One of the most common questions I hear from prospective sầu clients is, “So what can you tell me about your scavenger hunts?” For a native San Franciscan like me, this is akin lớn a tourist saying “I just love Frisco…especially your trolley cars.” Sad to lớn say folks, my lovely hometown by the bay is San Francisteo (not Frisco), we have sầu cable cars here (not trolleys), và Dr. Clue creates treasure hunts (not scavenger hunts). Semantics vì chưng matter!

So what exactly is the difference between a scavenger hunt và a treasure hunt?

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Simply put, a scavenger hunt is based on a list. On this danh mục, you might be asked lớn bring bachồng a specific object — a pine cone, a flag, a coaster from a particular bar, etc. Or the hunt might be more photograph-based: ie. “Take a picture of yourself in front of the Golden Gate Bridge, snap a shot of yourself at the top of the Eiffel Tower,” etc. You get the idea. Scavenger hunt lists tend lớn be quite direct & straightforward; here’s your task–now go out & exexinh đẹp it. Each task in a scavenger hunt is worth a certain number of points & the team with the most points accrued at the end of the game is named the winner. Pretty fun stuff, huh? Absolutely. But not very cryptic! From the beginning, you pretty much know what your tasks are; the biggest challenge, then, is prioritization. How long will it take to lớn reach this spot vs. that spot? Is it worth going for the hard 10-pointers (which will take more time và effort) or the easier the 1-, 3- or 5- pointers, which take less time but are worth less points?

By contrast, a treasure hunt is based on the solving of cryptic clues. A clue might be a riddle, a rhyme, or some simple wordplay. It could be in code. It could look like a puzzle. What matters is that the clue, when solved, directs you lớn a specific location. For example, let’s say a clue in San Francisteo starts with, “There’s an eye in your milk — remove it!” After pondering this phrase for a minute, you would realize that when you take the “i” out of “milk”, you get MLK — short for Martin Luther King — a street in Golden Gate Park. A harder clue might be encrypted in Morse Code, Braille, or Sign Language. Or it might involve sầu a crossword puzzle, sudoku, wordtìm kiếm, or anything else the hunt master can think of. Clues can require pen & paper; they can involve music or video; they can incorporate physical items. One of my favorite clues had participants searching for messages in a bottle, floating in a lake. Another one had teams opening up specially-made Cracker Jack bags. Inside each bag, the peanuts & Cracker Jacks had been divided inkhổng lồ separate baggies lớn represent dashes và dots, a la Morse Code.

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Moreover, treasure hunts break down further inlớn two distinct sub-categories: sequential & non sequential. A sequential treasure hunt looks like this: you go to lớn the first clue location và find clue # two…you then proceed lớn clue location # two and there find clue # three, & so on. The hunt proceeds down a linear path until you reach a final location, where a “treasure” is awaiting the team that reaches there first.

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The final location may also be the site of the final các buổi tiệc nhỏ.

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A non-sequential treasure hunt, on the other h&, is a little bit like a scavenger hunt in that the clues are NOT in order. In fact, you get ALL the clues up front. Not only can you solve sầu the clues in any order that you lượt thích, you can also visit the revealed clue locations in the order of your choice. If you get stuck on a clue, just skip it & come baông xã to lớn it. If you see a team going one direction, perhaps your team will head off in the opposite direction. Each clue is worth a specific number of points; like a scavenger hunt, the team with the most points is named the winner. How you acquire points at each location is up khổng lồ the hunt master. Perhaps there is a question lớn answer at each location. Perhaps you have sầu lớn pichồng up a certain thành công or take a specific phokhổng lồ (a la scavenger hunts). The possibilities are endless.

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What are the pros và cons of these various hunt formats? Scavengers hunts are perhaps the easiest hunts to mount. All you need to lớn vì is come up with a các mục and the teams take care of the rest. For people who are more action oriented, scavenger hunts can be a great option. Without too much planning, teams get out on the course, rushing around, và crossing items off the các mục. Conversely, treasure hunts take a bit more time to lớn mix up. As the hunt master, you need lớn go out & scout a number of potential locations, choosing the very best ones for your hunt clues. You must take detailed notes and digital photos. And you must then write the clues, bearing in mind that any ambiguity will literally sover teams on a wild goose chase. That means that you really need to lớn playtest all the clues in advance, which — again — takes more time và effort. The advantage of treasure hunts, however, is in my opinion quite worthwhile. In particular, it’s simply a blast watching participants get that delicious “Eureka Moment”, when they’ve sầu solved a clue, pulled meaning from chaos, và then followed the “trail of breadcrumbs” khổng lồ a cool location that they wouldn’t have sầu otherwise known about. For people who are more “mind-oriented”, treasure hunts really do the trick. And for teambuilding, treasure hunts are terrific because groups are required to lớn assess their skills and knowledge và delegate the right person to lớn the right clue. If the hunt master has done their job sufficiently, one person — alone — could never solve all the clues. It take a diverse group, with diverse skills và knowledge, khổng lồ succeed at a puzzle-based, non-sequential treasure hunt (like we create here at Dr. Clue).

So what’s it going to be the next time you’re in Frisco riding a trolley car? A scavenger hunt or a treasure hunt? As they say in Pig Latin (a fun decoding language): “ouyay ecideday.”