How to Write Good Clues for Treasure Hunts

It takes practice and work to be able to write good clues. A good treasure hunt is difficult enough to make you think and struggle a bit, without being too hard and causing the treasure hunters to struggle too much and give up. Remember a treasure hunt is all about the hunt. Yes, the treasure is nice, but the treasure hunts that everybody enjoy most are because of the hunt. Think about all the treasure hunting movies. If they just went straight to the treasure would it have been much fun. Not at all. If you want to give someone a prize, just give them the prize. If you want to create a treasure hunt, then focus on the hunt, don’t worry about the prize.


So now that we’ve discussed how important it is to have good, fun clues, let’s give you some tips on writing them. As mentioned before, pay close attention to the difficulty of the clues. Too easy and the hunt is no fun, but too hard and the hunt is no fun either. It sometimes becomes real easy to write clues that are too hard. What is often very obvious to you, because you know the location of the next clue or treasure is not always obvious to the treasure hunters. It will often make complete sense once you explain it, but they may have been looking at the clue in a totally different direction.

To rhyme or not to rhyme, that is the question. You don’t need to make your clues rhyme, but I have found that people really like the clues that rhyme. It makes them seem more “movie like” and just gives a fun edge to the clues.

Another tip to help when writing clues is to put clues in the clue. Capitalize certain words that they should focus on or use words with double meanings that could help them solve the clue. The best clues are often quite complex, not necessarily complex in their solution, but complex in the wording and how each word helps the treasure hunter solve the clue.

One last strategy I use when writing clues is I try to make them internet friendly. I learned this from watching National Treasure. I thought it was always so funny that when Ian only had part of the clue, they would type a few key words into a search and the answer would come up. A lot of times I will try to make a difficult clue search engine friendly, meaning if they type the right thing into a search engine, the answer may just turn up.