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…and the weather is just about perfect for getting out and about in your neighborhood: exploring, sleuthing and clue solving.  Don’t miss out on the IDEAL time of the year to enjoy the warm, dry days of early-fall while building team rapport and seeing the sights during your Dr. Clue treasure hunt. As Mr. Spock on Star Trek might say, “It’s the logical thing to do!”


Dave Blum

Editor, Dr. Clue Newsletter


Dr. Clue News: 

New Dr. Clue “Community Service” Teambuilding Activity:

Backpacks for Vets


Thousands of men and women who served our country return from service in need of supportive services to transition from combat to community.   Especially during the colder months, homeless vets often find themselves missing essential goods and materials that will help them survive another winter on the streets, including gloves, socks, blankets, etc.   In this innovative program (Great For the Holidays!), you’ll work together as a team to assemble backpacks for veterans-in-need, building your own team while providing a homeless vet with much-needed goods, clothing, materials, etc.

Key Activities:


You will work together in a team of 4-6 people, solving a variety of our favorite brain- busting puzzles, codes, and trivia quizzes.  Each puzzle indicates a good/item to be included in a homeless vet’s backpack.  A debrief (where the results are shared) completes the event, followed by the presentation of all assembled backpacks to a local representative of a veteran relief program – (ie. Swords to Plowshares) including members of the client population whenever possible!


What’s In It For You?:

A chance to:

  • Meet your end-of-year social responsibility goals while…
  • Giving back to a VERY needy population while…
  • Fostering and deepening team relationships!

For more information plus a price quote, drop us a line at!

(Mention this Dr. Clue newsletter for a 10% discount on your first program, if booked by October 13th)


Cold Calling
I’m preparing for my big, fall business development push and was hoping you could all coach me.  Please do write in with your answers to the following three questions:

1) In your experience, what are the worst practices of cold callers?
2) What are the best practices you’ve experienced — ie., what do good cold callers do to make you more receptive to their message?
3) When is the best/worst time of the week/day for you to be contacted by a cold caller?

(Send me a response and I’ll put your name in a drawing for a Dr. Clue-brand item:   cap, mouse pad or t-shirt.  Entries due October 5th.)


In today’s issue, we’ve got 2 more tricky puzzles to solve, an icebreaker that is a world of fun, and an article that is sure to give you characteristic pleasure.  Enjoy!

Dave Blum
Editor, Dr. Clue Icebreaker Newsletter

Interested in joining Dr. Clue’s affiliate program and making some passive income from your website?  Click here!



Frame Games

Last issue, we gave you these two tricky puzzles to solve:rebus 1

rebus 2
There were a TON of responses — thanks to everyone who sent in a solution.  However, only ONE person had both correct answers, as follows:1. Role Reversal
2. Change is about to comeCongratulations to the inimitable Kevin Mauch (FAO2S–First and Only to Solve)!!
———————————-This Week’s Puzzles:

Last week’s puzzlers were definitely stumpers.  Let’s see who will be the “F2S” (first to solve) this week.



Email us your answers at:

Good luck!

And don’t forget to check out our DIY Treasure Hunt Store: the low-cost way to transform ANY area into a team-building adventure


This Week’s Icebreaker:

Map It

Purpose:  This is a simple activity with lots of possible variations to suit many games requirements.

Group Size:  For groups of any size, split the group into teams of up to five people. This also works as an individual exercise and for pairs and teams of three, although the team-building benefit increases with the size of the teams.

Set up:  Issue each team a sheet of flip-chart paper, a pencil and a marker pen.

Process:  Give each team five minutes to draw a map of a specific part of the world, for example: Europe, Africa, South America, the states of the USA, Asia, the counties of England, Scotland, Wales, etc. — anywhere that might relate to the group and its responsibilities or territory.

