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gotta run
WGA Member



Joined: 2007-11-26
Posts: 3306

PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2010 9:03 am Reply with quote Back to top

No, it's not what you're all thinking...

Ok, I will admit that we did start down this train of thought because of the fact that sooner or later puzzle coordinates will make their way to the bulletin board, so to speak--so what, if anything, did team GR, as puzzle cache owners, want to do about it?

That ultimately led to turning the question on its head to ask: What should we, as puzzle cache owners, do to ensure that our puzzle designs are ones that people actually want to solve, rather than simply want to clear off the radar?

Well interestingly, I came across a very good (IMO) blog on the topic of creating puzzles that are an enjoyable puzzle solving experience, that captures a lot of what we had come up with:

http://www.puzzlehead.org/resources/geocache-puzzle-construction-tips/

I'm really tempted to plagarize this and paste it into the sticky creators' thread at the top of this forum.

Interestingly, this blog was written by the cacher who put together the series mentioned in this thread: http://www.wi-geocaching.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=8335

The writer also offers a great summary:

Quote:
Personally, I think puzzle caches are twice as good as traditional caches. You get to experience the excitement of the hunt and the thrill of the find twice – once when you find the real coordinates, and once again when you find the real cache!


The question is, how can puzzle cache creators put together a cache that instills this excitement, not just so that people might realize they are missing out on something by omitting the first part, but to make them want to do both parts? In the writer's words:

Quote:
A good puzzle is one that compels the potential solver to actually solve it.
 
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bartrod
WGA Member



Joined: 2008-03-12
Posts: 1071
Location: Oconto, WI-The birthplace of western civilization

PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2010 1:17 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Puzzles boggle my mind frequently...but this helps...somewhat. I managed to find some help in solving one of Peach's puzzles though...maybe I'll hit on something else that I understand here somewhere... thanks Very Happy
 
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Team Deejay
WGA Member



Joined: 2005-10-02
Posts: 2390
Location: Rochester, WI, US

PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2010 2:15 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Here's a thought. When you design a puzzle cache, as yourself this question...If there was not a cache associated with the puzzle, would you want to solve it? This advice falls in the "Hide the type of cache you like to find" category.

As someone who sees a whole lot of puzzle caches, I know that most types are enjoyable for at least a couple people. Here is where I think each type falls, based on conversations I have had with both hiders and finders:

Research/Internet search type puzzles - I would guess that a majority of people enjoy these if the subject matter is entertaining or educational. Lets say 55%.

Field puzzles - Most people like these, even those who never pursue puzzles. Probably 90% or more. The less math involved, the better.

Basic puzzle types (Crossword/Sudoku/Word puzzles/Logic Puzzles/Math puzzles etc.) - Maybe 25% of people like these. Most would rather be hiking.

Cryptography - Maybe 5% of people like these. People that like them really like them. Everyone else would rather go to have a root canal. A good example of how to do a cryptography cache and make it enjoyable is Cheeering Viper, by Ranger Boy. Note that difficulty plays a large part here. People are ok with simple substitution type codes, but as they get more complex, you start to lose finders fast.

Collection Puzzles (Visit a bunch of caches to get parts of the final coordinates) - Almost everyone likes these (except the reviewers.) 99%.

Read my mind puzzles - This is any sort of puzzle where an approximate solution method is not apparent after working on it for more than an hour or where the most effective solution method is to type coordinates into Geochecker until you hit the right one. A common characteristic of these caches is that the owner ends up having to attach more and more clues to the cache page, as no one is able to solve it. Almost no one likes these. 2% if I'm being generous. Note that I'm not referring to puzzles where local knowledge would be helpful or where you need to study the puzzle and clues to reach that "aha" moment. I'm talking about those where you just have a mass of numbers to sift with no direction at all.

The main reason for hiding a cache should be for people to enjoy finding it, including solving the puzzle. Any other reason will lead to caches which are only found to "clear an area" or just ignored. Why go through all that trouble just to frustrate people? Now that is not to say that a puzzle should not be challenging or difficult. The key is for to make it enjoyable as well, so that people will feel that the time obtaining the solution was well spent.
 
