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J Grouchy

Waning interest in puzzles

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When I started geocaching about 7 years ago, I was puzzle crazy...as were a fair number of folks in my area.  Tricky puzzles would be published and you could count on a semi-regular amount of traffic (not nearly as much as with a traditional, of course...but at least one find every few weeks or months).  I myself have published a fair number and have received a good amount of positive feedback.  Just seems like in maybe the last two or three years, people don't seem to even be trying to solve them.  I hesitate to use this phrase, but it almost feels like there's a trend of "dumbing down" of geocaching...reducing the diversity of cache types to almost exclusively traditionals.  Some of my own puzzles have gone two or more whole years without any activity - solves or finds.

 

Even multi-caches are becoming much less common.  One multi that was published nearby in the summer of 2018 has only received one find...and that was me finding it.  It has since sat unfound for over a year and the CO has posted that he may just archive it.  

 

I guess my point in posting this is to find out if this is a general trend in caching all over or just a local 'lull' in interest.  I always found the puzzle aspect a fun little extra challenge in geocaching...much better than always just going out to find some hidden object...an extra dimension that spiced it up a bit.  But perhaps most other people don't want to put in that extra effort? 

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I agree with you.   I have a number of puzzles that just don't get finds anymore.   I have ideas for 3 new puzzles that I probably won't even bother with finding spots for.   I don't find many puzzles myself because all the ones I can solve I have already found. 

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Also agreed. Around here, it's quite annoying because group finding and coordinate sharing is quite prolific.  There's very little incentive to put out a difficult puzzle or lengthier cache because we know most people will not do it the intended way. And of course, they're allowed to do that, but it's certainly less fun for cache owners who put a lot of effort into that intended experience (if they care about it, and are not of the "whatever as long as they just have fun logging my cache" ilk)

 

If I'm putting out a puzzle or task, these days I either make it as difficult to 'skip' as possible (typically very technical puzzles, or one I can move the final fairly transparently), or put it encouraging people to enjoy it the proper way and to pass on that encouragement (not the coordinates), or just make it in a way that skipping won't bug me as much, or I just don't do it.

 

That may be another reason gadget caches are so popular. You still have to solve the puzzle to sign the log. The only 'skipping' there is breaking the gadget to access the cache.  Sadly... sometimes that still happens.

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I think a big thing is that once the local puzzlers solve and find the puzzle, there's very little action from then on and the "community" of puzzle solvers isn't growing that much (same goes for multi aficionados).   I don't think puzzles have ever been really popular but they certainly seem to be sitting for longer periods of time before getting visited.  Multis, like puzzles, tend to receive less attention as well once the local multi finders have finished up.  I notice it when reviewing some of my finds.

 

I have one puzzle I adopted that was my 1000th find that hasn't been found since 2015, an onsite field puzzle container (listed as a ?) not found since 2015, and 4 multis not found since 2017.  Considering I have roughly 80 caches out, I thought I'd have more with longer droughts.  However, the number of finds is certainly down as you go back through the years to see the frequency of finds.  My challenges I have out are found rather regularly but I'm not overly surprised by that.  

 

I believe that in this time of immediate gratification, many new cachers don't want to experience delayed gratification by working on a puzzle or starting a multi that involves more than 2 stops along the way.  I wouldn't necessarily call it dumbing down geocaching but it's evident to me that traditional caches (or caches that are similar to traditional caches like challenges) are the mainstay as well as the predominant type of caches published.  I know when I first started, I avoided multis and ECs like the plague but multis are now my favorite type and ECs are one of the first two caches to make a list when heading to a new area, the other being virtuals.

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On 10/18/2019 at 11:14 AM, thebruce0 said:

Also agreed. Around here, it's quite annoying because group finding and coordinate sharing is quite prolific.  There's very little incentive to put out a difficult puzzle or lengthier cache because we know most people will not do it the intended way.

 

Being from bruce0's area,  I also feel the same way.   

 

 

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I don't like puzzles, so I usually avoid them. It doesn't have to do with avoiding "extra effort," because I love Multi-Caches, Wherigos, etc. I just prefer to be outside, rather than sitting at a computer trying to solve a puzzle. Also, I don't have a puzzler brain, so puzzles are often more frustrating for me than fun.

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29 minutes ago, Rock Chalk said:

I don't like puzzles, so I usually avoid them. It doesn't have to do with avoiding "extra effort," because I love Multi-Caches, Wherigos, etc. I just prefer to be outside, rather than sitting at a computer trying to solve a puzzle. Also, I don't have a puzzler brain, so puzzles are often more frustrating for me than fun.

 

Like you, I prefer to be out and about but when that's not something that can be done (for whatever reason) I'll sit and peruse the unsolved puzzles in my area and give them a go, even if nothing ever materializes.

 

While that certainly explains your reasoning behind why you opt to "avoid" puzzles, do you think J Grouchy's point has any validity as it pertains to a geocaching trend?  Like they state, I'm seeing less multis and puzzles being published than before.  Traditional caches were always the most frequent type of cache published (and I'd also venture found as well) but they seem to represent an even higher percentage now than they used to.  Finds of multis and puzzles also appear to be on the decline.  I used to search for lonely caches and while puzzles and multis were frequently found less frequently, it was uncommon to find many with more than a 2 year unfound status and it was evenly spread out between a variety of types of caches.  Now, when sorting by the last find date, of the first 16 that have been found (2 events and 2 unfound caches make up the first 20 on the first page), 10 are puzzles and 1 is a multi and they encompass a range of 7 year lonely to 5 year lonely.  On one of them, I'm actually the last finder and the dates I found some of the others are close to the last found date as well.

