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Joined: 03 Aug 2006
Posts: 1527
Location: San Diego, California

PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 4:19 pm    Post subject: Puzzle Caches

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This will be an upcoming topic. Post any thoughts, links, resources, stories, ETC! right here.

What are some of your favorite puzzle caches you've found / created?

What strategies do you use to solve puzzle caches?

Do you like puzzle caches?

... etc.
Have you found it yet?

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Joined: 14 Aug 2006
Posts: 4
Location: Fountain Valley, CA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 7:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Puzzle Caches

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Sonny wrote:
What are some of your favorite puzzle caches you've found / created?

I like puzzle caches. They add an extra challenge.

By FAR my two most favorite puzzle caches are:

  1. Wishbringer - The Magick Stone of Dreams by snapplez (GCHNZ7)
  2. the washi by snapplez (GCM6DF)

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Joined: 04 Aug 2006
Posts: 4
Location: The "North Country" of New York

PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 3:14 pm    Post subject:

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There is one "monster multi" here in the Adirondack Mountains of New York.
It's like a cross between geocaching - the game of "Clue" - and CSI.
It is called "Adirondack Murder Mystery"
"Geocaching... A Satellite-Guided Obsession"

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Joined: 08 Aug 2006
Posts: 16
Location: Bay Area

PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 4:17 pm    Post subject:

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From the GBA (Geocachers of the Bay Area). Thanks to Nazgul!


OK, here's my draft of the FAQ. Please give feedback.

I debated adding a list of "local cachers who make good puzzles and are willing to help you with your puzzle cache" but opted to omit it.

I was going to add a point about different tastes and preferences but I couldn't comeup with something that was genuinely useful and not totally obvious.


GBA Puzzle (mystery) cache FAQ

Version 1.0

Contributors: Workerofwood, Marky, Team Nazgul, budd-rdc, fizzymagic, boulter, escooby, TPS, TeamJiffy, BuckyD, Mauison, Cat&Bird, kablooey, mini cacher, kealia, Rogue Ramblers, The Rat, Sgt Stitches

Compiled by Team Nazgul (so blame him for any complaints you have)

1. Purpose and introduction
2. Definition
3. Advice for making a good puzzle
4. Avoiding common pitfalls
5. Additional information

1. Purpose and introduction

Puzzle caches are perhaps the most difficult caches to create, particularly high-quality ones. This FAQ has been created to hopefully provide some guidance and insight for local geocachers who are thinking about putting out a puzzle cache of their own. Much of the information here is necessarily subjective and there are almost always exceptions to the guidance.

Puzzle caches come in many varieties and difficulty levels. Just about any level of difficulty is acceptable, but consider your desired audience and the experience you wish to deliver with your puzzle. The more challenging you make your puzzle, the fewer people will be willing to take up that challenge.

If you’re creating an extremely difficult puzzle that requires an advanced understanding of quantum mechanics and hours of complex mathematics, you really should have a prominent statement to that effect in the cache description.

Above all, remember that you are providing something that is intended to be fun for people who attempt to solve your puzzle. Delight your audience, educate them, challenge them, make them smile or laugh, whatever… Ideally, you should strive to provide them with the best experience you can reasonably manage.

2. Definition

(From the geocaching.com site:)
“Mystery or Puzzle Caches
The “catch-all” of cache types, this form of cache often involves complicated puzzles that you will first need to solve in order to determine the coordinates. The information needed to solve the puzzle must be available to the general caching community and should be solvable from the information provided on the cache listing. The only commonality of this cache type is that the coordinates listed are not of the actual cache location but a general reference point, such as a nearby parking location. Unless a good reason otherwise can be provided, the posted coordinates should be no more than 1-2 miles away from the true cache location. This allows the cache to show up on the proper vicinity searches and to keep the mileage of Travel Bugs that find their way into the cache reasonably correct.”

3. Advice for making a good puzzle

- Your puzzle cache, by definition, will not be at the posted coordinates (see section 2.) It is considered polite to post something to that effect in the cache description, and this is most commonly done at the very top. You don’t necessarily have to give an approximate distance to the actual cache but again it’s considered helpful and polite to do so. A typical starting comment for a puzzle cache would be “The cache is not located at the posted coordinates. It is, however, within two miles of them.”

- People should have a fighting chance to solve your puzzle. No one enjoys a riddle with no answer, or an impossible challenge, regardless of the intended difficulty level of the puzzle.

- Take your time when creating your puzzle! Well thought-out puzzles that are crafted with care really do reflect the effort, and geocachers both recognize and appreciate those efforts.

- While not strictly necessary, a perfect puzzle includes an interesting location and cache. Interesting does not necessarily mean difficult.

- If at all possible, run it past people you know to get constructive feedback and to verify that your puzzle has been constructed correctly. Pay particular attention to any required math or other detail work and make sure you have it right. Try to put yourself in the solver’s shoes as well.

- Provide good hints. This can sometimes be very difficult, but do your best. Avoid outright spoilers. If information is required to solve the puzzle, it should be included in the description, not the hints.

