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When you join the Heist, you are briefed on your role as a special agent working for the Directorate.

The first thing that you may notice is that the whole Mac "spy" community is in on this. Your first mission involves submitting a actual tip to MacRumors.com. You find clues for various side quests scattered throughout sites like MacZot!. And you realize the Directorate is composed of Big-Name Mac people like Philip Ryu.

Your goal in MacHeist is to complete the missions assigned to you. Unfortunately, if you're joining right now, you can't go back and play missions that the community has already completed.

Your mission assignments run on a roughly one-per-week schedule, with mini-heists filling the gaps in between. Heists are announced in your mission briefings, but mini-heists must be discovered.

Here's a look at the lead clue for a previous mini heist, Heist 1.5, which was discovered in some strange bits of RSS that would appear if you looked at MacHeist's RSS feed.

As I write this, the second mini-heist, or Heist 2.5 as the community calls it, is in full swing.

Here's the last puzzle for the currently running Mini-Heist. You can drag to words around for some reason.

The fun in this game comes from solving missions and debating possible solutions to mission and mini-heist puzzles with your fellow spies in the perpetually active forums.

Another aspect of MacHeist that motivates participation is the Heist rewards. There's nothing like entering my hard-earned secret code and opening the safe to discover what new loot awaits me inside.

I need to go soon, so here's a quick briefing on the state of things.

Join us, time is running out...

The reward so far:

If you're a student, I highly advise you to avoid checking MacHeist more than once a day. Like any interesting problem, solving these heists is addictive.