CacheCrazy.Com: Brute Force Strength (Or Lack Thereof)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Brute Force Strength (Or Lack Thereof)

I try to cache by the rules.  When I say rules, I mean those unwritten, unofficial bylaws of the game such as a find not being an official smiley unless you sign the log.  Don't post spoiler pics on the cache description page.  Don't remove the container from it's location.  You get the idea.  I not one for ruffling feathers in other aspects of my life, and it carries over into geocaching.  I don't like to tick people off.

I went looking for a cache last week in New Jersey.  The cache description page said I was looking for a ten stage multi-cache.  WHAT?  Ten stages??  Does the cache owner think I have all day?  Well, in all fairness, he did request any cache seekers to budget a good deal of time on this cache.  All things
considered, the cache piqued my interested, so off to Newton I headed.  The entire multi-cache happened to be contained within a single park.  Stage one brought me to an ice hockey rink, where I needed to solve a field puzzle to get the stage two coordinates.  I counted the necessary bleachers, speakers and light posts, then plugged in the numbers.  Said numbers pointed me to the foul pole of a baseball field.  Odd.  Unless the stage is at the TOP of the pole (unlikely),  I needed to recheck my numbers.  Back to the hockey rink I went.  I took a second glance at my math, which was correct.  However, I failed to tally up the correct amount of speakers, which threw off the coordinates.  I recalculated the equation in the puzzle, and plugged the new numbers in the GPSr.  No longer was I staring at a pole in an open field.  I was now at a storm basin, all of thirty feet from a pole in an open field.  This was going nowhere, fast!  I broadened my search, yet came up with a big handful of nothing for stage two.  I put my tail between my legs and headed to work.

Only 21 more stages to go!


Sometime, later that morning, I brought the cache page up on my computer.  I scrutinized it for clues, as well as to make sure I understood the stage one puzzle.  Everything on the page was rather cut and dry.  I then thought back to the ten stages, and how I had nine of them yet to find.  I had a brief flashback to A Walk Into Darkness, where we spent most of the day thinking we were looking for 21 stages.  You know how time seems to move slowly when you stare at a clock?  That is the same feeling I get when looking for mulit-caches with a large amount of stages.  I thought about a sentence on the cache page about the stages being multiple types of hides.  "A little bit of everything", says the page.

Then I had the following thought race through my head- What if I could just find another interim stage, using a calculated guess?

The hint said "Under a rock."


I've never really tried to "brute-force" a cache before.  On previous multi-cache, or unknown cache finds, I've always done the cache in it's proper order.  I did the first stage first, last stage last, and interim stages as they come.  I never thought of guessing where a stage would be.  That being said, I thought I would have a good chance at lucking out and finding an interim stage.  The park was large, but it contained many of the normal "typical" hiding spots-bleachers, fences, heck-even guardrails.  I thought perhaps one of those "el-cheapo" hides fell under the umbrella of  "a little bit of everything."  So, back I went to the park, ultimately hoping to find, if I was lucky, stage nine.  (I figured the final was in the woods somewhere.)  I went back to the original spot where I believed stage two to be, and poked around the baseball field.  Nothing.  I checked all the normal hiding spots at the adjacent softball field.  Nothing.  Making my way down field, I came across a picnic area.  Plenty of tables.  Not a single cache container.  I made my way to the other end of the park, where there was a playground, pavilion, and several monuments, honoring war veterans.  I struck out there as well.  When it was all said and done, I spent two hours searching for a stage- any stage- and all I had to show for it was a set of coordinates for stage two, which may or may not have been correct.

Has anyone attempted to find a cache using this method?  Is it "wrong?"  Let's hear your thoughts!  Should I have stopped lazy, and looked for cache the "right" way?


7 comments:

BLOODHOUNDED said...

Well, let me be lead batter on this one, BTW, excellent article!

From a cache owners perspective who has a fair amount of multi and in field puzzle caches, I love it when the seeker finds stages or even the final "without" going through the intended sequence. To me, this shows initiative and "outside the box" thinking. One guy (Curtis aka Geocaster) found several of my caches "creatively". It was like the dude was inside my head. Man, he had me all figured out! To me, he is the best seeker in the world by doing so. In fact, any seeker who finds stages without coords are to be congratulated and I've sent everyone of the a personal email.

I think it's great and part of the game that rides the edge because I know other co's who get pissed if you don't do it the way it was intended.

As a finder, I have never deviated. I go directly to the co and get a hint. Then I'll go back. No hint, no return, but that's just me.
(BTW - Curtis, good luck in NV)

Dodger said...

Excellent, Dave! Here I go...

Is it wrong? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Work-arounds are cool, fun, and brilliant! Quite frankly, I'm rather proud of the work-arounds I've accomplished, and I'm pleased as pie when somebody can do it on a DLC hide (ebjazzz on Re-Hidden Lehigh for example).

Ever hear the phrase, "Work smarter, not necessarily harder?" There's no shame in being smart!

Really, the only "rule" is to sign the logbook, right? It's up to you to get there!

George said...

I have also "brute forced" a multi. It was a very difficult 3-stage multi out my way. My first attempt yielded a DNF at stage 1. I came back a few months later with backup, another caching friend. He found stage 1, underwater (which is right where it was supposed to be.) The problem was, some of the numbers had worn off for stage 2, so we had a general idea where it was but not the exact coords.

We headed over to stage 2 area and searched for a while, but turned up nothing. I suggested brute forcing it, and he agreed, so we headed in the same direction and about the same distance from Stage 1 to Stage 2, to guess at Stage 3. After walking around a pretty big GZ and checking the obvious spots, he called out that he had found it! We signed the log and were on our merry way!

BigAl said...

Great article. I can't say that I have brute forced a multi. I guess I have thought about it before, but just never done it. I have gotten upset when I can't find stage one and have to leave. Oh well, I'll be back some other time is what I usually say in the DNF log. Maybe I'll have to remember the brute force thing.

Maxine MaxB on the River said...

It wasn't a multicache, but a 12 cache "Discover Whitewater (WI) Series" Mystery cache that I Brute Forced. One of the 12 caches was missing and a key number place to finding the final. After finding all of the other 11 caches, I started by mapping 10 the possible combinations to see where they placed me.
After finding one set placed me within a park with 3 possible locations, I went and started walking the line. Successfully found the final after a short walk.
It was a nice series and I was determined to log the final as I was from out of town and wouldn't be back. Had a great tour of the city as well.

Dave DeBaeremaeker said...

I have done this. I see nothing wrong with it. In fact its more of a challenge to brute-force a multi than it is to follow each step.

Big_Dog1970 said...

Excellent Article Smithers........
I'm not saying it's wrong in any way, but I will say the brute force approach although an interesting idea, is a bit too ambitious for me. I am more likely to contact the CO for more information first. Also by contacting the CO, it gives him/her the heads up that the puzzle/coors may be wrong in some way,and allows them to correct it so more cachers don't run into the same issue.

Cache Ya Later
Harold

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