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On the Road with the Gamers

From smashing statues to holding hands, how teams solved five clues.

Linda Davick

Clue 3

A Game Control member standing outside Kepler’s Bookstore in Menlo Park gives each team a miniature statue of Michelangelo’s David. Players break open the statue and extract taped-together strips of chip bags. They determine the length of each strip, then use that number to find the corresponding letter in the brand name: for example, a 7-centimeter piece of a Cheetos bag yields an S; a 5-centimeter length of a Doritos bag, a T. The result: Stanford Oval.

Clue 7

Each team finds an envelope at Fremont’s Gomes Park that contains four sheets of fake $50 bills. Teams notice that the last three characters of each bill’s serial number correspond to the first three characters of another, and reorder the bills accordingly. They then turn to the three-character code beneath each serial number and notice that one character is in the previous bill’s code, one is in the subsequent bill’s code, and one is in neither. The unduplicated characters spell out the solution, which suggests venturing forth to a Milpitas address.

Clue 8

At the Milpitas home, teams spot one glove hanging on each side of the garage. On the fingertips are Braille letters that spell, “Hold hands.” Forming an unbroken chain of people and gloves across the garage triggers LEDs to flash in a series of pairs. Players come to realize that the midpoint between each pair of flashing lights indicates a Braille dot. Eventually, the dots spell out, “Go to Berryessa Community Center.”

Clue 13

Teams rushing to a Los Gatos address are rewarded with a piece of paper with 10 nonsensical lines of words (e.g., “assets ewoks allergies”). They convert each letter into a number based on its position in the alphabet, then sum each word (assets=83, ewoks=73, allergies=88). Looking up each sum’s ASCII value begins to reveal a phone number (83=S, 73=I, 88=X, so assets ewoks allergies=SIX). An answering machine at that number directs teams to the Lexington Reservoir.

Clue 20

Each team finds a bag at Pescadero State Beach that holds polyhedral dice of varying colors. The lining of the bag depicts colored circles that enable teams to put the dice in order, plus a map. One number on each die is colored red or black. Teams figure out that if the number is black, they add it to the number of sides on the die; if it is red, they subtract it. The corresponding letters of the alphabet spell out an intersection found on the map.

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