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1 hour ago, J Grouchy said:

When I started geocaching about 7 years ago, I was puzzle crazy...as were a fair number of folks in my area.  Tricky puzzles would be published and you could count on a semi-regular amount of traffic (not nearly as much as with a traditional, of course...but at least one find every few weeks or months).  I myself have published a fair number and have received a good amount of positive feedback.  Just seems like in maybe the last two or three years, people don't seem to even be trying to solve them. 

I hesitate to use this phrase, but it almost feels like there's a trend of "dumbing down" of geocaching...reducing the diversity of cache types to almost exclusively traditionals.  Some of my own puzzles have gone two or more whole years without any activity - solves or finds.

 

Even multi-caches are becoming much less common.  One multi that was published nearby in the summer of 2018 has only received one find...and that was me finding it.  It has since sat unfound for over a year and the CO has posted that he may just archive it.  

 

I guess my point in posting this is to find out if this is a general trend in caching all over or just a local 'lull' in interest.  I always found the puzzle aspect a fun little extra challenge in geocaching...much better than always just going out to find some hidden object...an extra dimension that spiced it up a bit.  But perhaps most other people don't want to put in that extra effort? 

 

Sure it isn't simply that the locals have solved them, and now the hide's waiting on those passing through / vacationers ?

We see even our simplest hide left,  pretty-much a cache n dash,  found only once or twice a month now, after all locals hit it.   

We heard of some that do here in the forums, but know no one who just "solves puzzles" knowing they'll never get there to sign the log. 

If I can't get outside at all during the winter, I'll try some at a distance I know I can manage for spring.

Rare that I'm able to solve most puzzles.   I still try though.  :)

Many here have a few solve it, then the "social" side of this hobby makes it easier on future "solver/finders" with help (or just hand them the coordinates).

 

I feel multis die out when others see how issues with only one stage causes hassles for everyone. 

Future hiders have second thoughts then too, when experiencing a "dead end" on a long, sometimes high T multi themselves.

I'm over a dozen now ... high T multis that need a stage fixed to continue, and we'll probably see half those hides archived first...

I like to walk, but I wouldn't geocache knowing that I might have an issue (I go by logs...) somewhere during it.

 

But I agree, now that many call pull over, step outta the car, and walk twenty feet "geocaching", that effort probably has something to do with it too.

We're seeing young folks not realizing why they can't just use their phones at home to vote.

"I want it now and make it easy"  ...

 

 

 

 

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This is all another reason why I like to share adventures and experiences in geocaching that's more than just quick cache and dashes, traditionals, gadgets, and such.  A lot of people go for the 'easy' route (in whatever capacity) not realizing the types of experiences that are out there. Hopefully inspired a little more enjoyment in the potential of this hobby.  ...but that's not really related to puzzling, heh, that's more the physical aspect of 'more effort' than the puzzling, mental aspect.  I don't think there's much that can be done about that... unless maybe you move to an education-rich area. Here we have mutiple colleges and universities feeding the brain-motivated population, so we have many puzzlers coming from a tech side, or just general enjoyment of puzzles.

Even so, the above trend still applies... =/

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32 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

 

Sure it isn't simply that the locals have solved them, and now the hide's waiting on those passing through / vacationers ?

 

 

 

Sure, that's part of it...but many of the old "regulars" that I was used to aren't even trying most of mine.   Nowadays, there only only maybe three to five reliable puzzlers in the area.  When I started, I could count on at least twice that for any given puzzle.   I'm also going by attempts on solutions in the geocheck site.  I used to see new attempts pop up at least every day or several times a week...but now it's rare to see any new attempts on puzzles that have fewer solves and finds, so the ones I considered "regulars" aren't even trying anymore.

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1 hour ago, Rock Chalk said:

I don't like puzzles, so I usually avoid them. It doesn't have to do with avoiding "extra effort," because I love Multi-Caches, Wherigos, etc. I just prefer to be outside, rather than sitting at a computer trying to solve a puzzle. Also, I don't have a puzzler brain, so puzzles are often more frustrating for me than fun.

 

I don't like traditionals, especially when there is too many of them in a row. I find some traditional caches only for statistical reasons and I am not waiting anything special. A quick find and forget experience, you know. But I like puzzles and I am mostly looking for them. When I started, a great number of geocachers were really intrested about puzzles but this number is gradually falling down. My experience is similar to what OP described.

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No, not here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Puzzles are at least as popular as ever. In fact, in San Francisco itself, I'd say they're becoming more popular because it's a way to avoid a parade of casually geocaching tourists who tend to compromise urban hides.

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I love creating puzzles and in my area not a lot of people solve my puzzles.  I make them difficult but I try to give a good a-ha moment when they are solved as a reward.  I wrapped a seven part puzzle series I did in 2016 in a fun story, in which a group of geocachers realized at an event that they didn't really know each other well outside of geocaching, and each decided to make a puzzle cache about something they enjoyed outside of geocaching.  And I used my daughter's beanie boo stuffed animals as the geocachers in the club.  I hoped to raise interest in the puzzles, which could be pretty difficult, by putting the story and the photos and the characters around the puzzles, including hints in the dialog and such.  I've only had 5 people who finished the series since it was released but that doesn't bother me.  If you are interested, here's the final puzzle that brings the series together: https://coord.info/GC62D9P

 

To me the joy is in the creation of the puzzle, and even though I get few Found It logs, those logs are usually a high quality writeup.

