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CheekyBrit

Concentric container Semaphore cache - what type is it?

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What type is the contraption I've designed?

I've built two sets of 4 concentric boxes, each padlocked by a combination lock. Within each box is a laminated combination to the next padlock in the other set. I've included some semaphore flags and instructions so the design is people need to use the flags to communicate the combinations. People are encouraged to not cheat using their phones to send the passwords. Yelling even at the top of lungs wouldn't work thanks to the freeway background noise. It would be a teamwork cache, but people are in the same town instead of across the globe. Each cacher would also stay in place, rather than move around to new coordinates once they've found the container set. To make it interesting, The distance is 2826 ft, 861 M, or 0.535 miles. Thanks to the freeway being in between, it is 9 minutes away by car, not including the 5 minute hike in and out each end. This is impractical solo. I did a dry run with my boy scout troop and they loved it (and solved it).

 

My guess

I could see why this would be a traditional, since you don't move anywhere, but you have more steps when you arrive. I could see why this would be a multi, but you don't change locations. Mystery caches are the catch-all type and if you're not sure it seems like they just get chucked in that category, but I favor the multi because it is no mystery what is going it, there are multiple steps to solving.
What do you think?

 

Glossary

  • Semaphore uses two flags held in different positions like the hands on a clock to communicate individual letters and numbers. Think of the 'help' album cover by the Beatles
  • Concentric means contained within. So here it would be a box within a box within a box within a box.

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It's staged, so it's not Traditional, which is never staged.

IF i understand it correctly, and I may not, I could completely ignore the flags, and with no teamwork do it alone, with a lot of back and forth, and back and forth, so potentially, it could be Multi. 

Otherwise, call it a Mystery that covers all of it.

 

 

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Multi, as there is two or more stages.

Or Mystery. Mystery means cachers might read the description, before attempting the cache...

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, CheekyBrit said:

I could see why this would be a traditional, since you don't move anywhere, but you have more steps when you arrive. I could see why this would be a multi, but you don't change locations. Mystery caches are the catch-all type and if you're not sure it seems like they just get chucked in that category, but I favor the multi because it is no mystery what is going it, there are multiple steps to solving.

 

You must ask your Reviewer before you've put a lot of work on your cache page.  My "Multi" was rejected due to not being "one stage that gives coordinates to the next stage", and re-doing it from scratch as a Mystery was a chore.  Don't just ask around nor guess, and don't compare previous caches.  Find out from the Reviewer.

 

 

Edited by kunarion
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I like the idea. I think that expecting most people to use the semaphore flags rather than their cell phones is a bit optimistic, unless you're in an area with no cell coverage. And some people might decide to carry one box to the other's location, open them both up, and then return one to the first location.

 

It might help to color code the padlocks, to make sure they're all returned to the correct box. Or maybe tether them to their boxes somehow, just so they don't get mixed up.

 

As presented (a teamwork cache), I'd be inclined to list it as a mystery/puzzle cache. With a single person traveling back and forth between the stages, it sounds more like a multi-cache, but with a higher terrain rating to cover the extra distance traveled.

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To me this also sounds like a mystery cache.

All cachers are not going to play your game anyway so don't worry about that. Even if you list it as multi or mystery

it will be just traditional cache for many.

 

It was unclear from the OP whether there's going to be one or two caches (from the link above by arisoft I understand a teamwork cache

requires there's two, but I may have misunderstood). Also, is the final cache(s) going to be inside the box(es) or hidden somewhere else?

 

Obviously, people will use the phone if it is possible to convey the information more easily that way. Maybe they would use the flags if the person sending data does not know what he's sending means, i.e. he would only see pictograms of what he's supposed to signal and not the code itself.

So both boxes should contain different code tables to interpret the signals to numbers and also the code tables and signals should be made such that it's difficult to take a photograph.

 

Or you could just trust there's enough cachers willing to try it your way to make it worth your effort... This is very interesting idea.

