general this quiz isn’t about me judging what is and is not a valid answer, but when it comes to joining up responses I did have to make that call.

There was a surprising breadth of answers here, but perhaps this is more a sign of how huge and varied the topic of games is… and is a sign that a lot of the respondents also work in a video game studio.

A6: Who is the best female character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

This question got at the problem of general knowledge (the average casual or non-MCU fan probably could only name Black Widow) vs. strong contenders from elsewhere if someone is more familiar with the material. Of course, this is compounded by people guessing what others will guess, making Black Widow a very likely winner.

A7: Who is the best droid in Star Wars?

Not only is R2-D2 clearly an excellent droid, they will be the obvious choice for the large number of people who haven’t seen the sequel trilogy or other Star Wars spin-off material. In a straightforward poll, I hope a few more might support the excellent L3-37 or BB-8, but when it comes to guessing which will win, R2-D2 is hard to resist.

‘Han Solo’ might look like a rookie error, but makes sense if you consider some additional context. To say more would be to spoil that other context.

A8: Which year was the best?

Another tacit test of the player’s demographics, 1999 and 2000 are the years that most of my peers were in their 1st or 2nd year of university – with maximum freedom and probably the lowest amount of responsibility. The internet was also gaining traction and was exciting and new. Well, I’m guessing that’s what people thought anyway.

Section B: Runner-up wins

For this section, the rules changed: runner-up wins. That means players got 1 point for each answer where their response was the second most commonly given. Of course, players needed to bear in mind that everyone else is trying to guess which will be the second most commonly given as well.

For example, if the question was “What is the best letter?” and 10 people answer ‘a’, 7 people answer ‘b’, and 2 people answer ‘c’, the people that answered ‘b’ will get a point since that was the second most commonly given response.

I originally considered giving people the chance to answer each question twice: once with their ‘honest’ answer, and then again where they are trying to guess what other people guessed. But I liked the elegance of compressing that all into one question, even though it makes it very difficult and probably quite luck-based!

This was made even more difficult since it was hard to tell how many respondents would truly understand what was being asked, as that could influence the responses. Let’s see what happened.

B1: What is your favourite mode of transport? (runner-up wins)

I made the call to separate ‘bike’ from ‘ebike’ and ‘quad bike’, and also ‘tube’ from ‘train’.

Now I think about it, I can actually see that helicopter and zeppelin are pretty excellent forms of transport, but it’s not too surprising that not many people thought of these. Or thought that other people might think of it not quite as much as the most popular thing.

B2: Which tree is the best? (runner-up wins)

At this point I slightly regret not asking the ‘majority wins’ version as well as the ‘runner-up wins’, since I’m curious how similar they would end up being. Oak seems an obvious front-runner, but well done to the 3 people who all agreed on Birch making it the runner-up.

B3: What is your favourite potato-based food? (runner-up wins)

Somewhat contentiously I separated ‘chips’ from ‘fries’, as in my experience they are very different forms of potato, and I have been to establishments offering both as separate options on the menu. In this case I’m very uncertain if the people who won by guessing ‘chips’ were under-thinking it or thinking-it just the right amount.

B4: Pick a word that begins with ‘w’ (runner-up wins)

This could have been very hard, but I deliberately included two possible words in the question itself, creating what I thought might have been a dilemma, as surely one of those would be the runner-up. Sure enough, these showed up close to the top – but out of nowhere, water was the most popular, and I’m very unsure why.

B5: You are invited to a thing you don’t want to do, but technically you are available. What do you do? (runner-up wins)

I’m very interested to know the ‘majority wins’ answer to this question, but as a person who frequently invites people to things, perhaps people would not have answered honestly in any case?

This created some tricky grouping problems, in particular I decided to separate the general (‘make an excuse’) from the specific (‘feign illness’), and nuances of timing (‘decline’ vs. ‘cancel later’; ‘go anyway’ vs ‘go for a bit and see’). I am mysteriously pleased that the successful runner-up was the perhaps surprising ‘go anyway’.

