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J Grouchy

Waning interest in puzzles

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These regional differences *are* amazing. My quick count of post-2016 challenges in Victoria (ie. slightly less populous state over the border from barefootjeff's state) is 150+.

 

Challenge caches might be easier to police but it could be argued that their existence makes the situation worse for puzzle-caches and multis in one other way: they introduce new incentives to skip the puzzle and/or preliminary waypoints. When the focus is shifted to incidental characteristics of a cache (D/T combinations or exotic attributes, etc) geocachers plainly report that they "need" certain caches they would otherwise have happily ignored. The temptation to ask for coordinates for puzzles they would have struggled to solve becomes ever greater. You see it in logs daily: braindead stuff about "needing this D/T" etc without any acknowledgement that there even was a puzzle to solve.


PS.

Come to think of it, I don't even want to restrict access to my own puzzles to exceptional puzzle-solvers. I'm told that most of them are somewhat difficult, but as far as I'm concerned anyone who wants to solve mine can have all the help they need. Some people need more help than others, but the logs are several thousand times more interesting when the finder has gone through the motions, almost regardless of whether I helped them throughout.

Edited by BendSinister
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Full disclosure. Most puzzle caches end up on my "ignore lost". The main reason for that is when I am out and about caching I really only want to see caches I can find. Which means that if I haven't solved the puzzle it's distracts me from the ones I can find. I appreciate that the app has a feature toggle corrected coordinates, but this feature is lacking. As I do have a weak spot for challenge caches, love them and they are always at the posted coordinates. Wish the feature could be updated to indicated that I can find this cache and not that cache if you follow my thoughts.

 

I do like a good puzzle but frankly some are so obtuse I don't even try. I used to try but no longer. I should not have to beg for a hint from the CO so ignore list here they come. If I have a shot at it I'll keep it around for a rainy day. Love wacky sudoku puzzles. So hats off to those crazy folks who can conjure up cache coordinates from thin air. The neat thing about this hobby is that folks can play different games within games and we all get our entertainment.Though I do wish better maintenance is enforced and older puzzles had checkers. It would be fairly easy for GS to implement an automated system to check against their database as I've run up against hidden coordinates when trying to hide a cache (really dislike this btw) why not make sure I have the coordinates before I venture out because if a cache has not been found or checked on in an urban environment in 5 years chances are its missing, same applies for all cache types.

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1 hour ago, MNTA said:

Full disclosure. Most puzzle caches end up on my "ignore lost". The main reason for that is when I am out and about caching I really only want to see caches I can find.

 

Tools I am using show me only caches I can try to find. Unsolved puzzes are no visible on my phone App. Your ignore list must have thousands of caches?

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On 10/20/2019 at 7:35 PM, 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). 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.

 

We don't have any up here Jeff..... :(

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14 minutes ago, lee737 said:

 

We don't have any up here Jeff..... :(

 

There's one way to fix that :).

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Just now, barefootjeff said:

 

There's one way to fix that :).

 

We've just given tiddalik a little homework for this week, cleared off some of my bench for a bit..... I do have a couple of challenges in my head, one even has a container but no hide location..... :)

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On 10/18/2019 at 8:56 PM, fizzymagic said:

solving the puzzle should not require reading the mind of the creator.

 

 

I keep seeing this sort of statement, but I feel like it's a bit of a cop-out.  

 

Personally, I'm not interested in making puzzles that have been done before.  Yeah, I could make a sudoku puzzle or one of those logic/grid puzzles, but everyone who regularly works on puzzles is familiar with those types of things already, so it feels like more of a hindrance to obtain coordinates than an enjoyable brain exercise. My interest is in developing concepts that are logical and potentially new.  I've had successes and, a few times,... not really "failures"...but not as successful and I hoped.  

 

Any new idea for a puzzle is, almost by definition, "reading the mind of the creator".  But finding the thread, the hook, the lateral step the creator took, and following it to its end is the goal...and the people who have done so on my puzzles have never come back to me with anything but positive feedback.  There's nothing wrong with one big "Aha" moment.  In fact, many of my puzzles are so basic that there is no need for multiple small "aha moments" because there are only one or two steps involved in obtaining the solution.  

 

So yeah, it's fine if you aren't into lateral thinking or new styles of puzzles, but don't just discount them as "mind reading".

