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I know that this isn't the best stack exchange site for this question but was the best I could think of, if you think there is a better one please move the question / notify me.

We are 2 friends who loves to play "treasure hunt" so each time we meet (once a week) we alternatively prepare a short treasure hunt game for the other one. These games are full of riddles about our common hobbies, past experiences, etc. and requires to move around to find clues hidden in the environment, convince other people to do certain actions without them knowing about the game etc. This game is played in the city or in a really really big shopping center.

Now, following the other one to see how he tries to solve the riddles / deal with people is half of the fun. The objective of the game is solving the riddles to finally find the place where the other guy was hidden so following the player isn't possible. How can I track the movements of the player to allow me to "participate" in the game without him knowing where I am?

Just asking him, "How did you solve this? What did you say to people X?" isn't very fun.

Edit:

The game is Max 2 hours long.

6

A couple of options work for what you're asking, however, depending on location, some may be easier to do than others. I'd successfully hidden in plain sight on many occasions, but only really have success using the "Blend In" method.

Central Clue Location:

An easy way to be able to observe all the puzzles is pick a central location for all the puzzles which has a position that would allow you to remain hidden. Those circular clothes racks at a shopping mall are good for this, as you can remain hidden and yet still able to see and hear around you. All the puzzle items would need to be in the area, but a well placed clothes rack will allow you to see/hear a great distance. Other options are available, with the key being that you need a hiding location near the final clues. *Side note: this would be better done at non-peak times, as someone hiding in a clothes rack might draw the wrong kind of attention.

Crowed Location/Blend In:

Now this method will require you practice this at times when you're not together. I'd suggest using a family member, which is something I have done in the past. Pick a busy location and time to play this game with your friend. (Think Black Friday Shopping Center) Bring a light jacket and turn it inside-out and tie it around your waist. Wear a baseball cap, but have it turned around. When the game starts, don the jacket after turning it right side in and turn your baseball cap forwards. You've successfully destroyed your friend's mental image of what you're wearing, but now you'll have to alter how you walk. Personally, I choose to take shorter more meandering strides as I'm a tall person. Hunching over can help with this. Since you're in a location with lots of distractions you'll be able to follow your friend from a slight distance. One thing to keep in mind is never make eye contact/look directly at your friend. A key to this is not to make "sudden" movements. Everything must be slow and deliberate. I've pickpocketed family members and planted notes doing this, even when they've been looking for me. I'm sure there are counter-terrorist tactic books that delve into this more.

The focal point of this method is to go with the flow of the crowd. Anything you do that is contrary to the crowd will single you out. If your friend veers off suddenly, don't immediately follow. Wait and move deliberately in his direction, but with a "target" of something different. You'd be surprised how easy it is to blend in with the "masses" and people will overlook you.

Constant Distraction:

Using the above method of blending in, you can take this one step further and get other people involved to allow you to stay extremely close to your friend. Sequester random strangers to ask your friend questions. A easy example is to tell a sales associate that your friend is wanting to look at a certain item. As your friend is distracted by the sales person, you will be able to observe them closely. A dangerous/risky example would be to tell security at the mall/location you are at, that your friend has been acting strangely. Don't mention that he is your friend. Now this comes with some risks, mainly that if you involve security, you might end up in hot water yourself, but might be worth it, depending on how badly you want to win. Any outside source of distraction to your friend's "search" for you, will allow you to be close by, without being seen. I'd combine this with changing your appearance slightly for best results.

Other Considerations:

For all these to work well, your best bet is to stay out of his/her line of sight at all times and when/if you're in their line of sight, blend in with your environment.

The same can be said if in the woods. However, in nature, one big difference is that there isn't as much movement in the woods. Movement should only be done when your friend isn't looking. Beyond that, remain still and out of line of sight. Avoid bright colors as well. In the city, you need to be moving, as people in public are typically moving at relatively the same speed.

  • Nice answer! I like these ideas and I will practice them to look natural. Also "sending people to the player" looks very funny if done the right way – Rocco Mancin Mar 30 '17 at 19:57
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Make the end objective not finding you, but some object. Then you can follow around and watch how the other guy solves the puzzle.

4

Assuming you're outdoors you could always use a drone to monitor the hunter by video. To capture the audio you could have the hunter carry a walkie-talkie with a constantly keyed microphone, or start a cellphone call and mute your end. Alternatively you could have the hunter carry a mounted GoPro, or similar camera, like a police body camera. Then you can watch the film afterward with your friend to talk about the hunt. I would think that the mounted camera would be intimidating for some people, so they might not want to interact with the chaser. Of course the camera could be a good hook for the hunter to explain the game and possibly draw people in so your mileage may vary. The drone would offer a unique vantage point and wouldn't be as likely to scare away people but it would limit the search area and require piloting skills. Either way if the videos are well done then you could upload them to YouTube, or even try to submit them to TV networks as a new type of game show. This is the reason why I think using some form of video is really the best option. Not only does it give you a way to experience the hunt, it also gives you the potential to turn your game into a bigger opportunity. At the very least this game has helped you gain and demonstrate some marketable skills.

Another option is to follow the hunter surreptitiously for the first part of the hunt. Basically you will be copying/practicing the techniques demonstrated in innumerable spy/action/etc movies where one character sneaks in the shadows behind the other. This works because you don't really need to be in your spot until the hunter is close to discovering you. Of course you'll miss out on the final puzzle(s) but you will add an extra layer to the game so being the hunted is more involved and exciting.

  • The idea about the body camera is nice, I will probably try it the next time if I can find one. We have tried to follow the player but with the difficulty to predict the player's movements it always ended up with the follower being discovered. – Rocco Mancin Mar 30 '17 at 19:15
  • @RoccoMancin I agree it is hard to follow someone close enough to hear what they are saying and also stay hidden for any period of time. As far as the body cam goes you could always tape a smart phone to your shirt front in lieu of a proper body camera. It will look ugly but it should work well enough to prove the concept. I'm not sure if a smart phone will take 2 hours of continuous video though so the hunter might need to check the phone periodically. – Erik Mar 30 '17 at 19:20
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A smartphone would solve this. Make a video call so that you can listen/watch their interactions. Of course you'll have to make sure they can't locate you by the surroundings in the video. As far as tracking location, you could use a real-time GPS tracker app.

  • 2
    The downside to video calls is that they tend to drain battery life :( If OP can handle that (maybe bring backup batteries?), most video call applications let you disable your own video and audio which would give you more secrecy. – user812786 Mar 29 '17 at 17:15
  • @Quinto It can be an idea but while the player is dealing/speaking with a person to complete a task he can't constantly hold the smartphone in the direction of the person as this can make the thing suspicious – Rocco Mancin Mar 30 '17 at 18:59

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