 

 

 

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I have a similar question as someone else: where will the final be?

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4 hours ago, Max and 99 said:

I have a similar question as someone else: where will the final be?

Please give us accurate coordinates :-)

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Ohhhhhhhh Myyyyyyyy >>>> semaphore; now there is a lost skill I can barely make the whole alphabet anymore

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4 hours ago, p0cy said:

Please give us accurate coordinates :-)

Very funny! What's I'm trying to get at is this: Will the final be inside one of the caches, or instead at a third location? Since both geocachers will have to physically visit the final, I'm just trying to logistically understand the setup. Just curious, that's all.

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I love this idea. I taught semaphore (not very successfully) to my scouts because when I was a scout in the late 1960's we actually USED semaphore, regularly. Hiking, peak to peak, outcropping to base campsite, etc!

 

You could solve the problem of cachers carrying one container to the other location for a one-person solution by simply anchoring them each to something.

 

A creative cache idea like this could be done as any of the configurations discussed above. The one I like best is as a PAIR of 'partner' caches, where you can only get credit for the one you opened! Then, switch!

 

Can't see much compliance with that, tho. Oh, well.

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I like the idea. I have a feeling that most would just use a cell phone, rather than the signal flags. Not much you can do about that, other than to encourage people to give it a try.

 

IMO, this is a pair of mystery caches, one at each location. I base this on this pair of teamwork caches, here's one end. https://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC7YEM0_caching-brothers-teamwork-cache

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Some random musings.

  • Teamwork cache can encourage teamwork, but not require it. 
  • If the final is in one of the two boxes, only those present at that box log the find.  The people at the other box, sending signals (whether semaphore or electro/magnetic) are SOL - in theory. In practice, one person/group signs and everybody logs it  -  for 5 miles apart, perhaps this doesn't seem to matter much, but it has become a real issue with cache stage in Germany, cache stage in Illinois (USA) where people who have not done the travel claim the find. And it does matter.  A person logging a find really should be in eyeball contact with the log.  
  • Most likely you need to provide both sets of coords upfront, and substantially explain what's going on upfront.  Which makes it far wiser to put this in the Mystery category.
  • If posted as  multi with one  set of coords available, and me with my 2 caching friends get to it, find another stage and code,  now we have to drive there. IF we understand to leave someone behind, so we've got people at both places,  we have to drive back to pick up the cacher left behind, and, depending on where the final is, perhaps drive some more to get everyone to it.   I'm not betting on this being fun.
  • If you explain upfront that we need people at both places, we still end up with 1) drop at location, drive to other location, drive back pick up dropped cachers, and possibly another drive to get everyone to the final. We're going use phones to call each other as this has all gotten rather time consuming.
  • If you decide to have finals in both boxes, that's two caches, two GC CODES. It can be done. Mostly though people will be at one or the other, not both, and log finds on both as part of teamwhatnow.

I'm coming from a perspective of geocaching being the language of location. Ie, it's about WHERE, not the gimmick. As such, I've never been fond of the "bounce" design in caching. That said, the current view of caching is very much about the gimmick, and not much about location. So your design is going to have appeal.  (What drove geocaching in the first place was the technological sophistication of the gps; seems odd to me that you'd rather use semaphore than the technological sophistication of the cell phone. But there you are. ) 

 

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What could be a cool implementation is to make two caches (teamwork caches) on either side of a country border separated by a river or ravine and far enough that yelling wouldn't work. As mentioned earlier, make the 'code' different for each cache so it can't simply be communicated digitally, and hard to photograph.  Really it's just making it harder to 'cheat' as it were, and make just doing it the intended way more fun or valuable to the cachers (it would always be possible to 'cheat', such as drawing out the codes and sending a photo, which can be dissuaded by making longer codes, eg). I think it could be neat if you could get people in two countries separated by a border and physical barrier to communicate the message by semaphor

(in a way, it's a kind analog of actual encryption - each cache has the other's message encrypted and can only be decrypted on transmission by their own 'private key') :cool:

 

I'd think they'd be listed as Unknowns though.

