Planning and participating in a scavenger hunt.
April 13, 2005 6:58 PM   Subscribe

Today I thought of staging a team scavenger hunt among our friends at the end of school in June. The idea was mostly mine, and as such, I'm the most likely planner and organizer for the whole activity. I'm perfectly up to the challenge, but the problem is I'd also like to participate in the hunt. I've been racking my brain trying to come up with a way, possibly involving another person(s) also participating in the hunt, which would allow me to plan and organize the event (taking creating care of clues and/or placing specific objects, etc) and also participate on a team without creating an unfair advantage. Anyone have an idea on how to accomplish this, or if it's even possible?

I'm thinking getting someone to do all the planning and organizing without wanting to participate would be hard, which is why I'm asking this question. Should I just settle for trying to outsource the work to someone else or not participating?
posted by thebabelfish to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total)
Well if the items were mostly things that required "getting" instead of finding, you wouldn't have too much of an advantage. I don't think you should do any "placing".

My frosh week scavenger hunt list included things like: a cop, an ambulance, a firetruck, a priest, a horse, a television news crew, transfers from the two subway stations that are farthest apart timestamped within an hour of each other....These are things that you couldn't exactly get or store ahead of time and even arranging to have them ahead of time would be damned hard, basically the challenge isn't where to find them, but getting them to the central collection spot. Fill the list with stuff like that and I don't think anyone will mind your being on one of the teams.
posted by duck at 7:07 PM on April 13, 2005

Two people (Alice and Bob) are responsible for creating sets of clues independently (clue list A and clue list B, respectively). There are two teams, and each team is divided into two groups--the first group on each team gets a copy of list A and the second group on each team gets a copy of list B. Alice is assigned to Team 1 in its B group, and Bob is assigned to Team 2 in its A group. Groups must work independently, and the team score is the sum of its group scores.
posted by Galvatron at 7:15 PM on April 13, 2005

Or just ask the two teams to create two separate lists (your parameters) and then exchange lists with the other team. Just find your parallel individual (willing to do some prep and grunt work), place that person on your opposing team, and you're all set.
posted by Miko at 7:31 PM on April 13, 2005

Having the teams exchange lists doesn't guard against one list being substantially harder than another. I think Galvatron's idea is better.

Another modification: have each participant be responsible for one clue (either naming an object to be "gotten" or actually placing the object and coming up with clues, etc.) and then recuse themselves from that part of the hunt. You would be responsible for setting things up, collating the clues, and so forth, but could also take part.
posted by googly at 7:40 PM on April 13, 2005

Your participation can take the form of "judging" the items collected and basically being the revered leader. Make some of the invents be about staging silliness for your amusement or finding items that you really want (like toys from your childhood, favorite hard-to-find books) and you'll have a blast.
posted by mai at 7:43 PM on April 13, 2005

Everyone participating brings an idea for two items. Give them easy, medium, and hard suggestions ahead of time. When the event comes all of them go in one hat and teams alternate picking items until you have the number you want for a master list that both teams will use. Both teams write down the items on the list and off they go.
posted by ..ooOOoo....ooOOoo.. at 7:45 PM on April 13, 2005

i'm with ooOOoo.

I think it's not fair if you plan and participate too. Unless you let the whole group decide on the list of things, with you just being part of the group. Each person/team has to give one thing for the list, and you compile the list that day, together.
posted by amberglow at 9:52 PM on April 13, 2005

There will likely be need for arbitration later on in the hunt, so it may be tricky to play and be unbiased at the same time.

I used to run games of Killer back in highschool and though I longed to play too (and would force others to run it so I could at times), there was just too much to do to keep it all above board.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:15 AM on April 14, 2005

I've participated in a couple of scavenger hunts that required polaroid pictures (or digital, I suppose these days) of the things. For example, at a bachelorette party - take this old bridesmaid dress and take a picture of your team with someone wearing it. Two points if it's a man. Take a picture of three of your team members in a dumpster. In matching pjs. In a graveyard where the initials of the deceased is A.B.

These can't really be planned, so maybe it would work?
posted by dpx.mfx at 7:16 AM on April 14, 2005

I think dpx.mfx has the right idea, and I'm planning exactly that for a bachlorette party in August. There's no way I'm going to excuse myself from all the fun! If you're still concerned about bias, pick a partner to design the list with, and then split up so you're each on a different team (so both sides will get the advantage of having a designer on their team).

Another fun game that doesn't allow for preparation: give each team a cotton ball. Set them loose to acquire the coolest stuff they can find....using the cotton ball to trade (no purchases allowed). So they knock on someone's door, and that person is willing to trade 12 Q-tips for the cotton ball. The next person the team finds is willing to trade 6 plastic cups for the Q-tips. The next person is willing to trade an old cd for the cups. Etc, etc, etc. We once ended up with almost a whole house worth of furnishings this way, including a couch. One friend claimed he ended up with a car through this game. (YMMV.) Have fun!
posted by equipoise at 8:06 AM on April 14, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for all the suggestions!

I think I'll try doing the "get a partner, build a list, and then split" idea rather than placing specific objects.
posted by thebabelfish at 5:17 AM on April 16, 2005

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