Here at The Escape Roomer we’re no stranger to puzzles no matter the form – room, box...or treasure hunt?
Last year Alex Horne released the fantastically titled ‘Bring Me The Head Of The Taskmaster‘ book and with it launched a global treasure hunt that has taken over hundreds of minds globally, as well as spawning a Reddit community and, naturally, a few of us here have also been obsessed.
It turns out that Alex is a very lovely man – each month he hosts a Zoom for those treasure hunters who crack the code, and has kindly allowed us to send him some questions of our own!
Hello Alex! Thank you for taking a break from a busy day of assisting to answer some eager questions from us, and congrats on your recent awards! We have been avidly following the Taskmaster Treasure hunt and would love to know how you came up with the idea?
I’ve always enjoyed treasure hunts, inspired, I think, by Easter Egg hunts as a kid. I like chocolate. A lot. I also like interactive things like Escape Rooms and The Crystal Maze. So it was a fairly short leap to get to making a Taskmaster Treasure Hunt. I must admit, however, that I didn’t know about Masquerade when I thought of the idea. I genuinely thought I was the first person to put a treasure hunt in a book!
How long did it take to create the treasure hunt?
It took about a year of lockdown. It was a useful distraction for me and, I hope, my two helpers, Dan Trelfer and Owen Powell. We would send ideas back and forth, stretching our brains and confirming if things worked or didn’t.
👆 Dan Trelfer & Alex Horne on Dan’s Vlog 👆
How did you come up with the puzzles? Are there any you’ve had to change as the hunt progressed?
I suppose I came up with the puzzles in the same way as I come up with Tasks from the show – I shut my eyes and hope for the best. There’s no plan or formula. They just sort of fall out of my brain. And ever since we left the confines of the grid in the book, we’ve been super-flexible. Readers have been far smarter than we gave them credit for so we’ve had to adapt every single time another clue is needed.
Has anything surprised you about the hunt?
I couldn’t believe how quickly people solved the 100 questions in the book. Unbelievable. I expected people to help each other on things like Reddit, but I was definitely – and pleasantly – surprised by just how far and wide the hunters would be spread. I’ve been in touch with people from every continent.
What’s been your favourite experience from the Treasure Hunt so far?
I host a zoom once a month for people who’ve found the details for that. It’s really fun to meet people who have invested so much time into something so silly.
Is there anything you didn’t manage to squeeze in that you wish you had?
No! It’s all there! My only regret is that I haven’t been able to film the whole thing because there have been some fantastic visual moments.
Is it too late to join the hunt?
Absolutely not! There are people joining all the time and everything is still possible to solve.
Do you have any advice for puzzle-makers out there?
Find a friend to test your puzzles on. You WILL make mistakes! You need to check and check again. Finally, be ambitious!
The hunt is quite puzzle-y, so you must also enjoy escape rooms, right?
My family and I love escape rooms. They bring the best and worst out of us, but they are always a valuable experience.
What’s the best/most enjoyable escape room experience you’ve had?
We spent a wet few days in Galway before the lockdown and the escape rooms meant it was one of our favourite ever holidays. They were simply laid out but well planned and brilliantly run. Also, we escaped (after just a couple of hints!)
If you had a magic wand (or an Assistant’s Assistant) what sort of escape room would you love to experience?
I’d like to go in an escape room set on the moon please.
You’ve just launched Taskmaster Supermax +, which is the first time a television show has essentially launched its own worldwide streaming service. Can you tell us a bit more about what to expect?
Well, it’s a curious experiment but the main idea is that it’ll be the ad-free home for all things Taskmaster. We will keep putting things up on Youtube, but EVERYTHING will eventually be on the Supermax+ platform: the international shows, extras, bespoke content and, of course, every single episode ever.
So you’ve got the Taskmaster Treasure Hunt, Taskmaster TV show, and The Horne Section…what’s coming next?
I’m literally going on holiday in 4 hours. I can’t wait – and nor can my wife!
Thank you so much for your time Alex! We hop you have a well deserved holiday! There is still time to get your hands on the book and join in the hunt, or just try out some of the challenges!
Hopefully The Escape Roomer team will soon be the owners of a silver bust… 😉