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Long distances between ALC stages


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A new trend seems to have emerged recently for ALC. Some owners have placed their 5 stages hundreds of kilometers/miles away from each other, sometimes even in different countries. What is the intention for that? Should the players use fake GPS and Street View to solve the tasks and answer the questions? Doesn't that violate any rules of the game?

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Or some AL owners think, that if each location counts as a separate cache (as indicated by one "find point" per location), then they can just as well be far apart from each other, just like separate geocaches of any other type.

 

To be honest, I appreciate every effort to build ALs which stand out from the usual routine ("Have 5 quick points within less than an hour, for visiting 5 locations which often have geocaches nearby anyway") ;) .

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By "trend", do you mean there are many ALs like that in your area? If it was just one AL, or maybe two, then, OK, it's just people playing around with stretching the genre, and we'll see how that pans out. If it seems like many ALs are going that way, I suggest talking to some of the owners to see why convinced them it was a good idea. Did they enjoy doing existing ALs like that themselves? Has anyone completed any of these?

 

The idea of exploring the idea of spreading an AL over a long distance doesn't bother me conceptually, but, in practice, it doesn't really work because of how the app is organized. To find any stage in an AL, I have to start by finding the AL's primary location on the map. I open then AL, and only then do I see the stages. If I actually remember that there's a stage where I am, opening the app is no help unless I can remember where the primary stage is.

 

That makes it basically impossible to do a widespread AL piecemeal, so, as far as I can see, the only practical way to do the ALs you're talking about is to start the AL at it's starting point, and then, having done stage one, drive the hundreds of miles to stage two as the next thing you do. Even that doesn't really work, at least in my experience: by the time you got to stage 2, the app will have forgotten what you're doing, so you're still going to have to reload it and scroll around the map until you find the original location to restart the adventure.

 

There's only one AL in my area remotely like that, and it's only spread over 20 miles or so. From time to time, I realize I'm near some of the stages, but I've never bothered to try and do any of them because it's not worth the effort.

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I am member of a geocaching telegram group where other members were discussing this new "trend" only recently.

 

I couldn't imagine why owners would have to create such an ALC until exactly one of those was released in my area (Central Germany) a few days ago. The first stage is 35 km away from me, the next one is located 200 km north. One is 300 km further west, one is in the Netherlands and one on a tiny island in the ocean near Montenegro! I asked the owner what his intention is and whether players would have to travel to all of these places. His answer was: "You don't have to. Nobody forces you."

 

I don't understand the owner's intention or the point of ALCs like this. In my opinion, it is impossible to complete them without fake GPS.

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32 minutes ago, werla said:

In my opinion, it is impossible to complete them without fake GPS.

 

Why would that be impossible?  Are people not allowed or rarely allowed to visit the island?  I would hope that an AL Owner checks stages of an AL just as a Cache Owner should for a Multi, logs or not.  Especially, the waypoints must be places that at least the CO visits regularly... or how would someone know the waypoint is still viable?  Even a bare spot of earth can drastically change over time.

 

There are Multis similar to that.  Maybe not with an island layover.  But points that require hours of driving.  The cache description mentions this.  I never attempted even the one that interests me.  It's not what I'd say is impossible, but that's not my thing.  Maybe someday... if friends are loading the van for a special Multi... maybe...

 

The problem I had with ALs that have waypoints too far to walk is, Google Maps not knowing how to route to a waypoint that will be "off-road" on arrival, AND not having Waze (or whatever App that CAN route to anywhere) as a selection, AND the AL App not showing waypoint coordinates.  I have to GUESS where the icon is, and then GUESS where that point is in Waze with its different map labels.  I had FIVE Apps open just to do one AL with somewhat distant waypoints, never mind the AL Bonus Cache!

 

Anyway, I think it's not impossible, but it is inconvenient... or annoying...

 

That's why I haven't made an AL.  I don't want to "walk one cache-distance, done".  I don't want to "go to one end of the country, then the other"...  "then to an island in Europe".  There must be a fun way to plan an AL, between the two extremes.

