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Monday, November 17, 2008

GeoSnippits Mystery - Puzzle Cache Footnotes

(Mutant Mantis TB Sighting)

I had such a good time yesterday shooting and editing my latest GeoSnippits episode about Mystery and Puzzle caches. One of the first realizations while putting it together was the amount of information available to create it. When you start out thinking "wow, how am I going to fill out five minutes on this?"and end up with "wow, how can I do this in only ten minutes?"

I started out by doing some research and asking information from the people who know, geocachers. One of the first things I wanted to know was how much geocachers liked or disliked mystery caches. The results were rather interesting:

  • 28% Felt that they would go out of their way to find a mystery/puzzle cache
  • 10% Like mystery/puzzle caches as much as traditional caches
  • 55% Thought that they would do a few mystery/puzzle caches a year
  • 07% Completely ignore mystery/puzzle caches as too much effort

This meant that over half of the geocachers polled would go for a mystery/puzzle cache but only a few times a year. This would explain why the amount of traffic for that type of cache is reduced when you check out the logs. In fact on both forums a rather heated debate ensued.

On one side are the geocachers that love mystery/puzzle caches. They live to unpuzzle the puzzles and will put in whatever time and effort to do so. Quite a few posts told of how they use these type caches on rainy days to fill the time and as the number of resolutions pile up enough they will then go out and well, resolve them.

The other side of the coin was actually the most vocal but according to the above statistics is the smaller percentile, go figure. One post after another describes how mystery/puzzle caches are not even part of the equation. They are ignored as if plagued and to be avoided at all cost. Many have stated the amount of time and effort is too much for a smiley. Who wants to spend the wasted time figuring out math problems, solving letter sequences or heaven forbid decode a double super secret handshake message. Nay they say.... Nay!

If the coin somehow landed on it side it would represent the geocacher who sits on the fence when it comes to mystery caches. To peak their interest into actually going out and resolving a cache requires a special balance. The puzzle cannot be too difficult to resolve and yet have enough of a challenge to make it interesting. Too complicated - forget it, takes too long - nope, down right evil - there's plenty of traditionals out there to find. Though if you can manage a good combination of interest, placement and a feeling of "a game in the game" geocachers will beat down the door to figure it out.

It really is a shame that I ran out of time so quick but the show must go on. I am glad to be able to put out this footnote. I personally want to thank all the people who contributed to either the forum discussions and the poll (NCGO and Geocaching.com). It is greatly appreciated.

You can see my GeoSnippits episodes by going to YouTube and putting GeoSnippits or Headhardhat in the search field.


P.J. said...

I like mystery caches. If we're on a "caching day" where it will take a while to do mystery ones, we'll skip. If not, we'll do 'em. I like mystery caches, but like the ones where you have to figure things out in the field moreso than the ones you have to do the work before going. That being said, with the winter months approaching, I'm going to try and work on a lot of ones where you do the work online and have some ready to go try when the weather turns back to good etc.

A 'lil HooHaa.

Anonymous said...

I laughed pretty hard on that one:

"He's here making sure I drive safely, but then again he's letting me video tape this while I'm driving."