As you’ll discover, this challenging exercise is a ton of fun when teams display and compare their maps. Increase the degree of difficulty by asking for capital cities or county/state capital towns to be added, or populations estimates, etc. Reduce the level of difficulty by providing a list of countries or states or counties, towns, statistics, etc., which people can then work from. Orientate the exercise to your own organization or business by asking for information to be mapped relating to your key customers, branches, markets, etc., – anything that’s relevant to your purposes. As the facilitator, all you need is a copy of the correct version of each map, to issue to groups afterwards. The exercise is appropriate for people of all ages, including youngsters.

Debrief:  What was hard or easy about this exercise?  What did you learn about your knowledge of geography?  About your ability to draw?  How did this activity make your feel?   What did you learn about your teammates?

The Point:  This activity has both an artistic and a knowledge-based component; you have to both draw the map as well as fill it in correctly.  As such, there are opportunities to shine as well as chances for insecurity to well up inside of you, ie. Dare I expose my deficiencies (map drawing or geography knowledge) to my co-workers?  A strong team realizes that everyone can’t be good at all things.  Not only do you have to delegate appropriately, you also have to let go of your sense of perfectionism.  Whether you know the map 100% accurately or not doesn’t really matter.  The important thing is simply to get started, and then brainstorm as a team.
(Special thanks to

Dr. Clue offers 120+ treasure hunt locations. Check them all out at our
guided hunt locations page.


Featured Article
The Drama Triangle, Redux
By Dave Blum

From time time over the years, I’ve given periodic shout-outs to my friend up in British Columbia, Gary Harper, and his terrific little book:  The Joy of Conflict Resolution.  If you work in a team and wonder why ‘s always so much “drama” in your group, I highly recommend you give Gary’s book a look-see. 

Quick review:  Harper identifies three archetypes people tend to play out when involved in a conflict (or the “drama triangle”), namely:


  • The Villain
  • The Hero
  • The Victim

The villain is the nefarious bad guy; the hero is the action-oriented good guy, righting wrongs, saving the world; the victim is the innocent sufferer, acted upon negatively by the evil villain.


What’s significant is that each archetype believes that they have GOOD INTENTIONS.   The villain generally thinks she’s helping the world in some way, and that she’s just misunderstood.  The hero tends to feel that by stopping the villain, he is demonstrating his devotion to the common good. And the victim also feels she has the best of intentions, foiled once again by that self-serving villain.


So, all three characters believe they have positive intentions. What makes the “conflict triangle” so dramatic is that all three characters consistently fail to share their intentions with each other or seek mutual solutions.  In short, they ACT OUT rather than talk or discuss.  The victim tries to find someone to help her slay the villain.  The hero asserts himself forcefully for the  victim’s benefit. And the villain fights back against the hero, often becoming the victim herself when the hero (inevitably) crosses the line and behaves over-aggressively himself.


At home, at work (in the office or out on scavenger hunt), I believe it would behoove us all — when involved in a conflict — to stop and ask ourselves these six questions:


1) What role might I be playing?  Am I acting out the victim, seeking aid to my cause?  Am I playing the aggressive hero?  Or might I be perceived as the egotistical villain?


2) How am I labeling the other people involved in the drama?


3) What positive intentions might the other characters believe they have?


4) Even if I disagree with the others, can I at least recognize and affirm their positive intentions?


5) Can I then communicate to each person the impact of their actions (no matter how positive the intention)?


6) And finally, can we brainstorm mutually beneficial solutions, where everyone’s needs get met and we can escape the triangle completely?


When you take the time to acknowledge someone’s positive intentions, you keep them in the dialogue.  People always feel safer when they know you don’t see them as the villain. Okay, sure, their well-intended actions may have backfired.  But at least they started from a positive place.  And that acknowledgment often makes all the difference.

As always, thank you for being a part of the Dr. Clue Community!Dave Blum, Editor, The Dr. Clue Team building Newsletter & the Friday Icebreaker

Feel free to contact us 510-528-0428
or email Dave personally at