Those inter-country teamwork caches are multis I think because technically one person could start at one waypoint, go to the other, and complete it (and return and compete the original one). It's basically both caches as 2 stages, and stage 1 is "in" what's at the distant coordinates (which is another cache) required to open the cache at posted.  It's just easier to work with another cacher to finish it (and they can't log yours as found, or you theirs).

 

Concentric layers definitely makes it more of a back and forth for one person, so a reviewer might recommend the Unknown more than the Multi. But I'd also agree with above comments that asking your reviewer might really help shed some light on that question.

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I have actually built this type of cache but not put it out anywhere.  My implementation uses electronic locks in each cache, with different codes required every time you try to open them, meaning you actually have to have someone at each cache and they have to be opened together.

 

The beauty of mine is that they can't be cheated.  Because codes are different every time, a previous finder cannot simply hand out the codes to another finder - you always need the code output by the other cache to open this one and vice versa.

 

I should get off my butt and put them out.  I was thinking more along the lines of putting them out on opposite sides of the city, or even country, or different islands...

 

Back to the OP though, love the semaphore idea.  Good luck.  I'd list them as mystery caches - effectively field puzzles. And I'd include the Teamwork attribute.

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Posted (edited)

Another thought about the semaphore part of this/these cache(s)...

 

You could include in each cache a diagram of the flag positions instead of straight up numbers for the code to unlock the other cache.  Of course you also have to include a translation sheet for reading the flag signals from the person at the other cache, so someone could just decode their own flag diagrams and tell the other person by phone, but it might encourage doing it properly... and either way, they are having to use semaphore to decode something...  Just a thought...

 

Edit to add:  Above problem solved if the locks in one cache use numbers and the locks in the other cache use letters, so your decoding sheets only have what's required for that cache, meaning the method to *not* use semaphore as intended is kind of more laborious than actually doing it the right way.  Even taking a picture of the code and sending it to the other person means they are decoding semaphore.

Edited by funkymunkyzone
Additional thoughts :)

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12 hours ago, funkymunkyzone said:

Edit to add:  Above problem solved if the locks in one cache use numbers and the locks in the other cache use letters, so your decoding sheets only have what's required for that cache, meaning the method to *not* use semaphore as intended is kind of more laborious than actually doing it the right way.  Even taking a picture of the code and sending it to the other person means they are decoding semaphore.

I think you are on to something with the idea of a picture of the code, and with using letters for one, and numbers for the other. That would expand the times at which these caches are obtainable.

 

Back to the OP, with semaphores, unless you are planning on maintaining a set of illuminated flags, this cache can only be done during the day, and only with decent visibility. Because of that, I think the difficulty of the caches should be fairly high.

 

If the purpose is to show people how communications can be done with flags, a picture (or someone describing a picture) will accomplish that. You wouldn't have to worry about the flags wandering off. As for letters versus numbers, because the signal for A is also the signal for 1, B=2, etc., you may want to use two different methods of signalling with flags. For example, one cache uses semaphore, while the other uses maritime flags.

 

There are still lots of ways this can be solved quickly. Just send a picture of the decoding sheet to the other end. At least with that, someone is still having to decode something. To make this more complex, you could use a different signalling method for each lock. Semaphore, maritime flags (there are several), morse code, pigpen cipher, etc.

 

The only drawback to these ideas is that they require each end to have a cell phone. It doesn't have to have a camera, each of the codes I mentioned can easily be described. Maritime flags would be the hardest to describe.

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On 5/13/2019 at 1:27 AM, Max and 99 said:

I have a similar question as someone else: where will the final be?

 

On 5/13/2019 at 5:56 AM, p0cy said:

Please give us accurate coordinates 🙂

 

On 5/13/2019 at 10:34 AM, Max and 99 said:

Very funny! What's I'm trying to get at is this: Will the final be inside one of the caches, or instead at a third location? Since both geocachers will have to physically visit the final, I'm just trying to logistically understand the setup. Just curious, that's all.