 

But when I first started Geocaching, I dearly wanted to place a cache on Attu, the tree-less island of ice at the tip of the Aleutian chain.  There were expensive tours by boat (every 2 years or so).  There was a remote manned Coast Guard station.  And a Coast Guard transport plane embedded in a mountainside, a reminder of how hazardous this place is.  A relative was stationed on Attu at the time.  Anyway, I couldn't check on it, ever.  "It's impossible".  B)

 

 

Edited by kunarion
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My AL is somewhere between the standard city walking tour and the aforementioned widely spaced locations. Mine is a 10 mile long drive through local history on a windy country road and I make that clear in the description. It features a drive through beautiful country with stops in historic and little known scenic spots. I wanted it to feel like an actual 'adventure'. But I get complaints that it is too long or the road is too windy, especially when compared to the 'fast five' ALs nearby.

 

If AL COs are expanding their ideas to include more distant and 'adventurous' adventures, I guess that's a good thing. Spreading them out over long distances may be the AL equivalent to the CO who loves to make impossibly hard puzzle caches that almost no one can solve.  Some variety is certainly needed in the game. Not everything should be an urban walking tour and an easy +5.

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I am member of a geocaching telegram group where other members were discussing this new "trend" only recently.

 

I couldn't imagine why owners would have to create such an ALC until exactly one of those was released in my area (Central Germany) a few days ago. The first stage is 35 km away from me, the next one is located 200 km north. One is 300 km further west, one is in the Netherlands and one on a tiny island in the ocean near Montenegro! I asked the owner what his intention is and whether players would have to travel to all of these places. His answer was: "You don't have to. Nobody forces you."

 

I don't understand the owner's intention or the point of ALCs like this. In my opinion, it is impossible to complete them without fake GPS.

If I would be you I would report that adventure to HQ for being against the guideline that says they are free to play. Requiring a plane isn't what I consider free.

Adventures are free to play

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There's one I did last year that's a driving tour of Lake Macquarie, starting at sea caves near the lake's mouth and traversing its northern shore past sculptures, a model railway, a mountain top and finally a World War 2 bunker on the western shore. The drive would have been about 80km and took me half a day to complete, with some of the waypoints requiring substantial hiking from the nearest parking. That's certainly one I enjoyed and one I'll remember.

 

My own two are longish hikes. The first one (Wreck of the Maitland) is a 5km loop hike through a national park, with an elevation drop of 160 metres from the parking area down to the remains of the shipwreck at sea level. It's had 8 completions in the 7 months it's been live and has an average rating of 5.0. The second one (Broken Bay Sands) is a 3.7km walk along the waterfront, although it's possible to drive to within a couple of hundred metres of each of the waypoints, and has had 20 completions in 6 months with an average rating of 4.9.

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I've also played ALCs like the one you described. I have no problem with distances of 20 to 30 km. But the type of ALC, as I described above, is somewhat different. Its stations are located in different countries with distances of  hundreds of kilometers. One is 1,700 kilometers away. In the first days after publish already 8 players finished this ALC (during the pandemic and travel restrictions!), some of which wrote about "good teamwork". I contacted one player and asked how he did it: He frankly admitted that he had solved the ALC in "home office".

 

And that's exactly what I meant.

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10 hours ago, werla said:

I've also played ALCs like the one you described. I have no problem with distances of 20 to 30 km. But the type of ALC, as I described above, is somewhat different. Its stations are located in different countries with distances of  hundreds of kilometers. One is 1,700 kilometers away. In the first days after publish already 8 players finished this ALC (during the pandemic and travel restrictions!), some of which wrote about "good teamwork". I contacted one player and asked how he did it: He frankly admitted that he had solved the ALC in "home office".

 

And that's exactly what I meant.

There are so many red flags with that AL that it should be deleted by Groundspeak. Encouraging players to cheat.

