San Francisco Treasure Hunts

Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt FAQs

Q. WHAT IS THIS YEAR’S ANIMAL?

A. 2017 is the Year of the Rooster in the Chinese Zodiac calendar.

Q. HOW DO I GET TO THE MEETING SITE?
A. The Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center gym is located at 555 Chestnut St. between Mason and Powell Streets.

Taking public transit is an excellent idea. The following Muni lines stop nearby: 8 (1 and 1/2 block); 30 (1 and ½ blocks); F historic streetcar (4 and ½ blocks); 41 & 45 (4 and ½ blocks). 

If you must drive, the closest parking garages on Vallejo St. between Stockton and Post Streets, but they’re likely to fill up early because of the parade. 

Q. WHEN DOES THE HUNT BEGIN AND END?
A. Doors open and you can exchange tickets for hunt materials starting at 3:00 p.m.

At 3:45 p.m. we will start announcements and award prizes in the team name and costume contests.

The hunt will start at 4:00 p.m. and will end at 8:00 p.m., which is the deadline for submitting team answer sheets back at the Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center gym  If you return after 8:00 p.m., we'll accept your answer sheet, but you won't be eligible to win. 

The winners will be announced as soon as possible after 8:00 p.m. The clue locations and solutions will be posted on this website that evening. Team standings will be posted on the website several days later.

Q. DO I NEED TO BE FAMILIAR WITH SAN FRANCISCO TO PLAY?
A. No. Common sense, and the ability to work effectively as a team are more important. Clues often involve references to popular culture, the arts, science or history, and most of them can be solved through intelligent use of the map and street index that you will receive.

Q. WHAT SHOULD I BRING?
A. Comfortable footwear (there's a lot of walking involved); a pen or pencil;  a smart phone or tablet for help in solving clues; something to eat and drink during the hunt.

Strongly recommended: A clipboard for your answer sheets (9-1/2”x11”)

Q. I’M NOT VERY COMPETITIVE. WILL I STILL ENJOY THE HUNT?
A. Yes. The hunt is designed to be enjoyable no matter how competitive you are. You can participate at your own pace, racing from clue to clue or walking leisurely and stopping for snacks, drinks or espresso. Play for a couple of hours, then go and enjoy a leisurely dinner. It’s up to you.

TICKETS

Q.WHY SHOULD I BUY A TICKET IN ADVANCE?
A. The Hunt may sell out in advance. You can avoid disappointment by buying your ticket early.

Q. IF I DON'T BUY A TICKET IN ADVANCE, CAN I STILL SHOW UP?
A. Yes, if there are tickets available

Q. WHAT DOES A TICKET ENTITLE ME TO?
A. Your ticket for the Beginner’s, Regular, Thinks Faster Than Runs, or Master’s hunt reserves you a spot in that hunt, and a clue packet. It’s like having a guaranteed seat for a performance.

Q. IF I BUY A TICKET AND CANNOT ATTEND THE HUNT, WHAT HAPPENS?
A. Tickets are non-refundable. You're free to sell or give your ticket to someone else. Or you can donate the ticket back to the event.​

TEAMS AND DIVISIONS

Q. I WANT TO PLAY, BUT I DON'T HAVE A FULL TEAM.
A. The Treasure Hunt’s experienced and expert Team Formation Consultants will be on-station to help singletons and duos to form, or join, larger teams to maximize both fun and potential hunting success. Practically, that means there is a special area set aside at the meeting site for folks who want to link up with others to form teams. It will be marked with signs - FORM TEAMS HERE. It’s a great way to meet new people. We will try to facilitate everyone joining a team, and matching up people who have similar approaches to doing the hunt, from highly competitive to interested and laid-back.

Q. I HAVE FRIENDS WHO MIGHT WANT TO JOIN MY TEAM, BUT THEY'RE NOT SURE YET. WHAT ARE OUR OPTIONS?
A. You can purchase tickets for your friends, to guarantee them a place in the hunt. If they decide not to attend, you can sell the tickets to someone else on the day of the hunt. If they wait until the day of the hunt, tickets may not be available. They can check this website to check on ticket availability for the day of the hunt.

Q. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE BEGINNER’S, REGULAR, THINKS FASTER THAN WALKS AND MASTER’S HUNTS?

Beginner’s Hunt

The Beginner’s Hunt is best for first-time treasure hunters. It features less difficult clues leading to different locations than Regular and Master’s hunters. If you have won the Beginner’s Hunt, you must advance up to the Regular Hunt. If you solved all the clues in the Beginner’s Hunt, we urge you to register for the Regular Hunt.

Regular Hunt 

The Regular (intermediate difficulty) Hunt is good if you have done the Beginner’s Hunt before, are more familiar with the hunt area, or want a bit more of a challenge. Regular Hunt clues are somewhat more challenging than those in the Beginner’s Hunt. If you have won the Regular Hunt, you must advance up to the Master's Division.

