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Rules for a MultiCache


DipPeanut
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Interesting question.

 

My initial thought is that would be better as a puzzle cache (which can have multiple stages). I'm not sure if there is a well defined rule about this, but multis generally give the coordinates (or you find information which can easily be turned into coordinates).

 

There is a rule about puzzle caches that "The geocache hunt must involve gps use and accurate coordinates.". But for example a cache which involves the GPS to find the first stage, then that stage tells you walk 50 paces or whatever I think should be OK. Your reviewer can help you with specifics.

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Going to a given set of coordinates and projecting an offset like "50 paces on a bearing of 90 degrees" is an "offset cache." Offset caches are listed as multicaches.

 

GPS use must be an integral and meaningful part of at least ONE part of a multi-location hunt. It doesn't need to be incorporated in EACH stage of a multi-location cache. Depending on the circumstances, "integral and meaningful" may not include the parking lot or the park entrance. It would likely include a sign at a random point along a trail in the woods.

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The line between multi-caches and puzzle/mystery caches (with multiple stages) is sometimes blurred.

 

If you go to one stage and it gives you coords to the next, etc., it's a multi.

 

If you go to one stage and the cache description tells you to gather info from a sign which you put into a formula and figure out the coords to the next stage, etc., it's a multi (an "off-set" multi).

 

If you go to one stage and the paper inside that stage tells you to go 50 paces east, project a waypoint, or follow a pirate map to the red X, etc., in my opinion it's a puzzle/mystery. However, I've seen some of these examples listed as multi-caches.

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Going to a given set of coordinates and projecting an offset like "50 paces on a bearing of 90 degrees" is an "offset cache." Offset caches are listed as multicaches.

 

GPS use must be an integral and meaningful part of at least ONE part of a multi-location hunt. It doesn't need to be incorporated in EACH stage of a multi-location cache. Depending on the circumstances, "integral and meaningful" may not include the parking lot or the park entrance. It would likely include a sign at a random point along a trail in the woods.

 

Would it make a difference for the case of "follow the path to the bridge"? Or something more cryptic?

 

I.e. perhaps a simple project a waypoint would be a multicache, but here I was imagining something more like letterboxing "clues" (once the first stage was found).

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The answer to "follow the path to the bridge" depends on what happened prior to that stage and what happens afterwards. That's because "follow the path to the bridge" does not require GPS use on its own.

 

If, prior to that clue, you visited a physical stage at a random spot in the woods 2 km away that said "go to these coordinates, then follow the path to the bridge," this would likely involve sufficient GPS use.

 

If you were taken to the main parking lot for the park and told to "follow the path to the bridge, then search on the bridge for a container with coordinates for the final stage," this would likely involve sufficient GPS use.

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Thanks Keystone - I was thinking of the first case; posted coordinates take you somewhere in the woods where you have to find a physical stage. Real GPS use. In the container at that stage there are instructions of a somewhat cryptic nature, and possibly something like a hand drawn "pirate" treasure map.

 

Should this be a multi (with a field puzzle),or a puzzle? Or could it be listed as either?

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Going to a given set of coordinates and projecting an offset like "50 paces on a bearing of 90 degrees" is an "offset cache." Offset caches are listed as multicaches.

 

I just did a cache like this a couple of hours ago. The published coordinates are at a spot just outside the hotel I'm staying in in Hamburg, Germany. I was able to derive the coordinates for the final location using an online waypoint projection tool from my hotel room but I had to use my GPS to find the cache at the final location (which was only about 110 meters from the published coordinates).

 

 

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My question is... do you have to give coordinates for a new stage? Or can it be something different e.g. 50m East, 25 paces South, or follow the path to the bridge?

You mean I would find something at the posted coordinates that says "50m east"? Yeah, that's a multicache. While it is important to keep in mind the "use of GPSr" rule, hiding something at the posted coordinates covers that. After that, getting to the next stage can involve any method you like, as far as I know.

 

On the other hand, if you're saying that the cache description is what tells me to go 50m east, then it would more likely be a letterbox hybrid (or an unknown if you don't want to put a stamp in it). And, in that case, the "must use GPSr" rule becomes dicey, so the details need to be handled carefully to insure the GPSr really is required.

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My question is... do you have to give coordinates for a new stage? Or can it be something different e.g. 50m East, 25 paces South, or follow the path to the bridge?
You mean I would find something at the posted coordinates that says "50m east"? Yeah, that's a multicache. While it is important to keep in mind the "use of GPSr" rule, hiding something at the posted coordinates covers that. After that, getting to the next stage can involve any method you like, as far as I know.On the other hand, if you're saying that the cache description is what tells me to go 50m east, then it would more likely be a letterbox hybrid (or an unknown if you don't want to put a stamp in it). And, in that case, the "must use GPSr" rule becomes dicey, so the details need to be handled carefully to insure the GPSr really is required.

