What is the Puzzle Hunt at Gen Con?

The Puzzle Hunt at Gen Con, run by Puzzle Rock Stars, is a fun and free event for puzzle lovers of all ages!

Each year, we place placards around the Indianapolis Convention Center with puzzles designed to stretch your brain and promote teamwork as you work out solutions with new friends. All the puzzles are in publicly accessible areas, so everyone can participate.

You’ll want to pick up a program book, too, because it contains a kick-off puzzle as well as room to record all your answers. And when you’ve solved all the puzzles, you’ll unlock the metapuzzle—a puzzle that incorporates your answers into a new challenge.

But wait, there’s more! As you solve puzzles, come by the Puzzle Hunt booth to have one of the Puzzle Rock Stars staff or volunteers verify your answers. If you do, you’ll receive one or more entries into a drawing for prizes up to and including a free badge for next year’s Gen Con! (We’re also there to help you if you get stuck on a puzzle—whether solving it or locating it).

IMPORTANT NOTE FOR THIS YEAR: This year, we have a variety of puzzles for you to solve; but we had to skip the drawing and hiding puzzles around the convention center. (The “hunt” part is a little hard without a physical location.) It’s a bummer that Gen Con isn’t happening in person this year, but we still want folks to be able to scratch that puzzling itch. So enjoy a slew of puzzles on us, and we’ll see you next year!

Who are we?

The Puzzle Rock Stars team consists of Dave, Jim, and Tom—three friends who have done the Puzzle Hunt every year for over a decade. We love puzzles and the camaraderie that they build, the joy of suddenly being inspired by a breakthrough, and even the agony of trying (yet another) solution that doesn’t work.

Cool, but who are you guys? Like, as people?

Dave Tomczyk is a professor of entrepreneurship and game design at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, where he teaches courses ranging from negotiation (where students are subjected to “live fire” exercises) to creativity (where students have to come up with 200 uses for a slice of cheese in under two minutes). In his spare time, Dave is an avid video- and board-game player, and he has designed multiple games of his own—including a brand-new semi-cooperative legacy game that is just entering the playtesting stage....Dave is one of the major creative driving forces behind the Puzzle Rock Stars team—anytime you see an off-the-wall puzzle, odds are Dave had a hand in creating it. In other words, if you ever get stumped on a puzzle: blame Dave.

Jim Tomczyk is a business consultant in the Bay Area of California. He started down the Path of the Puzzler back in college where he majored in math and philosophy, spent time exploring out-of-the-way locations, worked with children, and developed some rather eclectic interests. Years later, he’s now able to combine those passions with his business acumen, experience leading teams, consulting work, and speaking on emotional intelligence and leadership to create a wide range of puzzles and puzzle hunts. He was unanimously voted the best Puzzle Hunt Creator at his previous company. (And it’s not just because he was the only one creating them…or so he tells himself.)

Tom Burns is a retired chemical chemist and musician in South Carolina who loves cosplaying almost as much as he loves puzzles. He’s recruited his family into helping with the Puzzle Hunt (whether they want to or not), so when he says, “The Puzzle Hunt team is like family!” he really means it. Tom thrives on seeing people work on puzzles, and he’ll happily go out of his way to help a stuck puzzler. He’s also using the Puzzle Hunt as an excuse to learn new skills. For the 2021 Puzzle Hunt, he’s teaching himself how to draw!