Edited by J Grouchy
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There is a broad spectrum of puzzle design. It's hard to definitively classify certain puzzle types as specific styles. When we 'read the mind of the cache onwer' we're more referring to a puzzles like ... a text splat of random characters, with no hint or guide. Or seemingly random phrases that have nothing obvious to do with each other. Again with no hint or guide. These typically result in trial and error of random ideas until something clicks.

Then there's pattern recognition styles of puzzles, where if you look at it long enough, a discernible pattern will appear which you can follow to a logical end.  Then there's bread crumb style content, where if you manage to 'solve' any part of the puzzle there's some form of confirmation that you're either on the right trail or were misled.

What's generally considered "good puzzle design" is not "read my mind" style puzzling. That's not to say some people don't enjoy that type of puzzle, and it certainly provides an "aha" moment when it click, but for the masses it's not really considered fun, especially not compared to other types of puzzles.  And even in progressive or linear puzzling you can still have 'aha' moments. It's quite subjective, what causes someone to have that moment.  It may be as simple as grasping a ROT translation, or as complex as deciphering a cryptex and that last one 'clicks', or doing some research about possible puzzle types that look like what you're looking on, and learning about a puzzle style you've never seen before.

 

Puzzle design is no simple skill.  Read-my-mind caches are easy to create - they rarely take playtesting to find out what the player's experience will be like while solving.  But designing a puzzle to provide a positive and memorable experience (which doesn't have to imply easy or hard) takes a lot more work.

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On ‎10‎/‎18‎/‎2019 at 8:56 PM, fizzymagic said:

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.

 

The solution probably looks simple to the puzzle maker.  It doesn't look simple to me.  If I can't come up with anything, if I try a couple of things and get nowhere, I put it at the bottom of the stack.  Guess I can't emphasize it enough (especially as it applies to this Topic) that there are many, many puzzles available.  If I skip one, I may or may not ever try it again.  If one's caches tend to be difficult and archived, I may not be seriously working on that CO's puzzles anymore.  Now what do I do with all these notes? 

 

One issue I have is kind of related to how cache descriptions work, with HTML strings.  I see a “unique puzzle” and it's several rows of cryptic text.  It's formatted in a weird way.  Is it columns to work on, or is it one long string?  There are extra hidden HTML bits within “the puzzle”.  Are they clues?  Are they just typos?  The “puzzle” looks sloppy.  Clean it up.  There must be nothing in there that isn't part of the “puzzle”.  It's fun to have “red herrings”, but It's a chore to decide which typo is actually part of the puzzle.  Keep the little people in mind, we're trying to find a place to start, and we might start with that typo. This applies to familiar puzzles, as well.  If people aren't solving a given cache puzzle, if there aren't the number of expected Finds, maybe some re-tooled clues are in order.

 

Edited by kunarion

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I have moved home locations several times over the years, so I've seen a number of communities' reactions to puzzle caches.  Overall our puzzle caches seem to get found much less of the time.  But it seems to have increased, maybe as the ability to cache by phone has risen.  Even here in Germany, where non-traditional caches are pretty widespread, I've seen a drop -- we had two sudoku caches out for a couple years here in Germany from 2007-2009, and they got over 600 finds between them.  Whereas in the same area, we've had two puzzles out since summer 2018, and they have 140 finds total between them.  Meanwhile we have had traditional caches in the same general area get hundreds of finds each.

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3 hours ago, J Grouchy said:

Any new idea for a puzzle is, almost by definition, "reading the mind of the creator".

When I say a puzzle calls for mind reading, I mean there are hundreds if not thousands of possibilities, and the puzzle creator is expecting me to try them all until I find the one that works. And in some cases, it seems like the CO is hoping I don't come up with that one right answer from all the possibilities, sometimes even providing logical reasons for picking the wrong path. The phrase we use in my area is "moon logic" because there's no logical reason to pick the one path to a solution. In the worst cases I've seen -- (*cough Delaware cough*) -- it becomes clear from the logs that no one ever does solve some puzzles, they just get the answer from their friend, the CO.

 

I'm not talking about a puzzle with a novel approach that I can come up with if I put enough thought into it. Those are, of course, the best kind of puzzles. I'm very fortunate to have several puzzle creators -- including one that just recently said here that he's no good at it -- that continually come up with ingenious new puzzles.