B6: What did Tim eat just before writing this question? (runner-up wins)

For those that want to know, the reality was that I ate a banana just before writing this question. But this is not about accuracy!

Given that you most likely needed to at least come up with something that a few other people would guess, I was surprised at the long tail of very specific responses – I had thought generic answers like ‘a snack’ or ‘breakfast’ would have been the way to go. But in the absence of examples, I can imagine it was not clear that general categories might be a good way to go. It was quite pleasing to end up with a 6-way tie between 12 people!

B7: Where is alien life most likely to be found in our solar system? (runner-up wins)

In this particular case it felt fairest to group up specific responses (e.g. locations on Earth) to a single major planet, but that did end up making Earth the most popular. Perhaps if I do something like this again it would be better to specify (where possible) what kind of grouping I will do?

B8: If you had to kill a vampire but you aren’t sure which vampire rules are in play, how would you first try to do it? (runner-up wins)

With an unlikely tie for first between sunlight and a stake, the successful runner-up was the garlic grouping. My personal favourite was the 3 people who chose not to kill at all, in a category joining ‘Don’t’, with ‘run away’ and ‘fall in love with them’.

Section C: Weird

This section grouped the weirdest majority and runner-up questions with a few that had rules all of their own…

C1: What is the lowest unique whole number that someone will guess in answer to this question? (For example, if two people guess ‘1’, one person guesses ‘2’, and one person guesses ‘3’ then the person who guessed ‘2’ will get the point, as that was the lowest unique response).

I thought ‘Whole number’ was a well-defined term, excluding negative numbers, but I failed to specify this. The fact that several very intelligent people opted to give negative responses made me realise I should have specified that restriction up front (and not just implied it by the example).

Under the intended rules – which is what I’m counting here – the winner was the person who selected ‘2’, funnily enough the winner in the example given! This meant 1 or even 0 could have won.

If we broadened the definition to negative numbers, I find it pleasing that two people both opted for the largest negative number possible in the restrictions of the format, meaning the winner (under those rules, which we are not actually using) was instead the person opted for a merely very large negative number.

C2: What came before the Big Bang? (Majority wins)

In grouping terms, I considered the winner, ‘Nothing’ to be distinct from ‘there is no “before” ’, since the latter implies time itself did not exist / was not meaningfully defined. I separated out ‘The Big Crunch’ from ‘A Big Crunch’, because while superficially similar I felt like the use of “A” much more heavily implied a cyclic behaviour.

Respect to the one person with the very reasonable response of ‘I don’t know’!

C3: What is the opposite of the thing most people will answer to this question? (Any answer that can be interpreted as opposite to the answer most commonly given to this question gets a point)

I asked this without any idea how people might answer, or how possible it would be for me to judge. As it turns out, variations on ‘nothing’ clearly took the majority, making both ‘everything’ and ‘something’ both winners as opposites.

You could argue that the response that simply repeated the question (and perhaps the one that said ‘asking the same question again’) should win, in the sense that they are the opposite of all of the others which are all ‘answers’. But I don’t think a response should dictate how I group things up, so that does not win, but is still a good effort.

I like that one person gave 42 and another -42. I also particularly like the surreal ‘you should put salt on it’, which is possibly trying to do something clever I haven’t been able to figure out.

C4: What is the average of the numbers submitted in answer to this question? Give your answer to the nearest whole number. (Closest to average wins)

With just one person opting for a very large negative number and 4 people going for very large positive numbers, the largest positive number ends up winning!

C5: Pick a whole number from 1 to 8. (Runner up wins)

I wondered if the earlier questions might somehow prime people’s responses here, but I can’t see a clear pattern. Perhaps the similarity of ‘runner-up’ with ‘2’ as a concept made it the most popular choice, allowing 5 to take the true runner-up prize.

