2021 Washington
2020 Contario
2019 RockOn!
2018 Milwaukee
2017 BeaCon
2016 SiLiCon
2015 Recouvery
2014 MaineCon
2013 ConTex
2012 Orecon
2011 Convidence
2010 ConPac

Older Convention Puzzles

Archive of older cons
Con Information
 

The RockOn! Guide to Boulder

Click here for the RockOn! home page

Click on any address to get to Google maps.

Nestled between the mountains and reality, it’s the 180th NPL Convention in Boulder, Colorado!

Don't Miss:
Hotel Information
Embassy Suites by Hilton Boulder
Hotel Facilities
Hospitality Suite - Enchanted Mesa
Con Program & Mealtimes
The 180th Annual Convention
?????
Wed July 10th
Thu July 11th
Fri July 12th
Sat July 13th
Sun July 14th
Meal Schedule
Meeting Spaces
NPL Code of Conduct
Code of Conduct
Report an Incident
Travel To/From/Around Boulder
Arrival
Denver International Airport
The Airport Bus
Other Airport => Boulder Transportation Options
Public Transportation
Driving in Boulder
Biking in Boulder
Bike Rentals
Walking in Boulder
Altitude
Weather
Nearby Services and Stores
Printing/Shipping
Office Depot
Fedex Kinko’s
Banking & ATMs
Pharmacy
Grocery
24hr Convenience Store
Healthcare
Cleaners
Food and Drink
Within a 5 Minute Walk of the Hotel
Breakfast & Coffee
Lunch & Dinner
Other Recommended Food and Drink
Rooftop Decks for Watching the Sun Set Over the Mountains
Unforgettable Dining
Further Food & Drink Resources
Outdoor Activities
Hiking
Local Trails
Rock Climbing
Guided Climbing
Indoor Climbing
Tubing
Mountain Biking
Other Activities
Tours
Escape Rooms
Escape Rooms in Boulder
Escape Rooms in a 15 mile radius
Escape Rooms farther away
Massage
Cannabis
Sites of Interest
Museums
Theaters
Sites Farther Afield
Within 20-30 Minutes
Within 30-60 Minutes
Within 2 hours

Don't Miss:

  • Sunset on a rooftop deck
  • A selfie in Chautauqua Park with the Flatirons in the background. Try to get this during the week, this park gets crowded on weekends.
  • A stroll along the Boulder Creek Path.
  • Watching buskers on the Pearl Street Mall. You can have a nice meal, a drink or do some shopping here too.
  • The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse. You don’t need to have a cuppa to enjoy the beauty of the handbuilt gift from Tajikistan. It is close to the Pearl Street Mall and the Boulder Creek Path.
  • A hike in the hills. Any turn in the trail could bring views of the city or snowcapped peaks.

Click on any address to get to Google maps.

Hotel Information

Embassy Suites by Hilton Boulder

Hotel Facilities

The Pearl Street Ballroom is located on the ground floor of the Embassy Suites. Meals will be served in this room. All meeting spaces, including the Pearl Street Ballroom, will open at 6pm Wednesday. All rooms except the Pearl Street Ballroom will close at 10am Sunday. The Pearl Street Ballroom will be open until 6pm Sunday. All meeting spaces are on the ground floor.

Hospitality Suite - Enchanted Mesa

The Enchanted Mesa room (located on the ground floor of the Hilton Garden Inn)

We are supposed to limit our hospitality food and drinks to the hospitality suite. Please be discreet if you want to snack in another location. The hospitality suite will open mid-day Thursday. This room will have tables for puzzles, handouts, walkaround puzzles, shared physical puzzles, portable escape rooms, etc. You can also leave any games or other materials for use by others during con.

Con Program & Mealtimes

To view the RockOn! program by itself, click here.

The 180th Annual Convention

?????

Hidden Contest by ?????
The hidden contest may be presented anytime.
Find it. Solve it. Do what it says. The solution will not be explained until Sunday morning, so multiple people can discover it.

