All the puzzle materials for GPH 2019 are available on this site, so you can still go through the full hunt by yourself even though the event is over; however, to best replicate the experience, you'll have to hide some information from yourself until you "unlock" it.
The layout for the site changed dynamically as you progressed through the hunt in a way that is hard to replicate with the static site. If you're working through the hunt from start to finish, here's roughly what you should do:
- The first two entries in the Story page will give you some background flavor, though the details about unlocking won't be relevant anymore. The rest of the entries give non-spoiler flavor about each meta in the hunt, and can also be found as flavortext on the corresponding meta pages, so don't worry about keeping up with them.
- Assume the puzzles unlock in order (left to right, top to bottom) and unlock puzzles such that you have around 4 to 6 open at a time (during the hunt, teams started with 3 unlocked puzzles, which grew to 5-6ish plus additional time unlocks).
- The first 12 puzzles comprise the "intro round". Teams unlocked The Artifact, the meta for the intro round, after solving all but 4 of the intro puzzles. You should feel free to open up The Artifact whenever you're ready for it, though (and the same applies for the other metas in the hunt).
- During the hunt, the website was themed as The Antarctic Artifact with lots of ice everywhere, which changed to the dark space theme (The Galactic Artifact) when The Artifact was solved.
- The rest of the hunt is strictly locked behind the intro round, so to get the live experience, don't open any other puzzles until you've solved The Artifact.
- The remaining 24 regular puzzles comprise the "main round". These puzzles feed into the four main metas, which are visible as the outer four constellations at the top of the Puzzles page. Teams were intended to figure out for themselves which puzzles fed into which metas.
- During the hunt, whenever a puzzle was solved, either 1 or 2 question marks would show up next to it. Then, when a meta using that puzzle was solved, the question mark would turn into the symbol for the corresponding meta.
- Unfortunately, this means that there are spoilers for which puzzles correspond to which metas—you can try to ignore the symbols, but you should still be able to get almost all of the original meta experience even if you are spoiled on the matching.
- Additionally, the Pokéball symbol on the The Animal Trainers spoils that it’s related to Pokémon, but that is a small step of the overall meta.
- There's also an Artifacts page linked at the top of the website. You should imagine unlocking one more artifact (starting with Note, then Urn, and so on) each time you solve a puzzle after the intro round. It was a bit more complicated during the actual hunt, but this is close enough.
- During the hunt, the translation/dictionary feature was shared between members of your team. That feature still exists but is now local to your browser, so unfortunately it will be harder to share work.
- Once you've solved a medium to large number of the puzzles, you can look at the main round metas. They are intended to be done in the following order, although there was no hard requirement: The Astrologers, The Archivists, The Animal Trainers, The Artists.
- During the hunt, there was a fairly complicated meta unlock system, taking into account the number of solved puzzles for that meta (there was a threshold of about ~70% of puzzles in that round) - this is why The Astrologers puzzles appear relatively early.
- Finally, do The Galactic Conference after you've solved those four metas.
- Congratulations! You've finished Galactic Puzzle Hunt 2019.
During the hunt, teams also received “advicebergs” (i.e. tokens teams could use to get a hint from us on a puzzle tailored to their progress). All the puzzles in the hunt now have a Hints page where you can reveal some pre-written hints we wrote to help you out, but if you would like an additional hint on any puzzle, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your work and we will try to get back to you (no promises on response time, though).