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2 hours ago, Lynx Humble said:

There are so many red flags with that AL that it should be deleted by Groundspeak. Encouraging players to cheat.

 

OK, cheating is not something nice, but let me ask you, what difference does it make to you if someone is solving ALs in "home office"? Do you face any disadvantages, is there any shortfall for you, do you get anything less?  What will you gain if GS is deleting ALs or players you don't know and have never met?

 

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4 hours ago, Lynx Humble said:

There are so many red flags with that AL that it should be deleted by Groundspeak. Encouraging players to cheat.

 

I don't see it as the owner's fault if cachers cheat. So in my eye if the "(non-)finders" cheat and Groundspeak deletes the AL (and not only the bad logs!) it would be unfair to the owner.

With real caches the owner can delete bogus logs (and the guidelines tell him to do so!) but I have heard/read that AL owners can't delete any bad logs!?

 

So in the end it is - as always?! - a problem with missing functionality: owners should be able to delete logs that are obviously false logs. If they could do so but wouldn't do it then it would be something different and in such a case a retraction of the AL via Groundspeak might be a solution (after the CO has been warned to delete those logs).

 

Jochen

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3 hours ago, Mausebiber said:

 

OK, cheating is not something nice, but let me ask you, what difference does it make to you if someone is solving ALs in "home office"? Do you face any disadvantages, is there any shortfall for you, do you get anything less?  What will you gain if GS is deleting ALs or players you don't know and have never met?

 

 

I might be old fashioned, but I see integrity in the game as an important facet and widespread cheating becomes a stain on everyone. In this case it would appear, from what's been said in this thread, that this particular AL is designed to be completed by armchair logging using location-spoofing apps, which I don't think is in the spirit of the game.

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12 hours ago, frostengel said:

 

I don't see it as the owner's fault if cachers cheat.

My impression is rather that the owner is cheating. I still can't imagine that GS intends ALCs to be like that. But as there is no review of ALCs, owners can, of course, do whatever they like. 

 

Well then. Using fake GPS is not an option for me. As a consequence, I will ignore that kind of ALC completely.

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11 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

 

I might be old fashioned, but I see integrity in the game as an important facet and widespread cheating becomes a stain on everyone. In this case it would appear, from what's been said in this thread, that this particular AL is designed to be completed by armchair logging using location-spoofing apps, which I don't think is in the spirit of the game.

Thank you. This is exactly what I feel. And if that's old-fashioned, then I'm happy to be that way.:)

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On 4/15/2021 at 2:49 PM, G0ldNugget said:

My AL is somewhere between the standard city walking tour and the aforementioned widely spaced locations. Mine is a 10 mile long drive through local history on a windy country road and I make that clear in the description. It features a drive through beautiful country with stops in historic and little known scenic spots. I wanted it to feel like an actual 'adventure'. But I get complaints that it is too long or the road is too windy, especially when compared to the 'fast five' ALs nearby.

 

If AL COs are expanding their ideas to include more distant and 'adventurous' adventures, I guess that's a good thing. Spreading them out over long distances may be the AL equivalent to the CO who loves to make impossibly hard puzzle caches that almost no one can solve.  Some variety is certainly needed in the game. Not everything should be an urban walking tour and an easy +5.

I completely agree, @G0ldNugget!

 

My one (so far) AL is like this also - about a 10 mile loop along country roads through wine country.  And I, too, get complaints that it's too spread out, too much driving. I also get logs that folks like it and enjoy the drive! There's a good variety around me, quick 5 finds, as well as some longer ones, and a Lincoln Highway with 10 stops spread over a few miles.  There's room in the game for all types, I feel.  I'd like to see some different ones, just to try them.  And as with geocaches, and different types, you don't have to do them all!

 

I still have an adventure credit to use - and I'm trying to come up with something different for this area, a puzzle or sequential mystery to solve, or gadgets at each location to puzzle out.  With the deadline extended indefinitely, I now have time (with no pressure) to get creative!

Edited by CAVinoGal
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