Wed July 10th

5:30 PM

Picnic [foyer of the hotel’s Pearl Street Ballroom]

Thu July 11th

8:00 PM

Welcome! An evening of puzzles and games:

The Puzzle Bank by Willz
Answer an oral word teaser. Doing so earns your team a chance to solve a final puzzle to score.

Two Out of Three by Qaqaq
In this trivia game, don’t accidentally choose too many correct answers.

The Silence of the Hams! by Hathor and Kryptogram
A light-hearted game that brings new meaning to the term “acting up.”

Flatiron Iron Flat Competition, Part 1 organized by Saxifrage
You have 24 hours to compose a flat incorporating a “secret ingredient.”

Con Activity by Elfman
Play Schools by Trick
Color Ado 2: A Song of Ice and Fire by Wombat
Over-the-weekend cryptics for pairs solving.
Solutions are due by 8:15PM Saturday.

Fri July 12th

4:00 PM

Flat-Writing Mentoring [workshop]
Need help writing a flat for the Flatiron Iron Flat competition? Ask a pro.

8:00 PM

Another evening of puzzles and games:

Musical Clues by Music Man
Listen to songs and figure out what the titles have in common

Wordplay Tactics by T McAy
Choose answers with specific wordplay qualities and use them to win at tic-tac-toe.

Crisis in Publishing! by Fraz and Jo the Loiterer
The Unlettered Press has just entered a “publish or perish” situation. Get writing!

Sat July 13th

10:00 AM

Business meeting

2:15 PM

An afternoon of pencil-and-paper competitions:

Trigram Two-Step by Bluff
First find the missing letter triplets. Then …

Split Personalities by Manx
In which, e.g., ROUSER LONG = ROD SERLING.

Flatiron Iron Flat Competition, Part 2 organized by Saxifrage
A sumptuous solving competition featuring the flats created earlier in the weekend.

6:45 PM

The Golden Sphinx Awards presented by Teki [during dessert]
Recognizing outstanding achievement in contributions to The Enigma in 2018.

8:15 PM

Tri, Tri Again by Rubrick, Trazom and G Natural
If at first you don't succeed in solving this puzzle extravaganza, we don't really have any better advice for you.

Sun July 14th

10:30 AM

Awards for all the weekend contests

Meal Schedule

Wednesday Picnic

5:30-7:30 PM   Foyer of Pearl Street Ballroom, Embassy Suites

Friday Dinner

6:00-7:30 PM

Saturday Lunch

Noon-1:45 PM

Saturday Dinner

6:00-7:30 PM

No breakfasts are provided as they are complimentary with Embassy Suites rooms. Embassy breakfasts are served 6-9am weekdays and 7-10:30am weekends

The Wednesday picnic overlaps the free happy hour provided by the Embassy Suites. Snacks will be available both with the happy hour and in our private area. The Boulder Convention and Visitor's Bureau will have a free photo booth and table tennis in the courtyard for our use.

Group photos will be taken during lunch, one table at a time. There will be no ensemble photo.

Meeting Spaces

More detailed information on the facilities available for the Con, including room specifications for those running games, is available here. There's also a 3D model of the convention facilities.

NPL Code of Conduct

The NPL's Code of Conduct applies to all activities at this convention.

Code of Conduct

The organizers of this convention are committed to preserving a welcoming and respectful environment for anyone who wishes to participate. We do not tolerate harassment of convention-goers or League members in any form. If you feel that any individual is speaking or acting inappropriately, either toward you or to someone else, please contact a member of the Code of Conduct Committee to mediate or intercede, as necessary. Read the full Code of Conduct here.

Report an Incident

Travel To/From/Around Boulder

Arrival

Denver International Airport

8500 Peña Blvd, Denver CO 80249 map website

DEN for flights, DIA for bus routes

It is approximately 40 minutes by car and an hour on the bus or other airport transportation to Boulder. An RTD bus drops you right downtown for $10.50. Uber/Lyft are also options and run around $45 each way. Fore more information on the bus or other intermediate options, see below.

Don’t miss your flight! Plan to arrive at the airport with 1½-2 hours ahead of your flight on the return to the airport.

