2017: Project Mandela

Professor Christopher Lugo, of Oberlin’s Theoretical Physics department, gives a talk about his research. The multiverse theory is real, and our universe is occasionally colliding with another one. Another professor–Aileen Snaut, Ethics–seems a little irritated about this whole thing. She implies there could be some danger to this research, though Lugo is dismissive about her concerns.

Through a meme group on Facebook, you find a video of Lugo and Snaut arguing. Apparently, someone named Aiden Murgel was also looking into the multiverse, and disappeared mysteriously back in 2001. If you track down a certain file in Mudd, you get Murgel’s journal, and also a couple of papers about Aileen Snaut.

She refuses to talk to you about this, but Lugo finds it highly suspicious. He asks you to break into her office and find out whatever you can. If you crack her safe, you find a printout of a series of emails between Snaut and another professor, implying some “freaky physics shit” Snaut had something to do with. It’s all very well and good, but the last page–the last page is a name change form.

From Aiden Murgel to Aileen Snaut.

Talk to her and it gets better: she’s from the universe colliding with ours. Came through a “hotspot” and swapped minds with her counterpart in this world. Lugo’s experiments are exacerbating the collisions, and it could kill everyone in both universes. She offers an alternative–destroy the other universe first.

Then Lugo vanishes, taking his universe-transcending supercomputer with him. His wife informs everyone that he’s planning to merge both universes into one. He reaches out eventually, with a series of QR codes around campus, a last-minute scavenger hunt while the timer slowly ticks down on the fate of two universes.

Find Lugo, calibrate his machine, and make your decision: destroy one universe, or merge the two?

Or is there another way?


  • 1st place: Speed Motif — notable for constantly emailing characters bizarre alternative plans for solving problems
  • Tied for 2nd: 8th Time’s the Charm (the only ones to actually solve the QR code scavenger hunt correctly) and Glitter Ghosts

Fun Facts:

  • The beginning email (an invitation to Lugo’s lecture) looked so legitimate that most teams missed the first event because they didn’t know it was ObieGame.
  • Using a Facebook group as a base for communication with players meant that, because group membership is public information, teams could compile lists of players on other teams and send out emails pretending to be characters. Shoutout to the Dijon Honeys for their intense disinformation campaign.
  • One of the characters was a cross-dimensional ethics investigator, who never said a word but was referred to with a different name every time they were addressed.