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I tend to stay away from puzzles as so many of them are "read the mind of the CO" to solve.  Or they are getting too hard, as no one wants to use the same type of puzzle so they come up with more "interesting".  There are a whole bunch of puzzles around here that I can't even recognize what the puzzle is, much less have any hope of solving it.  This tends to surprise some, as I have a few difficult puzzles out - mostly ideas the came from trying to solve another puzzle... some of which I still haven't a clue on.

 

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39 minutes ago, GeoElmo6000 said:

I love creating puzzles and in my area not a lot of people solve my puzzles. ...

 

To me the joy is in the creation of the puzzle, and even though I get few Found It logs, those logs are usually a high quality writeup.

 

Similar for me.  I enjoy making them, but I'm not so great at solving a lot of them.  That surprises some people, but it's easier to disguise coordinates than it is to figure out how to uncover them.  Most of my best-rated puzzles come from simple principles and take very little planning.  I've had a few where something occurred to me and within minutes derived a quick puzzle from my idea.

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3 hours ago, Rock Chalk said:

I just prefer to be outside, rather than sitting at a computer trying to solve a puzzle.

 

Puzzle solving tine and finding geocaches time *can* be mutually exclusive, and I suspect that most of the people that *do* enjoy puzzle caches work on solving them at times when it's not optimal to be outside.  

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2 minutes ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

 

Puzzle solving tine and finding geocaches time *can* be mutually exclusive, and I suspect that most of the people that *do* enjoy puzzle caches work on solving them at times when it's not optimal to be outside.  

 

Right, I have seen people solving puzzles when they are at work.

 

32 minutes ago, J Grouchy said:

Similar for me.  I enjoy making them, but I'm not so great at solving a lot of them.  That surprises some people, but it's easier to disguise coordinates than it is to figure out how to uncover them.

 

58 minutes ago, The Jester said:

I tend to stay away from puzzles as so many of them are "read the mind of the CO" to solve.

 

I think one thing will lead to another ;)

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7 hours ago, J Grouchy said:

When I started geocaching about 7 years ago, I was puzzle crazy...as were a fair number of folks in my area.  Tricky puzzles would be published and you could count on a semi-regular amount of traffic (not nearly as much as with a traditional, of course...but at least one find every few weeks or months).  I myself have published a fair number and have received a good amount of positive feedback.  Just seems like in maybe the last two or three years, people don't seem to even be trying to solve them.  I hesitate to use this phrase, but it almost feels like there's a trend of "dumbing down" of geocaching...reducing the diversity of cache types to almost exclusively traditionals.  Some of my own puzzles have gone two or more whole years without any activity - solves or finds.

 

Even multi-caches are becoming much less common.  One multi that was published nearby in the summer of 2018 has only received one find...and that was me finding it.  It has since sat unfound for over a year and the CO has posted that he may just archive it.  

 

I guess my point in posting this is to find out if this is a general trend in caching all over or just a local 'lull' in interest.  I always found the puzzle aspect a fun little extra challenge in geocaching...much better than always just going out to find some hidden object...an extra dimension that spiced it up a bit.  But perhaps most other people don't want to put in that extra effort? 


I’m pretty much terrible at solving puzzles.  But I look at them anyway to see if anything clicks.  If it’s not working out, it goes to the bottom of the stack.  And the stack is huge!  I’m not working on them all, all the time.

 

I work on and even solve about the same number of caches as always.  But there are tons and tons of to choose.

Edited by kunarion

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39 minutes ago, J Grouchy said:

 

Similar for me.  I enjoy making them, but I'm not so great at solving a lot of them.  That surprises some people, but it's easier to disguise coordinates than it is to figure out how to uncover them.  Most of my best-rated puzzles come from simple principles and take very little planning.  I've had a few where something occurred to me and within minutes derived a quick puzzle from my idea.

 

Yes.  I'm much better at creating puzzles than solving them.  I had this nice simple puzzles (?) Upper West Side New York Perch.  (Starting point was in Riverside Park in NYC.)  The puzzle/cache page:  "Due to muggles, caution needs to be used retrieving and replacing the cache.
West of Riverside Drive and east of the Hudson River lies one of New York's great parks: Riverside Park. One can sit and relax while admiring the views of New Joisey. Mile upon mile of paths are there for jogging and walking to one's heart's content."

Took three months for FTF!  It was perched on the Upper Side of West New York (NJ).  It was Nominated for Most Satisfying Puzzle by Metro New York Geocaching Society!

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Speaking only for myself - as if I could speak for others-- I have seen few puzzle caches I could even begin to figure the clues. 

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18 minutes ago, Jayeffel said:

Speaking only for myself - as if I could speak for others-- I have seen few puzzle caches I could even begin to figure the clues. 


I kind of prefer the original kind.  Maybe one day I get an epiphany and solve it.

 

The straightforward ones like a super tough chess puzzle or something, I know exactly how to solve it (simply figure out the moves).  I’m just too dumb to solve it.  I mean, I need to set aside the time to work on it.  And hope the time is productive.  I don’t want to find out after all that, that I’m just too dumb to solve it.  :anicute:

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6 hours ago, J Grouchy said:

Even multi-caches are becoming much less common.  One multi that was published nearby in the summer of 2018 has only received one find...and that was me finding it.  It has since sat unfound for over a year and the CO has posted that he may just archive it.