C6: What would be a good question to ask in this survey? (Best 3 answers as judged by Tim will win, originality will be highly rated)

After struggling to come up with questions, I figured I should turn the problem back on respondents. I got a very widely varying set of responses, which were as follows:

  • How do you feel? (Majority wins)
  • What would be a good question to ask in this survey? (Best 3 answers as judged by Tim will win, originality will be highly rated)
  • Did anyone else’s brain start hurting around C1?
  • Pick any whole number between 1 and 50 to stand on and a second such number to place a trap on. You score a point if nobody has placed a trap on your number.
  • If you had to be on an island with only one type of bird, which would it be and why?
  • What do you consider to be the greatest virtue?
  • Number of peanuts in this pack of peanuts. Points at peanut pack.
  • Thumbs being incredibly useful, why do we only have 2?
  • How many bees would we need to attach to Tim to be able to fly him to the moon?
  • Why doesn’t glue stick to the inside of the bottle?
  • Why did the chicken cross the road? (runner up wins)
  • If Tim was a phone, which phone would he be? Bonus points, what colour/case would he be?
  • If you wanted to get a Guinness world record, what would be your best shot?
  • If you could choose someone to narrate your life, who would you want to serve as the voiceover?
  • What do you get when you cross a rhetorical question and a paltry attempt at being funny in a quiz answer?
  • What is Tim’s favourite colour?
  • If asked to define yellow, how many people would not use the opposite of a not a banana to explain it? (Wooden spoon wins)
  • If everyone were to answer the best year of their life minus the worst year of their life, what do you think the average of all answers would be?
  • How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
  • What colour are the clouds in the sky right now?
  • How many bison dollars is to a single US dollar?
  • Best burger chain
  • What’s your favourite question? (Majority wins)
  • Favorite question in this survey, runner up wins
  • Why does Tim write question that we don’t understand and have no relevant or real answer
  • What is the best number?
  • favourite integer (runner up)
  • what’s your favourite thing about Tim?
  • You have a pet dinosaur and you don’t want to give it neither a human, a dog/cat nor a scientific name. What would you name it? (Majority wins)
  • Name something you find in a bakery that can also be used as a term of endearment
  • Pick a number. If the total of everyone’s numbers is odd, evens win. If the total of everyone’s numbers is even, odds win.
  • Do you think that this format of quiz will be popular enough to repeat (wholly or in part) for next time?7
  • Assuming the location of each person responding to this survey forms the vertex of a polygon, how many KitKats would it take to trace the perimeter? (One point for answers within one standard deviation of the mean)
  • What would be a good question to ask in this survey?
  • Who, What, Why?
  • How many distinct named colours do you think there are?
  • Probably something like what you just asked, so that you could effectively outsource creating the next survey for your next event.

I said originality would be highly rated, but another (but less important) criteria was how well a question might actually work in this context – something I now have a much better feel for. My top 3 were:

  • Pick any whole number between 1 and 50 to stand on and a second such number to place a trap on. You score a point if nobody has placed a trap on your number.
  • If everyone were to answer the best year of their life minus the worst year of their life, what do you think the average of all answers would be?
  • Assuming the location of each person responding to this survey forms the vertex of a polygon, how many KitKats would it take to trace the perimeter? (One point for answers within one standard deviation of the mean)

Also my respect and bafflement to the complicated question about yellow that then reveals that ‘wooden spoon wins’, I am very curious what the responses would have been to that!

C7: Rock, paper, or scissors? (Those who select the option that beats the majority win)

My favourite question! This ended up being a little tricky to resolve, with a two-way tie between Scissors and Paper.

Ultimately though the answer is quite clear: the majority is a tie between Scissors and Paper, so we simply consider the following:

  • Scissors ties with Scissors and beats Paper
  • Paper ties with Paper but loses to Scissors
  • Rock beats Scissors but loses to Paper

A tie and a win is clearly the best result, to ‘Scissors’ is the overall winner.

C8: When considering all responses to these questions, including this one, which whole number is most commonly answered? (Closest to the actual most commonly answered whole number across all questions wins)

Perhaps the ultimate test of figuring out what other people will choose, while ‘1’ feels like a pretty safe choice the winner was ‘5’ – and it would not have been if 3 fewer people chose it in response to this question!