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Captain and Mate
WGA Member



Joined: 2006-09-25
Posts: 294
Location: Burlington, WI

PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2010 3:12 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Great post, Team Deejay!

_________________
\"Once in awhile you get shown the light, in the strangest places if you look at it right.\"
-Grateful Dead 
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-cheeto-
WGA Member



Joined: 2007-06-12
Posts: 4538
Location: Appleton, WI

PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2010 3:28 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Quote:
Collection Puzzles (Visit a bunch of caches to get parts of the final coordinates) - Almost everyone likes these (except the reviewers.) 99%.


Well, I bet most owner's find they don't like owning caches like this either.. wink

My message to anyone thinking about putting out a series where the info is in the container: DON'T write the info on the log sheet

Take a black marker and write it somewhere inside the container if possible.

Just a suggestion of course.

I think I agree with Deejay here on his post for the most part.

Personally I like the a'ha moment one's the best but when I'm staring at them blankly for days I like them the least. Followed close second by research (field or internet) where I learn something.
 
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seldom|seen
WGA Member



Joined: 2006-12-31
Posts: 733
Location: Appleton, WI

PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 8:54 am Reply with quote Back to top

Team Deejay wrote:

The main reason for hiding a cache should be for people to enjoy finding it, including solving the puzzle. Any other reason will lead to caches which are only found to "clear an area" or just ignored. Why go through all that trouble just to frustrate people? Now that is not to say that a puzzle should not be challenging or difficult. The key is for to make it enjoyable as well, so that people will feel that the time obtaining the solution was well spent.


Thank you for putting things in perspective. I agree with about 99% of what you distilled here as puzzle categories and desire to solve. I'd like to think that most s|s solvers would put most of mine in the 55%, 90% and 99% categories, with all but a handful falling in the 25% and 2% camp.

The only thing I would add is an addendum to the last comment. Many of the cachers I have come to know who want to "clear an area" never take the time to determine what class of puzzle they are even looking at. They all go into one pot and when the opportunity arises to clear them out, away they go, robbing themselves of the better part of the experience.

As I've said before, but bears repeating, I never want to create puzzles just to frustrate people, what would be the point of that?
 
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RSplash40
WGA Member



Joined: 2006-12-23
Posts: 6257

PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 9:18 am Reply with quote Back to top

seldom|seen wrote:

As I've said before, but bears repeating, I never want to create puzzles just to frustrate people, what would be the point of that?


After many hours of discussion on puzzles with you in the past I agree, thats NOT your intent at all but you do a bang up job of it Razz

Yes, I emphasized "not", only for clarity when others read this, I have spent hour upon hour discussing and testing s|s's puzzles when I lived in the valley, the intent is not to frustrate, thats just a unfortunate side effect for some people.
 
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GetMeOutdoors
WGA Member



Joined: 2007-12-27
Posts: 344
Location: Wausau

PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 2:20 pm Reply with quote Back to top

One of the funnest puzzles I've done lately was "Rings" - GC11FD6. There were many reasons I liked it.
1) It looked different but not impossible
2) It was easy enough for my wife and I to work on together and we arrived at the solution together. (I don't mean anything bad by that, she just doesn't like the word games and math/science/physics/deciphering stuff)
3) It was a more "tangible" puzzle - something to get your hands on (similar to another puzzle cache I liked that deserves recognition but I fear that it may actually serve to be a spoiler so I won't mention it)
4) The time it took to solve was maybe 10 minutes, not hours and hours.
5) There were multiple things to try and avenues to pursue but not to lengthy dead ends.
6) Once solved you see just how simple it is Smile Yet cleverly disguised as complex.
7) The description clearly describes what the puzzle is.

I mention those things as reasons in general why someone might enjoy a puzzle cache but not intending to sound like they are the only reasons.
 
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