Thursday, 17 October 2019
D.A.S.H 11 - Puzzle Hunt 2019
This is a little bit of a different review from the usual reviews on my blog. This time, I am reviewing D.A.S.H. 11, which is described as a fun, interactive event where teams of players race to find and solve creative puzzles hidden in different locations in cities all over the world.
D.A.S.H is an acronym which stands for “Different Area, Same Hunt”. However, each year, the “DASH” letters are repurposed for that year’s event. This year, which was D.A.S.H. 11: Diagnose, Assemble, Shrink, Heal. Each team was a group of doctors/scientists who were shrunk down to a microscopic size and then sent through the patient’s body to try and heal them.
I first heard about DASH months ago (thanks Fay Lee) and then it fell off of my radar. Only a week before DASH, I contacted Craig Whitmore (a fellow escape room enthusiast) and I was lucky enough to join his team for the day.
D.A.S.H 11 was my 128th escape room (or escape room-like experience) to date, my 83rd based in Sydney. Here is what I thought of D.A.S.H. 11:
· our team members for the day were Craig, Philip, Joanna, Dale and me. I had met Philip previously in Melbourne and had corresponded but never met Craig in person;
· it was fun playing with people I had never played an escape room with before. I am used to playing with the same 3 people in escape rooms (we have played over 100 rooms together), so it was a nice change to play with different people;
· the hunt had us walking about 5km in total I think, from the Opera House where we all started, around Circular Quay and Dawes Point and then to the Botanic Gardens for the final puzzle. It was a fun but really tiring day. We started at about 8am and we didn’t finish until around 5pm, during which time we stopped briefly for lunch;
· D.A.S.H. can be played at either an expert or normal level – we played at the expert level, which meant that we were provided with a lot less clues than those playing the normal level;
· D.A.S.H. uses an app called ClueKeeper, which players use for hints and to submit answers. This was my first attempt at a D.A.S.H style puzzle hunt and the biggest tip I learned is that when you have a partial answer to a puzzle, you should submit it in the hopes that you will get some further guidance at that point. There were a couple of occasions where if we had submitted our partial solutions, we would have saved a lot of time;
· overall, the puzzles throughout the hunt varied from great to very average. Some of the puzzles I really did not enjoy – there weren’t elegant or well-designed unfortunately. Other puzzles were much stronger and were therefore much more satisfying;
· the final meta puzzle was really nicely done. It brought all of the previous puzzles together in a really nice way; and
· our team came in 306th place internationally based on our time (out of 380 expert teams) – to be honest I was happy to just finish my first puzzle hunt, so I was happy with how our team did.
I really enjoyed the D.A.S.H. 11 experience. I am hoping to check them out again next year, but next time I will have a little more experience under my belt (and I will pack more sugar, caffeine and nurofen). I’m really glad that they run the hunt in September, which is a great time of year in Australia to be running around the city for hours on end. It was also really nice to meet other puzzle enthusiasts (including a few who have read my reviews here on my blog).
A special thanks again to my fellow team members and to Craig for organising our team!
Where: Sydney CBD (but also played around the world)
Duration: Anywhere from 6 to 9 hours
Cost: Price: $93AUD per team (max. 5 people to a team)
Overall Rating: A fun (but very long) day with puzzles of varying quality
More details: https://dash11.playdash.org/