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How Hard Is Too Hard?


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So we're working on hiding our first cache, because we found The Perfect Spot . The hide itself is fairly easy, so we decided to make a puzzle. And while I look at it and think it's blindingly obvious (years of playing Myst...) with everything you need to solve it right there in front of you, my 'beta testers' are going numb in the grey matter trying to solve it.

 

So do people like puzzles that cause cerebral hemmoraghing? Should I tone it down? Run it by Jeremy and see if his brain explodes?

 

(As far as I can tell, the presentation is unique, too.)

Edited by EleriandBlade
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So we're working on hiding our first cache, because we found The Perfect Spot . The hide itself is fairly easy, so we decided to make a puzzle. And while I look at it and think it's blindingly obvious (years of playing Myst...) with everything you need to solve it right there in front of you, my 'beta testers' are going numb in the grey matter trying to solve it.

 

So do people like puzzles that cause cerebral hemmoraghing? Should I tone it down? Run it by Jeremy and see if his brain explodes?

I don't think there is a "too hard" given some of the insane cryptocyphers I've seen listed as caches. There are plenty of easy ones for people to do if they are so inclined. I'd make a note in the listing, though, that warns people they have a puzzle to solve.

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I simply cannot do puzzles . . . so keep in mind there are some people who will never have the pleasure of visiting your unique hiding spot . . . :unsure:

 

However, there are lots of people who thrive on difficult caches. We have some in the San Diego area that people spend days trying to solve.

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I simply cannot do puzzles . . . so keep in mind there are some people who will never have the pleasure of visiting your unique hiding spot . . . :unsure:

*nodnod* Pondered that for quite a while, but decided since a good portion of the ones nearby are on the easy end of the scale, it'd be fun to do something more challenging. (Unlike my old home, where most of the ones less than 5 miles from home were 3+ difficulty!)

 

We also picked up a whole bunch of cache-making supplies, so I'm sure they won't all be as brain blendering.

 

OH, and if you're not local to me (no head starts!), and you'd like to try this out and give me some cacher's insight, drop me a PM

Edited by EleriandBlade
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The first thing to consider is do you want people to find the cache. The harder it is the fewer the number of people that will/can actually find it. Secondly do this look at other caches in your area and see what they are like what are your audiance demographics like. Do people like long hikes, hard puzzle caches, lame micros etc..... But again do youwant poeple to find it????

cheers

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I don't think you can definitively say a cache is too hard unless it is out there for a while and nobody has found it - provided a good number of people attempted to find the cache.

 

If you make a puzzle or multi cache make sure you give the seekers fair warning over what is involved in getting to the cache. Otherwise you may find a angry mob of cachers complaining over their 10WP stage multicache that ends with a micro! :mad:

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My first two puzzle caches were found within a couple of hours of being approved. Not only that, but they were found by the same person (you know who you are ;) ). I figured it was time to "kick it up a notch".

 

Not long after, I woke from a dream (really!) and had an idea for a puzzle. A few weeks later, I had a 4/4 that's been unfound for more than two weeks now. I've even posted a couple of hints. The nice part about a hard-to-find cache is that they're low maintenance. :lol:

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This is just my personal feeling and preference, so take it for what it is. I'll probably never go after a puzzle cache. I'm not particularly fond of puzzles and I think that geocaching is most fun when it is at its purist -- follow the coordinates to a certain spot and then find a hidden object. I even avoid some otherwise interesting looking multis if I see line after line about finding this number and then adding it to that one and then locating this other piece of information... I don't like riddles either. But I realize that is my preference and not everyone else's, so I would say go ahead with it as there are probably many people who will enjoy it.

 

The only other thing I would say is that I'm always a bit disappointed when I see a complicated puzzle cache in an area I might otherwise like to visit if there were a regular cache there instead. I think that if an area is special in its own right then a regular cache is nice, while a puzzle cache is enough of an attraction that it may not need to be in the most fantastic area. But again, that may just be me.

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I've solved (or tried to solve) puzzles for caches I have no intention of visiting. Sometimes I'm bored, and I've read all the new forum posts I care to read, so I'll do a search for puzzle caches and work on them for a bit. Just another reason to love GC.com. :lol:

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The first thing to consider is do you want people to find the cache. The harder it is the fewer the number of people that will/can actually find it. Secondly do this look at other caches in your area and see what they are like what are your audiance demographics like. Do people like long hikes, hard puzzle caches, lame micros etc..... But again do youwant poeple to find it????

cheers

The first thing to consider is do you want people to find the cache.  The harder it is the fewer the number of people that will/can actually find it.

 

That can be a good thing. My most valuabe caches (both trade items and containers) are all puzzles. Yes this means they get visited less, but they stay in pristine condition. Because less people find them.

 

  Secondly do this look at other caches in your area and see what they are like what are your audiance demographics like.  Do people like long hikes, hard puzzle caches, lame micros etc..... But again do youwant poeple to find it????

 

I wouldn't want to emulate the other caches in the area. If the area in question was filled with nothing but lame micros (poor placement issues), why on earth would you want to copy them?