For reference, the actual distribution of numerical responses to all questions is as follows (excluding the very long tail of numbers with only one occurrence):


Did this work? Did it make any sense?

In retrospect the ‘Runner up’ round felt a bit too confusing and random. It would have been neater and also more enlightening to have people give a straightforward response and then go on to guess about the runner up. One reason I chose not to do that was that it would make the survey a lot longer – or the same length with much fewer questions in play. The second reason though was that I liked how mind-boggling it might be!

The grouping problem got pretty difficult. If I did this sort of thing again, I would definitely try to anticipate how grouping might work and specify guidelines for it within the question itself.

The responses to this quiz went on to inform an actual ‘Family Fortunes’ style quiz game I ran in person, specifically because I wanted to do something that was like a quiz but a lot weirder, and I liked how that worked a lot – that will be written up elsewhere.

Thanks again to everyone who participated!


As promised, I said I would publish the top 10 scorers. There were quite a lot of ties though, so some of these tables get quite long.

In section A, a nice warm-up with 8 ‘majority wins’ question, 5 people managed to get 6 of them right – well done!

In section B, there were 8 ‘runner-up’ questions. Figuring out what will come 2nd out of the options submitted by people who are all trying to guess what will come 2nd is very difficult, but somehow Jordan got an incredible 6 of the 8 correct, a strong lead against the 6-way tie for 2nd with 3 points. Amazing!

Section C had a lot of weird questions, but also a lot where just by design very few players were likely to win the point (with the exception of the rock/paper/scissors one), so it’s especially impressive that Phil got 5 out of a possible 8.

I said I wouldn’t reveal who gave which answer, but I will say Phil did answer 3 Section C questions tactically and this did help him win at least one additional point… quite how he might have done that is left as an exercise for the reader.

Adding those all together, Jordan takes the lead with 13 out of 24!

  • Transmission Ends

Empirically the best radio stations in the world.

If you just want the answer to that link-bait headline question, scroll down to the picture of the map with every country scratched off. Of course, methodology is critical, and you should really conduct your own study, so stick around for the details of quite how to do that.

But perhaps you’re not convinced of the need to do that, so first, as is traditional before the introduction of a ridiculous solution, let me sell you the problem.

If you listen to music in an office, the advent of Spotify is a disaster.

Superficially, of course, Spotify is clearly better than a regular music radio station, in that it has no ads, and most importantly you can put on exactly what you want to hear.

Oh yes, listening to what you actually want to hear – clearly the best of all things to listen to. Or is it???

There are two big problems with this in an office setting.

One is the burden of choice. You want perhaps 8 hours of music in a day, 5 days a week, without much repetition. That’s actually a lot of work to put together, and when trying this we perhaps better understand why people get paid to make radio happen.

The second problem is consensus. When there were five of us in the start-up I worked for, Stubble & Glasses, we discovered the only artist we all liked was Paul Simon. By the end of the first day, we knew we were going to need another office music strategy. And then we hired a bunch more people – some of whom, weirdly, didn’t like Paul Simon.

The obvious solution is also terrible

With radio, you accept that you’re not going to enjoy everything. So perhaps your office needs a communal Spotify playlist, which everyone can contribute to, and which also solves the tremendous burden of choice problem, since you’ve divided up that labour. And you like some of what you get to hear, and some you have to tolerate, but it all sort of evens out in the end.

Except that it doesn’t.

Because when you pick songs for a communal list, your individual incentives are not aligned with the group incentives. As a diverse group, your collective enjoyment will be higher if people pick the blandest, most widely-appealing artists they like. But as an individual, you want to listen to music that really speaks to you (which is usually not bland, and often not widely-appealing), and you also don’t want to “waste” your part of the list by choosing something that somebody else might add anyway. So you’ll be tempted to add the least bland, most personal, and least universally popular music you know.

And so will everyone else.

Excerpt from the office Skype chat while trying out a shared Spotify playlist strategy

And you’ll hate it, and eventually each other.

What about or Pandora, then?

Also terrible in this context. Both services are brilliantly designed for an individual, but in much the same way as the above, what’s good for one is usually bad for the group.

