Miskatonic University
About Us | News | Apply | Alumni | FAQ


What's going on here?

This an instance of “The Game”.

The Miskatonic University Game is a “road rally” puzzle hunt in which teams spend all weekend traveling from location to location in the Greater Boston area solving puzzles.

While it is difficult to fully describe “The Game”, one popular explanation is that it is a 24 to 36 hour west-coast style sequential puzzle hunt in which you and up to five of your closest friends pile into a minivan and travel from location to location solving puzzles. Each time you solve a puzzle you discover the next location, arriving at this location results in being given a new puzzle which in turns leads you to the next location. These events typically have a strong thematic element and The Miskatonic University Game is no exception.

More information about “The Game”:

The theme of our game comes from a series of short stories written by H.P. Lovecraft.

Who is hosting this event?

Game Control is made up of a group of volunteers from a cross section of different Boston area puzzle hunt teams (Left as an Exercise for the Reader, Team Luck, Plugh). Between us we have experience running events such as the MIT Mystery Hunt, DASH, BAPHL, Puzzled Pint:Boston, and WARTRON:Boston.

When will this event take place?

The Miskatonic University Game will take place in and around Boston, MA during the weekend of August 15th-18th, 2019.

How much does it cost to participate?

The cost of of the game is $250 per person. Payment will be handled after the teams have been selected.

What is the money used for?

Almost all of the money goes directly into puzzles, location fees, and food for attendees. There are also a number of basic overheads - things like registering with the state, buying insurance, and other lawyer- and accountant-suggested things that we need to do for an event of this nature. No one from game control is making money by producing the event - all writing, materials production, and staffing is done by volunteers.

Locations: As this is a road rally game, teams will visit approximately thirty locations over the course of the weekend. While some of them are free to use, (hooray!) other locations (particularly the overnight sites and other locations where we gather all attendees at once) need to be rented for the event.

Puzzles: Teams will be provided with a series of puzzles over the course of the weekend. A significant number of these puzzles involve a variety of materials and objects/props that cost money to acquire and/or produce. Other puzzles are more traditional and require printing.

Food: We will provide dinner on Friday night and the weekend will culminate with a banquet on Sunday afternoon. When it would be thematically appropriate to provide snacks or other surprises, we hope to be able to do so.

How many people should be on a team?

The recommended team size is between 4 and 6 people (both because we believe that that will allow for the best Game experience and because your entire team needs to be together in one vehicle). If you really, really want a smaller or larger team please contact us and we will try to work something out.

Teams with a broad range of skills and knowledge are likely to perform better, but remember that you will be spending the whole weekend together (much of it in a small vehicle). Make sure everyone on your team will get along!

When you submit your application, please be as accurate as possible with regard to how many people you have on your team as this will determine how many teams we can admit.

Is this event handicapped accessible?

While most of our locations are handicapped accessible, our Friday evening venue is a historic building that is not. Access to the facility requires walking down a spiral staircase. If this is concern for your team, please contact us and we can provide you with more information

How do we sign up?

People interested in participating should form a team and submit an application to participate. Applications open in March of 2019. Teams will be asked to solve a few puzzles, submit a video, and answer some biographical questions. We hope to select approximately 25 teams to participate.

What if I don't have a team?

If you’re interested in playing but don’t have a team, email Game Control at and we will do our best to put you in touch with other people in the same situation.

Why do we have to apply?

In an ideal world anyone who wanted to would be able to play our Game. Unfortunately the real world has limits. In this case our primary constraints are our ability to prepare for a large number of teams while not sacrificing the quality of the event, and the physical space limitation of our venues. The capacity of our Friday night venue is particularly restrictive and sets the limit for how many players we can accommodate.

How are you going to select teams?

While there are parts of the application that we're excited to see (such as the creativity of your video interviews), we are all dreading having to choose which teams can or can't participate in our Game. While we are secretly hoping to get exactly the number of players that our venues can accommodate, the reality is that we may have to make choices. The application tasks are designed to help us with this process.

We've asked you to solve some puzzles both because puzzles are fun, and because we want to make sure teams have an understanding of the type of puzzles they might encounter in this event and feel that they are up to the task of solving them.

We've asked you to provide some background information about your team's experience because we want to to have a balanced event with a range of teams able to participate. We want to make sure that newer puzzlers get a chance to experience an event of this nature, while also ensuring that established puzzlers get to participate, and making sure that people who give back to the puzzle community by writing and running events are rewarded by being able to participate.

We've asked you to create a video not only because we want to see your creativity, but also because we feel that a creative component gives teams a way to illustrate their enthusiasm for taking part in this event.

