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Advice on Placing Mystery Caches

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I'm seeking the advice of all the puzzle cache geniuses out there.

 

I will be getting a GPS within the next month and after reaching 100 finds this month, I'm looking at finally placing some caches of my own. I have 16 mystery caches under my belt and know how they work now, therefore, I want to place two in my area: one puzzle and one challenge. All I want is some advice on the details.

 

Idea 1: A Jeopardy Puzzle: I saw a couple of people with Jeopardy themed caches, but none of them live anywhere close to me. My question is, should I use the clues to obtain the coordinates by using numbers for the answers OR do I list all of the question I want and have the cachers email me with the correct responses, which I will reply the real coordinates if they are correct.

 

Idea 2: A Favorite Points Challenge: All of the challenge mystery caches are an hour away from my area, so I wanted to place a couple of challenge caches since I find them to be very fun, even though I've only completed one. I want to make a cache where you have to find X number of caches with at least 10 favorite points, and your finds be from X amount of states. My question is, what would be a good number of caches with at least 10 favorite points? My original idea was 50, but that seems a little steep.

 

Thanks for the advice! Happy caching and best wishes to all those effected by Hurricane Sandy.

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I'm seeking the advice of all the puzzle cache geniuses out there.

 

I will be getting a GPS within the next month and after reaching 100 finds this month, I'm looking at finally placing some caches of my own. I have 16 mystery caches under my belt and know how they work now, therefore, I want to place two in my area: one puzzle and one challenge. All I want is some advice on the details.

 

Idea 1: A Jeopardy Puzzle: I saw a couple of people with Jeopardy themed caches, but none of them live anywhere close to me. My question is, should I use the clues to obtain the coordinates by using numbers for the answers OR do I list all of the question I want and have the cachers email me with the correct responses, which I will reply the real coordinates if they are correct.

 

Idea 2: A Favorite Points Challenge: All of the challenge mystery caches are an hour away from my area, so I wanted to place a couple of challenge caches since I find them to be very fun, even though I've only completed one. I want to make a cache where you have to find X number of caches with at least 10 favorite points, and your finds be from X amount of states. My question is, what would be a good number of caches with at least 10 favorite points? My original idea was 50, but that seems a little steep.

 

Thanks for the advice! Happy caching and best wishes to all those effected by Hurricane Sandy.

Read the guidelines for Challenge Caches and Puzzle caches and make sure you understand them totally. I don't think your challenge cache will be approved. As for your puzzle cache.... I doubt that gets approved either simply because of nneding to contact you to get the final coords. I might be wrong tho.

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Idea 1: A Jeopardy Puzzle: I saw a couple of people with Jeopardy themed caches, but none of them live anywhere close to me. My question is, should I use the clues to obtain the coordinates by using numbers for the answers OR do I list all of the question I want and have the cachers email me with the correct responses, which I will reply the real coordinates if they are correct.

The guidelines state the following (bolding mine):

The information needed to solve this type cache must be available to the general community and the puzzle should be solvable from the information provided on the cache page.

What the bolded portion means is that a cacher must be able to solve the puzzle on their own without needing to contact the owner. This would eliminate the part where you mentioned having the cachers email you the answers. The first part (answers = numbers) is generally how these kind of question-answer (or the reverse in your case!) type caches work. Here's an example from my area of a question-answer type puzzle cache.

 

Idea 2: A Favorite Points Challenge: All of the challenge mystery caches are an hour away from my area, so I wanted to place a couple of challenge caches since I find them to be very fun, even though I've only completed one. I want to make a cache where you have to find X number of caches with at least 10 favorite points, and your finds be from X amount of states. My question is, what would be a good number of caches with at least 10 favorite points? My original idea was 50, but that seems a little steep.

I'm not really sure what ngrrfan thinks makes this idea unpublishable, but I don't see a problem with it. I just went through each part of the Challenge Cache guidelines, and I can't find any point mentioned there that your idea would violate. There are a couple of things I wanted to point out, though:

1. By requiring finds in multiple states, you're going to severely limit the number of people who attempt your challenge cache. It may be that your intention is to make this a more-difficult-to-complete challenge cache, and this requirement would certainly do that. If you want to get more people to attempt it, though, I'd make the number of states 2-3 or eliminate that requirement entirely. That being said, the site is down right now and I can't see where you live. You very well may live in the northeast where there are lots of states close together and this requirement would be easier.