My intention was to use GPS co-ordinates to get you to the first find, this would then direct you to the second stage by some other means, as described, and this would then direct you to the final location (with the log) again by some other means.

So you would only need a GPS to get to the first stage.

This seems to meet the GPS use requirement.

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FWIW, I'm used to offset caches like this being listed as multi-caches, unless there's some sort of puzzle involved in determining the bearing/distance of the offset.

 

As you can tell from this thread though, there are differing opinions. Some think that it's a multi-cache as long as there is something to find at the posted coordinates, regardless of any on-site puzzles that may be involved in finding the final. Others think it's a mystery/puzzle cache unless you find something with the coordinates of the next stage written on it.

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On the other hand, if you're saying that the cache description is what tells me to go 50m east, then it would more likely be a letterbox hybrid (or an unknown if you don't want to put a stamp in it). And, in that case, the "must use GPSr" rule becomes dicey, so the details need to be handled carefully to insure the GPSr really is required.

Providing the offset within the cache description is the classic Offset Multicache.

 

The sole distinguishing feature of a Letterbox Hybrid cache is the presence or absence of a letterboxing stamp. Remove the stamp, and the listing would be reviewed under the standards applicable to the type of cache that the cache design best fits - whether traditional (cache at posted coords with letterbox stamp), mystery/unknown (puzzle to solve to find cache that has letterbox stamp) or multicache (several stages to find container that has letterbox stamp). The GPS use requirement must be satisfied regardless of the cache design.

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I've hidden many a complicated multi, the GPS is used on some stages, maps & compasses for the others, read the sign and do the brain work are all part of a good multi. Some have told me that if I use a map and compass then it should be a puzzle. Well my answer to them was it's not puzzling to me, so go learn how to use these old fashioned tools of the trade so you won't be puzzled when your batteries go dead.

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I've attempted several Multi-caches that turned out to be mystery/puzzle caches after stage 1. I felt very annoyed the when I drove or hiked some distance to do a multi- only to find a puzzle. The local reviewers believe if stage 1 coordinates are good then the whole thing is a Multi, no matter what comes next. I disagree and don't think it's fair to people who don't want to do mystery caches. nothing in the writeup mentioned it either.

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I've attempted several Multi-caches that turned out to be mystery/puzzle caches after stage 1. I felt very annoyed the when I drove or hiked some distance to do a multi- only to find a puzzle. The local reviewers believe if stage 1 coordinates are good then the whole thing is a Multi, no matter what comes next. I disagree and don't think it's fair to people who don't want to do mystery caches. nothing in the writeup mentioned it either.

 

First, how do you define what is a puzzle? Tasks like the one mentioned in the OP are clearly multi stage tasks for me. The same is true for performing basic calculations. That's just work like ironing or washing dishes which are no puzzle solving tasks either.

 

Second, there exists the fields puzzle attribute making it clear that multi caches can contain puzzle solving tasks. If real puzzles are involved this attribute should be set and you should check whether it is set. I've set in all my caches where it is appropriate including my mystery caches that all consist of multiple stages and where further puzzle elements are involved at later stages. There is no big difference in that regard to multi caches.

Both mysteries and multi caches can involve a fields puzzle and for traditionals where opening the container is the issue also there the attribute makes sense.

 

Third, due to the unfortunate rule that for ? caches the header should be within 2 miles of the coordinates of the final, often only the solution of a multi cache remains even if the hider would have preferred a mystery cache.

 

Cezanne

Edited by cezanne
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Recently attempted to do a multi. The next to last stage required a projection. Having only a smart phone and the official geocaching app, I was unable to figure out how to do it in the field. I was later able to plug in the numbers at home and come up with the proper coordinates, but I was slightly peturbed that a projection was required, yet not mentioned on the cache description page. Just seems like it un-necessarily complicates things for us smart phone users.

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Recently attempted to do a multi. The next to last stage required a projection. Having only a smart phone and the official geocaching app, I was unable to figure out how to do it in the field. I was later able to plug in the numbers at home and come up with the proper coordinates, but I was slightly peturbed that a projection was required, yet not mentioned on the cache description page. Just seems like it un-necessarily complicates things for us smart phone users.

That sounds like something to bring to the smartphone app developers. If they don't include some fairly standard functions that GPSr's have, that's their fault, not the CO that uses those same functions. You might find other apps that do projections if you look around.

