It seemed like it's been ages ago since I last clerked a treasure hunt, and I have almost forgotten how much fun it could be—until yesterday, when I clerked the Novice Hunt 3. When it was confirmed that the KK City Tourism Treasure Hunt was postponed to June, some friends requested me to organise a hunt as a replacement. Despite my initial reluctance, I eventually decided to do it anyway.
I'm known to be cryptic in my hunt clues, but for the Novice Hunt, I decided to be friendlier in my approach. I said friendlier—not necessarily easier! Of course there would be cryptic clues, but I made sure that there're many trivia type questions which required mainly googling exercise. That, hopefully, would give the new hunters fighting chances, though perhaps still not winning chances. The first thing I did was to come up with a plan on how best to set a hunt that's not impossibly tough for the new hunters, but at the same time not gonna be a stroll in the park for the regular teams. The answer came to me like lightning. The only way was to employ the power of psychology into the hunt.
The hunt should start with elementary hunt questions, i.e. those which the regular teams would most likely solve in a heartbeat. And when it's tougher, it shouldn't be very tough. Even in the Lintas Sq sector, I posed this question:
Q9) A 100, when done to a chair?
Which made some of the regular teams pause just for a while, but soon figured out the solution.
So most of the regular teams had a fairly pleasant ride during the earlier part of the hunt. But the dangerous thing about achieving a perfect score in the course of the hunt is that it will lead to greed. And greed is a terrible thing as we all know. I decided to throw in some tough questions in the Damai Ph 4 sector, which was about the midway point of the hunt. Many of the strong teams would want to try very hard to find the answers for the tough questions, even if at the cost of losing precious time. Having been able to score well up to that point had the effect on the stronger teams—they would want to keep the "clean" record going, and I thought they'd risk everything!
Of the 5 questions in Damai, I'd say 2 were tough; and 1 was tricky:
Q18) When I'm gone, Agent Harry remains.
Perhaps many of the teams spent a lot of time searching through the internet, trying to find out who Agent Harry might be, and then hope to solve the question from there.
Q20) Gotta make a move to its beginning.
And of course one of the tricky little questions which was somewhat mind-boggling until when suddenly some hunters saw the trick for what it's worth.
Q21) The main answer. What and where?
I'm not sure if it's because of lack of word power, or because of the fact that this answer was found in an unexpected location, though clearly visible from the car, but in the end, this turned out to be the question of the day!
As I said, I had deliberately set the trap, but I did not expect that it'd work to such an extent. I myself was there in Damai Ph 4, watching the hunters in action. And in the heat of the moment, driven by greed, pride, and perhaps stubbornness, most of them spent well over an hour for these 3 questions! The hunting strategy that defied logic and common sense! It was then that I knew they'd get into time trouble in the Donggongon sector, as I had set what I considered 1 more tough question there.
It is almost expected that after a succession of several tough questions, usually sooner or later, the easier ones would come. Immediately after the teams left Damai Ph4—and most of them still trying to recover from the unpleasant time-wasting experience—they moved to the nearby sector in Damai Ph1 where they had expected an easier question. And in fact, it was indeed an easy question:
Q23) Lancelot or Hang Tuah, for example, beats the king.
And the answer, or rather the decoy, was glaringly seen on a huge signboard.
Except that many of them failed to realise the significance of those words "beats the king", and therefore missed this intended answer, which was located almost next to the decoy!
The rest of the questions between Damai and Donggongon ranged from easy to average mind teasers and the strong teams covered the sectors fairly comfortably, with perhaps some stops here and there, but generally did quite well throughout.
But by the time they reached Donggongon, most of them were already in time trouble. Coupled with the fact that the Donggongon sector contained many, many signboards and the tricky nature of the questions, most of the teams crumbled like nobody's business:
Q31) Expelled from occupation, when done to EV.
It was also around then that I noticed teams were also rushing into the supermarket to secure their treasures. I was also there in the supermarket and was fairly amused to see many, many disappointed faces.
Beyond that Donggongon sector, most of the teams were not really hunting; they were merely passing through the remaining sectors, thus dropping most of the questions along the route—a sad but common outcome of an overzealous attitude of wanting too hard to find all the answers during the earlier part of the hunt, thus resulting in leaving no more time for the tail end of the hunt! It is quite funny that many of the questions dropped by the strong teams within the last few sectors were easy ones, which the new teams managed to solve!
As I had expected, some teams incurred the time penalty; one of them almost got disqualified. It's quite an instructive hunt to say the least, but I doubt that these teams will ever learn. I myself, when hunting, quite often still commit the crime of refusing to move on when the situation calls for it!
Some surprises of the day—Team Mung Cha Cha, which is almost always stuck at the fourth position, won the hunt convincingly, beating the favourite team, Cuba Tembak, with a 10-point margin. An even bigger surprise was that a new team, Winged Beaver, sneaked up the leader board to finish third, thus denying several regular teams which became victims of their dubious gameplan.
The top 5 teams of the day:
1) Ellen Yee, Shirley Lim, Mary Lokupi, Dr Liaw Yun Haw (84/100)
2) Alvin Wong, Audrey Chin, Susanna Sim, Julia Chan (74/100)
3) Gregory George, Dominic Lansing, Claire Fabian, Dinah Molijoh (73/100)
4) Jude R Ripin, Roland R Ripin, Maria D Micabalo, Loise A Prudente (66/100)
5) Johan Amilin, Siti Nurhanaa Abdullah, Johari Jan 65/100)
5) Johan Amilin, Siti Nurhanaa Abdullah, Johari Jan 65/100)