The final for each respective cache will be the smallest ones inside. Great questions. I hadn't considered the idea of doing this process then leading to a cooperative third location.

On 5/13/2019 at 10:45 AM, TeamRabbitRun said:

I love this idea. I taught semaphore (not very successfully) to my scouts because when I was a scout in the late 1960's we actually USED semaphore, regularly. Hiking, peak to peak, outcropping to base campsite, etc!

 

You could solve the problem of cachers carrying one container to the other location for a one-person solution by simply anchoring them each to something.

 

A creative cache idea like this could be done as any of the configurations discussed above. The one I like best is as a PAIR of 'partner' caches, where you can only get credit for the one you opened! Then, switch!

 

Can't see much compliance with that, tho. Oh, well.

Laminated instruction cards will be within the outermost box. There is the chance that people cheat but as much as anything I'm more interested in making the challenge available for those who want the fun, rather than policing for those who want the glory / smiley with minimal effort. If people use their phones, I can't do much to stop them.

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On 5/16/2019 at 9:05 AM, Wet Pancake Touring Club said:

I think you are on to something with the idea of a picture of the code, and with using letters for one, and numbers for the other. That would expand the times at which these caches are obtainable.

 

Back to the OP, with semaphores, unless you are planning on maintaining a set of illuminated flags, this cache can only be done during the day, and only with decent visibility. Because of that, I think the difficulty of the caches should be fairly high.

 

If the purpose is to show people how communications can be done with flags, a picture (or someone describing a picture) will accomplish that. You wouldn't have to worry about the flags wandering off. As for letters versus numbers, because the signal for A is also the signal for 1, B=2, etc., you may want to use two different methods of signalling with flags. For example, one cache uses semaphore, while the other uses maritime flags.

 

There are still lots of ways this can be solved quickly. Just send a picture of the decoding sheet to the other end. At least with that, someone is still having to decode something. To make this more complex, you could use a different signalling method for each lock. Semaphore, maritime flags (there are several), morse code, pigpen cipher, etc.

 

The only drawback to these ideas is that they require each end to have a cell phone. It doesn't have to have a camera, each of the codes I mentioned can easily be described. Maritime flags would be the hardest to describe.

Stopping cheaters is a big task and doing so completely here is a big task. Using picture codes eliminates easily texting the answers back and forth, but photos can still be taken. Using maritime flags would be so cool and definitely harder to describe in text, though I figure people could still send a photo of the clue.
Whichever way I do it the difficulty rating has to be high for sure.

I am planning on maintaining the flags in case they get stolen or something. They are a neon orange fabric from a t-shirt sewn over sticks - nothing too fancy that would invite stealing.

For sure, night time solving on this one would be tough. I did consider using morse code for this and providing flashlights (that would likely get stolen and need frequent replacing) and then it becomes a bit of a night only cache unless I also provided mirrors. 

On 5/15/2019 at 8:02 PM, funkymunkyzone said:

Another thought about the semaphore part of this/these cache(s)...

 

You could include in each cache a diagram of the flag positions instead of straight up numbers for the code to unlock the other cache.  Of course you also have to include a translation sheet for reading the flag signals from the person at the other cache, so someone could just decode their own flag diagrams and tell the other person by phone, but it might encourage doing it properly... and either way, they are having to use semaphore to decode something...  Just a thought...

 

Edit to add:  Above problem solved if the locks in one cache use numbers and the locks in the other cache use letters, so your decoding sheets only have what's required for that cache, meaning the method to *not* use semaphore as intended is kind of more laborious than actually doing it the right way.  Even taking a picture of the code and sending it to the other person means they are decoding semaphore.

