The Grid Game

July 2015 Prof. Scarlet Leslie (Slytherin)

You can be a botaholic and dominate the trivia part in a Snitch match. Or maybe you can consistently solve a logic puzzle within a few minutes. There is still one aspect of HOL Seeking that you have absolutely no control over--the grid.

For those who are unfamiliar with Seeking, shame on you! Just kidding... Here's your chance to learn. Snitch matches are played on a 13 by 13 grid numbered from 0 to 12. Locations are read across, then down. If you are in square 9,4, you are actually 10 across and 5 down. The goal is to find all five clue squares, solve the logic puzzle, and reach the Snitch location before your opponent does. To help the Seekers out a little, answering five trivia questions correctly gives a clue location. The grid also contains ten Bludger squares that knock the Seeker out for three turns and two Wronski Feint squares, which prevent your opponent from moving any spaces for five turns. After every ten minutes of play, there is a two minute solving break. Phew... Did you get all of that? It is complicated, but I tell all aspiring Seekers that the best way to learn is to play.

Back to the grid! I use MS Paint for my gridding. For your reference:

  • Blue = Squares that my opponent or I entered during play
  • Red = Clue squares
  • Black = Bludger squares
  • Green = Wronski Feint squares
  • Yellow = Snitch location

Against Will Lestrange in the first half of this year's Quidditch season, I had arguably one of my best grid games ever. And I'm so grateful that Cody let me give him a complete play-by-play before he told me what happened in Quaffle.

Cody spent the entire week leading up to the game trash-talking me and telling me that Will was going to beat me. So, when Will answered the first three trivia questions before me, I got scared. But I recovered, answered the next five trivia questions, and headed to my first clue location in 10,9. Along the way, Will hit a Bludger, which allowed me to get there faster. After I got my second clue in 4,2, I went down to check out squares where Will had been. Sure enough, I found clue number three in 6,10.

What happened next was a string of fortunate events. I decided to move upwards and hit 7,8 by accident --fourth clue! The next square up was a Wronski Feint (sorry Will!). Shortly after that, I happened to answer a fifth trivia question, so I got the last clue location...and it was only two squares away! When I got the last clue in 7,4, there was a solving break! I couldn't believe my luck.

I solved during that break, but I knew I had time to double check my answer. I circled around the Bludger that Will had hit earlier, as I sent my solution to Marcie. I was in square 5,4 when I got the message that the Snitch location was 4,6. It was only a few squares away! Not all the way across the grid! But, as Will mentioned after the match, if he had just gone down column 7 instead of 6, it would have been a much closer game.

The second time we played Slytherin, I faced Wraith Ternarius.

Wraith had actually hit my first clue location (3,8) by accident, so it was useless information. I hit a Bludger early on, but I also hit a Wronski Feint. We were fairly close when collecting the first four clues. I went searching for the fifth clue as Wraith went to the fourth clue in 2,7. I hit the Bludger in 6,10. I realized that he already knew that the last clue was in 8,7. He was the lucky one this time and got a solving break right after he got the fifth clue. I was pretty sure that I had lost. And then, to make matters worse, I hit another Bludger in 8,8, which was on my shortest path to the final clue, AFTER the solving break. Now I was absolutely sure that I would lose.

I finally made it to 8,7, solved the puzzle, and sent my solution to Zoki. My heart lifted a bit as it always does after I got the Snitch location. When I saw that Wraith was not moving towards 4,6, I was so happy. There was another solving break as I made my way to the Snitch location, so I assumed Wraith had solved the puzzle and went to catch the Snitch. After the game, Cody asked if I'd doubled-checked my answer and I realized that I had not this time, because I thought I was about to lose.

Grids for each game have nothing to with each other and I usually delete them all after the season ends, but I think it was a nice coincidence that in both of these matches, the Snitch location was 4,6.

I love that Snitch matches are unpredictable. Yes, it does feel awful to lose because you hit a Bludger or because your opponent happens to be closer to the Snitch location when they finally solve the puzzle, but it's just part of the game. Brush it off and win the next one!