The Mastermind Hunt Sacramento: How grid-savvy are you?

By Krystin Herr

For all you GotG’ers who think you know downtown/midtown like the back of your well-polished hand, come to The Mastermind Hunt: Sacramento and test how Sacramento-savvy you really are.  For those who have no clue which direction 16th Street runs, or which street is north of Capitol (let alone where Capitol Mall is), we won’t judge you.  Matter of fact, you might have the upper hand…

  • When:  June 11, 2011 from 4:30-8:00
  • Where:  Start and End at 1801 L Street.  The event begins in the central courtyard.
  • How Much:  $20/player if registered by June 5th, $25 thereafter
  • Register online:
  • Proceeds to benefit Hands on Sacramento, the regions full-service volunteer action center.

At last year’s Hunt the Grid, now “The Mastermind Hunt: Sacramento,” I came across this treasure trove – pardon the pun – of good times, great clues and puzzles, friendly competition, and an easy 3-hour workout (cardio for the week… check.)

These guys over at Mastermind Treasure Hunts really know how to shed a new light on Sac town.  Their information-based treasure hunt leads you through the grid to landmarks, businesses, and secret hideaways from Sacramento’s past and present.  Each clue location might be a piece of public art, a historical marker, phone booth graffiti, etc.  I can’t list the number of clues I must have walked past a hundred times.  Have you ever noticed the opossum in the mural on the 17th Street side of the Grocery Outlet?  Didn’t think so.

Clue types might involve wordplay, trivia, or even – surprise surprise – logic.  My personal favorite was a block of gray with “windows.”  After a few strategically placed folds, and with the assistance of the setting sun, certain words appeared.  These guys are geniuses!  The first part of a clue generally leads to a location and the second part asks a question about something at that location, thus giving you the answer.

Inside Tip: to give you GotG’ers a bit of an advantage don’t over think clues and if you can’t find the answer after a few minutes you’re in the wrong spot, even if you see other Mastermind hunters… they might be just as lost as you.

Come alone, grab a partner, or get your drinking buddies together (sans the booze till the end of course,) and use your collective brainpower to solve these puzzles and clues across the midtown/downtown area.  Once your answer sheet is filled out it’s a race for the finish line.  First team in with the correct answers is declared the winner and who wouldn’t want to be the Grand Poobah of downtown?

How did all this madness begin?  For co-founders, and Sacramento natives, Rob Evans and Nikolai Lokteff it was always their intent to offer treasure hunts that were open to everyone:

“For both Nikolai and I, having grown up in Sacramento, there was no question that there would be a yearly event in downtown/midtown.  The area is so rich with history and culture there would be endless possibilities for clue locations.  Add to that the easy-going nature of the community and the willingness of business owners to be a part of the fun, it has been a pleasure to put these hunts together.  2011 is our second year in Sac.”

From last year's hunt (Source: Nikolai Lokteff)

Consider yourself warned: you will never look at Sacramento the same.  Whenever you walk past a clue location you’ll get a little giggle when you see how obvious the clue is after the fact.

And after you enjoy all that the Sacramento hunt has to offer, Mastermind offers a Puzzle of the Month to keep your wits about you and… brace yourself… Pub Hunts!  Offered in both Sacramento and San Francisco these condensed versions of the classic treasure hunt have just four clue locations leading to an awesome eatery/pub.  After all, what’s a Pub Hunt without a pint at the end?  But  you’ll have to keep your treasure hunting eyes open for these since they only happen every so often.

Come Prepared

  • Leave the heels at home (even if they really are your most comfortable pair).
  • Bring a pencil or two for each player (unless you are gutsy enough to solve your clues in pen).
  • Be ready to feel the childhood “X marks the spot” moment when you shift from confusion to clarity, and riddles become a clear set of directions.  It’s that “I’ve got it” moment that has me coming back for more.

Guest blogger Krystin Herr, a Sacramento native and midtown transplant, has always been on the look out for the next great experience and “thing to-do.”  Her to-do list over the past year included several of Mastermind’s city hunts, numerous play tests, and pub hunts in Downtown/Midtown/Old Town Sacramento as well as the Bay Area.  If it’s fun and falls into the category of “incognito-exercise” count her in!


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1 Comment

  1. Dalia says

    Sounds really neat!

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