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The Pioneers of Geocaching

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We were reminiscing the other day of games we used to play when we were kids (we are over 30).


One game, which I don't think we ever had a name for, had some similarities to geocaching. The game we played involved hiders, seekers, time, and explosions (not really). We separated into two teams, hiders and seekers. The hider team would take an old-fashioned kitchen timer (not digital), set it for 5 to 10 minutes, and place it in a well hidden spot (bushes, trees, etc). The yard was typically the boundaries. The seekers had to find the kitchen timer before time expired. If they didn't, it blew up! Or at least that is what we pretended happened.


Did you play any games similar to geocaching when you were a kid?

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When we played hide and seek, I insisted the playing field be the entire subdivision and the adjoining field and woods, probably a few dozen acres. we also had a time limit.


One of my favorite board games was Lost Treasure. A little computer "hid" a treasure on a gridded game board. Each turn, you told the computer where you were, and it told you if the treasure was N/S or E.W of you. I still have it.


Another favorite board game was Scotland Yard, which was a lot like my hide and seek, with several players pursuing one other player whose moves were invisible.


And I loved road rallies (the puzzle/scavenger hunt kind) and finding Easter eggs.

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We played hide the eraser. I forgot all about that game until Brian mentioned it above.


I also used to hide or bury items and draw treasure maps to them. Then I would have a friend find them. There is a little wooded area a few blocks from where I grew up that my friends and I hid things in. My mother put a cache in there at some point, remembering how I used to got there all the time as a kid.

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We played "pirate treasure"--it was a cross between geocaching and letterboxing. One of us had an old jewelry box that looked like a sea chest. The neighbors wouldn't let us dig in their yards, so we had to use hollow spots, loose boards, dips in the ground covered by odds & ends, etc for hiding spots.


We'd hide something, make a map with "x" on it for the starting point and directions from there (150 steps to the right of the Oak tree, turn around five times and look for the star, etc), tear the map in parts, "lose" some of the parts to make it more interesting (usually the part with the final location X), and hide the rest in one of the usual knotholes in trees.


First you had to hunt for the map, then you had to figure out where the pirate treasure was hidden. When you found the treasure box, you got to take something out, put something else back in, and make your own map and rehide the box.

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We had a game that was similar to Neos2's "pirate treasure," but it was kind of a puzzle-multi. One player would hide a series of clues, with each clue leading to the next. The basic style of clue was a riddle; a better clue rhymed; the best clues made fun of the other player(s).


There was a another treasure-hunt game for which we used a Ouija board. We'd ask the 'spirits' where to find hidden treasure. They'd usually direct us to the rockpit or a vacant lot that we knew of where people dumped old junk. Deciding whether or not the spirits were correct depended mostly on how you defined "treasure." If you defined it as 'one man's trash,' then they were infallible.


Substitute "GPS" for "Ouija board," and presto! Geocaching!

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I am 32 and when I was about 9 or 10 we started what is comparable to geocaching. There was a dirt road up behind my neiborhood were we used to hang out and build camps in the woods. For some reason we discovered that all along the side of the road there would be garbage bags and cardboard boxes and inside these there were certain types of magazines that young boys found very interesting. And they weren't about fishing. All our free time was spent searching for the newest "cache" and moving to our camp.

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We played something similar to multi-stage caches at home when I was little. My big sisters would write a note with a clue to a location, sometimes in the form of a riddle. When I found that location, I would find another note with another clue to another location. I would keep following the clues hidden around the house until I found the "prize".

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Every couple of years I like to place clues for my kids (who are now grown adults) around the house at X-Mas time and send them on a hunt for one of their x-mas gifts. This past year we gave my future son-in-law a GPSr for x-mas. My husband and I thought about loading it up with the cords to take him and my son out around the neighborhood to find my son's x-mas gift in an ammo box of which would have been hidden in our back yard. However, time ran out and we never got around to it. But who's to say that this year we won't do that to one of them!!! :D


As a kid myself growing up, the closest I've come was just the standard hide and seek. Some of these games you all talk about sound really cool and makes me wonder why I never heard of them as a child. :P

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