 

2. Favourite points can be taken away from caches at any time, and many people will take their points back if a cache gets archived. If someone working on your challenge has found some caches at or just above your limit of 10 points, and some or all of those points are taken back, those caches no longer qualify. This gives the challenge a moving-target aspect. Other existing challenge caches have a similar moving-target aspect to them too (like blackout challenges), so it isn't necessarily a problem, but it's a wrinkle you'll want to keep in mind.

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Idea 1: A Jeopardy Puzzle: I saw a couple of people with Jeopardy themed caches, but none of them live anywhere close to me. My question is, should I use the clues to obtain the coordinates by using numbers for the answers OR do I list all of the question I want and have the cachers email me with the correct responses, which I will reply the real coordinates if they are correct.

The guidelines state the following (bolding mine):

The information needed to solve this type cache must be available to the general community and the puzzle should be solvable from the information provided on the cache page.

What the bolded portion means is that a cacher must be able to solve the puzzle on their own without needing to contact the owner. This would eliminate the part where you mentioned having the cachers email you the answers. The first part (answers = numbers) is generally how these kind of question-answer (or the reverse in your case!) type caches work. Here's an example from my area of a question-answer type puzzle cache.

 

Idea 2: A Favorite Points Challenge: All of the challenge mystery caches are an hour away from my area, so I wanted to place a couple of challenge caches since I find them to be very fun, even though I've only completed one. I want to make a cache where you have to find X number of caches with at least 10 favorite points, and your finds be from X amount of states. My question is, what would be a good number of caches with at least 10 favorite points? My original idea was 50, but that seems a little steep.

I'm not really sure what ngrrfan thinks makes this idea unpublishable, but I don't see a problem with it. I just went through each part of the Challenge Cache guidelines, and I can't find any point mentioned there that your idea would violate. There are a couple of things I wanted to point out, though:

1. By requiring finds in multiple states, you're going to severely limit the number of people who attempt your challenge cache. It may be that your intention is to make this a more-difficult-to-complete challenge cache, and this requirement would certainly do that. If you want to get more people to attempt it, though, I'd make the number of states 2-3 or eliminate that requirement entirely. That being said, the site is down right now and I can't see where you live. You very well may live in the northeast where there are lots of states close together and this requirement would be easier.

 

2. Favourite points can be taken away from caches at any time, and many people will take their points back if a cache gets archived. If someone working on your challenge has found some caches at or just above your limit of 10 points, and some or all of those points are taken back, those caches no longer qualify. This gives the challenge a moving-target aspect. Other existing challenge caches have a similar moving-target aspect to them too (like blackout challenges), so it isn't necessarily a problem, but it's a wrinkle you'll want to keep in mind.

 

This really helps, thank you. I must've missed the part about not having to contact the owner in the guidelines. I live in Ohio, but Kentucky and Indiana are under an hour away from where the cache would be placed. Thanks for your help and I'll edit a couple of things. Hopefully I can get this thing placed and listed by November.

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You've gotten some good responses already.

 

I'll mention more language in the listing guidelines that limits emailing the owner; it's in the Logging of All Physical Caches section. "Other than documenting a Challenge Cache, physical caches cannot require geocachers to contact anyone."

 

------------------------------

 

Read the Challenge Caches article. It's linked from the listing guidelines Mystery section, and acts as an addition to the guidelines.

"Reviewers may ask the cache owner to demonstrate that they have previously met the challenge and/or that a substantial number of other geocachers would be able to do so....

Importantly, cache owners must consider how they will substantiate claims that the cache requirements have been met."

 

Be careful about proposing a difficult challenge that you have not done yourself.

 

It's best to demonstrate how you will verify the challenge by offering your own verification that you've met the proposed challenge.

I can easily click on your profile, your found caches, and then rank by favorites. I see 2 caches with more then 10 favorite points in 2 different states.

 

If you look at the profile of someone with a large find count, the difficulty becomes verifying the multiple states. You need to figure out a verification system that works for everyone, doesn't require a specific third party application (usually GSAK) and isn't a bookkeeping nightmare.

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If you look at the profile of someone with a large find count, the difficulty becomes verifying the multiple states. You need to figure out a verification system that works for everyone, doesn't require a specific third party application (usually GSAK) and isn't a bookkeeping nightmare.