 

People approach me at event caches and tell me how much they love my puzzle caches. This tells me I'm doing something right.

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After the cache has some finds if the owner wants to he can create a cheater. For instance place a film canistor on the other side of town that has the final coords in it. Two things happen with this. Those who hate puzzles can get the final location with some extra work and those who solve the puzzle can get verification of their solution. Or the cache owner can give the solution via e-mail to cachers that he is convinced will never solve the puzzle.

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Hide 'em like you like to find 'em remains good advice!

 

I won't hunt them, but that's the beauty of the game - everyone gets to play it like they like it!

 

I do reiterate the comments above that call for you to up the difficulty rating and make it clear that it is a PITA cache on the cache page - this will prevent, to a degree, your getting flamed by folks that would otherwise be caught by surprise that it's a harder-than-normal cache.

 

And please remember that there are still many of us that follow waypoints on a GPS without access to the cache page - getting to some out-of-the-way place only to find that we can't do it without internet access and / or the cache page is frustrating! Using a cache-type icon other than traditional helps here.

 

Have fun!

Ed

 

PS: PITA - Anything that requires more tools, preparation or information than the starting coords and a GPS will likely be designated a PITA cache by a large percentage of geocachers!

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And please remember that there are still many of us that follow waypoints on a GPS without access to the cache page - getting to some out-of-the-way place only to find that we can't do it without internet access and / or the cache page is frustrating! Using a cache-type icon other than traditional helps here.

 

That is the fault of the finder, not the cache hider. If you cache blindly, that is a risk you are going to take.

 

I shouldn't have to hold geocachers hands so they can find my caches. I have warnings on my puzzle cache pages that clearly state the listed coordinates don't take you to the cache.

 

 

My advice for puzzle caches is to properly rate the difficulty and terrain rating. Be clear on your cache page that this cache is no "cakewalk."

Edited by Kit Fox
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That is the fault of the finder, not the cache hider. If you cache blindly, that is a risk you are going to take.

 

I shouldn't have to hold geocachers hands so they can find my caches. I have warnings on my puzzle cache pages that clearly state the listed coordinates don't take you to the cache.

 

 

My advice for puzzle caches is to properly rate the difficulty and terrain rating. Be clear on your cache page that this cache is no "cakewalk."

 

Interesting! Two sentences to argue against me, two sentences that support my assertions!

 

Are you sure you're thinking clearly here? Appears to me you just came down firmly on both sides! Are you a politician by chance? :lol:;)

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What I had so far is that the cache page would have:

 

-Starting coordinates for the nearest public parking, clearly marked as NOT THE CACHE.

 

-A brief intro to the puzzle.

 

-the puzzle itself.

 

-the usual encoded hints for both the puzzle and the cache.

 

So far I've had one person checking it out for me who's solved it, and said it was a very V8 sort of moment. So while the puzzle is *hard*, once you figure out what it means, it all falls into place :lol:

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And please remember that there are still many of us that follow waypoints on a GPS without access to the cache page - getting to some out-of-the-way place only to find that we can't do it without internet access and / or the cache page is frustrating! Using a cache-type icon other than traditional helps here.

 

That is the fault of the finder, not the cache hider. If you cache blindly, that is a risk you are going to take.

Not at all! A traditional cache MUST be at the supplied coordiantes. If you want them to solve a puzzle first, it's a mystery cache.

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Some people like the tough puzzles, others like the tough terrain, some like both. The tougher it is the fewer emails you’ll be getting.

 

Definitely run it by Jeremy first though. He still personally reviews every new cache in his spare time.

Edited by YouKnowMe
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I do reiterate the comments above that call for you to up the difficulty rating and make it clear that it is a PITA cache on the cache page - this will prevent, to a degree, your getting flamed by folks that would otherwise be caught by surprise that it's a harder-than-normal cache.

Does this make it clear enough that it's not going to be easy? :lol:

 

5stars.jpg

 

 

Granted it's been less than a week, but no one's solved this puzzle yet ;)

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this will be listed as a puzzle or mystery cache, not a traditional.

 

Part of the reason for the puzzle is otherwise the hide would be a 1/1, if that. Pretty muggle-proof, but easyeasy for a cacher. No oomph to it at all :lol: So all the challenge will be in the brain usage, and a quick grab once you've solved it. No having to trek through 50 feet of underbrush on a 50 ft incline to get the hide.

 

You could even save it once you've solved it, and make it a part of an afternoon grabbing some of the other easy ones in the area.

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Those of you who like puzzles might want to try this one . If you don't like a puzzle, stay away. I first came upon this without a clue, and had to slug away at it until I figured it out. Finding the cache was a piece of cake after working out the code. Even if you can't visit the cache, the puzzle might be fun.

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Well, the general comments are that this is hard, until you get the key, and then it's a 15 minute solve.

 

I was planning on having the key encrypted on the cache page, but would that defeat the purpose of making a hard puzzle?

You could hide the Key in the HTML source code, or create a smaller puzzle, in order to derive the key.

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