Skip to Content
Register · Login
About Theme

A Letterboxing Community

Search Edit Search

Read Thread: Let's talk about what makes a good clue - opinions please!

Re: Let's talk about what makes a good clue - opinions please!
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #939485 by StasiaBoo
Dec 24, 2016 5:56am
Board
if your using natural objects like;trees, stumps, and logs, over time can be obliterated by nature,

Hey, I hid a box under a corner of a 10-ton boulder -- and the boulder disappeared!

I also hid a box near an old steam locomotive that had been on static display forever, there were no RR tracks within miles any more, and the steam locomotive disappeared!

SWMBO says I'm changing the world. I plant a box, and the vicinity gets all dug up and rearranged -- no matter what it is.
Re: Let's talk about what makes a good clue - opinions please!
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #939485 by StasiaBoo
Dec 24, 2016 7:11am
Board
You never know what the park people will do.

I went after a series of boxes just 3 months after it was planted. The clues said to follow a trail to where it changed from paved to gravel and look for the downed tree and then some other things for the first box. The paved trail kept going on until I realized that I had gotten to a landmark for the 3rd box. Retraced my steps for quite a bit to where I could see that the sides of the paving transitioned from a little gravel and no gravel; and there was no downed tree but there was several newly cut logs down the hill to the side that I saw only because I had found the place where the transition had been. 3 months and the terrain had significantly changed.

Also I went to a park where there were several boxes down different colored trails. When i got there the trail names had changed names (except for one) and two simply were gone (that is, they were not on the new park maps at the entrance nor were the old trail heads marked). Since one was still the same I was able to guess what the other names might had been and was able to find a few of the boxes. However, since the clues started with "Find the trail head..." I couldn't even begin to find a couple of the trails nor the boxes they had down along them.

The funniest one was I went to a park, found the correct trail, got to the first box, started after the second and as I was going down the trail suddenly there was major construction. The trail simply didn't exist anymore. Trees had been removed in large areas, picnic area where being made, a road was being put in, the whole park was being redesigned at that point.
Re: Let's talk about what makes a good clue - opinions please!
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #939453 by DarkZen and Evil Cow Pie
Dec 24, 2016 7:19am
Board
That said, I live in an area that doesn't get a lot of traffic. I'm torn between giving enough info to easily find a box and making it still challenging.

I looked at some of your clues, DarkZen. They look like a nice mix of information about the area, a little guesswork, stories, and directions. :^)

If you live in an area that doesn't get a lot of traffic, there's only so much you can do to get finders. One of those things might be to host a small, informal event where you hide a few boxes, all of which involve using a compass. You could then show people how to use a compass (including the one on their phone) to find a box. It's worth a shot.

One thing I realized a while ago is that the boxes that get the most finders are the ones that involve the least amount of effort for the finder. So a drive-by box located behind a mall, with clues that basically tell someone to get out of their car and walk a few steps to the box, is going to get a lot more finders than a box that involves any thinking, walking, or driving out of the way. I prefer to plant (and find) boxes that involve hiking, so I've learned to accept that many of my favorite plants aren't going to be found very often. And that's okay, because I enjoyed planting them, and I know that the folks who look for those boxes will enjoy the hikes, too. :^)
Re: Let's talk about what makes a good clue - opinions please!
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #939453 by DarkZen and Evil Cow Pie
Dec 24, 2016 7:29am
Board
I think by now, you can tell that everyone has their own personal preferences as to how to write satisfying clues. I can tell you that I won't do mystery boxes that take me longer than an hour to figure out HOW to solve them. I use letterboxing as an incentive to get outside and walk, not sit inside for days figuring out how to solve a puzzle. That doesn't mean that I don't like any puzzles and the solutions don't have to take a couple of minutes to resolve, just that I don't want to spin my wheels trying to determine the thought process behind them. A lot of my boxes are puzzle types and I willingly give the method to solve them to those who let me know that they have at least made an attempt to do so. I am the only letterboxer in my county and I don't want to discourage anyone who might show any interest in finding my boxes but I don't want them all to be simple instructions either. My favorite of my own "mystery" boxes is Bareback, the link takes you to the clue for the location of the box. Since I am pretty sure it is missing but, of course, can't verify it, I feel comfortable telling you that it was located at our local Godiva chocolate plant. I love this clue!

Try to develop your own style, it doesn't matter to most people, really. Most of us are just happy to have boxes to find.