 

I've seen challenge caches where the verification method was to have the finders create a bookmark list of the qualifying caches. This is easy enough for them to do, (it didn't take me very long to do the one I was working on) and I think it would be easy enough for you to verify--but I haven't tried the verification side. 2 or 3 sounds like a good number of states; I think more than 5 would be too many. (Back in a few--I'm going to go see how many caches I have that would qualify.)

 

OK, out of 1071 finds, I have 80 that would qualify. 8 of those have just 10 favorite points and 9 have 11. btw I am one of those people who take my favorites back when caches are archived.

 

I like your idea, sounds like fun.

Edited by NanCycle

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Co ords, Co ords, Co ords.

 

If you are placing puzzle caches, make sure that you have the co ords right, then check them again. If you have to correct the co ords, you may have to redo the whole puzzle.

 

It maybe worth just placing one or two standard caches, to get the feel of things and some feedback first.

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Thank you all for the help. I bump it up to 15 favorite points per cache and you have to find 25 of them. Also, worked out the bugs with my other puzzle idea. Once I get my GPS I'll be to acquire to start making my listings.

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Thank you all for the help. I bump it up to 15 favorite points per cache and you have to find 25 of them. Also, worked out the bugs with my other puzzle idea. Once I get my GPS I'll be to acquire to start making my listings.

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Thank you all for the help. I bump it up to 15 favorite points per cache and you have to find 25 of them. Also, worked out the bugs with my other puzzle idea. Once I get my GPS I'll be to acquire to start making my listings.

 

In some areas, the reviewers will not let you publish a challenge if you haven't completed it yourself! Just an fyi!

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Thank you all for the help. I bump it up to 15 favorite points per cache and you have to find 25 of them. Also, worked out the bugs with my other puzzle idea. Once I get my GPS I'll be to acquire to start making my listings.

 

In some areas, the reviewers will not let you publish a challenge if you haven't completed it yourself! Just an fyi!

 

Well I have 47 finds with 15 or more favorite points--in 5 states--without even trying. So it isn't all that hard.

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Thank you all for the help. I bump it up to 15 favorite points per cache and you have to find 25 of them. Also, worked out the bugs with my other puzzle idea. Once I get my GPS I'll be to acquire to start making my listings.

 

Here's what I did. I used the "Find cache near my home location" link which produces a list of caches 50 miles from my home coordinates or closer. Then I clicked the blue ribbon at the top of the listing to sort by favorites. That gave me about 50 caches with a 10 or more favorites within 50 miles. Obviously depending on where you live those numbers are going to be different, but for a 50 miles radius around where I live I'd probably make it something like 20 caches with 10 or more favorites.

 

Sometimes it seems that those that want to create Challenge cache are trying to come up with a Challenge so complex or difficult that almost nobody would qualify for it. As far as I know there aren't any contests to see who can come up with the most difficult cache to find, the hardest puzzle, or the most challenging Challenge cache but sometimes it seems that way. If you want a successful cache, make it fun for those that want to try and find it. Obviously you're not going to make everyone happy but there's a big different between challenging and nearly impossible.

 

For the jeopardy like puzzle, one technique that I've seen used is to provide a list of questions and a bunch of answer, each associated with a number between 0 and 9. With 15 questions you can match up an answer with every digit in a set of coordinates. You can even have some fun with it and include some ridiculous answers for each question, but just make sure that there's is only one possible correct answer and use a coordinate checker so that people can verify they've answered all the questions correctly.

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Thank you all for the help. I bump it up to 15 favorite points per cache and you have to find 25 of them. Also, worked out the bugs with my other puzzle idea. Once I get my GPS I'll be to acquire to start making my listings.

 

In some areas, the reviewers will not let you publish a challenge if you haven't completed it yourself! Just an fyi!

 

Well I have 47 finds with 15 or more favorite points--in 5 states--without even trying. So it isn't all that hard.

 

That depends on where you live. If one were to create number of favorites based Challenge in China there are only 22 caches in the entire country with 15 favorites or more.

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Well I have 47 finds with 15 or more favorite points--in 5 states--without even trying. So it isn't all that hard.

 

That depends on where you live. If one were to create number of favorites based Challenge in China there are only 22 caches in the entire country with 15 favorites or more.

 

Point taken, but this cache is not going to be in China. Should be quite doable in Ohio.

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I will admit to having done a few challenge caches. But setting up a challenge cache for the sake of setting up a challenge cache seems sort of meaningless to me. If anyone cares, I have found 156 caches with 15 or more favorite points, i8 18 states, the D of C, and 4 Canadian provinces. But what's the point?

