Pablo's Armchair Treasure Hunt

Armchair Treasure Hunt 1993

Title: Armchair Treasure Hunt 1993
Setter: Steve Hames
Themes: The London Underground

Steve Hames writes...

Some Notes on the Hunt

Being a glutton for punishment, I thought that I could make a better stab on the ATH second time around. Again, I had the basic ideas early. London Underground was a fairly obvious thing to me as I had done a Christmas quiz the year before on a client site; they had put in an excellent little story line with blank spaces to be filled in with the names of tube stations. This formed the basis for the idea - a tour around the Tube with the treasure hidden near one particular station. There are 12 different lines and 12 pages was the usual number for printing in Dialogica. Although I know that Paul hates this traditionalism, many other people like it and it made the printing / distribution far simpler. This was in the days before the internet.

Two other sub-themes were then thought of.

The first was the idea of a song called "We didn't light the fire" by Billy Joel, which had a string of events from the end of WWII in order - these could replace the tube station lines and give the basis for a code - fairly straightforward.

The second was that I was convinced (from an analysis of the number of entries in previous years) that fewer people were entering and that very few indeed actually went out searching for the box. I was determined to get lots of people wandering around the tube network and finding the treasure, by making it pretty simple to find. However, I knew that the real quiz freaks wouldn't be satisfied with this, and I also wanted to draw people further in to a multi-layered quiz. Hiding two treasure boxes within 50 yards of each other, with the second being more difficult to find was the obvious answer.

In the end, I think that I succeeded with getting people interested; we had more entries that year than in any other that I can remember, and many from people who had looked at the quiz and said "all too difficult for me, I can't be bothered". A bit of success and they all started to enjoy the quiz. 35 people / teams found the first treasure and about 15 the second. I was pleased, but again exhausted by the effort needed to produce and publish the thing.