2010: The Galaxians
It began at lunch, with some chicken, bacon, and onion skewers:
Which led to the hiding place of a nicely wrapped present. Unfortunately, the present itself was missing, replaced by a note from the mysterious Galaxians.
The Game Night
The note led Mike to the plant room, where a strange sort of game night was in progress. Scattered on the floor was a game of 52 Pickup:
Nearby, there was an inbox filled with Rummikub tiles (hint):
Also present was a Race For The Galaxy challenge, with play-mats 0 1 2 and 3, to be arranged right-to-left, and a six-move puzzle (board and bits -- only one of each colored circle is needed, white squares are wild).
To cap it off, a strange ricochet robots/scrabble mash-up sat at one end of the room (see also: close-up of command terminal):
The Hotel Views
Solving the game night puzzles led Mike to a set of twelve crumpled views of the inside of a hotel: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, and twelve. When combined, these views led to another note from the Galaxians, and a set of test vouchers.
Mike brought the exam vouchers to the designated proctors. The first required that he cogently answer three simple questions. Next, he needed to demonstrate mechanical skills by assembling proper gear ratios given a box of legos (this one didn't go quite as intended as I'd wanted to specify a ratio that required the use of a differential, but overlooked the 14-tooth gear). Third, he completed a psychological examination involving accurately describing a set of three abstract blobs. Finally, he flexed his E.S.P. by properly identifying face down cards drawn from a shuffled deck (this required that he realize the test proctor was indicating the card value, in binary, with the fingers touching the back of the card as it was placed on the table).
As Mike completed each portion of the exam, he was given a completion token. These eventually led him to a strand of twine trailing out into the woods.
In the woods, Mike discovered a network of signs connected by twine. Following the proper connections from sign to sign to sign to sign , Mike collected digits to fill in a final sign by counting knots in connecting twine.
Then (after a green-laser-assisted run-around), Mike arrived at a final note from the Galaxians, and the hunt was over.