2006: Ashes, Ashes

You receive a computer disk – an old school 3.5″ (who even has a drive for those anymore?) – in some mysterious manner. It was shoved under your door, into your OCMR, or left in your gym bag. There’s also a note – ‘Get this to the Charter Club’. That’s it, no help, no indication from who or for what.

Those cryptic instructions introduce you to the last of Oberlin College’s secret societies. The Charter Club, founded by Charles Martin Hall and composed of faculty, staff, and alumni, has worked behind the scenes to direct Oberlin’s development and research. One of their leading minds, Dr. Lucien Olsen, the owner of the disk, has gone missing, and it appears he may have been murdered. Worse, this proves the suspicions of some that the organization has a mole.

You wind your way through the labyrinthine world of the Club – a difficult task when few people involved are even willing to admit the organization exists, let alone tell you who else is a member. Fewer riddles and more detective work culminate in a one night race around campus full of maps surreptitiously slipped in your pocket, puzzle keys hidden in plain sight, and a martial arts faceoff in the basement of Talcott. You’re seeking a glowing treasure secreted at the founder’s house, the only thing that can stop a madman from twisting his research into a deadly plague, reducing the world to ashes. Ashes, and we all fall down.


1st place (tie) – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close; Team X
3rd place – Team Cheney
4th place – Oceanic 815

Special mention:
Allegedly Participating and EL+IC for generally causing the planners to pull out our hair while you messed with other teams.


  • Maximilian Unlimited, a private equity venture established by several Charter Club members to help spread their work.
  • Images (1, 2) found in a hacked email account belonging to one of the villains. Three of the four teams who made it to the final chase identified the mole off of the tattoo.
  • Excerpt of recording from conference (2MB)

The Notebook
Originally conceived as pages torn from an actual notebook, which would prove to be too difficult for the planners to duplicate, this stack of materials was provided to each team as files on a 3.5″ floppy at the start of the game. Some pieces were relevant immediately, some didn’t become useful until days later.

The emails should be enough to tell you who to see first.

Fun Facts:

The first known instance of a team successfully putting other teams on the wrong scent occurred when the eventual third-place squad began impersonating the Charter Club and sending others on wild goose chases while they solved clues. This (actually well done) plan would fall apart when they somehow cc’d one of the game planners on a series of emails which included the login information for their main email account.

The original plans called for not just actual notebook pages to substitute for the disk, but that the pages be stained with what looked like blood. That part of the plan was scrapped for hygiene reasons, and because the friend of a friend who owned a pig farm sold it about a month before the game.