And We're Walking
How It Works
Each photo was taken at one of the statue locations indicated on the map. Each is a macro photo of a portion of the corresponding statue. Each photo also includes a small math equation relating to that statue. The operands are icons representing attributes of that statue. For instance, (ear) + (head) indicates that the team should count the number of ears and heads visible on that particular statue, and add them. Note that “visible” is the key here. People normally have two hands, but if the statue only shows one, then one is the correct number to use.
The number that was the solution to each equation corresponded to an alphabet letter (A=1, B=2, ...). The final phrase told them to say “facsimile” to a certain mobster hanging out in the nearby Forza Coffee, home of some good coffee and friendly staff.
This puzzle was entirely inspired by the location. We discovered the aptly-named “Department of Game” on one of the early scouting trips, then stumbled across the downtown art exhibit as we passed through Puyallup on our way to the next location. The odd sculptures scattered in and around Pioneer park seemed too good to not use. I'd been wanting to do a photo puzzle, and this seemed like a perfect opportunity.
The original idea was to identify the art based on their surroundings. This turned out to be impossible to construct (good thing too, since the so-called “permanent” installation has a tendency to move surprisingly often). I had seen some of the pieces in the online brochure, and the statue called “Neck Fragment” [photo attached] stood out - it's interesting in that it's a head with a mouth, but no eyes, ears, or nose. The idea of counting attributes (heads, hands, eyes, etc.) came directly from that statue. I then spent a few hours taking pictures of all the statues I could find with identifiable and countable attributes. These photos were used to build the puzzle, which remained relatively unchanged throughout the development process.
Since I constructed the puzzle based on the photos, I needed to be sure the photos accurately reflected the true attributes of the statues (e.g., if I wanted people to count birds, I better make sure I know how many birds there actually are). To verify this, I took another trip down to Puyallup in early April. Much to my dismay, about half of the statues I had picked were no longer present! As I ran around figuring out which statues no longer existed, vs. how many had just been moved, I ran into a couple of the curators of the exhibit. They explained that the first weekend in April is when old pieces are sold, new pieces are added, and the statues are locked down for the season. According to them, from that point, no further changes would be made for an entire year, so I should be safe well through the July date for the Game. Good thing I didn't believe them, as apparently “an entire year” really meant “a week or two”. Luckily no changes were made to the statues in the week prior to the Game.