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Recently attempted to do a multi. The next to last stage required a projection. Having only a smart phone and the official geocaching app, I was unable to figure out how to do it in the field. I was later able to plug in the numbers at home and come up with the proper coordinates, but I was slightly peturbed that a projection was required, yet not mentioned on the cache description page. Just seems like it un-necessarily complicates things for us smart phone users.

The easiest way to do a projection is tell your GPSr to navigate to the starting point, then walk until your GPSr tells you the starting point is that far away in the opposite direction, i.e., plus or minus 180 degrees. My GPSr does projections, but I never use the feature because it's just so much easier to do it the other way. The only time this doesn't work very well is if the projection is so far away that some routing is required to get there.

 

To stay on topic, I have to admit that I consider projections to be standard multicache fodder. I suppose it would have been nice for the description to mention the use of projections, but a failure to do so would just add a half a point to the difficulty rating, in my opinion.

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The easiest way to do a projection is tell your GPSr to navigate to the starting point, then walk until your GPSr tells you the starting point is that far away in the opposite direction, i.e., plus or minus 180 degrees.
My phone apps do projections, and I find myself doing the same thing: I figure out roughly where the next waypoint is, and once I get there I refine my location by checking the distance and bearing to the previous waypoint.

 

But I've also done projection-based multi-caches on my own, without GPS-based technology or even a compass. I knew which way north was, so I could figure out the approximate bearing. And I knew the length of my pace, so I could figure out the distance. That was good enough to get me within 20-30 feet of the cache.

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Recently attempted to do a multi. The next to last stage required a projection. Having only a smart phone and the official geocaching app, I was unable to figure out how to do it in the field. I was later able to plug in the numbers at home and come up with the proper coordinates, but I was slightly peturbed that a projection was required, yet not mentioned on the cache description page. Just seems like it un-necessarily complicates things for us smart phone users.

 

Are you kidding???

 

What on earth complicates things? This is *why* you have a smartphone! That's the whole benefit of it... :blink:

 

My Garmin 60 CSx doesn't do projections...(does it? I dunno! If it does, I don't know how to do it..)

 

There are dozens of free offline apps that do projections and so much more.

 

Even if you can't figure out how to do a projection on your apps, or don't have one of the countless free apps, just turn your compass on, and walk however many feet in whatever direction. Most projections are close by...

 

I use iGCT for app my stuff. Free.

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The easiest way to do a projection is tell your GPSr to navigate to the starting point, then walk until your GPSr tells you the starting point is that far away in the opposite direction, i.e., plus or minus 180 degrees.
My phone apps do projections, and I find myself doing the same thing: I figure out roughly where the next waypoint is, and once I get there I refine my location by checking the distance and bearing to the previous waypoint.

 

But I've also done projection-based multi-caches on my own, without GPS-based technology or even a compass. I knew which way north was, so I could figure out the approximate bearing. And I knew the length of my pace, so I could figure out the distance. That was good enough to get me within 20-30 feet of the cache.

If I know the bearing and distance ahead of time, I will calculate the coords of the point and enter it into my GPS. I use the Forward function at:

 

http://www.ngs.noaa.gov/TOOLS/Inv_Fwd/Inv_Fwd.html

 

For shorter on-the-spot projections, I keep a compass in my caching bag. For longer ones, the projection function is on all my GPSs.

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I ran into such situations a couple of times (being a CO myself) and noticed that sometimes you (probably) have to keep in mind general ideas about multi-steps and puzzles.

 

Most multi-steps that I've met have been "Go here and count A, go there and count B, then go ... and count C, use the following formula and proceed to coordinates to get to the final container". Most puzzles were "do some homework to calculate coordinates and go to the field to get the final container".

 

However there might be different scenarios. In one of my caches a cacher is suggested to make his route through woods following the tricky text hints. My publication was declined initially. The local reviwer quoted the guidelines telling that GPS usage was essential. I had to negotiate and explained that one had to use GPS to locate the initial point for the route in woods; it could hardly be done without GPS. So, in this example GPS is no requirement at every step; I used it only once. However I undestand that I will probably need to explain the idea of the next tricky cache in details to avoid misunderstanding which could be inspired by the general approach to making multi-steps and puzzles that I described above.

 

As for the difference, it has also been uneasy to me since none of my multi-step caches (many of them haven't been published but only placed in field - yet) were of that "math style". All of them involve puzzles. At this forum I was advised to publish them as multi-steps but to add notes about puzzles in text. I think it was a good advice.

 

I would also say that puzzles are limited by (how much? two miles?) some distance from the starting point (published coordinates) to the actual hiding place. AFAIK multi-steps aren't limited in this way.

Edited by -CJ-
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