 

Players start from the easiest cachetypes. I started from traditionals. Didn't even try to find a multi-cache and could not solve any puzzles at the beginning. Is it possible that there are too many traditional caches available to make a multi-cache unpopular? My current preferences are opposite. Mostly puzzles and multi-caches and only few traditionals. :)

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These are the stats for traditionals, multis and mysteries in my state (New South Wales, Australia) for the years since I started caching in 2013:

                            2013      2014      2015      2016      2017      2018      2019

Traditional         2692      2242      2237      2334      1346      2353      2110

Multi                    155        129         124       125           73         125          93  

Mystery               215        195         211       314         336         349        209

 

So, with just two and a bit months left to go, this year's mystery count will likely be down on last year's, but last year's was a record high. About eighteen months ago it seemed just about everyone around here was producing puzzle caches, as we had two active cachers locally who both produced a series of puzzles at about the same time, with the 130 geoart puzzles for the Morisset mega in April 2018 on top of that, the latter no doubt contributing to the record high for last year.

 

My latest puzzle, GC7J902 published in February last year, has had 14 finds, the most recent ones being group visits, but my multis and traditionals over the last couple of years haven't fared any better. My traditionals are all higher terrain ones, though, so I wouldn't expect high find counts on those.

 

image.png.2ae7be99101d905cef2aaca13c9096c1.png

 

 

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5 hours ago, GeoElmo6000 said:

I love creating puzzles and in my area not a lot of people solve my puzzles.  I make them difficult but I try to give a good a-ha moment when they are solved as a reward.

 

I am not intending to pick on you in any way, but your statement encapsulates what is wrong with the vast majority of geocaching puzzles, and perhaps the reason for a perceived decrease in interest.  Solving a good puzzle is not about a singular "aha" moment when you finally figure out the simple thing the CO was hiding from you; a truly good puzzle is one with many small "aha" moments that logically follow from each other.  I, too, loved creating the Big Aha puzzles when I was a new geocacher, but I soon found that they get tedious and annoying to solve.  Much better are the puzzles that show me something  interesting that I can pick away at it, and make more steady progress.

 

Again, your puzzles may well be excellent.  I don't know as I have found none of them.  But, IMO, most geocaching puzzles are not great as puzzles.  There are a few geocaching puzzle creators who consistently make excellent puzzles; JeremiahsJohnson, Nylimb, and Pfalstad come to mind for me.

 

A good rule of thumb is that a creator should spend far more time creating a puzzle than it will take finders to solve it. And that solving the puzzle should not require reading the mind of the creator.  It's not easy to create something wonderful, and I am not particularly good at it myself.  But I wish more cachers would really try to make good puzzles.

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34 minutes ago, fizzymagic said:

 

I am not intending to pick on you in any way, but your statement encapsulates what is wrong with the vast majority of geocaching puzzles, and perhaps the reason for a perceived decrease in interest.  Solving a good puzzle is not about a singular "aha" moment when you finally figure out the simple thing the CO was hiding from you; a truly good puzzle is one with many small "aha" moments that logically follow from each other.  I, too, loved creating the Big Aha puzzles when I was a new geocacher, but I soon found that they get tedious and annoying to solve.  Much better are the puzzles that show me something  interesting that I can pick away at it, and make more steady progress.

 

Again, your puzzles may well be excellent.  I don't know as I have found none of them.  But, IMO, most geocaching puzzles are not great as puzzles.  There are a few geocaching puzzle creators who consistently make excellent puzzles; JeremiahsJohnson, Nylimb, and Pfalstad come to mind for me.

 

A good rule of thumb is that a creator should spend far more time creating a puzzle than it will take finders to solve it. And that solving the puzzle should not require reading the mind of the creator.  It's not easy to create something wonderful, and I am not particularly good at it myself.  But I wish more cachers would really try to make good puzzles.

 

It's up to me to create the puzzles I want to create, and it's up to the geocacher to choose to solve the puzzles I create or not to.  There's nothing wrong with the puzzles I create; in fact, for the people who choose to solve my puzzles to completion, I have received excellent feedback from that light bulb turning on or that connection being made.  Many people in my area choose to ignore my puzzles, and that's their choice and I'm fine with that.  As far as time to create a puzzle, to create the seven puzzles I mentioned it took me a year of writing, testing, rewriting, doing more testing, adding story to enrich the experience, and so forth.  I released one at a time, and since the final puzzle relied on the six previous puzzles, I had to have the entire series planned out before the first was published.  

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It's hard for me to tell if puzzles are less popular because I generally have no interest in them - there are enough mysterious things out there without making a mind-reading leap or do busy work just to find a container.  But puzzles will always have their niche. If they have slowed in my area, it's because caching has generally slowed.  

 

I started out doing most of the local puzzle caches, but by the time a friend suggested that a certain puzzle would be easy if I added the quadratic equation to my repertoire or used a program to count certain pixels, I knew that puzzle caches were not going to be fun for me.

 

Every once in a while I stumble across one that interests me - whether it's the topic, the title, or something else.  But it still does not mean that I will find the container.  A  lot of it has to do with whether the final location might be of interest. There are local puzzles that I solved four or five years ago and still have not found any reason to go to their location.  

 

Before going on a recent trip, I solved several puzzles but only found a few of them.   The final ended up outside of where we wanted to go.  So that also limits puzzle caches for me.  Even a two mile radius can be daunting 

 

On the other hand I found a puzzle cache that had not been found since it was published 18 months ago - not because the puzzle was hard but because it takes some work to get the final.  