Jan
Re: Let's talk about what makes a good clue - opinions please!
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #939497 by Janila
Dec 24, 2016 7:33am
Board
I think by now, you can tell that everyone has their own personal preferences as to how to write satisfying clues. I can tell you that I won't do mystery boxes that take me longer than an hour to figure out HOW to solve them. I use letterboxing as an incentive to get outside and walk, not sit inside for days figuring out how to solve a puzzle.

This is pretty much how I feel, too, whereas my boxing buddy is willing to spend a lot more time working on mysteries. Letterboxing offers something for everyone!
Re: Let's talk about what makes a good clue - opinions please!
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #939497 by Janila
Dec 24, 2016 8:09am
Board
Try to develop your own style, it doesn't matter to most people, really. Most of us are just happy to have boxes to find.

Ditto!! If a 5th Grader can figure it out that's all that really matters.
Re: Let's talk about what makes a good clue - opinions please!
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #939491 by Kirbert
Dec 24, 2016 8:26am
Board
Your box gets no finders. That's not encouraging anyone but me to learn.

Hey, that's why I started this thread... I'm trying to learn!
: )
Re: Let's talk about what makes a good clue - opinions please!
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #939496 by Rocklun
Dec 24, 2016 8:45am
Board
Thanks for the positive feedback, Rocklun, and for taking the time to evaluate some of my clues. I know there are many variables involved such as local customs, the least of which is individual preferences. As such this thread has been very helpful in putting my finger on the pulse of the community at large regarding clue writing.

And not to dwell on the subject, but in the matter of compass use... I'm an old backpacker [well, in my younger days ;) ] and using one is second nature to me. Also, the first few boxes I found required it. So I just thought it was part of it. It hey, I'm adaptable!
Re: Let's talk about what makes a good clue - opinions please!
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #939502 by DarkZen and Evil Cow Pie
Dec 24, 2016 8:54am
Board
And not to dwell on the subject, but in the matter of compass use... I'm an old backpacker [well, in my younger days ;) ] and using one is second nature to me. Also, the first few boxes I found required it. So I just thought it was part of it.

In my area (New England), a letterboxer who doesn't use a compass would be missing out on quite a few boxes. In fact, I'm not aware of anyone who's been boxing for more than a year or so who doesn't know how to use a compass. But maybe I'm making assumptions about people.

I'm going to start a thread to ask about compass use, because now I'm curious!
Re: Let's talk about what makes a good clue - opinions please!
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #939497 by Janila
Dec 24, 2016 9:07am
Board
My favorite of my own "mystery" boxes is "Bareback", the link takes you to the clue for the location of the box.

When clicking on the clue "The Bareback Box" up comes a 1967 Milton Berle youtube show with Peter and Gordon singing Lady Godiva (nice touch). An enticing clue written for a 60s mindset are right up my alley :)

Going to "View Map" and clicking on the lower left corner satellite earth map would be crucial for encouraging one to take the time to go looking for this box.

Question: Its status is marked as "unknown" and hasn't been found since 2013. Do you plan to carve another stamp this winter and plant a replacement box this spring? What should one do when you are the only Lboxer in your County?
Re: Let's talk about what makes a good clue - opinions please!
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #939505 by Frenchie
Dec 24, 2016 9:39am
Board
Do you plan to carve another stamp this winter

Nope.

What should one do when you are the only Lboxer in your County?

I wish I knew! We have had people come and go over the 13 years I have been boxing but no one has stayed active. We have had many boxers from other areas plant boxes in the parks we have here so it isn't my boxes that scare them off since there ARE other boxes. I will just keep planting and hope that someone new comes along.
Re: Let's talk about what makes a good clue - opinions please!
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #939461 by LROSEM
Dec 24, 2016 11:00am
Board
I like clues that make sense and tell you where to go. example: I plan to go to Wales someday. the place will be foreign and I will feel a little insecure poking around. I need clues that will let me find the box with out breaking any laws...just saying! cant tell you how many times I have felt like I'm breaking laws poking around in cemeteries looking for boxes that were hid in places they shouldn't have been. the clues need to fit the site. don't be coy. if I'm trying to be sneaky, I need to know where the box is already.
Re: Let's talk about what makes a good clue - opinions please!
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #939482 by Kirbert
Dec 24, 2016 11:05am
Board
and Kirbert I agree! what's wrong with newbies learning how to use a compass! especially when they work so well! much better than step counting! part of our hobby and the attraction is the whole orienteering aspect! :) I had to learn because of letterboxing! I'm proud now that I know how!
Re: Let's talk about what makes a good clue - opinions please!
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #939507 by Janila
Dec 24, 2016 11:11am
Board
I was that someone new and I have found several of Janila's boxes in many areas of PA. Her boxes are worth every step you take, hill you climb and clue you have to figure out. Her boxes are always fun and take you to places you have never been. Not to mention her carves are beautiful.
Re: Let's talk about what makes a good clue - opinions please!
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #939507 by Janila
Dec 24, 2016 6:50pm
Board
I have the same situation here...