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2 hours ago, hzoi said:

..... we had two sudoku caches out for a couple years here in Germany from 2007-2009, and they got over 600 finds between them.  Whereas in the same area, we've had two puzzles out since summer 2018, and they have 140 finds total between them.  Meanwhile we have had traditional caches in the same general area get hundreds of finds each.

 

Wow.... if one of our puzzles got more than a dozen finds in a year I'd wonder where the mega event was! 

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27 minutes ago, lee737 said:

 

Wow.... if one of our puzzles got more than a dozen finds in a year I'd wonder where the mega event was! 


When I design a puzzle cache, I presume it may be found less often.  At least a couple of mine were made that way with the purpose of waning.  B)

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1 hour ago, lee737 said:
4 hours ago, hzoi said:

..... we had two sudoku caches out for a couple years here in Germany from 2007-2009, and they got over 600 finds between them.  Whereas in the same area, we've had two puzzles out since summer 2018, and they have 140 finds total between them.  Meanwhile we have had traditional caches in the same general area get hundreds of finds each.

 

Wow.... if one of our puzzles got more than a dozen finds in a year I'd wonder where the mega event was! 

 

Yeah, even when there was a mega nearby, none of my puzzles got any hits.

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2 hours ago, lee737 said:

 

Wow.... if one of our puzzles got more than a dozen finds in a year I'd wonder where the mega event was! 

I have this one in Lee's area.

 

GC47DBG

 

It's had 43 finds in 6 years. It had only one find during the 2018 Mega. It's on a popular local cycle/walking trail and has two traditionals either side of it which had about a dozen finds between them during the same Mega. My only other Mystery, which is not very  far away, has had only 11 finds in 19 months. I don't see there has really been enough activity to pick a trend either way. Mysteries just remain slow.

 

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7 hours ago, J Grouchy said:

Any new idea for a puzzle is, almost by definition, "reading the mind of the creator".  But finding the thread, the hook, the lateral step the creator took, and following it to its end is the goal...

If there is a thread, a hook, or a lateral step that can be followed, then it isn't "reading the mind of the creator".

 

 

 

7 hours ago, kunarion said:

There must be nothing in there that isn't part of the “puzzle”.

I've seen otherwise good puzzles that have been marred when the CO added too much noise to the cache description.

 

It's fine to have background info. I've enjoyed a number of puzzle caches that taught how a particular cipher or encoding system worked, and then had you use that technique to get the coordinates. I've enjoyed puzzles that included lots of extra information, but specified exactly what the puzzle was.

 

But for the more cryptic style of puzzle where you have to figure out what/where the puzzle is before you can solve it, adding too much noise to the cache description can turn it into a mental needle in a haystack.

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54 minutes ago, colleda said:

I have this one in Lee's area.

 

GC47DBG

 

It's had 43 finds in 6 years. It had only one find during the 2018 Mega. It's on a popular local cycle/walking trail and has two traditionals either side of it which had about a dozen finds between them during the same Mega. My only other Mystery, which is not very  far away, has had only 11 finds in 19 months. I don't see there has really been enough activity to pick a trend either way. Mysteries just remain slow.

 

I remember seeing the solve for that one, I thought I was a real cryptographer.... .looking back it was our 5th puzzle find, and likely in our first 100 or so finds. The kids loved it, and everytime we rode past they would go and check it (even as recent as the past 6 months or so).

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1 hour ago, colleda said:

I have this one in Lee's area.

 

GC47DBG

 

It's had 43 finds in 6 years. It had only one find during the 2018 Mega. It's on a popular local cycle/walking trail and has two traditionals either side of it which had about a dozen finds between them during the same Mega. My only other Mystery, which is not very  far away, has had only 11 finds in 19 months. I don't see there has really been enough activity to pick a trend either way. Mysteries just remain slow.

 

 

The only caches of mine that saw any action during the mega were Peat's Grave, which is just up a hill from the motorway rest stop at Mooney Mooney, and, perhaps surprisingly, my T3.5 challenge cache GC752YF. For the latter those were probably ones who'd qualified for the challenge and saw the mega as a good opportunity to grab it while in the area. For the rest, though, I guess the Central Coast was an area to drive past as quickly as possible on the way to Lake Macquarie.