Will there be a waiting list?

In the event that we are not able to accommodate every team that wants to play, we will create a waiting list. Our real constraint is the capacity of our venues so If teams drop out, or the number of people attending changes, we will invite additional teams to play.

What do we need in order to participate?

Teams will need to provide their own:

  • transportation to and from the Greater Boston area.
  • transportation during the event weekend (one motor vehicle per team)
  • Friday night lodging
  • food and drink
  • puzzle solving supplies
  • device capable of opening web pages on the Internet over a mobile network
  • device that can read files from a thumbdrive

IMPORTANT: You will need to access the Internet with your smartphone (or other device) during the event. Please make sure that your cell phone plan includes data coverage in the greater Boston, MA area. (Other mobile Internet solutions, such as tablets or Wi-Fi hotspots which operate over 3G/4G should work as well, but please verify your service provider’s coverage area!)

Don’t forget to bring car chargers for all your electronics!

What kind of puzzle solving supplies should we bring?

While this is by no means an exhaustive list, it will hopefully get you started. We'll probably add more to it as we get closer to the event.

  • paper
  • writing implements
  • scissors
  • tape
  • a straight-edge
  • code sheets (sample: )
  • valid driver’s licenses
  • drinking water
  • snacks
  • comfortable clothing and shoes
  • device capable of opening web pages on the Internet over a mobile network
  • chargers for any electronics (and a way to plug them into your vehicle)
  • device that can read files from a thumbdrive
  • a camera (a smartphone camera is fine)
  • headlamps

We're traveling to the area and need to book a hotel, can you tell us where we should stay?

Our Friday night event will take place in Gloucester, MA; however, we plan to start in Newburyport, MA on Saturday morning. The Friday night event will not go very late, and as it is a bit of a drive from Gloucester to Newburyport, we would suggest that you plan to spend Friday night in the Newburyport area. Once we leave Newburyport we will not be returning. The event will end in downtown Boston on Sunday.

I'm not really into horror as a genre, is this going to be scary?

No, we're going for more of a fun and mysterious aesthetic. Our monsters are cute and cuddly and nobody is going to jump out at you.

How familiar do I need to be with Lovecraft's work to enjoy this event?

Not very - if you've heard of Cthulhu or played Arkham Horror you know enough to play our Game. While people who are more familiar with Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos will appreciate some of the event's locations and details, our intention was to write a Game that people would understand and enjoy without having to become experts on the theme.

TLDR: Monsters with crazy names, people go slowly insane, fish people.

I'd like to do a little bit of reading in preparation for this event, are there any stories, you'd particularly recommend to enhance my enjoyment of the weekend?

  • The Shadow over Innsmouth
  • Pickman's Model
  • The Silver Key

I hate Lovecraft's writing, are there any movies or games that will give me a feel for the theme without requiring me to do a lot of reading?

  • The Call of Cthulhu (2005 film)
  • In the Mouth of Madness (1994 film)
  • Arkham Horror (board game)
  • Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu (board game)
  • Fate of the Elder Gods (board game)
  • Eldrich Horror (board game)
  • Mansions of Madness (board game)
  • Cthulhu Gloom (card game)

I'm not able to play but I'd love to help, is there some way I can get involved?

Yes! Putting together an event of this nature is a complicated endeavor and we would love the help!

We are looking for people to help test solve puzzles (you could join us for an afternoon (or two, or three, or more!) of puzzles in a conference room, or climb into a minivan and participate in the weekend long dry run).

Many of our puzzles involve physical components so we are going to need help physically assembling things. We will be having a number of puzzle assembly gatherings over the next few months for those of you in the greater Boston area.

During the event weekend we have a lot of sites that need to be staffed, this typically involves sitting in a park and handing out puzzles.

If any of these activities sound like things you'd be interested in helping with, get in touch, we'd really appreciate it!

Wasn't Lovecraft a racist?

Yes. While it would be easy to dismiss Lovecraft as a product of his time, the truth remains that he was an awful human being. When we decided to use Miskatonic University as our theme, this was a consideration that we really wrestled with. Fortunately while Lovecraft himself was awful and much of his writing leaves a lot to be desired, he created a rich and compelling world that many other writers have since embraced. It is the richness of his world and its ties to our local area that we wanted to explore with this event as we felt it provided a wealth of opportunity for a really interesting puzzle adventure.

Further Reading:

About Us | News | Apply | Alumni | FAQ

There are no puzzles on this page because that way lies madness and you wouldn't want to go mad would you?