Portland Survey, 2015

In addition to the Question of the Month on your answer sheets, cities occasionally use local questionnaires to learn about attendees. It’s been a year or two since we had one in Portland so we thought it was time to collect a little more data. We handed out double-sided quarter-sheet surveys, one to each attendee, that looked like this:

Let’s just go through the answers in order, shall we? Starting with the first, we’ll look at the experience of our players.

As you can see, we’re mainly veterans and newbies. This has always been one of our biggest challenges, with regard to both attendance numbers and difficulty. Of course, we want to encourage new members to join the community — that’s one of the core tenets Puzzled Pint was founded upon. On the other hand, the influx of new people have pushed our numbers past 100, making bar scouring extremely difficult. We’ve since tempered this by splitting into Bridgetown and Stumptown sub-groups, each with their own location.

The mix also means we have to be careful with puzzle difficulty. We don’t want to scare away the newbies with puzzles above their difficulty level, yet we also don’t want the long-time regulars to get bored. We’ve skirted around this by managing expectations — maybe not going so far as saying “if you think this is too easy, go start your own intermediate-to-advanced puzzle event” but at least by imposing this as a newbie-friendly event. Other events, such as DASH, can produce different sets of puzzles for teams with varying difficulty levels. This is difficult for Puzzled Pint since we print everything ahead of time. We’ve kicked around the idea of puzzles that can be altered post-printing (such as marking flavor text with a highlighter), but so far the idea hasn’t gotten much traction.

Portland is a small “big city” and our travel distances and methods reflect that. The vast majority of people traveled less than 5 miles and less than half came by car. That bikes and public transit were big contributors wasn’t much of a surprise. I was surprised that almost a quarter of respondents walked.


The next question, “how likely are you to recommend Puzzled Pint to a friend” is a traditional NPS survey question. Marketing and support folks may know and understand this number, most folks don’t. Suffice it to say that most organizations do poorly. Beloved companies like Apple, Trader Joe’s, and Amazon do well. Many companies get close to zero, or even negative numbers. (The scale goes from –100 to 100.) We got a quite reasonable 69. Admittedly, there may be some selection bias here. Only people that took time out of their Tuesday night to come solve puzzles were able to respond, so the folks that don’t like us enough to not show up (and would likely also not tell their friends) would not be represented.


And someone had difficulty letting go of friends that ascended into Game Control:

Next up is the neighborhood question. This helps us focus on where to look when scouting bars. With 80–100 people, there are far fewer choices. Now that we’ve split up into two locations, more options have opened. I particularly enjoyed the written-in “LOL” next to one person’s Beaverton answer. Although a non-zero percentage of folks said they’d go to Beaverton for Puzzled Pint, none of the current GC are interested due to distance and transit. (That being said, if you’re in Beaverton and want to start up a chapter out there, please don’t hesitate to email us.)


The vast majority of responses wanted downtown or northwest, which makes sense. It’s central to everyone. For reasons mentioned above, and despite the numbers, I think we are going to ignore the St. John’s and Beaverton suggestions. Both numbers are much higher than I expected, but our team isn’t terribly interested in the awkward travel. It looks like we probably won’t be going past 50th. The NE and SE quadrants got a lot of hits, though I personally didn’t expect the NE distances to be quite that far out.

On the difficulty front, we got average-to-intermediate, which is roughly the range we’re trying to hit. A few of the responses singled out some months as particularly difficult in margin notes.

We’ve collated the bar suggestions into a spreadsheet and are actively investigating them during our scouting runs. So thank you for those responses! You’ll see some of those suggestions being used over the next few months.

And finally… kittens or puppies. About a third of you just couldn’t commit. You checked both and scribbled over the “or” with an “and.” Alas, as inclusive as you’d love to me, that answer just doesn’t help one side or the other. We had to pull you out of the tallies. A couple of you had strong affinities for puppy breeds:


A couple of you are full of negativity toward cats:


Ultimately, puppies won out over kittens by two votes:

I’d really expected Portland to be a kitten town. Thanks for letting me down, Portland!

That’s it for now. These are the simple, isolated stats. I’d like to work out some correlation across questions soon. Does your longevity in Puzzled Pint influence what you said for puzzle difficulty levels? Are the folks with a higher travel distance also the Beaverton and St. John’s voters? Are walkers/bikers predominantly dog people? If you’d like to run your own numbers, you can download a CSV of the survey results and go to town.