Monday, January 14, 2013

Munzee - 21st Century Scavenger Hunt

A few months back a friend of mine casually mentioned something about "Munzee hunting" in a Facebook post.  Since I'm interested in every kind of hunting, I just had to ask what Munzee hunting was all about.  My friend let me know that it was a scavenger hunt game, similar to geocaching, played through an app on your smart phone.  Instead of hiding a "cache" for the next hunter to find you hide a game piece with a QR code printed on it.

Once that game piece has been deployed it will show up on the game map for all the other players to view.  As a player the pieces that I haven't captured show up as Green balloons, and the pieces that I have captured show up as Red balloons.

As you can see from the screen shot of my cell phone there are plenty of pieces around, and a lot of places to visit.  Some of them are kind of silly.  Just yesterday I followed the map to a game piece on the back of a Handicapped Parking sign in a random parking lot of some shop in an industrial park.  Okay, so I didn't know the industrial park was quite that big, but I also didn't find anything geographically new or interesting. 

However, most of the pieces are typically placed in a location that is maybe a bit out of the way, or takes you to part of a park you hadn't visited before.  For example: Yesterday I was out for a drive with my youngest son, Aiden.  We ended up at Drake's Well Museum, partly because I hadn't been to Oil Creek State Park in years, and partly because I found two game pieces on the map.  I parked near the the first game piece and told Aiden, "We find stickers!"  He got excited and nearly leapt out of the Explorer.  We followed a bicycle trail and quickly found the first game piece on the back side of a guard rail near an old steel bridge.  Looking at the map there was a second piece within a reasonable walk, so we continued down the driveway.  Unfortunately the second piece couldn't be located.  And this happens.  We are talking about laminated pieces of paper stuck to metal, outdoors, so as weather is apt to do, pieces get worn away.  The great part about this game being driven by an app on your smart phone is I can add a "Journal Entry" that the piece may be missing.  The original player that deployed the piece will receive an e-mail, and that person can investigate it further. 

Since it is a game, their are points.  Points for putting pieces out.  Points for finding pieces.  Points for when people find your pieces.  As you earn points you increase in level, but more importantly you gain a great satisfaction to see your map turn from green to red!!

Reading along the website, there's even a business reward aspect that can be involved.  While I haven't seen this locally, a business can place a Munzee game piece on their door, and reward customers for every 3rd, 5th, etc... visit to their store.  Since I love exploring and finding new places I think this is a tremendously interesting way to drive customers to your business and reward their loyalty.  Like a Foursquare check in, with a real reason!

Looking at the map the trend seems to be more toward urban areas, and some rural areas slightly off the beaten path.  As the game grows I really hope to find more and more pieces popping up in secluded and more wooded areas.  Seeing a piece on part of the map that you don't immediately recognize would be tremendously exciting.  Who knows, perhaps that place will be your new favorite picnic area.

If you have a smart phone, and like getting out and finding new places, I would highly recommend downloading the app and locating a couple game pieces.  It's endlessly addicting!!

Happy Exploring
Scott M

1 comment:

  1. This sounds really fun, and I will definitely be trying this! Thanks!