# Multi-stage vs. Puzzle cache

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Hi folks,

I have a quick question about multi-stage vs. unknown (puzzle) caches. It seems that sometimes the type of cache is chosen randomly. For instance:

The Place to Be - This is a multi-stage cache. You have to compute the coordinates from information that you have to find. Then you have the coordinates to the cache location.

Atlanta History Cache - This is a puzzle cache. Again you have to find some information and use that to computer the location of the cache.

So what's the difference?

Thanks!

Tom

• If the cache is at the posted coords, its a traditional.
• If there is something at the posted coords (physical or virtual) that will lead the finder to the cache elsewhere, its a multi.
• If the posted coords are bogus, or nothing more than parking, its a mystery/puzzle.

Of course there will be exceptions, but this is a good starting point in determining the right cache type to use.

• If the cache is at the posted coords, its a traditional.
• If there is something at the posted coords (physical or virtual) that will lead the finder to the cache elsewhere, its a multi.
• If the posted coords are bogus, or nothing more than parking, its a mystery/puzzle.

Of course there will be exceptions, but this is a good starting point in determining the right cache type to use.

I understand what you are saying and the clue of what is at the posted coordinates is a good one I think. But I know of another puzzle cache with an http address at the posted coordinates. You then look up the address and it gives you the final coordinates. Based on your definition, I would call this a multi.

Understand, I'm not complaining about any of these caches, I'm just picking at the definition to make sure I understand the difference. (And it may just depend on the owner/reviewer combination.)

Thanks!

Edited by TFulton42

The line between multi and puzzle can definitely be blurred. I've seen offset multis where you do the exact same sort of math to determine the final as you do on many puzzles. No difference at all that I could see. Personally, I err on the side of puzzle, so if there's anything weird about my caches, I call them puzzles.

As Lil Devil wrote, "there will be exceptions". I've found a number of mystery/puzzle caches where there was something at the posted coordinates, possibly even the cache container itself. But they were definitely puzzle caches.

There are also regional variations. Here in the San Francisco Bay area, if you get the final coordinates by copying digits from a plaque or sign, then the cache is pretty consistently listed as a multi-cache. When I was visiting Massachusetts, that kind of cache was pretty consistently listed as a mystery/puzzle cache.

But my (San Francisco Bay area) opinion is that if you're just copying digits from a sign, or counting things, or doing simple arithmetic, then it's a multi-cache. If you're doing something more complex than that, then it's a mystery/puzzle.

The Place to Be - This is a multi-stage cache. You have to compute the coordinates from information that you have to find. Then you have the coordinates to the cache location.

Atlanta History Cache - This is a puzzle cache. Again you have to find some information and use that to computer the location of the cache.

So what's the difference?

Yes, the line is blurred, and sometimes a cache's type is just plain wrong. In this case, however, I'd say these two caches are typed correctly. The difference is that for The Place to Be, you have to go to the specified location to get the information that leads you to the next stage, making it a classic multi, while for Atlanta History Cache, you don't go to the posted coordinates; instead, you have to research the questions on-line to get the answer, making that a classic unknown.

Notice also that Atlanta History Cache is quite old. Sometimes in the early days, the difference was even more blurred, so very odd things happened. In this case, for example, Atlanta History Cache appears to be a virtual cache labeled as an unknown, so (if I'm reading this correctly) there's no physical cache, just questions to answer.

The Place to Be - This is a multi-stage cache. You have to compute the coordinates from information that you have to find. Then you have the coordinates to the cache location.

Atlanta History Cache - This is a puzzle cache. Again you have to find some information and use that to computer the location of the cache.

So what's the difference?

Yes, the line is blurred, and sometimes a cache's type is just plain wrong. In this case, however, I'd say these two caches are typed correctly. The difference is that for The Place to Be, you have to go to the specified location to get the information that leads you to the next stage, making it a classic multi, while for Atlanta History Cache, you don't go to the posted coordinates; instead, you have to research the questions on-line to get the answer, making that a classic unknown.

Notice also that Atlanta History Cache is quite old. Sometimes in the early days, the difference was even more blurred, so very odd things happened. In this case, for example, Atlanta History Cache appears to be a virtual cache labeled as an unknown, so (if I'm reading this correctly) there's no physical cache, just questions to answer.

There actually is a cache for Atlanta History, but I see your point about it being nearly a virtual. It's almost like the CO intended for it to be a virtual and then couldn't do that.

Thanks to all for the opinions. I think that I've got a better idea of how I'd label different caches.

Thanks!

There actually is a cache for Atlanta History, but I see your point about it being nearly a virtual.

No, it's not nearly a virtual. You do some research online, which gives you coordinates, which leads you to the final container. Classic unknown/puzzle.

Contrast that to the multi. You go to the posted coordinates, do some research, which gives you coordinates, which leads you to the final container.

The difference is with the multi, the research is done at the first stage, while with the puzzle, the research is done at home. Both result in a final container.

No, it's not nearly a virtual. You do some research online, which gives you coordinates, which leads you to the final container. Classic unknown/puzzle.

Wow. Really? The description clearly tells me to go to that location and just answer some questions, so since it's an older cache, I don't think it would have occurred to me to look for a log to sign, too.

OK, you're right. I read it wrong. It's a puzzle-virtual. Solve the puzzle at home. Get coords to final location where you have to answer some questions.

Note that this cache was "hidden" in 2003. The guidelines have changed a lot since then, not the least of which is that virtuals are no longer allowed. That would include puzzle-virtuals and multi-virtuals.

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