 

 

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I geocache more for the simple outdoor experience than for any mental exercise. I admire people who have that innate ability to look at numbers, words, or a combination of both with a smattering of symbols thrown in...and come up with a set of GPS coordinates. I just can't and that lessens my fun on puzzle caches. I don't mind a nice, easy field puzzle, or one that can be solved in a few minutes at the computer, but I would much rather be walking in the woods, being barked at by a squirrel, or watching a flock of turkeys on the next ridge than to be sitting in my den trying to figure out how 3 triangles, the square root of 81 and a herd of buffalo can be translated to coordinates.

 

That being said, we have a wonderful CO in this area who creates a variety of puzzles and she creates them to be solved. She even encourages cachers to contact her for a nudge if needed. She is friendly and a cacher doesn't need an advanced degree in Theoretical Physics to find her caches. She wants people to enjoy her caches, and I am in the process now of solving puzzles to get one of her geoart designs. The puzzles are understandable and easy enough that I don't get frustrated working on them.

Edited by ladyleo191
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On 10/18/2019 at 9:18 AM, J Grouchy said:

When I started geocaching about 7 years ago, I was puzzle crazy...as were a fair number of folks in my area.  Tricky puzzles would be published and you could count on a semi-regular amount of traffic (not nearly as much as with a traditional, of course...but at least one find every few weeks or months).  I myself have published a fair number and have received a good amount of positive feedback.  Just seems like in maybe the last two or three years, people don't seem to even be trying to solve them.  I hesitate to use this phrase, but it almost feels like there's a trend of "dumbing down" of geocaching...reducing the diversity of cache types to almost exclusively traditionals.  Some of my own puzzles have gone two or more whole years without any activity - solves or finds.

 

Even multi-caches are becoming much less common.  One multi that was published nearby in the summer of 2018 has only received one find...and that was me finding it.  It has since sat unfound for over a year and the CO has posted that he may just archive it.  

 

I guess my point in posting this is to find out if this is a general trend in caching all over or just a local 'lull' in interest.  I always found the puzzle aspect a fun little extra challenge in geocaching...much better than always just going out to find some hidden object...an extra dimension that spiced it up a bit.  But perhaps most other people don't want to put in that extra effort? 

 

Haven't yet read past your opening post so this may have been mentioned already. Wanted to go ahead and post this before I lost my train of thought. 

 

Here again, I sound like a broken record,,,  but I blame some (I honestly believe most) of this on the phone app. First off, there's not a whole lot of guidance for new people that download the app. I'm sure there are tutorials but being an app, I imagine most people just download and go without doing any research. For many, it's a game similar to ****mon that they play for a while, grow tired of, then give up. The other issue is that unless the person pays, he or she may never encounter anything but easy traditionals. They find these, maybe place one or a few easy caches of their own, but don't get to experience much anything else.

 

I too have puzzle and challenge caches that rarely get found. I have been thinking about archiving some of my puzzle caches in our local city park and then putting out a night cache to see if I could get some interest going again but I imagine it would be a wasted endeavor. Basing this on the fact that I have a night cache placed now that hasn't been found since May of 2014. Puzzle, challenge, multi, and tough/higher terrain traditional caches hardly ever get found in our area. The app, and of course Groundspeak's condoning of quantity over quality, hasn't been good for our hobby. 

 

 

 

 

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For some years here, when there's been a challenging or complex puzzle, takings weeks (or longer) to solve,  we'd find the final's a film can/pill bottle under a parking lot lamp skirt.

 - Realizing that GZ is surrounded by forest close-by doesn't help for those looking to participate in an outdoors hobby... 

When you get enough puzzles similar, unless you just like puzzles, what's the draw ?

 

Similar to ladyleo191 though,  the last couple years one who's known for their awesome views and unique areas, creates puzzles that even this dyslexic old fart can solve easily.       :)

They're still located in the same "how the heck did he find this?" spots, but it seems the puzzle is really only meant to keep the weekend-n-done kids away.

He's emailed a few times, asking why less people hit a ridiculously easy puzzle, and I usually just tell him "it's more than 50 feet from parking."

Can't win.  ;)

 

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37 minutes ago, Mudfrog said:

I imagine most people just download and go without doing any research. For many, it's a game similar to ****mon that they play for a while, grow tired of, then give up. The other issue is that unless the person pays, he or she may never encounter anything but easy traditionals.

 

That's probably part of it.  Before The App, people might visit the web site and select caches that seem fun.  With The App, they see only caches that might be found just like Pokey-Man.  They of course don't see the web site, the "puzzles" aren't in view, just an ad to "pay".  You don't "pay" for Pokey-Man, everything's "free", and there's no web site for them.  Basic App members have plenty of free and easy caches to stay occupied, and no puzzles.  Then they move on to more exciting Apps.

 

But I'm not limited to The App. Although I can see buh-zillions of puzzle caches, I don't simultaneously work on all of them.  If I get stuck, I might go see what else is on.  Many, many other puzzles to try, that's what's on. :)

 

 

Edited by kunarion
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On 10/19/2019 at 11:56 AM, cerberus1 said:

For some years here, when there's been a challenging or complex puzzle, takings weeks (or longer) to solve,  we'd find the final's a film can/pill bottle under a parking lot lamp skirt.

 - Realizing that GZ is surrounded by forest close-by doesn't help for those looking to participate in an outdoors hobby... 

When you get enough puzzles similar, unless you just like puzzles, what's the draw ?

 

So true.

