Monday, June 25, 2007

LB Levels of Difficulty

The group that met on Saturday felt that it might be helpful to new letterboxers if our clues included a level of difficulty. Folks could then pick a box and head out, knowing what challenges to expect. We thought that 3 levels would give some information without getting too complicated.

Easy Level: Short distance. Easy terrain. Paved or smooth trails. Short time commitment. Very kid-friendly. Simple ciphers and codes, or none at all.

Intermediate: Longer distances and time commitments. Some terrain challenges or bushwhacking. Trickier clues. Harder ciphers.

Experienced/Challenging: More terrain challenges. Longer hikes. Obscure clues. Brain-tweaking or multiple ciphers. Probably not suitable for young children or for newbies just wanting to test the LB waters.

Again, the idea was to develop these levels and use them in our box clues with a link to the blog to see the specific criteria of the levels. Any of you at the get-together, please add anything I might have forgotten. Everyone here, give us your input please.


Clyde Bentley said...

After thinking about it, I suggest four levels: Easy, Intermediate, Advanced and Extreme. Here is how I separate the top two:

You should know your letterboxing well and be ready to get a bit of a workout with this box. By definition, the clues should require real critical thinking and may require advance cipher decoding or compass navigation. The box may be hidden in a rugged area, but not so rugged as to require safety equipment, ropes or rock climbing gear. Fording moderate streams and climbing steep hills is OK, but no swimming or scrambling on all fours. Key phrase: That was a real challenge – but a lot of fun!

This is a box to be sought only after careful consideration and preparation. The only limits are those that might easily cause death or injury. Seekers may be required to climb rocks, swim, scuba dive, or climb trees. Advanced navigation may be required. Before placing an extreme box, note that you could be held liable for injuries even if the seeker reads the LBNA disclaimer. Use good sense and describe the challenge of the box in detail so seekers can properly equip and prepare themselves. Key phrase: Let’s leave this one to the Marines.

The key phrases I think about when for easy and intermediate are:
Easy: Don't make kids cry.
Intermediate: Let's enjoy an outing.

Fox-fyr said...

I don't think we currently have any boxes in the mid-Missouri area that I would label as "extreme." I also don't think I would ever place one, but I understand that other may wish to.

I would say that Lnd-Crzr's box "Missouri Hardest LB" in SW Missouri _might_ qualify for the extreme category simply because it requires a 14-mile hike which would definitely require advanced planning. Lnd-Crzr and A-history will have to weigh in on this one as they may be the only people who know exactly where the box is.

I like the key phrases.

AJMonkeyMan said...

I too like the way you use th ekey phrases i dont remember that at the meeting did you come up with that on y;our own. i think that we should put some of these discriptions he has posted into our clues so people will be for warned of the challenge that lies ahead

Perdu said...

Love the "Don't make kids cry"

That is a must have key phrase!

All the suggestions that have been made are great and I plan to incorporate them in the KC are.

Just had to comment on the kids crying...for some reason it made me chuckle.


Fox-fyr said...

What I am having trouble with is the difference between intermediate boxes and the next level up.

Sometimes you can have a tough clue but an extremely easy hike with easy terrain (such as Oracle or Ode to Charlotte or Home Tweet Home or Poison Ivy Nemesis).
Or you have have an easy clue with a hard hike. Perhaps if one factor is easy and the other is not, they would classify as intermediate and if both factors (clue and hike) are tough it would be considered advanced, experienced or challenging?

As far as wording, I think I prefer the terms challenging to the word experienced or advanced. Home Tweet Home has an encrypted clue without instructions on how to solve the encryption but Nugglebugs found it as their second box ever so you don't to be an experienced letterboxer to find it. I also wouldn't classify it as advanced because you can park your car within 30 feet of the box.

I would consider it challenging, however, because it's an urban box and requires lots of discretion to obtain it without anyone noticing.

I suppose for some boxes where the level of difficulty is ambiguous one could also separate the levels based on clue and terrain and hike length: i.s clue: challenging, moderate, easy
Hike length: long, moderate, short, drive-by
Terrain: easy, moderate, challenging

The difficult part is what is challenging to one person may be really easy for the next person. If you hate ciphers, even the simplest code may be challenging. Or if the clue is a riddle that refers to landmarks, it may be easy if you're familiar with the area and challenging if you have to do some research. Same if the clue has compass bearings.

Perhaps the easiest way to tell is to ask some people how they would classify specific boxes.
Again the key phrases really help.