Unless you know how to make large physical love/ban buttons for the whole office to enjoy, but even then the service is going to get very confused if you have any diversity in music tastes.

But radio is so 19th Century!

I know, this seems insane. With all the developments in technology and music services, there just has to be a way that the internet makes the concept of radio better.

Well, there is. And I’m going to stop phrasing minor problems in a melodramatic fashion and using subheads in a faux conversational style so I can tell you about it.

What if I told you that you can listen to radio from anywhere in the world

You would probably shrug, because you already knew that. TuneIn radio and others have facilitated this for a while now. And with 70,000 radio stations, it doesn’t seem as if you’re making the burden-of-choice problem any better. How are you supposed to find anything good?

Here’s how.

Radio Station World Tour: The Plan

  • Listen to at least one radio station from every country in the world, using a scratch-off map
  • Keep notes on all the stations you listen to
  • Now simply rotate through your favourite discoveries!

Radio Station World Tour: The Details

I will immediately confess that this solution is actually insane. But it’s insane in a good way. Because as soon as you start, you run into definition problems. Delicious, arbitrary definition problems.

When we tried this at Stubble & Glasses, here’s how we solved them.

  • How long counts as a listen? 4 hours of listening per country. Long enough for you to get a good feel for the station, short enough that you can survive even the least palatable options.
  • What counts as a country’s radio station? If it’s listed as being in the country on TuneIn radio, it counts, especially if it’s wrong. (We’re not convinced that A-net radio really broadcasts from Antarctica, for example. But it definitely counts.)
  • What counts as a country on the scratch-off map? Everything that is named on the scratch-off map, especially if it’s wrong. (South Sudan isn’t marked. Obscure islands in the Arctic are named, and therefore count.)

Inevitably, definition problems resist even these seemingly simplistic answers, so if you really want to do this, check the Nitty Gritty section below.

What actually happens if you attempt this

There are 193 members of the United Nations. If you used our 4-hour minimum listen rule, you could in theory get through 10 per working week, and in this way you could be done inside of 4.5 months.

In practice, if you use the map as your guide to what counts as a country, and if you split up large countries on the basis that that would be too easy (see Nitty Gritty below), and if you accept that I’m massively overblowing this by saying it solves office radio and you only manage to listen to 3 world radio stations a week (as we aimed to do), you’re now up to 228 listens and a 1.5 year project.

Oh, but when you get towards the end, you’re going to discover all the problems with your seemingly simple and elegant definitions, as you search for radio stations for Arctic islands with populations under 1,000, and okay, you can come up with something to get around that (see Nitty Gritty), but this is going to slow you down.

So much, in fact, that the business folded when we were 1.6 years into the project and 93% done. So I took the map with me and finished it mostly alone.

Our listening progress. Note the inflection point around March 2013 when it gets much harder.

The Nitty Gritty 1 – Peculiarities of the Luckies Scratch Map

The Luckies Scratch Map we used appears to use the Gall stereographic projection of the globe. This projection attempts to compromise between accurately representing the relative areas of the countries and accurately representing their shape, which sounds like a good idea, except of course that this means it achieves neither. As usual, the problem of area is more noticeable, and although it’s not as extreme as the Mercator projection, the area of territories towards the North and South poles are significantly overstated.

Perhaps this is okay if you’re using the map to more conventionally record your travels, as getting to Antarctica or some of the isles of the far North is a pretty big deal, and the bigness of that deal is then represented by the amount of scratching you get to do (especially for Antarctica). But in the case of a radio tour, it’s unsettling.

There are also some covered rectangles below the scratch map which you are invited to remove if you’re visiting certain specific countries. It turns out these reveal a range of oddly-chosen pieces of trivia, only those for Iceland and Fiji being particularly useful if you were planning to go there.

The final rectangle is to be scratched off if you are visiting “Luckies Island”, which you may notice does not exist, but is nonetheless shown on the map in the Mediterranean. The inclusion of this kind of Mountweazel may be intended as a copyright trap of some kind, and was quite fun to discover, but it will be highly unnerving for pedants or completists.