 

I recall numerous puzzle owners whose end-game finished at a film canister under a lamp post, and or a bison tube on a parking lot fence, insisting that the end game didn't matter when it came to puzzles. . Taking up a nice location for a puzzle cache was wrong, in their opinion. Yet, the same sentiment was not expressed by multi-cache owners. In my experience most multis were better experiences when it came to the geocaching part -- better locations and often ended with a decent container. 

 

I think the draw is the icon. In my area, group cachers, share final coordinates and try to get as many multis and puzzles as a possible in a day, in a quest to fill grids and qualify for challenge caches. So there's little incentive to put out anything of better quality. 

 

As a personal experience, most caches in my area are placed and left to decay. The owners don't go back. If the puzzle or multi hasn't had a find in 6 months or more, there's a good chance that the container (or a stage) will be gone.  Many multis in my area have become PAF style caches. "Out in xxxxxx today targeting Multis. This one took a PAF, but I eventually got my name on the log sheet. TFTC." "Stage 2 was the only problem, but after CO provided the missing info, everything was straight forward, ..except for the fact that at Stage 4, we couldn't complete the final projection on 1st visit (..no, ..don't have a cell phone with data plan..), so we gathered all the necessary info, and had coords in hand quickly as soon as I could onto my computer. Today, ..we finally got to final stage, ..only to find container frozen solid in ice. Claiming a smiley here anyway!" "12/09/2017 Will get out to check on Stg 2. In the meantime, if anybody needs help, just message me." (More than 2 years later and the active CO has yet to check on their multi.)

Edited by L0ne.R
Typo
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19 minutes ago, L0ne.R said:

I recall numerous puzzle owners whose end-game finished at a film canister under a lamp post, and or a bison tube on a parking lot fence, insisting that the end game didn't matter when it came to puzzles.

 

I know this principle but I try to find a good place for puzzle caches anyway even it is getting harder to find good places. I must agree that the end game is only part of the adventure. A puzzle cache can be great without a great location.

Edited by arisoft

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9 minutes ago, arisoft said:

 

I know this principle but I try to find a good place for puzzle caches anyway even it is getting harder to find good places.

I must agree that the end game is only part of the adventure. A puzzle cache can be great without a great location.

 

But if the puzzle is core,  the central or most important part, isn't that then just another "side game" of a hobby that's location based ?

I can go to the newsstand for a puzzle book...

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3 hours ago, cerberus1 said:

For some years here, when there's been a challenging or complex puzzle, takings weeks (or longer) to solve,  we'd find the final's a film can/pill bottle under a parking lot lamp skirt.

 - Realizing that GZ is surrounded by forest close-by doesn't help for those looking to participate in an outdoors hobby... 

When you get enough puzzles similar, unless you just like puzzles, what's the draw ?

 

Similar to ladyleo191 though,  the last couple years one who's known for their awesome views and unique areas, creates puzzles that even this dyslexic old fart can solve easily.       :)

They're still located in the same "how the heck did he find this?" spots, but it seems the puzzle is really only meant to keep the weekend-n-done kids away.

He's emailed a few times, asking why less people hit a ridiculously easy puzzle, and I usually just tell him "it's more than 50 feet from parking."

Can't win.  ;)

 

 

Your bolded goes for any cache. When you get enough microcaches similar, unless you just like upping smiley count,, what's the draw ?

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4 hours ago, cerberus1 said:

For some years here, when there's been a challenging or complex puzzle, takings weeks (or longer) to solve,  we'd find the final's a film can/pill bottle under a parking lot lamp skirt.

 - Realizing that GZ is surrounded by forest close-by doesn't help for those looking to participate in an outdoors hobby... 

I know what you mean. I've had my share of puzzles, which I liked and which were fun to solve, and the final was a micro or even nano in Muggle Central :(.

 

I like to create puzzles myself, but suck at building "creative" caches. So my finals are usually standard containers of the lock&lock variety. And most of my finals are in the nearby woods, typically from a few hundred meters to about 2 km from the closest parking option. Every once in a while, I get a log along the lines of "Nice puzzle, but why did the final have to be so far from the parking lot?" ;)

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6 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

But if the puzzle is core,  the central or most important part, isn't that then just another "side game" of a hobby that's location based ?

 

I feel that you have something important in your mind but I can not figure it out. Today I used 5 hours to solve a single new puzzle. I am not sure whether I will ever go to find it or not because the location but it was fun to solve.

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1 hour ago, L0ne.R said:

I recall numerous puzzle owners whose end-game finished at a film canister under a lamp post, and or a bison tube on a parking lot fence, insisting that the end game didn't matter when it came to puzzles. . Taking about a nice location for a puzzle cache was wrong, in their opinion.

 

I try to incorporate GZ into the theme of the puzzle, or is it the other way around? Here's a selection of hiding places from some of my mysteries:

 

PuzzleLocations.jpg.e18b5ce82f06ff9520cfa8909fc97ea6.jpg

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I LOVE attempting to solve puzzles. Attempting is the key word as there are many that I have not got a clue where to start. That's okay. I cannot win them all. I have a list of dozens of solved puzzles waiting for me to get near the final. I appreciate the effort to create a good puzzle, especially if GZ is just as awesome. Thank you to all you puzzle makers out there! Know that some of us do appreciate them.

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Just out of curiosity, I've looked back over the 162 mystery caches I've found and, aside from the 2018 Morisset mega geoart puzzles, only 7 ended in urban micros. Granted a few of those mysteries were challenge caches rather than puzzles and some of the puzzles were field puzzles rather than do-at-home ones (or had elements of both), but it seems, in this little corner of the world at least, urban micros as puzzle finals are even rarer than urban micro traditionals.

