Thursday, November 6, 2008 by Dave Blum

…Denver, in fact.

My task today was to playtest our two Denver treasure hunt locations:

1) Denver Museum of Nature and Science
2) Denver LoDo District

Playtesting is pretty different from scouting.  When scouting a new, potential treasure hunt location, I walk every street and alley of a prospective area, looking for interesting sites and sights to turn into treasure hunt clues.  My course tends to be random as I wander around, hoping that hidden treasures will sort of hit me not literally, of course).  Playtesting is much more intentional; my job is to walk the course of a pre-existing hunt, confirming that all the sites are:

1) still there
2) “uncorrupted”.

For you see, unlike scavenger hunts, clue locations do change in a “treasure hunt.”  For example, in the Science Museum, I was looking for a particular display in the Hall of Life.  Alas, that hall is either gone or renamed.  The location is ruined and hence the clue has to be discarded.  Same thing for the interesting plaque on the sky deck with the quote from Carl Sagan.  Oy–why can’t the curators let me know when they change their exhibits!  🙂

In LoDo, most everything was still there, thank goodness.  The plaque in the train station is still above the gumball machine. The old advertisement about rabbit skins is still in that brick little alley off Market Street.

Maintaining the veracity of a treasure hunt is challenging, but necessary.  When it comes to corporate team building activities, you have to make your game perfect!  Even the slightest ambiguity will send people on a wild goose chase, and then it’s your goose that’s cooked.