Edited by barefootjeff

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Worldwide, I'm not seeing a lull in find logs on mystery caches (granted, puzzle caches are just a subset of these). Overall, the percentage of finds on mystery caches seems to have been increasing for the past 5 years:

Mystery Cache Finds Growth.png

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14 minutes ago, Moun10Bike said:

Worldwide, I'm not seeing a lull in find logs on mystery caches (granted, puzzle caches are just a subset of these). Overall, the percentage of finds on mystery caches seems to have been increasing for the past 5 years:

Mystery Cache Finds Growth.png

 

That's an interesting analysis, thanks. I'm curious that the percentage of mystery finds peaks during the northern hemisphere winter each year. I wonder, are those people spending the winter months curled up in front of the fireplace solving puzzles and going out doing all the traditionals and power trails in the summer?

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On 10/18/2019 at 7:56 PM, 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.

 

I've solved a fair amount of puzzles in my time. Not that I have some innate mental ability but purely based on the length of my geocaching history. But I mostly gave up on puzzles when the local puzzlers spent the last few years trying to out do each other in terms of difficulty. No thanks. I don't mind a brain challenge but I am no good at reading minds. I give every puzzle five minutes of my life and that's the limit.. period.

Edited by bflentje
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36 minutes ago, Moun10Bike said:

Worldwide, I'm not seeing a lull in find logs on mystery caches (granted, puzzle caches are just a subset of these). Overall, the percentage of finds on mystery caches seems to have been increasing for the past 5 years:

Mystery Cache Finds Growth.png

With challenges caches and easy to solve geoart caches it's hard to get a good metric for Real Puzzle Cache Finds but thanks for the graph.

 

For the main topic : I am really bad at puzzle and normally skip them because I have plenty of others caches around me. My stats says otherwise (my 2nd most find type) but its because of all the challenges, geoart and with a friend that I found.

 

The waning interest isn't just on puzzle I would say but on Geocaching in general the total number of geocache Worldwide is stuck at 3.2M since the beginning of the month.

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I looked into cache number and log number stats in my country, lets see if I can attach the graphics...

 

I don't see a drop in interest if measured by log counts or number of published caches. Currently, about 55 percent of new caches are traditionals, 20 percent mysteries, 4 percent multies and most of the remaining 21 percent are events. The log count for mysteries has in fact increased in the last two years while total logs have stabilized at around 2.6 million /year.

In short, the 55 % share of tradis get 75 % from the total logs while the 20 % share of mysteries get about 15 % of the total logs. That's very good -- I consider myself something of a mystery enthusiast but even so only 20 percent of my logs are for mysteries.

 

Interest has shifted toward easier mysteries. Jigsaw puzzles, mystery trails and geoart are a recent trend in the past couple of years, so that may explain the increase in log count of mysteries.

 

Reading old logs it seems that the solution to the mystery is not that important to cachers anymore. In the old times, people used to share more of their thought on the mystery part and were very apologetic if they logged a find without solving. Now, the mystery part rarely gets mentioned in more recent logs.  

 

The data is from project-gc stats "logs/hides per date". The years run from 22 oct to 21 oct. Usual geocaching color coding green=tardi, blue=mystery, orange=multi and yellow for the remaining 10 types.

 

finlogs.jpg

finhids.jpg

finhids2.jpg

Edited by papu66
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69,47% (5092) Traditional Cache finds and 16,93% (1241) Unknown (Mystery) Cache finds for me. I love solving Mystery Caches, most of the time during the winter. Lots of them I do in places where I am likely to visit. For example, there are 50 Mystery-Caches on Malta and I have solved 40 of them and only found 5 of the 40. I had lots of fun solving them.

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7 hours ago, papu66 said:

Interest has shifted toward easier mysteries. Jigsaw puzzles, mystery trails and geoart are a recent trend in the past couple of years, so that may explain the increase in log count of mysteries.

 

Split those mystery stats to segment caches with "challenge" in the title - then re-render it and see what the non-challenge Mystery cache type trend is.

 

(this is another good reason there should be some tangible cache property to identify caches as Challenge Caches - whether or not it's a cache type - caches "with Challenge in the title" or "with a PGC checker" aren't a tangible searchable metric, they're just requirements for publishing)

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1 hour ago, thebruce0 said:

 

Split those mystery stats to segment caches with "challenge" in the title - then re-render it and see what the non-challenge Mystery cache type trend is.

 

This would be interesting, but I don't know how to do this efficiently. In practice, the number of challenge caches and the like is not very large, but they get lots of traffic.