The Airport Bus

From DIA to Boulder (Westbound) schedule

From Boulder to DIA (Eastbound) schedule

Be sure to check the right schedule - both buses run on different timetables on weekends. There is also a handy trip planner here: https://www.rtd-denver.com/app/plan.

Fare to Boulder is $10.50. Exact change, credit/debit, or get a ticket using their convenient mobile app.

Board at Gate 8 between the airport and Westin Hotel, on Level 5. Larger items may get stowed under the bus.

Nearly every bus stops at Boulder Downtown Station. Otherwise, 28th and Arapahoe nearby. Con hotel is within reach of both. Lengthy walk, short Uber or cab ride.

Other Airport => Boulder Transportation Options

Service

Website

Cost

Green Line Shuttle

website

$40 for first person, $12 for each additional

Boulder Taxi Cab

website

Around $90, reserve a towncar 303-641-7829

Denver Yellow Cab

website

$95-110, reserve a cab 303-777-7777

Uber & Lyft

Around $45

Public Transportation

Denver Transit Trip Planner

Boulder has bus lines and there is a stop right in front of the hotel.

Driving in Boulder

Boulder is quite easy to navigate. Generally speaking, roads that go north-south are numbered and roads that go east-west have names. One notable exception is Broadway, a major north-south road. The mountains are always to your west. North of Canyon Blvd streets are generally in alphabetical order with charming names: Alpine, Balsam, Cedar, etc, etc. It will generally take no more than 15 minutes to drive from one place to another in Boulder.

By state law, you must stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. Boulder has painted crosswalks and also flashing crosswalks. Watch out for pedestrians and bikers! Pedestrians don’t always trigger the flashing lights in crosswalks and many assume you see them when you don’t. There is heavy pedestrian and bike traffic at crosswalks, especially on Farmer’s Market days, Wednesday and Saturday. Boulder also has extensive bike lanes that are in roadways. Keep an eye out for bikes when you’re turning either direction. Right turns can take out bikers in your blind spot, approaching from behind you. Left turns can take out fast-moving bikes approaching you from ahead.

Keep an eye out for deer, they may be found on the streets in all of the city of Boulder, but especially in wooded areas.

Biking in Boulder

There are lots of ways to bike in Boulder. You can find short-term rental bikes scattered around town. You can rent a bike for many days or a week. You can rent an electric bike. No matter how you bike around Boulder, be careful when you are biking along a street or crossing a street. Make eye contact with drivers to make sure they see you before you cross a street. Trigger flashing crosswalks if you cross there. Look for turning cars before crossing. Wear a helmet. Use a headlight and taillight at night - you can get a ticket for biking at night without them. Yes, you can be pulled over for drunk biking.

Bike Rentals

University Cycles

ubikes.com

Townie, mountain, road and electric bikes for rent

B-cycle rental bike stations

boulder.bcycle.com

Short-term bike rental locations are sprinkled throughout Boulder

Pedego

www.pedegoelectricbikes.com

Electric bike rentals and tours

Walking in Boulder

Same cautions about crossing at crosswalks, etc. You probably won’t need a helmet or taillight.

Altitude

Boulder sits at around 5,400′ above sea level. Mostly you won’t feel the altitude except for putting on your shoes, walking up stairs or walking uphill. You will breathe more heavily if you exert yourself. Plan to drink more fluids to compensate for the dry climate. If you drink alcohol, it may affect you more quickly than normal.

Weather

The weather averages are 88° for the high and 57° for the low in July. Generally speaking, July is our “monsoon” season, with an afternoon thunderstorm that passes quickly. It is quite intensely sunny in Boulder. Wear sunscreen if you plan to be outside.

Nearby Services and Stores

Food and Drink

Within a 5 Minute Walk of the Hotel

Other Recommended Food and Drink

Further Food & Drink Resources

Colorado Brewery List

website

Boulder Breweries: Boulder Microbrewery Map & List

Best of Boulder

website

Boulder Weekly's “Best of Boulder” lists in dozens of categories

Outdoor Activities

Please don't consider any activity recommendations as safety advice.