:O)
Re: Let's talk about what makes a good clue - opinions please!
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #939493 by Kirbert
Dec 24, 2016 10:03pm
Board
Hey, I hid a box under a corner of a 10-ton boulder -- and the boulder disappeared!

I also hid a box near an old steam locomotive that had been on static display forever, there were no RR tracks within miles any more, and the steam locomotive disappeared!

Sounds like it's time for a David Copperfield tribute box!
Re: Let's talk about what makes a good clue - opinions please!
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #939497 by Janila
Dec 25, 2016 5:44am
Board
I won't do mystery boxes that take me longer than an hour to figure out HOW to solve them.

I'm with Janila on this one. I do not want to spend hours in front of a computer screen to solve a puzzle, solve the puzzle and then what you get are directions. Local boxers have heard my rant a zillion times, mostly on the trail as I slack box a puzzle they have spent hours solving.
Re: Let's talk about what makes a good clue - opinions please!
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #939545 by Mizscarlet
Dec 25, 2016 7:31am
Board
I'm with Janila on this one. I do not want to spend hours in front of a computer screen to solve a puzzle, solve the puzzle and then what you get are directions.

I'm one of the group that solved the Eevil box in Utah. I wasn't able to go find it (though I may go at some time), but it was very satisfying to take several hours myself to contribute to getting this box found. You don't need to solve the starting location to read the rest of the clue. Would these be considered directions?
Re: Let's talk about what makes a good clue - opinions please!
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #939493 by Kirbert
Dec 26, 2016 4:42am
Board
I wanted to add that, for the box mentioned, the clues referenced "...a mule and an Iron Horse". There was a petting zoo here, really just a fenced-in compound with some emus and a couple of mules that would shamelessly beg passersby for scraps of food. The fact that I referenced a mule in the clue was kinda funny since they move around, but they're always there. Then my @#$%$ locomotive goes away!

To be fair, the animals went away, too - but not far. They're in a new enclosure just down the road.
Re: Let's talk about what makes a good clue - opinions please!
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #939453 by DarkZen and Evil Cow Pie
Dec 26, 2016 6:19am
Board
what makes a good clue

A "Dingus", but even a "Dufus" can do it too!!! ;o)

Clues are like shoes. One size does NOT fit all, and most prefer different styles. Some people like plain shoes (simple), others like 'em ornate and fancy (complex)! Straight-forward "directional" clues will be easy for all, but can lack creativity and challenge. Some "mystery" clues might seem impossible to solve at first, but offer more satisfaction for those that find the solution. If your trying to please "the masses", you'll want a shoe that "most" would like. Finding a peaceful median is the trick, especially when a large event is involved. Sometimes "a little of each" is the best way to go! If you look at our planting clues, you will find a WIDE range of styles and "degree of difficulty". We try to make them ALL interesting, enjoyable and fun in a light-hearted way, so EVERYONE will have a most Grateful Day!!! ;o)

Pete
Re: Let's talk about what makes a good clue - opinions please!
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #939572 by The Merry Pranksters
Dec 26, 2016 2:26pm
Board
So, if we use the shoe analogy....

Easy directions are the flip flops and crocs of letterboxing clues.

Our master's clues are the high tech army boots of clues.

Just regular mystery boxes would be the trail runners or light hiking boots of clues.

Ue
Re: Let's talk about what makes a good clue - opinions please!
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #939581 by uevil
Dec 26, 2016 2:36pm
Board
So, if we use the shoe analogy....
Easy directions are the flip flops and crocs of letterboxing clues.
Our master's clues are the high tech army boots of clues.
Just regular mystery boxes would be the trail runners or light hiking boots of clues.

Then Dingus Dufus's would be stilettos?
Re: Let's talk about what makes a good clue - opinions please!
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #939513 by Sea Maid
Jan 24, 2017 11:11am
Board
We taught our girl scout orienteering and learned about letterboxing through scouts, so we put them hand in hand. The girls love it!