 

Just for reference, the 3800 mystery/unknown type caches published here in the past 24 months include

70 caches with the word "challenge" in title

120 caches with the word "bonus"

350 jigidi (or other) puzzles (according to private lists)

 

I'm not going to discuss what makes a good and proper mystery, but the indication is that people are willing to invest time in doing mysteries and increase their stats if it does not involve too much thinking.

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Well, the subject matter isn't "Mysteries", the subject matter is "puzzle caches". Challenge caches share the same type as puzzles. So simply showing a report of all Mysteries doesn't really provide useful information, so extra work is inherently necessary to break down the stats to a relevant level. Unless HQ were to provide an easily distinguishable property of challenge caches to make these statistics more applicable. :antenna:

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33 minutes ago, thebruce0 said:

Unless HQ were to provide an easily distinguishable property of challenge caches to make these statistics more applicable.

 

For a statistical use you can trust that new mystery caches published during last few years with word "challenge" in the title are really challenge caches. Undisclosed guidelines prohibits using this word with other mystery cache titles. As papu66 presented, the number of challlenge cache is below 2% of new mystery caches here. What are your numbers?

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9 minutes ago, arisoft said:

For a statistical use you can trust that new mystery caches published during last few years with word "challenge" in the title are really challenge caches.

 

Regardless of "undisclosed guidelines" (which may or may not be adhered to by reviewers), a text search in a title isn't a distinct cache property, let alone universal (as you say, at best, for "new" challenge caches). Yes, it's usable for reasonable statistical analysis, but it's not definitive. And there is no officially provided manner to search and retrieve a list of challenge caches (ie as a search parameter, not a text match). But this is a sideline to the point: Mysteries can be challenge caches, so the Mystery count statistic needs to be broken down to non-Challenge caches, and currently the only way to do that reasonably, but not definitively, is separating caches with "challenge" in the title.

Edited by thebruce0

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To be honest, challenge caches (identified as being mystery caches with "challenge" in the title) account for an extremely small number of logs on the mystery cache type (about 5%):

 

 

Cache Finds by Month.png

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But in which regions? Again in my region, challenge caches are very very prolific. The number won't be wildly significant, of course, but I'd definitely say more than 5%. We also have many geoarts :P

I'd say at least enough to make a dent in the marginal "increase" of "finds on mystery caches" that's slightly discernible on that first graph a few comments up.  It's one of those stats that's definitely going to vary region to region.

 

Anyway my only point was the thread was about puzzles, and stats grouping mysteries all together ignores that challenge caches aren't puzzles. And given the already small portion of activity that mystery caches have, even a small relative portion of them being related to challenge caches could have a discernible effect on the results; at least on some regional levels...

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Current search: 7287 active Mystery caches in all of Ontario. 1111 with "challenge" in the title (which isn't definitive, but based on my listing of challenge caches I only recall passing over a handful of mysteries with "challenge" that aren't challenge caches)

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3 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

Current search: 7287 active Mystery caches in all of Ontario. 1111 with "challenge" in the title (which isn't definitive, but based on my listing of challenge caches I only recall passing over a handful of mysteries with "challenge" that aren't challenge caches)

 

Here in New South Wales (Australia), there are 1843 Mystery caches, of which only 90 have "challenge" in the title. So I guess we're much less challenging here.

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3 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

But in which regions? Again in my region, challenge caches are very very prolific. The number won't be wildly significant, of course, but I'd definitely say more than 5%. We also have many geoarts :P

I'd say at least enough to make a dent in the marginal "increase" of "finds on mystery caches" that's slightly discernible on that first graph a few comments up.  It's one of those stats that's definitely going to vary region to region.

 

Anyway my only point was the thread was about puzzles, and stats grouping mysteries all together ignores that challenge caches aren't puzzles. And given the already small portion of activity that mystery caches have, even a small relative portion of them being related to challenge caches could have a discernible effect on the results; at least on some regional levels...

 

Using the Top Logged Caches Project-GC statistics for mystery caches in my state (New South Wales), most of the challenges come in a long way down that list. The most frequenty logged mysteries are a couple of now-archived travelling caches, a couple of popular puzzles in central Sydney that all the tourists visit and then page after page of geoart puzzles from the 2018 and 2019 megas.

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Whether puzzles are waning or not may be a function of where they're located (and this includes whether your area sees many traveling cachers).  My area has a lot of puzzles, maybe too many.  However, I don't have any data regarding how often they are found.