Hiking

Looking west from any part of the city, you’ll see four peaks. These babies crest over 8,000′ and form much of Boulder’s iconic skyline. From the north to south they are Flagstaff Mountain, Green Mountain, Bear Peak and South Boulder Peak, sitting a bit behind Bear Peak. You can hike to the top of any of these, though you may need a long day for it. The easiest to summit is Green Mountain (you can drive to the top of Flagstaff, but a hike to the top takes a few hours and I don’t recommend it). Make sure to start your hike early in the day, to allow time to get off the top before the typical afternoon thunderstorms roll in. Lightning is a real danger on the summits. Tell someone where you're going if you're planning a solo hike.

Local Trails

Mesa Trail

website

The classic! Park at Chautauqua and get ready for a lung-busting uphill start. You’ll get sweeping views of Boulder Valley and, depending on how far you go, nice views of the Flatirons (they look small, but the First and Third are over 1,000′ tall). This trailhead is also an access for the Gregory Canyon trail. Take all day or 15 minutes, this trail is worth it - and all the altitude you gain on the way up is easy cruising on the way down.

Ranger Trail

website

This is a great hike for summertime, as it is quite shaded. Drive up Flagstaff and park on the left (don’t leave anything of value in the car). You’ll gain over 1,000′ on your ascent to the top of Green Mountain. The trail is well-maintained and has peekaboo views of Boulder and the Continental Divide.

Green Mountain West Ridge

website

If you’d like to get to the top of Green Mountain with the least altitude gain, this is your trail. You’ll only ascend a little over 500′ on the way up. At the top you’ll be rewarded with Continental Divide views.

Bear Peak

website

You’ll get great views on this hike. You can connect to South Boulder Peak via a saddle to bag both peaks in the same long day.

NCAR Trailhead

website

Drive up to NCAR, the National Center for Atmospheric Research and you can combine both a science museum and a great hike. NCAR has free parking and free displays, both indoors and out. There are interpretive signs scattered around the mesa. After you've had enough science, you can hike off the west side of the mesa to join any number of trails.

Brainard Lake

website

This is a spectacular, high-altitude hiking area. You can summit peaks, go for a stroll or find unexpected lakes on an easy hike. Because of the cold and snowy winter we had this year, many of the trails here will persist with snow into late July. Only hike over snow if you feel safe, it's easy to slip or lose the trail entirely. Dress for weather if you plan to hike here. It could snow, hail or rain any time of the year. You have a good chance to see moose here. Don't approach a moose. Get your photo from far away, they are huge and move a lot faster than you'd think.

Rock Climbing

You can climb on those big rocks! Boulder abounds with a lifetime of great climbing. Eldorado Canyon, in the south, is a beautiful area, the Flatirons, looming to the west, is packed with great routes and Boulder Canyon, Mt. Sanitas, Gregory Canyon and other smaller areas are all within 15 minutes of town. Be safe, take a partner and use your best judgement. Much of the Flatirons will be closed to climbing to protect raptor nesting during the convention time period. You can find out about closures online.

Guided Climbing

Alpine Institute

website

Colorado Mountain School

website

Boulder Climbing Guides

website

Indoor Climbing

Tubing

Rent a tube and experience the free waterpark that is Boulder Creek. It can be quite a scene, with college students, little kids, fly-fisherpeople, dogs and kayakers all having a great time. The water can be hair-raising, especially in a big snow year like this one. The water is cold and the drops can flip you over (if you hold on to another tuber over drops it's easier to stay upright). Wear a helmet, water shoes and a life vest. Watch your butt! The Foot of the Mountain Motel rents tubes right at Eben G Fine Park, a fine place to tube, especially if you walk up the path to the first cascade. Check the water level at the State of Colorado's Water Conditions Site.

Foot of the Mountain Motel - Rents innertubes

website

Whitewater Tubing and Recreation

website

Tube to Work Day

website

Tube to Work Day is Friday, July 12th at 8am. This charity fundraiser has great festivities, including free food, at Eben G Fine Park. Participants hop in their tubes and head to work, usually dressed in business attire over their wetsuits.