In our case, we resolved that we could scratch off Luckies Island only once we had completed the rest of the known world. We could then finally scratch off the mysterious rectangle under “Visiting Luckies Island?”, which turned out to be a bit anticlimactic.

Of course, with all that said, it’s still an excellent product that made this entire enterprise that much more visceral and compelling, so you should probably click on this affiliate link and go buy it.

The Nitty Gritty 2 – Large countries

Some countries are much larger than others. (Actually some countries are 38.8 million times bigger than others, if we happen to choose the largest and smallest). So listening to just 4 hours of radio and then scratching off the entirety of the US or Russia seems disproportionate.

So we made an additional rule: if a country covers an area larger than one latitude/longitude grid area, then one must conduct one listen for each longitudinal band it covers, ideally to a station that originates from within that very band.

This was a mistake. Don’t do this. The challenge is ridiculous enough already, and if you worry about land masses you should really also worry about population density, and possibly representativeness-of-music, and the whole thing gets rapidly out of hand.

I mean, Antarctica, right. According to TuneIn, the only station (as I mentioned above) is A-net, which may or may not really be in Antarctica, and in practice just plays a selection of lovely acoustic guitar folk and suchlike on a loop less than 4 hours long. Now, although it has what sounds like an acoustic version of the Inspector Gadget theme (even better than this version; actually ‘Topsy’, a guitar duet by Duck Baker and Jamie Findlay, which I can’t find streamable on the internet but here’s another version), and acknowledging that the general mood of the station is ideal for crying to when your business is closing and you’re the last person left in the office still doing this, we have to face the fact that Antarctica does cover all 24 longitudinal regions, which according to the above rule means 24 listens of 4 hours each, which is 96 hours or 12 full business days of listening. Which is just silly. (We did it anyway, because you’ve got to stick with the rules you create, or where are you really).

The Nitty Gritty 3 – Countries with no radio available

The next problem is countries/regions with no detectable radio station, or in some cases any human population at all.

Rarely, there may exist some distinctive music that originates from the area in question, or at least some musician, so listening to that seems very reasonable. But having resolved to conduct a world tour on the basis of a scratch-off map, it doesn’t seem satisfactory to leave anywhere unscratched, even if there is no reasonable connection to any music. As such, we came up with the following order of preference for music selection:

  1. A TuneIn radio station classified as belonging to that country/region
  2. Otherwise, a radio station based on the country’s name, or a musical style specifically identified with that country
  3. Failing that, music from a specific artist from that country
  4. When that fails, just go with any music with any incredibly tenuous connection to the country, or just the name of the country, or the geographic location, or maybe just the weather there

For that last resort, one can just search Spotify using various related keywords and in this way construct a 4-hour playlist of tenuously related music, and so ultimately justify scratching off every part of the world map.

The best radio stations, empirically speaking

Having spent 2 years listening to radio stations from every country in the world, or in some cases music tenuously related to that country, I can now authoritatively list the Top 5 best* radio stations.

France – Fip (TuneIn / website / Wikipedia)
The station that started our entire tour. Tom Hensby (who you may know as one of the Three Englishmen) introduced us to this station, with its eclectic mix of genres and musical oddities, alongside a legally mandated portion of French music (also eclectic and odd), all introduced in French by presenters with fabulously sultry tones.

I was most impressed by the inclusion of this orchestral cover of an Amon Tobin track, which was not at all easy to get hold of at the time they played it:

To get an idea of their range, you might also find silly musical numbers from 50s musicals, or a lovely cover of Aquarela do Brasil.

We reasoned that if one such incredible radio station was accessible via the internet, surely others could also be found, and this was the main motivation to listen to music from every country. Fip set the bar against which all others would be compared, and a little sadly it turns out that Fip was impossible to beat, but four other stations came very close.

Turkey – Radyo Babylon (TuneInwebsite)
Original note in our spreadsheet: “It’s the new Fip!”
Overview: As eclectic and consistent as Fip, but more of an emphasis on songs with lyrics and a somewhat less soothing overall effect.