Personally, I am an engineer and will go after puzzles that are along science/engineering lines.

I do not spend any time on read-my-mind puzzles.  Maybe it's right-brain vs. left-brain thing, but I don't do well at second-guessing what the CO had in mind.  I'd rather spend the time finding caches or organizing the challenge caches that I'm working on.

Therefore, for me it's not an instant gratification thing.  I don't do well at many puzzles and don't bother with them.  But I put in a lot of time planning trips and targeting caches that will contribute to my stats or challenge caches.

Multis:  I've been burned too many times with long multis that have a broken link somewhere.  So for a while I avoided them totally.  But recently I've restarted with multis that are of a shorter variety, like 4 WPs total.  And, yes, that has resulted in some interesting finds and no complaints.

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On 10/18/2019 at 1:13 PM, 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.

 

Me too.  I hear of something new to me and feel a puzzle cache coming on.  That's exactly what happened with What.Three.Words.  And Digital Roots.  And Falling Words.  And Resistor Color codes--but I haven't done that one yet.

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On 10/22/2019 at 9:14 AM, papu66 said:

This would be interesting, but I don't know how to do this efficiently. In practice, the number of challenge caches and the like is not very large, but they get lots of traffic.

 

Just for reference, the 3800 mystery/unknown type caches published here in the past 24 months include

70 caches with the word "challenge" in title

120 caches with the word "bonus"

350 jigidi (or other) puzzles (according to private lists)

 

I'm not going to discuss what makes a good and proper mystery, but the indication is that people are willing to invest time in doing mysteries and increase their stats if it does not involve too much thinking.

 

I agree need the filter.

 

I had to go back 87 mystery finds to find a non-challenge cache and  I found that cache over a year ago.Overall 420/561 Mystery cache finds were challenges.& 101 signed but not qualified.

 

Sorry challenge junkie.

 

 

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1 hour ago, MNTA said:

 

I agree need the filter.

 

I had to go back 87 mystery finds to find a non-challenge cache and  I found that cache over a year ago.Overall 420/561 Mystery cache finds were challenges.& 101 signed but not qualified.

 

Sorry challenge junkie.

 

 

 

From my 1062 finds and 162 mystery finds, only 5 have been challenges. Those were:

  • GC5KWZD, a pre-moratorium elemental challenge that required finding one cache and living to tell the tale,
  • GC4AQYV at Gloucester (a bit over 200km north) requiring 400 finds and an average D and T of 1.9 or higher
  • GC5HX3W, a "medium hike" challenge in the Watagan Mountains that required 15 caches with the Medium Hike attribute
  • GC4J8EZ at West Wallsend (about 100km north) that required filling the grid out to T4 and D4
  • GC6QQPE in the Watagan Mountains that required 24 finds of caches with a D/T rating of 2/4.

That last one is one of my most memorable finds. At the time it was published, I only had four 2/4 finds but over the course of a year I slowly built that up to the needed 24. Included in that was a train trip to the south coast where there were five 2/4 caches along a 2km strip of coastline, but I DNFed four of them. That challenge cache, itself rated 2/4, is in an awesome cliff-top vantage spot at the end of a hike befitting the challenge.

 

I doubt I'll ever qualify for most of the other 83 available challenges in my state. A lot of them are streaks (the 7-day streak for the recent promotion souvenir was tough enough for me), travel (interstate and/or international) or grid-filling which don't inspire me to put the time and effort into fulfilling.

 

On the other hand, most of the puzzles I've done have been enjoyable and at least they're generally a lot closer to home. 33 of my 106 favourites are puzzles so it looks like I'm twice as likely to favourite a puzzle as I am other cache types. The ones I particularly like are where the container and/or location are themed to the puzzle.

Edited by barefootjeff
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I tried a bit harder to quantify Victoria's challenges if only for comparison to NSW, for giggles. :)

 

Looks like there are 255 extant mysteries with 'challenge' in their title that actually are challenges. (I may have overlooked a couple more that are not actually challenges, but it wouldn't be many.)

 

There are apparently 2,421 mysteries in the state in total. Plus 13,192 traditionals and 1632 multis.