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I've not been geocaching all that long but I've sensed such a trend might be afoot.

I've wondered whether a further factor is the very frequent publication of challenge caches since the end of the moratorium. I don't have numbers in front of me, but in my part of the world any publication email for a new mystery seems about equally likely to be heralding the birth of a challenge cache as it is a new puzzle. Veritable powertrails of moderately easy challenges are now very common in my area.

 

In this context actual puzzles can seem even more like hard work, when you have the option of just finding a further selection of traditionals to earn a smiley on a (challenge type) mystery, if you don't qualify already. And the very notion of a cache marked with a '?' being somewhere other than the published coordinates may increasingly seem like madness!

Edited by BendSinister
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4 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

in this little corner of the world at least, urban micros as puzzle finals are even rarer than urban micro traditionals.

 

It is the same at the other side of the globe too. Puzzle makers prefer micros but not in urban areas. As an exception my last puzzle was small sized urban T1. :)

 

The reason is clear. Urban micros needs more maintenance and only for one visit, as my last puzzle did, it may be too much work.

Edited by arisoft

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3 hours ago, BendSinister said:

I've not been geocaching all that long but I've sensed such a trend might be afoot.

I've wondered whether a further factor is the very frequent publication of challenge caches since the end of the moratorium. I don't have numbers in front of me, but in my part of the world any publication email for a new mystery seems about equally likely to be heralding the birth a challenge cache as it is a puzzle. Veritable powertrails of moderately easy challenges are now very common in my area.

 

I'm constantly amazed by how diametrically opposite different places can be. In my region (the New South Wales Central Coast) there have only been two post-moratorium challenges and both are mine (GC752YF and GC8DQXK). My first one was published just over two years ago and the second a couple of weeks back, partly in response to the total lack of any others. And no, those two don't form a power trail - both are long hikes, one a T3.5 and the other a T4.

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On 10/18/2019 at 4:18 PM, J Grouchy said:

reducing the diversity of cache types to almost exclusively traditionals.  Some of my own puzzles have gone two or more whole years without any activity - solves or finds.

 

In the German speaking forum there are some cachers that regularly badmouth mystery caches. Their argument is that geocaching is an outside hobby and solving riddles has nothing (!) to do with it.

Funny enough they can't explain why

 

On 10/18/2019 at 4:18 PM, J Grouchy said:

Even multi-caches are becoming much less common.

 

Perhaps it is more of the "quick points" than about the reason for being outside? Even more funny most people that complain about mystery caches tend to visit the finals if someone spoils the coordinates. Of course, sharing coordinates is totally fine, as geocaching is an outdoor hobby and solving riddles has nothing to with it.... -.-

 

For my part I still mainly own mystery and multi caches as these are the cache types I like to search. I have only one traditional cache hidden and it is some kind of special difficulty 5 cache with not too many finds, too. ;-))

 

I don't get too many logs but in fact I rather take few logs that show that they enjoyed the long multi cache then 100 copy and paste logs for my many traditionals. :-)

 

I own a multi night terrain 5 cache which takes about 5 to 8 hours to solve (sometimes even more ;-)). It does not get too many attention (obviously :-)) and I almost had to maintain it more than teams went seaching it. ^^ But now some teams went to try it lately. I had the chance visiting them and had some nice nights out there watching and chatting with them. I had much fun thoug h not getting any finds myself. But that's geocaching, too, and it the end it is never about the numbers but about personal fun. :-)

So if you still like mysteries and/or multis best put those out, have fun while doing so and be happy about the few logs incoming. :-)

 

Jochen

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Personally, I like puzzles. I enjoy the  extra dimension they bring to the game , and that they give me a bit of mental, cache related exercise on days when the hours of  light are few, and the weather is, well, the reason us Brits talk about the weather so much, so I can't get out finding. I've made some excellent caching friends (both virtual and real world)  through therm contacting me about my puzzles, or me contacting them about theirs. People with enthusiasm for puzzle solving seem to me to be interesting individuals with inquiring minds who enjoy a challenge, I love that attitude and it is fun for me to try to produce puzzles for them to try, and for me to work on puzzles they set. 

 

A proper, varied, convoluted, involved set of interlinked puzzle caches can be a thing of beauty, and an absolute joy to pursue. Along with a couple of good (met through puzzles)  friends I've worked on a series of 66 puzzles over the last couple of years, each visit involved us in an 80 mile round trip and a lot of rural walking, many multi stage puzzles, field puzzles, and proper big boxes. The series is linked in a way which would no longer be allowed (a pyramid arranged as biblical 'books' , half a dozen or so first level caches each with part of a clue in , leading to a final cache for that 'book'  which in turn has parts for one of two cumulative bonus puzzles, and when you find both of those ...you guessed it, they have information for the final puzzle. I can't even guess how many hours I've spent at home working on those puzzles, researching relevant (and  turned out to be irrelevant, but still interesting ) topics, learning things about the bible, Inspector Morse, children's TV programs, Disney cartoons, chemistry, the Industrial revolution, the history of Birmingham and various games ...  Those 'aha !' moments when the clues fell into place were joyful, and getting to the end of the series was exactly like reading a great book, you want to find out what happens in the end,  but are conflicted about turning those last few pages because you don't really want it to be over.