- Generally, people prefer puzzles where all information required to solve the puzzle is located on the cache page, with minimal or no need to use external sources such as Google.

- Puzzles should generally not require contact with the cache owner. If there are a lot of logs for a puzzle indicating that the finder feels that they never would have solved the puzzle without help from the owner, the puzzle is likely not constructed as well as it could be.

- Speaking of which, checksums are almost always a good idea and they’re appreciated as a way to save time and effort by preventing geocachers from going out to look for something in the wrong place.

- Most people enjoy learning something from a puzzle. If you can teach or show them something, they’ll appreciate it.

4. Avoiding common pitfalls

- Try to be logical. Tread carefully where intuitive leaps are required.

- Look at how other puzzle caches are set up. Many use established techniques and construction. Be very cautious if you’re trying to do something very different.

- If you’re new to geocaching and/or puzzle caches, you are more likely to unintentionally create a bad puzzle. If you want to create one, don’t let that alone stop you! But again, do tread carefully. Don’t be shy about asking for advice from your fellow geocachers.

- Be careful with your sources. If your puzzle requires that people look up U.S. Presidents, or Popes, or something like that, make sure your answers are correct. Be aware that sometimes people may try to look up information on the internet and get incorrect answers. It may be appropriate to provide a link to a trusted source or some other way of verifying answers.

- Be consistent. You generally don’t want to have something decode as “twentyone” in one place and “twenty one” in another.

- Beware and avoid ambiguity.

- Be aware of the “noise level” of your puzzle. Don’t create a page full of vast amounts of information and possibilities with no way of narrowing things down.

- Minimize or avoid tedious work. Tedium is not fun.

5. Additional information

- This FAQ began as a thread in the GBA forum. You may want to read the thread to get a better idea of the various opinions and viewpoints in the words of the original posters: http://thegba.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=240

- The GBA website also has a section where you can find bookmark lists of local cachers’ favorite geocaching, including puzzles. It’s a great resource for identifying and locating popular puzzles in the Bay Area and beyond. http://thegba.net/community/favorites.php

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Joined: 13 Aug 2006
Posts: 21
Location: From NS, Living in Alberta

PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 6:28 pm    Post subject:

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I've only made one puzzle cache so far and it's a Night cache as well. Check it out

- The Lost Souls of West Chezzetcook - http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=961eee2f-4d16-4205-8956-ecb5ab4f8bae

As for my Favorites, a local cacher (Islander1988) makes some DAMN good puzzles!

Here's one of his, I still haven't figured it out yet...


There are lot's of things to consider when thinking about what makes a good puzzle cache, but it come down to what people like. I've seen a lot of caches that require you to solve a suduko first at home to get the co-ordinates. Some people don't like the "at home" part, but to me it's all the same.

Here's another great cache by Halifax cachers Cacheman&Geogirl that involves a little more reseach, unless you know Semaphore.


X ALWAYS Marks the spot, and that spot happens to be you're Cache!

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Joined: 16 Aug 2006
Posts: 404
Location: Canonsburg, PA

PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 5:43 pm    Post subject:

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It's funny...we never intended all (except 1) of our hides to be puzzles, but somehow that's what happened. Usually, our hides revolve around a theme (desserts, Clue, etc). Our latest, Smaug, is a dragon cache which required the cacher to decode some "text" and answer some questions to solve for the coords.

We like solving them as much as hiding them (maybe more).

White Noise was one of our favorite puzzle cache finds

Another favorite was Riddle's Revenge, mainly because the container at the 1st stage is so cool (ammo box with a series of switches in it...solve the 10 puzzles to determine the switches to turn)

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Joined: 04 Aug 2006
Posts: 150
Location: Sutton, MA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 4:11 pm    Post subject:

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This one was really fun:

Whitin 'Tree' Park (GCVF7A)
Always hit my target.

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Joined: 16 Aug 2006
Posts: 404
Location: Canonsburg, PA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2006 2:33 pm    Post subject:

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I was checking out the iTrax & FoxTail profile, and noticed that they have a Clue cache. We do to, but we did ours a little different (http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=b3f04571-debc-42cd-b456-18c2f4c4774c). Basically, Mr. Body's cache was stolen, and you have to interview the suspects (each at a different stage) to determine the culprit. Instead of rooms, we have cache types, and intead of weapons, we have caching tools. We made a checklist, and you cache it just like you play the game. A small calculation after visiting the suspects will yield the final coords. We made up a story around it, and each stage actually has part of the story (from the perspective of the suspect being interviewed). We had a lot of fun making this one!

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Joined: 11 Sep 2006
Posts: 88
Location: Pincourt, Quebec

PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 8:55 am    Post subject: Puzzle Caches

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Hello! PengoMommy here: We love puzzle caches. Most of our recent cache hides have been puzzle caches. We have included a link to check your final cache coordinates before heading out to find the cache in some. We have tried to create ones that are informative and fun to do. They are all sovable with google and aren't that difficult.
Here are waypoint to our puzzle caches:
GCY463 -still available as a PAT if anyone nearby to this cache is interested....seems to be not a lot of geocachers in Cornwall. Sad

Geo! Geo! Geo!
Cache! Cache! Cache!
Oh Where, where, where?
Is the Stash, Stash, Stash!