 

Approx. # of extant challenges, by year of placement:

2006 : 1
2011 : 2
2012 : 27
2013 : 24
2014 : 21
2015 : 11
2016 : 15
2017 : 50
2018 : 89
2019 : 15

 

That 2019 total looks low but a significant number of those placed in 2017 and 2018 were for Mega-related power trails placed en masse in December, so this year's total may yet swell in a similar fashion. On the other hand, we may even be reaching saturation for all I know: it's a fairly compact state and some of the criteria already seem very similar to other challenges within 100 or even 50km.

 

It looks like I've qualified for and found something like 20 challenges out of 900-and-something mystery finds. (Actually it's a few more than that, as some of the power trail challenge criteria are so inane that I couldn't bring myself to write corresponding online logs. LOL.) The only challenges I seem to recall making any conscious effort to complete are two pre-moratorium ones whose qualifying criteria probably wouldn't be allowed now.

Edited by BendSinister

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I've got 58 puzzle caches, from the fiendish to the "spend 5 minutes on Wikipedia" type. Most get found about once a month on average. Most are in groups, rewarding the solver with a decent walk and 8-12 caches. One uses Vigenere but otherwise no classic ciphers. 

There's a city in England with a rash of puzzles for which according to the preamble you'll need to write a computer programme to solve them. They seem to have got about 60 finds each in nearly 3 years so there's obviously a market for them although I would not know where to start!

About 100 miles east of me there's a big series of puzzles and I don't know where to start with any of them - I think consciously or sub-consciously COs set similar puzzles to neighbours and these ones are just in a different school of thought to what there is in Oxfordshire. 

I'm always mystified by puzzle caches being Premium Only - an ill-intentioned muggle would have to solve the puzzle to find the coords to steal it! I suppose they want to reduce the number of enquiries from less experienced cachers, like this one I got re one of my multis:

  1. Jul 6, 2019 11:15 AM

    Regarding  (GC!"£$%):
    Hi I am not sure we’re your geocache is please may you give me a hint thank you
  2. 7a56b77d-d823-42d7-a573-47f56ef179bb.jpg

    You Jul 6, 2019 4:15 PM

    How many numbers have you found. You realise it's a multi, yes? 
     
  3. Jul 6, 2019 10:41 PM
    Yes
  4. 7a56b77d-d823-42d7-a573-47f56ef179bb.jpg

    You Jul 7, 2019 10:46 AM

    So what numbers are you stuck on. Have you been to the alley through to Pizza Express.
  5.  Aug 19, 2019 12:10 PM
    Not to be annoying but how do you place a caches
  6. 7a56b77d-d823-42d7-a573-47f56ef179bb.jpg

    You Aug 19, 2019 7:37 PM

    Look on website. Hide a cache.
  7. Aug 19, 2019 7:37 PM
    What website
  8. 7a56b77d-d823-42d7-a573-47f56ef179bb.jpg

    You Aug 19, 2019 7:39 PM

    Www.geocaching.com...
    It's really worth finding a hundred or more before starting to think about hiding one. Then you will know what makes a cache good or bad, what sort of thing you want to do. Look out for Facebook groups for help too. Geocaching UK for example.
  9. Aug 19, 2019 7:40 PM
    Thank you
     
    [then they went off the radar...]
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On 10/21/2019 at 9:35 AM, hzoi said:

I have moved home locations several times over the years, so I've seen a number of communities' reactions to puzzle caches.  Overall our puzzle caches seem to get found much less of the time.  But it seems to have increased, maybe as the ability to cache by phone has risen.  Even here in Germany, where non-traditional caches are pretty widespread, I've seen a drop -- we had two sudoku caches out for a couple years here in Germany from 2007-2009, and they got over 600 finds between them.  Whereas in the same area, we've had two puzzles out since summer 2018, and they have 140 finds total between them.  Meanwhile we have had traditional caches in the same general area get hundreds of finds each.

 

Intriguing. I live in a city of 300,000+, most of my premium member only, easily accessible, not micro, traditionals haven't been found THIS YEAR.

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12 minutes ago, fbingha said:

 

Intriguing. I live in a city of 300,000+, most of my premium member only, easily accessible, not micro, traditionals haven't been found THIS YEAR.

 

Five of my caches haven't been found this year (none are PMO). They are:

  • a 1.5/3 traditional (last find November 2018 - it had a DNF last weekend from an inexperienced searcher but I checked it and it's all okay)
  • a 3/3.5 challenge cache (last find September 2018)
  • a 2/3 multi (last find August 2018)
  • a 3/2.5 puzzle (last find November 2018)
  • a 2.5/2.5 field-puzzle mystery (last find August 2018)

So yeah, it's a bit of everything, and many of my other hides of all types have only had one find this year. Caching is as quiet as a graveyard here now, even the urban 1.5/1.5 hides are getting few finds.