Hey! I even own two caches with more than 15 favorite points!

Certainly not a Challenge Cache that I would actively persue.

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Thank you all for the help. I bump it up to 15 favorite points per cache and you have to find 25 of them. Also, worked out the bugs with my other puzzle idea. Once I get my GPS I'll be to acquire to start making my listings.

 

Here's what I did. I used the "Find cache near my home location" link which produces a list of caches 50 miles from my home coordinates or closer. Then I clicked the blue ribbon at the top of the listing to sort by favorites. That gave me about 50 caches with a 10 or more favorites within 50 miles. Obviously depending on where you live those numbers are going to be different, but for a 50 miles radius around where I live I'd probably make it something like 20 caches with 10 or more favorites.

 

Sometimes it seems that those that want to create Challenge cache are trying to come up with a Challenge so complex or difficult that almost nobody would qualify for it. As far as I know there aren't any contests to see who can come up with the most difficult cache to find, the hardest puzzle, or the most challenging Challenge cache but sometimes it seems that way. If you want a successful cache, make it fun for those that want to try and find it. Obviously you're not going to make everyone happy but there's a big different between challenging and nearly impossible.

 

For the jeopardy like puzzle, one technique that I've seen used is to provide a list of questions and a bunch of answer, each associated with a number between 0 and 9. With 15 questions you can match up an answer with every digit in a set of coordinates. You can even have some fun with it and include some ridiculous answers for each question, but just make sure that there's is only one possible correct answer and use a coordinate checker so that people can verify they've answered all the questions correctly.

 

You've got a good point. There's one challenge cache within 30 miles of me that requires you to find caches in 15 states within a 365 day period :blink: which seems nearly impossible since that's 30% of the country. Besides an Alphabet challenge and 100 caches in a day challenges, we don't really have that many around here. I'll look over my plans a couple more times. Seems like I'm getting lots of mixed feedback here so it might be best to scrap the whole idea. As of today, there are 276 caches within 100 miles of me that would qualify and I have found two of them.

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Thank you all for the help. I bump it up to 15 favorite points per cache and you have to find 25 of them. Also, worked out the bugs with my other puzzle idea. Once I get my GPS I'll be to acquire to start making my listings.

 

In some areas, the reviewers will not let you publish a challenge if you haven't completed it yourself! Just an fyi!

 

Which does not match the guidelines. The reviewers are not supposed to be making up their own rules. If I create a challenge cache that asks you to to fill in 40 spots on your D/T grid, they should not deny it because I have only found 39. It can be proven that a substantial number of geocachers have already found more than twice as many. If, however, I asked you to fill in all 81 spots, 81 times, it should be denied because it would be highly unlikely that I could find a single example of someone that has completed that test.

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In some areas, the reviewers will not let you publish a challenge if you haven't completed it yourself! Just an fyi!

Which does not match the guidelines. The reviewers are not supposed to be making up their own rules.

Actually, that is in the guidelines:

Reviewers may ask the cache owner to demonstrate that they have previously met the challenge and/or that a substantial number of other geocachers would be able to do so.

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In some areas, the reviewers will not let you publish a challenge if you haven't completed it yourself! Just an fyi!

Which does not match the guidelines. The reviewers are not supposed to be making up their own rules.

Actually, that is in the guidelines:

Reviewers may ask the cache owner to demonstrate that they have previously met the challenge and/or that a substantial number of other geocachers would be able to do so.

 

Oh, I see. They can choose "and/or" and some of them simply choose "and" for everything, thus removing the thought process involved in actually reviewing the cache. Okay! So, if I'm five days short of completing my 365 day grid, I can't create a challenge cache for my other local cachers to enjoy, simply because my reviewer doesn't understand the meaning of the words "may, and, or" and has developed an iron clad policy of his own, thus creating a new guideline, imo.

 

Which just goes to show once again that we are not dealing with the guidelines, we are dealing with our local reviewer's personal interpretation of the guidelines.

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Oh, I see. They can choose "and/or" and some of them simply choose "and" for everything, thus removing the thought process involved in actually reviewing the cache. Okay! So, if I'm five days short of completing my 365 day grid, I can't create a challenge cache for my other local cachers to enjoy, simply because my reviewer doesn't understand the meaning of the words "may, and, or" and has developed an iron clad policy of his own, thus creating a new guideline, imo.

