I love including minor details into puzzles. For example did you notice the siren-shaped blanks in the coffee wordsearch? Two big examples of minor features in Manila:
A childhood of Mario Kart courses made me a huge fan of unused details. Though “unused” is not entirely true since it certainly adds depth to the gaming experience. Incorporating details (like signs on a Mario Kart course) into a logic puzzle contest on a blog like this is sadly pointless. Starting at the Harbour to read a paragraph of introduction might come to mind.
After solving the commodity puzzles, another seemingly meaningless feature appears: the Bulletin Board. I’ve had the idea of solvers leaving their mark as the make their progress at the back of my head for a while now. It takes Manila for an excuse to introduce it since both the Harbour and the Bulletin Board housed sneaky hints to Rick the Pilot’s whereabouts (as mentioned in the previous post).
With only 6 solvers posting, the reception of the Bulletin Board was quite dim. Ed was actually first if you exclude Rick. Then the board was left to rust for two weeks until Alan, 11th person to finish, came along to break the ice. Also I’m left to wonder who Rato is. Perhaps his boat capsized somewhere en route to Manila Bay Pier?
Our pirate had a rather brief showing in Puzzle 4, that’s very little to invest in a character. The Captain and his crew was originally a four-part mini puzzle series; invade his ship, prepare cannonballs, fire and take the loot.
What you saw was only the “fire” part (Outside Battleships) since three other puzzles all broke and I had already spent too long tweaking them to no avail. The loot at the end was a loop puzzle which would spell out MALACHITE. Rick was also going to give you malachite taking you to the finish – but alas, he had to give you a random string of letters instead.
Why Alokin? That’s a shout-out to Nikola Zivanovic, who is currently the highest-ranked solver at SOTR to have never won a prize. Closely behind is Ivan Koswara, both at 8 events and still without a prize. So that’s the drill. If you don’t win, take consolation in the fact that you can become a bad guy in SOTR. Perhaps Ivan can be an earth-hungry alien next time…