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Treasure hunts are designed to entertain a group of people by presenting them with the challenge of finding a hidden treasure. The treasure hunt organisers will lead the participants to the treasure with a series of clues, designed to send them searching high and low until they reach the treasure. Clues in a treasure hunt are often confusing; the participants must be able to deduce the meaning and correctly follow the directions in order to find the next clue. For example, one clue in a treasure hunt may read: "Smiling faces all around, some look up, some look down. Waiting in the wings I see, Sharp black talons facing back at me." The player must try to decipher the meaning of this clue before he can move forward in the treasure hunt.
One way to understand a cryptic clue is to break it down, line by line. 'Smiling faces all around' could refer to an area with people, like a mall or a movie theatre. Follow through to the next part, 'some look up, some look down' and consider where a group of people would be looking up and down. The next line is a strong clue for the treasure hunter, as very few locations in town have what would be considered 'wings'. The museum, the library and city hall all have more than one section to the building. 'Sharp black talons' tells the hunters that they are looking for a large predator bird, which leads them directly to the statue of an eagle landing on the front lawn of the museum. Once there, the next clue is 'waiting in the wings'. This could mean in the eagle's wings, but then the talons would not be facing them. Following the line of site from the eagle's talons, the leftwing of the museum has a small alcove directly across, perfect for hiding yet another clue.
The hunters then decipher the clue in the alcove, which leads them to the park, then the marina, then to a specific yacht. The treasure is on the yacht in the form of a private dinner cruise available only to the first couple who arrives. Treasures in a staged treasure hunt can be anything from a tin of candy at a child's birthday party, to an expensive trip. The point of the treasure hunt is in the searching for, more than in finding, the treasure.
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