FAQ: ONE City one book 2013

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What is One City One Book?  One City One Book: San Francisco Reads is an annual citywide literary event that encourages members of the San Francisco community to read the same book at the same time and then discuss is in book groups and at events through the City.  For more information visit http://sfpl.org/onecityonebook.

Will I need to have read Cory Doctorow's Little Brother?  No. Having read the book in advance of the hunt is not necessary, but we do encourage you to read it. Those of you who have, will enjoy and notice familiar places and themes in the clues. You can find copies of the book at SFPL and free downloads of the book here.

Where does the hunt begin and end?  The hunt starts at the SF Main Library, on the Larkin Street steps. The endpoint for the hunt is athletics field at Mission High School, on Church Street, near 18th.

How hard are these clues?  Clues will be challenging, but solvable by normal humans, and come in a variety of difficulty levels. Communication between team mates is the key. Clues may involve wordplay, anagrams, simple math and codebreaking, visual puzzles, or other challenges, and are usually more difficult for one person to solve on their own.

I hear these puzzles will be pretty tough.  How challenging is it?  The clues can be challenging, but not impossible.  We want you to be able to solve them.  The actual clues will range from "My three-year-old nephew knows that!" to "Oww! My Brain!"  We do our best to create a wide variety of clues, some of which may be harder for some and easier for others.

How much walking will there be?  Quite a bit.  Much of the hunt will take place in and around the SF Main Library, and then out to the Mission District.  How much walking you actually do depends on the route you plan, but you may walk two to three miles.  Getting to the Mission can be by any form of transport you wish.  Comfortable footwear is recommended.

Do I need to be an expert on San Francisco to do well?  Not really.  It does help to know the area, but we do our best to design the clues so that everyone is on an even playing field.  Your ability to think outside of the box, follow directions well, and make use of the knowledge and skills of all team members is more important than how well you know the city.

What should I bring?  Your wits, creativity and a spirit of adventure, and your best walking shoes.  Water and snacks are a good idea, as are pens or pencils, a highlighter to mark locations on your map, and a clipboard or other hard writing surface.  Remember to dress for the weather, as you will be outdoors for most, if not all of the hunt.

What if it rains?  While unlikely to rain in September, it's not unheard of.  The hunt runs rain or shine.  If you're prepared for rain, it can be even more fun!

Can we use a smart phone or other mobile internet device?  Yes. In fact, you will need one equipped with a QR reader.  However, it is against the rules and spirit of the game to use the internet to find a final answer to any clue without visiting its location.

Can we do the hunt on bikes?  Sure.  We prefer if all teams remain on foot except when going to the Mission (in which case MUNI and BART are great options), but you may use your bicycles.

Do I have to play on a team?  Yes. One of the best parts of a treasure hunt is discovering the knowledge and abilities that each member of the team brings to the event. That said, a team can be as small as two people, or as large as eight. We've found that the optimum team size is 4-5.

Can I show up without a team? Yes. There will be a place set aside for those who do not have teams, where you may meet other players and form teams.

Is the hunt okay for kids? 
Absolutely.  We recommend the hunt for kids age 11 and older.  Kids must be accompanied by an adult.

How do we win? 
Winning is not the focus of this event.  Participating in the challenge of solving the puzzles and having a great time out with your team is the goal.  The object is to get the correct solution and arrive at the end location before time is called. There will be a prize drawing at the endpoint for those teams who finish by the 5:30 deadline with all correct answers.

What's in it for me?  What, you mean besides having a super-cool, unique bonding experience with your friends, over two hours of adventure, stories to tell about your experience, and the warm feeling that comes from giving to a good cause?  Well, we'll probably have a raffle of something drawn from all the correct responses.
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Rules FAQ

For a list of rules, click here

Can my team split up?  No. Teams must stay together at all times.

Can I use a bicycle or a car to get around?  Sure, though we encourage you to use public transportation.  However, teams must stay together at all times and may not split up.

Can I call someone to get an answer? 
No.  All team members must be physically present during the hunt.

Can I use the bookstore or ask people along the way? 
Definitely.  You are encouraged to use resources that exist independently of the treasure hunt, such as bookstores, the library, store vendors, etc. to assist you.

What if someone wants to run ahead? 
It would be against the rules, as everyone on your team must stay together.  Also, it lessens the fun for all involved, for there are interesting landmarks, objects, actors, etc. that everyone ought to have the opportunity to enjoy.  Part of the enjoyment is to experience all of these things together.

What if someone gets lost? 
That person can rejoin your team later, but cannot play on his/her own.

What if someone on my team decides or needs to leave during the hunt? 
No problem.  Sometimes things occur where someone can only experience part of the hunt.  Once that person leaves he/she cannot continue to assist you in going to clue locations.

Does a team have to solve all the clues to complete the hunt? 
No.  We will designate a final endpoint for the hunt. If you and your team find yourselves stuck, you may come back in for a recap of the clues.

Is there a prize for the Winning Team?  At the end of the hunt, there will be a raffle drawn from those teams who have finished with a correct answer.  The hunt is more about the experience.

Is there a prize for the Best Team Name?  Yes. Those teams signing up on-line in advance are eligible for our favorite team name contest.  We love puns and clever names.  Those themed on Cory Doctorow's Little Brother will get special consideration!

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Ticketing FAQ


How much are tickets?  $0. That's right it's free!  The scavenger hunt is entirely sponsored by the San Francisco Public Library.  We encourage you to register on-line early, as there will be a limited number of participants.
Note: there will be no on-line ticketing after noon on Friday, September 13th.


Should I buy a ticket in advance?  Yes.  It's the only way to register for the event.  Our on-line ticketing service will e-mail a receipt, which you must present at the will call table the morning of the hunt to receive your clues.

If I don’t buy a spot in advance, can I still show up? 
No.  The hunt has a limited number of participants, so you are advised to register your team in advance. 

What does pre-registering get me? 
While it is a free event, your printed receipt reserves a spot in the hunt.  Every team will receive a clue packet including a detailed map.  You will take your receipt to Will Call to receive your clue packet or packets.

If I reserve a spot for the hunt and cannot attend, what happens? 
If for some reason a member of your team cannot attend, you’re free to designate another player, but you must present your printed receipt in order to receive your clue packet or packets.

When will I receive my ticket?  You will be able to print your receipt at the time of online registration. 
Bring your printed receipt with you the day of the scavenger hunt.  All receipts will be checked off at the Will Call table for clue packets.

What if I lose my receipt? 
Don’t lose your receipt - you need it to get your clue packet or packets.
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