The translation sheet is a must, you're right. Expecting people to find this out online would be an irritating extra step that might dissuade a few that are on the fence about cheating. I am more concerned with making this idea available to those who want to try something different with geocaching. Policing the cheaters isn't really my gig. I considered putting one of them by a traffic webcam but thought that was a bit creepy.
I even looked at the Verizon service map to find blank spots. In our area that would make the journey from town to the cache about an hour making the cache so less inviting. Dang Verizion, your coverage is too good.

Using images of numbers on one and letters on another is a great idea and it does add resistance to people texting the answers, though camera phones still make cheating almost as easy. GAH! This would have been great in 2010.

On 5/15/2019 at 7:55 PM, funkymunkyzone said:

I have actually built this type of cache but not put it out anywhere.  My implementation uses electronic locks in each cache, with different codes required every time you try to open them, meaning you actually have to have someone at each cache and they have to be opened together.

 

The beauty of mine is that they can't be cheated.  Because codes are different every time, a previous finder cannot simply hand out the codes to another finder - you always need the code output by the other cache to open this one and vice versa.

 

I should get off my butt and put them out.  I was thinking more along the lines of putting them out on opposite sides of the city, or even country, or different islands...

 

Back to the OP though, love the semaphore idea.  Good luck.  I'd list them as mystery caches - effectively field puzzles. And I'd include the Teamwork attribute.

These electronic locks sound amazing. You must have invested a fair amount of money into yours. I managed to find $2-3 combination padlocks which is nice since the proejct needs eight padlocks. For your cache would you like your patrons to use semaphore, texting, or some other signalling method? If you are not using semaphore and are planning on people communicating using phones then you're right, yours cannot be cheated unless by brute force.

 

On 5/14/2019 at 7:38 AM, thebruce0 said:

What could be a cool implementation is to make two caches (teamwork caches) on either side of a country border separated by a river or ravine and far enough that yelling wouldn't work. As mentioned earlier, make the 'code' different for each cache so it can't simply be communicated digitally, and hard to photograph.  Really it's just making it harder to 'cheat' as it were, and make just doing it the intended way more fun or valuable to the cachers (it would always be possible to 'cheat', such as drawing out the codes and sending a photo, which can be dissuaded by making longer codes, eg). I think it could be neat if you could get people in two countries separated by a border and physical barrier to communicate the message by semaphor

(in a way, it's a kind analog of actual encryption - each cache has the other's message encrypted and can only be decrypted on transmission by their own 'private key') :cool:

 

I'd think they'd be listed as Unknowns though.

Those inter-country teamwork caches are multis I think because technically one person could start at one waypoint, go to the other, and complete it (and return and compete the original one). It's basically both caches as 2 stages, and stage 1 is "in" what's at the distant coordinates (which is another cache) required to open the cache at posted.  It's just easier to work with another cacher to finish it (and they can't log yours as found, or you theirs).

 

Concentric layers definitely makes it more of a back and forth for one person, so a reviewer might recommend the Unknown more than the Multi. But I'd also agree with above comments that asking your reviewer might really help shed some light on that question.

Either side of a country would be so cool. Mine are at two water towers on nearby empty hills 0.53 mile apart and with an interstate between them so the yelling would be drowned out by the traffic. The idea of someone doing this solo would take so long because of the awkward 9 minute car journey and 8 minute power hike each way for each tower. A single journey would take  25 minutes or so. With a minimum of 6 journeys and time in between it'd take a solo cacher 6-7 hours instead of the intended 1.

You are right that this would be unknown caches with the teamwork and field puzzle attributes.

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6 hours ago, CheekyBrit said:



You are right that this would be unknown caches with the teamwork and field puzzle attributes.

 

Just a reminder of the Teamwork cache guidelines, since I'm having to repeat this information so many times for my Teamwork cache. Yours will be a little different because the caches are closer to each other,  but I frequently have cachers from other countries who have never even been to my area claiming a find on the cache. They think they are not only allowed to, but encouraged to.

https://www.geocaching.com/help/index.php?pg=kb.chapter&id=127&pgid=814

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