Is this rant based on an actual encounter you had with a reviewer, or just wild speculation? The way I understand it, for the more common challenges (ie. alphabet, fizzy, calendar, etc.), the reviewer won't require that you complete it yourself because there's enough evidence that it is completable based on the existence of other similar challenges. If the challenge isn't one of the "ordinary" challenges, that's when they may ask that you complete it yourself.

 

Remember that if a reviewer does something you don't agree with, you always have the option of appealing their decision by emailing appeals@geocaching.com.

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Oh, I see. They can choose "and/or" and some of them simply choose "and" for everything, thus removing the thought process involved in actually reviewing the cache. Okay! So, if I'm five days short of completing my 365 day grid, I can't create a challenge cache for my other local cachers to enjoy, simply because my reviewer doesn't understand the meaning of the words "may, and, or" and has developed an iron clad policy of his own, thus creating a new guideline, imo.

Is this rant based on an actual encounter you had with a reviewer, or just wild speculation? The way I understand it, for the more common challenges (ie. alphabet, fizzy, calendar, etc.), the reviewer won't require that you complete it yourself because there's enough evidence that it is completable based on the existence of other similar challenges. If the challenge isn't one of the "ordinary" challenges, that's when they may ask that you complete it yourself.

 

Remember that if a reviewer does something you don't agree with, you always have the option of appealing their decision by emailing appeals@geocaching.com.

 

No, my "rant" was based solely on post #10, which I quoted in post #17.

 

In some areas, the reviewers will not let you publish a challenge if you haven't completed it yourself! Just an fyi!

 

I haven't had any specific experience with this and if it isn't true, then there is no issue. If however it is true that certain reviewers will not publish a challenge cache unless the CO has completed it, then they are not following the guideline, because the guideline allows an exception to that. That was the only point I was addressing.

 

Sorry for being so argumentative. It's clear that we both interpret the guideline the same way.

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In some areas, the reviewers will not let you publish a challenge if you haven't completed it yourself! Just an fyi!

 

I haven't had any specific experience with this and if it isn't true, then there is no issue. If however it is true that certain reviewers will not publish a challenge cache unless the CO has completed it, then they are not following the guideline, because the guideline allows an exception to that. That was the only point I was addressing.

 

Sorry for being so argumentative. It's clear that we both interpret the guideline the same way.

 

The way I read the rules for these is "show that you've completed it, or clearly show that others have proven it's realistic". I do know the part I mentioned about reviewers requiring you to complete it, has happened.

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Just as a quick updated on my situation, I did borrow a GPS from a friend (they had a Magellan sitting around for some odd reason) and was able to get the coordinates of my location. Before I try to do a complicated thing like a challenge or a Jeopardy puzzle, I started with something easier and just a standard puzzle and the final is just a nice LPC for freeway travelers or people staying at nearby hotels.

 

It's pending review of the local reviewer (they're pretty good about publishing caches within 48 hours or less) and I put in a geochecker since I find them helpful. I'll let you guys know if or when it's published. Thanks for the help again.

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...a nice LPC...

Isn't that an oxy-moron? :laughing:

In all seriousness, placing a simpler puzzle for your first hide is

probably a good idea. It will give you a chance to experience the trials

and tribulations of cache ownership and you'll maybe discover things

that you will want to change for your later hides.

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My first cache got published today! Local reviewer said I did I good job. Already have my next puzzle in mind.

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If however it is true that certain reviewers will not publish a challenge cache unless the CO has completed it, then they are not following the guideline, because the guideline allows an exception to that. That was the only point I was addressing.

I don't know anything about any specific cases, either, but I took the described situation being one where the reviewer wasn't convinced of the general achievability, so required the specific achievement as proof. I assume that if the CO had turned around and presented evidence that a substantial number of others cachers would be able to meet the requirement, the reviewer would have allowed it, after all.

 

Personally, though, I wouldn't have trouble with reviewers using the higher standard. There are enough insane challenges in my area because Alamogul has achieved just about anything he can think of, and he's not afraid to publish crazy requirements. (He also publishes more reasonable challenges, so it's hard to stay mad at him.) I'd rather not have inexperienced cachers be able to publish such unlikely requirements based on what other cachers might be able to accomplish. Besides, it's only fair that if the CO is going to require that I meet a requirement in order to claim a find, that he's met the requirement, too, in order to hide the cache.

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