FAQ: The Mastermind HUnt: SaN francisco


Is this the same hunt as the June 1st hunt in Sacramento? Can I play in both?  Locations and location-based answers will vary between the two hunts, but the puzzles will be the same. If you are planning to play in Sacramento, please do not register for the San Francisco hunt. 

How hard are these clues? Are there any wacky physical challenges?  Clues will be challenging, but solvable by normal humans, and come in a variety of difficulty levels.  Communication between team mates is the key. Our hunts generally do not include any physical challenges, but there will be a fair amount of walking (see below). If this is the first time you will be playing in one of our hunts, we suggest you register for the Regular Division.

Try out this sample clue from our 2015 San Francisco hunt.

How much walking will there be?  Quite a bit.  You may walk between 2.5 to 4+  miles, depending on the route you plan, and whether you do any backtracking.  This year’s hunt will be in the South of Market area, so there will be some moderate hills, but nothing too steep.  Sturdy, comfortable footwear is recommended.  Finally, it's also a good idea to bring water and snacks, and dress for the weather.

Do I need to be an expert on San Francisco to win?  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 San Francisco.

What should I bring?  Your wits, creativity and a spirit of adventure. Sturdy, comfortable footwear.  A mobile interned device like a smartphone or tablet will be of help.  Water and snacks are a good idea, as are pens or pencils, a highlighter to mark locations on your map, and one or more clipboards or other hard writing surfaces.  Remember to dress for the weather, as you will be outdoors for most, if not all of the hunt.

Can we use a smart phone or other mobile internet device?  Yes it is required since the hunt will be running in part on the ClueKeeper app. We encourage you to refrain from using electronic devices to look up answers unless there is a part of the question that contains "common" knowledge you and your team are unaware of.  (Occasionally this happens to all of us.)  However, it is against the rules to use the internet to get a final answer to a clue without actually visiting the clue location.  This is an exercise of both mind and body.  We strive to write clues that require being present, but occasionally one might think something could be solved without going to a location.  If the above confuses you in any way, here are a couple of guidelines:

If anything you are doing makes you think, "Am I cheating?", it probably is.  If anything makes you think, "Is this a really clever loophole?", it's probably cheating.  Don't do it.

Can we do the hunt on bikes?  No. 

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.

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

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

How do we win?  The first team at the endpoint before the 5:30 p.m. cut off time with the greatest number of correctly solved clues wins, but really, you're having fun puzzling with friends - everyone wins

What's in it for me?  What, you mean besides having a super-cool, unique bonding experience with your friends, four hours of adventure, and epic stories to tell for the next year?  We'll probably have some prizes for top finishers, plus we give away passes to our upcoming events for certain clues.
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RULES FAQ (for a complete list of rules, click here)

Can I use a bicycle or a car to get around?  No.  With the exception of those who have a physical limitation and require assisted transport to get around (wheelchairs, etc.), teams must stay on foot.   

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 win?  Not necessarily.  If no one team solves all of the clues, then the team that solves the most clues correctly wins.  It may be that the winning team solves only a majority of the clues, but it is likely that a team will complete all of the clues.

Is there a prize for the winning team?  There will be awards for the First, Second, and Third place team, but the hunt is really more about the experience and the bragging rights. 

Is there a prize for the Best Team Name?  Yes!  Impress us with your wit, cleverness or ability to create a terrible pun.  Use the theme of the hunt to inspire your team name!
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How much are tickets?  The hunt costs $20.00 per player, on-line in advance. 

Should I buy a ticket in advance?  Yes.  You'll save money! (see above).  Our on-line ticketing service will email 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?  We prefer you purchase tickets online in advance. However there will be a limited number of tickets available on a cash-only basis on the day of the hunt. Day-of-hunt tickets are $30.00. 

What does a purchase get me?  Your printed receipt reserves a spot in the hunt, and a clue packet including a detailed map for each paid player.  You will take your receipt to Will Call to receive your clue packet or packets.

If I buy a spot for the hunt and cannot attend, what happens?  Your purchase is non-refundable, as it serves as a place holder for you to participate in the hunt.  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.  Or, you can donate your spot back to the event.

When will I receive my ticket?  You will be able to print your receipt at the time of purchase.  Bring your printed receipt with you the day of the 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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