Example songs: Dengue Fever – Cannibal Courtship (stick around for the theremin-driven chorus at 1’15”):

Scott Matthew – No Place Called Hell

Megapuss – Duck people

Slovenia – Mars FM 95.9 (TuneInwebsite)
Original note in our spreadsheet:
“I dunno, I think I might  love this station – French rap followed by some Antony Hegarty?(5 hours of listening later…)This is an incredible radio station. So incredibly varied and weird and also great. Very little (any?) talk or adverts. Praised by at least 3 people in the office. And yes, 10. I went there.”
Overview: Also eclectic and consistently good like Fip, just not quite as many jump-out-of-your-chair-what-are-we-listening-to moments of amazement.

Example songs: Lollobrigida – Sex on TV, Sex on the radio

Public Enemy – I Shall Not Be Moved

Blind Arvella Gay – You Are My Dear (along with many others, here)

Russia – Ralph Radio (TuneInwebsite)
Original note in our spreadsheet: “This is actually… very good! Probably need more of a listen to be sure, but in it’s doing very well in terms of an eclectic mix with some random Russian thrown in there.”
Overview: The Russian language works for this station in much the same way as French does for Fip; unintelligible (to us), but pleasing on the ear. Also consistently good and highly varied, but a slightly stronger Western / pop influence, more likely to produce some songs we already loved.

Example songs: Fool’s Garden – Lemon Tree:

Galun – Kiberprostranstvo (trip-hop constructed out of the human voice?)

Presidents of the USA – Peaches

Mauritius – Radio Plus 88.6 (TuneIn / website)
Original note in our spreadsheet: “Super French Partytime in the office, great for a Friday”
Overview: The one stand-out radio station we enjoyed that wasn’t earnestly eclectic and wilfully obscure; a mix of French and/or bollywood tunes (and occasionally Western) with a consistently upbeat vibe.

Example songs: Dhat Teri Ki – Gori Tere Pyaar Mein

Honey Singh – Lungi Dance

Tropical Family – Turn Me On

Honourable mention: A-net radio (TuneIn / website)
As mentioned above, this was the only station listed on TuneIn as being based in Antarctica, and while it’s quite beautiful to imagine someone out there broadcasting a lot of chilled out acoustic guitar, it doesn’t seem plausible. But you should definitely check out their super 90s website and judge for yourself.

As an excellent and highly personal example track, I heard Isaac Guillory’s “Thanksgiving Eve” on A-net and selected it for my father’s memorial service that was being held the next day:

It’s also fun to read the comments on Guillory’s “Somewhere in your heart” to hear from other A-net fans.

A-Net’s playlist isn’t that long, so you should definitely check it out (either on TuneIn or their website) when you want to remember someone special, or if you’re closing up shop on the last day of a business that was outlasted by a project to listen to radio from every country in the world.

I’d say it’s ideal for either of those occasions, and possibly more.

The slightly sad thing is that once the joy of accomplishment wears off, you realise it just looks like a normal map now.

*”Best” based on a very limited sampling of radio stations available in each country. Ratings are also entirely subjective. As is everything, really.

Part-way through, Ben Pindar wrote about the radio world tour for our company blog, which has since gone away. I’ve put up a copy of his original post here.

Epilogue [added 12th January 2014] – what do you mean “Best”?

After posting this, I’ve seen some comments that made me realise my implied position on the definition of “best” might not be quite clear.

Typically, I think people do assume that an article proclaiming the “10 best” of anything will not actually provide the objective ultimate truth of the matter. It’s unlikely that the reviewer will have sampled the full range of contenders, and it’s certain that taste is subjective and an actual “10 best” list can never be compiled in a perfectly objective way that everyone will agree with.

