The Famine Game Overview
The Famine Game was held over the weekend of September 27-29th, 2014. 24 tribute teams from all across the country traveled to compete in this weekend long puzzle adventure held in our nation’s capital.
Teams interested in participating were required to complete an extensive application which involved solving five puzzles and creative tasks such as writing an anthem and filming a video. The selection of the teams were streamed live via “The Reaping.” During the Reaping ceremony teams were assigned to one of the 12 districts of Pangram.
On Friday night, teams arrived at the Artisphere in Rosslyn, Virginia for registration, kickoff, talent assessments, and socializing over dinner and drinks. There were six different talent competitions: Archery, Hand to Hand Combat, Camouflage, Plant Identification, Resourcefulness, and Traps. The highest scoring teams received small sponsor gifts for the main event on Saturday morning.
Saturday Main Event
For the main event, teams started at Hains Point, where they began the event surrounding a large custom-made cornucopia. Teams had to solve puzzles which were themed after the various districts. The answers to the puzzles were all phrases which suggested a way to kill another team. After “killing” all the teams, teams had to break out of a devious clock arena, located District 13, and eventually march upon the Capitol. The event culminated on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, where teams defeated the evil President Snow.
As an additional constraint, teams had to start the Famine Game with no solving resources, not even pencil and paper. As they solved puzzles, they earned fans, which led to sponsor gifts, which came in the form of a clipboard, a pencil, paper, solving apps, scissors, etc.
In Game App
Teams’ performance was tracked through a customized laptop application which played thematic videos and kept track of teams’ available resources and fan totals. The app also provided hints, confirmed answers, and sent teams to the various puzzle locations.
For detailed accounts of the Famine Game from the perspective of the players, here are several writeups:
- Eric Berlin – Feast of Puzzles
- Sarah Leadbeater – Part 1, Part 2
- Henry Wong – Friday Night, Saturday morning: The Cornucopia, Saturday, Kennedy Center, Famine Game continued, The Stupid Hours, The Clock Arena, Sunday Morning Doldrums, Capitol, Famine Game mind dump
- Puzzle Pile (partial) – Opening Ceremony, The Beginning
- Facebook group – Famine Game Victors
If you have a writeup to contribute or know of another, please let us know.