 

So yes, puzzles can be a joy.for those of us who want to invest the time and effort, but they are not exactly popular : in the course of finding those 66 caches, 7 of them were resuscitation caches, not having been found for a year or more (one of them for over two years) , but every single one was in good condition because they had been hidden with the same kind of care and thought as the C.O. gave to the puzzles. Working through and finding the series was a peak in caching for me, 

 

However, caching has many tribes within it, and it appears that the tribe with the most members at the moment is the numbers tribe, and specifically the app based numbers tribe. I don't know to what extent app based users who have started caching solely via their 'phones (rather than via the website ) ever look at cache pages on a computer : judging from the times I've looked to see if a cacher is still active, checked their profile, and seen they've never visited the website but they have recent finds , a lot of newish cachers never visit the site on a bigger screen. It's no surprise then when they don't do puzzles, many of which would be so much harder on a small screen, so those cachers have an extra barrier to puzzles even if they want to spend the time and effort on them.

 

There do seem to be quite a lot of very simple puzzles, and straightforward single stage multis being used for the popular 'Church Micro' series over here, and I suspect the cache type with extra tasks has been chosen with the specific intention of having the cache ignored by folk who do not want to make any extra effort above a fast easy find. I guess having less frequent finds cuts down on the chances of muggles noticing less than stealthy cachers,  as well as maintenance for full logs , especially if the cache is a tiny one with a tiny log ! Honestly this sort of easy ,make-work puzzle , set either as a simple hoop to jump through for whatever reason, is less interesting to me than the puzzle  set by a C.O.who enjoys the puzzling process first, and the urge to set a cache comes second.

 

I see a similar division in earthcaches, where some older ones are uninspiring in the extreme ( "See this weathered and undistinguished boulder ? What colour is it ?How big is it? What rock type do you think it might be ? " ) and just there for the smiley, not the geology. I'm happy that no more earthcaches of low quality will get past the reviewers with the updated rules. Some puzzles are there for the smiley, great puzzles are there for the puzzle. people who like these cache types * , either to set or find , really enjoy them, just look at the favourite points (that series of 66 have accrued over 1500 fp between them) or the found it logs.

 

It doesn't bother me that so many newer cachers don't do puzzles: maybe they will one day, if they discover there is more to caching than trad.s, but I don't care if my puzzles get found once in a blue moon as long as the finders enjoy the puzzle solving and the cache find. I'll keep on setting caches I'd like to find,

 

 

 

 

 

*Wherigos could be included here tooI think.

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7 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

I'm constantly amazed by how diametrically opposite different places can be. In my region (the New South Wales Central Coast) there have only been two post-moratorium challenges and both are mine (GC752YF and GC8DQXK).

 

Here's an area I cache in regularly. These are just the challenge caches. Notice the power trail of challenge caches:

 

33678003_ScreenShot2019-10-20at11_24_16AM.thumb.png.dcb44dad6c3d0615716a67a04461cc82.png

 

Here's another nearby area (about an hour northeast of the screenshot above) with 2 power trails of challenge caches:

 

1047045768_ScreenShot2019-10-20at11_33_44AM.thumb.png.9e62b16735689fd3d92027d61ae31dcf.png

Edited by L0ne.R

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33 minutes ago, L0ne.R said:

Notice the power trail of challenge caches

 

33 minutes ago, L0ne.R said:

with 2 power trails of challenge caches

 

I wanted to say that this is okay as long as they have good ideas for so many challenge caches.

 

Then I remembered that I have done two (in numbers: 2) really creative CC and have seen some nice ones but those are all not possible any more under the new guidelines. Most of the CC are just about getting many caches/things of anything.

We have something similar in Germany near "Coburg" (that's  the name of the city) and it was fun catching some of the challenges but there was no cool challenge idea, all about statistics.

 

So I rethought my first thoughts about many good ideas. Probably those lines are all about statistics. Pity but if they want to own something like that....

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Old guy chiming in.

 

     The harder the puzzle OR the longer the hike >>>>> the fewer visitors.

 

Being old and addled I am NOT about to crawl into the mind of a puzzle builder to figure one out.

 

Similarly if an EARTH CACHE owner wants a Phd. dissertation I refuse to "solve" ... I do, however, thank them for a unique experience and move along leaving the smiley for someone else.

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3 hours ago, frostengel said:

Then I remembered that I have done two (in numbers: 2) really creative CC and have seen some nice ones but those are all not possible any more under the new guidelines.

Yeah, the one challenge cache that I am paying attention to my progress on right now is grandfathered. It is a location-based challenge cache that would not be allowed under the current rules. :( 

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4 hours ago, L0ne.R said:

Here's an area I cache in regularly. These are just the challenge caches. Notice the power trail of challenge caches:

 

 

 

Here's another nearby area (about an hour northeast of the screenshot above) with 2 power trails of challenge caches:

 

 

Edited 4 hours ago by L0ne.R

 

Gosh, in my whole state there have been just 31 post-moretorium challenges, 12 of which were part of this year's Wollongong mega geoart.

 

image.png.36e1459002626dabd3e6f03a52b94710.png

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Personally, I still love challenge caches, and I greatly respect (on principle at least) puzzle caches.

I think one reason challenge caches are so popular here is that they're almost a replacement for puzzles/multis in concept - it leaves the cache owners with agency in determining who can log finds, whereas in puzzles and multis people can "skip" the puzzle or stages and just find and sign the cache. In a challenge, such people can't just find and sign the challenge cache - the CO has the right to delete find logs of people who haven't yet qualified.  I think in an area (as L0ne.r shared) where passing coordinates freely is quite prolific, challenge caches are in a sense, a counter to that.

Obviously not the only reason they're popular here, but I really think that's a factor...

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