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Joined: 02 Oct 2006
Posts: 94

PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 5:28 pm    Post subject:

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I have done a few puzzle caches over my caching time. A couple of my favorites include the SSIM ( Scruffster SKunk is Missing) caches (GCQR2F) , where web research and field research grow more important as you go from cache 1-5, to 6-10. Alas, I have only completed up to number 5 right now.

I have a couple of other local favourites, but the above is perhaps the best set of puzzles I have done so far.

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Joined: 07 Aug 2006
Posts: 728
Location: Salt Lake City, UT

PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 5:36 pm    Post subject:

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I've only found one Puzzle Cache, and I've placed one.

Found: A Mile of Numbers (GCN8GN)

Hidden: Multi-Puzzle Cache Challenge (MPCC) #1 (GCYPHD)

The one I found was interesting, because you had to walk around a track and gather clues. One person messed up on the adding and sat down about 2 feet from where the cache was!

The one I've hidden isn't even approved yet, but it's almost done. (Just waiting for those Nano containers from eBay...) It requires cachers to solve 2 puzzles, both very hard, and visit a total of 5 caches, most of them hard, and the last one being a Nano hidden in a place that's hard not to be seen as doing something weird. Wink A fairly tough Puzzle cache that should take at least a few days to get a find on. It's the first in a series.

GCF SLC FTW! Very Happy

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Joined: 17 Aug 2006
Posts: 166
Location: Corvallis, OR

PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 8:38 pm    Post subject: The puzzle cache phenomenon

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It's interesting to watch the progression of puzzle caches in a geographical area. Usually, they aren't popular until the area is pretty saturated with other types of caches. At that point, in an effort to do something different, a clever cache puts out the first puzzle cache in the area. Some of the local cachers take up that challenge and either enjoy it, or not. If the enjoy it, they are likely to create their own puzzle cache. This is also a way of seeking revenge on the earlier puzzle cache creators and the puzzles keep getting more and more difficult.

Some areas seem to eventually collect so many puzzle caches that it is difficult to visit them with expectations of actually finding caches since so many caches are puzzles. You need to have been looking weeks ahead of your visit a few puzzles that you can solve in order to find caches when you get to town.

I really like puzzle caches, but in a way they can make it difficult to cache in some areas. On the other hand, some areas are so saturated with LPC's (Sonny's favorites) that it's hard to find a regular size cache. I guess it just means you need to be flexible when visiting new areas.

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Joined: 09 Aug 2006
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 8:36 pm    Post subject:

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We consider ourselves fortunate (most of the time) for residing near some puzzle centers (southern California). Here's a list of some puzzles we've enjoyed solving/finding:

Cigam Finds The Da Vinci Codes by cigam_mai (GCK8WM)
This Cache's Puzzle Is Perfect by DopeyDuck (GCX12E)
Price Check by cache_in_pocket (GCVV58)* (didn't find it yet)
The Artist's Secret by Mary Magdalene's Negro Baby (GCKBWM)
Pure Logic by cache_in_pocket (GCVPJZ)
MC Skills by cache_in_pocket (GCWRPY)
Cache Invaders by BarbiQ62 (GCWG5V)
Punched Tape by cache_in_pocket (GCVZFY)
We got just what you needed by wllmrml (GCX4RN)
OINAP Reconsidered by KidBox (GCWXZG)
The Amazing Race by DopeyDuck (GCW4DQ)
Mr. Braxton’s Ostentatious Adventure by tsche (GCKBC3)

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Joined: 08 Aug 2006
Posts: 1407
Location: Ontario, CA

PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 11:33 pm    Post subject:

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I love puzzle caches. One of my favorite puzzles is called Pandora's Box (GCHW1H). It took us over 3 months and around 400 miles total driving all over the place to get 1 find.

I have gotten the nickname The Puzzle Master. Since I have found around 222 or so puzzles or ? caches.

I know there are other puzzle masters out there. I even have gotten some FTS-First to solve logs in other states. I wish I had a plane I could fly out and get a real FTF but with the price of jet fuel. Smile

The thing about puzzles is you can really over think a simple puzzle and go off in the wrong direction when there is a real easy answer.

I get e-mails all the time asking if I can beta test a new puzzle or e-mail asking if I have see a certain puzzle and if I have any clue about it.

There are a lot of really good puzzle people in San Deigo and one that is in New Jersey who is amazing.

The more puzzles that you do the easier new one are but not all the time. But some ciphers you can just look at and say yeah that is a Ceaser Ship or a Enigma Code.

Last edited by pacholik on Mon Oct 16, 2006 2:58 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Joined: 16 Oct 2006
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 2:44 pm    Post subject:

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I placed a puzzle cache that I am particulary proud of.
Tennessee Treasures - GCYCR6. Take a look at it and see if you can coax the coords out of the puzzle.

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