Thinks Faster Than Runs Hunt

The Thinks Faster Than Runs Hunt features Regular (intermediate difficulty) Hunt clues, but teams in this category will be competing against one another in a smaller and flatter playing area rather than against all the Regular Hunt teams and will have fewer clues to solve. Separate prizes will be awarded to the top teams in this category.

Master’s Hunt

Master’s Hunt clues are more obscure and challenging, and require familiarity with the playing area. However, there is less competition in this category, which usually draws only a dozen teams.

Q. DOES A TEAM HAVE TO SOLVE ALL THE CLUES TO WIN?
A. No. If no one solves all the clues, then the first team turning in an answer sheet with the most correct answers wins.

Q. IS THE HUNT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?
A. Very much so, but only you can decide whether your youngsters will enjoy moving through some crowded areas. Kids have great fun, and are excellent at finding the tokens hidden at many of the sites; they often think to look places where adults would not.

RULES CLARIFICATION

Q. HOW MANY PEOPLE CAN I HAVE ON MY TEAM?
A. Four to nine players per team is the accepted range. Four to six is probably best. The larger the team, the more difficult it is to stay together. You must be within sight and earshot of your teammates at all times. This means that you cannot be spread out over a distance of more than thirty or forty feet.

Q. WHAT IF ONE PERSON ON MY TEAM RUNS AHEAD OF EVERYONE ELSE?
A. That is a violation of the rules. It also diminishes the fun of the hunt for the rest of the team. Everyone wants a chance to see specific objects or landmarks the clue referred to, and to search for the information required to answer the question posed in the clue. When one or two players run ahead and find this before the others arrive, it cheats folks of this sense of satisfaction. The "treasure" in this hunt is finding the unusual locations the clues lead to.

Q. CAN I CALL A FRIEND WHO IS AT HOME, AND ASK THEM TO DO RESEARCH TO HELP ME SOLVE A CLUE?
A. You can use resources which exist independently of the treasure hunt, such as bookstores, libraries, the internet, etc. You cannot arrange to have someone assist your team (by doing research, for instance) who is not physically present, because they would be functioning as a member of your team, and the team must stay together.

Q. CAN I USE A CELLULAR PHONE, LAPTOP COMPUTER, AND OTHER GADGETS?
A. Yes, you can use them to help with solving clues, but you cannot obtain the answer to the question posed in the clue without visiting the clue location. Some clues may require internet access to look up a business name.

Q. WHAT IF SOMEONE ON MY TEAM DECIDES TO LEAVE DURING THE HUNT?
A. That's fine. Once they leave, they cannot continue to assist you by working on clues or visiting clue sites.

Q. WHAT IF SOMEONE GETS LOST?
A. They can rejoin your team later, but they cannot play on their own.

Q. HOW DO THE TEAM NAMES WORK?
A. If you want to participate in the Team Name contests, you must submit your Team Names by 4:00 p.m. on February 8, 2017. Team names are submitted when you buy tickets on Eventbrite. If more than one team submits the same winning team name, first one submitted will win. 

PRIZES AND SCORES

Q. WHAT ARE THE PRIZES?
A. The first place teams in each division receive a bottle of champagne, a large box of gourmet chocolates and an award certificate. In the Beginner's, Regular and Master's Hunts, the second, and third place teams receive a bottle of champagne and a box of gourmet chocolates and an award certificate, and the fourth and fifth place teams each receive a bottle of champagne and an award certificate. See the Contests page for more information about awards for the cleverest team names and best costumes. We also award door prizes before the hunt begins.

Q. CAN WE FIND OUT HOW WE DID WHEN WE TURN IN OUR ANSWER SHEET?
A. Probably not. The winners will be announced as soon as possible after the 8:00pm deadline, once the answer sheets are tabulated (no recounts or resorting to the judiciary!). Scores will also be posted on this website, on the Contest Results pages.

For further questions, please email us at questions@sftreasurehunts.com

“I highly recommend San Francisco Treasure Hunts to any manager looking to bring their team together over an afternoon of puzzles & fun.”

Mark Provost, Salesforce
“Our team loved the hunt. I loved how (Jayson) Wechter mixes in history. He’s a really fascinating guy. Sort of part historian part tour guide, part facilitator.”

John Ghasghai, TiVo Inc.
“It worked just as well for the participants from across the country as it did for the natives.  A great team-building event!”

Eric Schmautz, Wells Fargo
“Our customized Angel Island hunt was intellectually & physically stimulating. We enjoyed rising to the challenges and would do it again. We all had a great time."

Sara Ruiz, Genentech, Inc.
SEE MORE TESTIMONIALS