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18 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

 

Five of my caches haven't been found this year (none are PMO). They are:

  • a 1.5/3 traditional (last find November 2018 - it had a DNF last weekend from an inexperienced searcher but I checked it and it's all okay)
  • a 3/3.5 challenge cache (last find September 2018)
  • a 2/3 multi (last find August 2018)
  • a 3/2.5 puzzle (last find November 2018)
  • a 2.5/2.5 field-puzzle mystery (last find August 2018)

So yeah, it's a bit of everything, and many of my other hides of all types have only had one find this year. Caching is as quiet as a graveyard here now, even the urban 1.5/1.5 hides are getting few finds.

My caches seem to have a slow and steady find rate except the Sand Island PT (Paddle Trail) each only getting a couple of finds year. I even have kayaks and canoes to loan if anyone wants. One hasn't had a find since I replaced it July last year.. And it does not look like improving due to the heat this summer. We're still a month away from summer and temperatures are starting to nudge 30C.

I'm glad I got the new MTB trail done earlier this week. Although it was mostly shaded it was pretty warm and the flies seem to be particularly bad this year. It's not fun pedaling up a hill with half a dozen flies trying to make a home in your ears.

 

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6 minutes ago, colleda said:

My caches seem to have a slow and steady find rate except the Sand Island PT (Paddle Trail) each only getting a couple of finds year. I even have kayaks and canoes to loan if anyone wants. One hasn't had a find since I replaced it July last year.. And it does not look like improving due to the heat this summer. We're still a month away from summer and temperatures are starting to nudge 30C.

 

 

Maybe everyone who was interested in the Sand Island ones did them at the pirate event in 2017. Yeah, it hit 37C here yesterday - I spent the day down around Sydney harbour and Manly, doing some caches along the shore at Curl Curl, but even right on the water's edge it was almost unbearably hot.

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1 minute ago, barefootjeff said:

 

Maybe everyone who was interested in the Sand Island ones did them at the pirate event in 2017. Yeah, it hit 37C here yesterday - I spent the day down around Sydney harbour and Manly, doing some caches along the shore at Curl Curl, but even right on the water's edge it was almost unbearably hot.

You could well be right, that thought had crossed my mind.

Maybe there are too many interesting micros in Sydney for anyone to drive 2 hours up the freeway to spend a pleasant day on this beautiful uncrowded lake which is about 2.5 times the size of Sydney Harbour.

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31 minutes ago, colleda said:

Maybe there are too many interesting micros in Sydney for anyone to drive 2 hours up the freeway to spend a pleasant day on this beautiful uncrowded lake which is about 2.5 times the size of Sydney Harbour.

 

It seems there are only one or two cachers in Sydney willing to drive an hour north to the Central Coast to do any of the caches here. About the only other out-of-town visitors we get are people staying here over the school holidays and usually they have small kids so it's only the lower terrain ones that see those.

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13 hours ago, colleda said:

Maybe there are too many interesting micros in Sydney for anyone to drive 2 hours up the freeway to spend a pleasant day on this beautiful uncrowded lake which is about 2.5 times the size of Sydney Harbour.

 

I'd make the drive, if it's any consolation, especially if it would include free use of a kayak!

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On 10/26/2019 at 10:14 AM, colleda said:

My caches seem to have a slow and steady find rate except the Sand Island PT (Paddle Trail) each only getting a couple of finds year. 

 

We've been meaning to do them for years now - only last week we decided this summer was to be the summer of the sand islands....

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We're in a definite lull here - I have an email folder which has my local notifications dumped into it as they come in. It auto purges daily, deleting everything at 1 week old. It would always run around 800-1000 messages on any given day. At present it is under 300.....

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On 10/21/2019 at 8:50 AM, thebruce0 said:

What's generally considered "good puzzle design" is not "read my mind" style puzzling

 

That’s the basis of my frustration with puzzles. In the guidelines it states that everyone one needs to solve the puzzle should be on the geocache page. Reading the hiders mind would not be included in this. 

I tend to skip over most puzzles for that reason, other than ones that clearly state what is needed to solve them. 

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