In the case of our radio quest, we’ve clearly gone quite a bit further than usual, in that we made a reasonable sampling of hundreds of radio stations and combined the opinions of a few people, not just one. This still doesn’t give the objective “best stations” list, for the following reasons:

  • Not all radio stations are available on TuneIn in the first place
  • We only listened to a small number of stations per country, sometimes just one
  • We only listened to 4 hours of radio, when in fact programming can vary radically by time of day and day of week
  • The fact we were (sort of) judging as a panel meant that more varied shows were more likely to meet our collective acclaim
  • As mentioned, everything is subjective anyway!

With that said, in case it’s not clear, I do think there is something very powerful in this methodology:

  • TuneIn lists the genre of radio stations you’re browsing, and we tended to avoid generic pop / Top 40 radio shows (as these were mostly very similar). This filtered out a significant portion of radio stations we can be pretty sure wouldn’t rate highly
  • We actively chose radio stations listed as either local or “varied” in genre, hoping that these would have the best chance of being stand-out interesting
  • If a radio station was dull, we would switch to another one instead where possible. This increased our odds of finding stations that were consistently great
  • We did this hundreds of times!

So while I think it’s impossible to compile a “true” list of the best radio stations, this method does produce a shortlist of stations that I expect to be much more rewarding than the average “top 5” list.

And if you don’t find it to your taste, then you can of course conduct your own global search in much the same way. Good luck!

Tim Mannveille tweets as @metatim, and likes to overcomplicate things while on holiday as well as well.


S&G Summer Games Day – Puzzles & Polaroids at the British Museum

[This post was originally published in September 2012 on the blog of Stubble & Glasses, which sadly no longer exists.]

By day I’m a Senior Analyst at Stubble & Glasses, but outside of work you’re most likely to find me making tabletop/party/pervasive games as part of Octopus Fruitbat. So when S&G wanted a game-based away-day, Octopus Fruitbat was asked to come up with something.

We knew we wanted something that involved getting everyone out of the office, that encouraged teamwork, and that gave everyone a feeling of achievement at the end.

The game we came up with combined elements from a few others Octopus Fruitbat had run in the past:

  • The game would be set in the British Museum
  • Teams would first solve British-Museum-themed-puzzles
  • The solution to each puzzle would be a room number
  • In that room, the team would take an instant photo with a Fuji Instax camera…
  • … and the photo had to feature the team executing one of the given creative challenges (things like ‘a scene from a fairy tale’)
  • Points were awarded for correct room numbers and creative challenges successfully met
  • Bonus points were awarded for photos that combined elements of the room with the creative challenge, or that were just plain awesome

As a games designer and analyst, I’m particularly interested in the way teams are structured and balanced, and in this case I had a lot of data to work with – individual preferences for team-mates, relative strength in puzzles vs creativity, teamworking style, and competitiveness. Based on this, I had to come up with three evenly-matched teams of 4 (which is actually much harder than, say, eight teams of 5).

On the day, each team member was secretly told their team’s greeting (high-five, fist-bump, or shake-hands), and they then attempted their greetings with one another until they discovered their team-mates. I’m going to crudely caricature each team as follows:

  • Team High-Five: The Extroverts
  • Team Fist-Bump: A mini version of Stubble & Glasses (Director, PA, Tech, Analyst)
  • Team Shake-Hands: The Introverts

Who would win?

Team Fist-Bump / Mini-S&G ran into some trouble with a couple of the puzzles, which ultimately put them out of the running – but they did produce my favourite photo from the whole day, the world’s most epic fist-bump:

So it came down to Introverts vs Extroverts:

It was close, with a single point separating the two in the final reckoning, but with their commitment for some particularly insane/ambitious photos, the extroverts clinched it:

The winning team won cupcakes, but special (chocolate) gold medals were awarded for individual achievement, such as Benexecuting a perfect photobomb:

What did we learn?

The format seemed to be successful – everyone really did get to contribute something, and every team had quite a few photos they could be proud of. And actually, team Mini-S&G were only one point behind the Introverts in the end, so the team balancing seemed to work.

But what should we do next time? Given an almost entirely flawless performance in puzzles (as we might have expected from a bunch of analysts), and with photo creativity now well tested, perhaps it’s time for something else entirely…

Tim Mannveille (@metatim), writing as part of @OctopusFruitbat