NOTE: Because of our unusually cold and snowy spring, peak runoff is a month late this year. This means that Boulder Creek is running anywhere from 2-4 times its normal flow for July. The sheriff closed the creek for tubing 4th of July weekend and may extend the closure into the convention week. For your safety please obey posted signs and stay out of the creek if it is closed.

Mountain Biking

Lots of information available here.

Other Activities

Tours

Banjo Billy's Bus Tour

website

Take a tour of Boulder, complete with history and ghost stories, in a bus that looks like a shack. You can arrange to visit breweries on the tour if you want. 720-938-8885

Celestial Seasonings

website

Learn all about Celestial's tea in this free factory tour. 4600 Sleepytime Dr, Boulder CO 80301

Liberty Puzzles

website

The jigsaw puzzlemaker can accommodate groups of 6 or less for their factory tour. 2526 49th St, Boulder CO 80301

Escape Rooms

Escape Rooms in Boulder

Room 5280 Live Escape Games

website

Enigma Escape

website

Boulder Escape Room

website

Escape Rooms in a 15 mile radius

Puzzah!

website

Rabbit Hole Recreation Services

website

Themescape

website

Gone in 60 Minutes

website

Twin Peaks

website

Escape Rooms farther away

Puzzah!

website

Denver

ConTRAPtions

website

Ft Collins

Somewhere Secret

website

Ft Collins

Clueology

website

Loveland or Estes Park

Conundrum

website

Lakewood or Arvada

Denver Escape Room

website

Denver

Massage

Relaxing Station

Drop-in Chinese-style over-the-clothes massage in an open room. They offer chair, table, foot massages or combo for $37/hour. Opt for a higher pressure preference and they may walk on you. 2712 28th St, Boulder CO 80301

Dragontree Spa

website

Full spa experience in a nice Pearl St location. Make sure you specify the Boulder location when you make your appointment. 1521 Pearl St, Boulder CO 80302

Cannabis

Recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado and is treated nearly the same as alcohol. You must be 21 to consume any alcohol or marijuana. You may not consume marijuana in public. You may legally possess 1 ounce of marijuana. To purchase cannabis products, you must show legal ID Dispensaries possibly only accept cash for purchases. There are many different types of products sold at dispensaries that contain THC or CBD (non-psychoactive). Some are for medical ailments and some are for parties. Your budtender will walk you through the process and answer any questions you may have.

Generally speaking, something you smoke will effect you very quickly, something you eat will take between 15 minutes and 2 hours to start to take effect. Something you put on your skin will have a very small effect. Careful with edibles as this is where people end up overdoing it. Watch for the compounding effects of alcohol + marijuana.

Although you may possess marijuana products in Colorado, National Parks, ski mountains on National Forest land and courthouses and post offices are federal property. Marijuana is still illegal in these places. Don’t fly home with products, the Denver Airport is federal property also.

Please don’t consider this legal or medical advice.

Sites of Interest

Museums

National Center for Atmospheric Research

1850 Table Mesa Dr, Boulder CO 80305

website

CU Museum of Natural History

1035 Broadway St, Henderson Building, Boulder CO 80302

website

Museum of Boulder

2205 Broadway, Boulder CO 80302

website

Theaters

Boulder Dinner Theater

5501 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder CO 80303

website

Beauty and the Beast is their summer show.

Denver Center for the Performing Arts

1101 13th St, Denver CO 80204

website

Century Theater

1700 29th St, Boulder CO 80301

website

Boulder Theater

2032 14th St, Boulder CO 80302

website

Fox Theater

1135 13th St, Boulder CO 80302

website

Sites Farther Afield

Within 20-30 Minutes

  • Eldorado Canyon
  • Boulder Falls
  • Nederland
  • Lyons
  • Longmont
  • Louisville
  • Lafayette
  • Superior
  • Gold Hill

Within 30-60 Minutes

Within 2 hours