Team Contest: 10/1 @ 10:30am
Self Directed: 10/2 - 10/10

Every year, Game Genius designs and hosts a city-wide treasure hunt around a social theme. Form a team, solve puzzles, and learn about local changemakers!

Our 2022 Hunt will take on Literacy, from language and cultural to financial and tech.
The 2019 Hunt focused on Women's History, 2020 addressed Mental Health, and 2021 featured Climate and Environment.

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Want to support the sustainability and novelty of this game event? Consider becoming a 2022 sponsor at any of our 4 levels:

  • Story ($20,000) -- 2 Available

  • Book ($7,500) -- 4 Available

  • Page ($3,000) -- 10 Available

  • Letter (in-kind) -- Unlimited


Do you know or work at a nonprofit doing critical literacy work in the DMV region? Let us know! We're looking to feature and celebrate relevant organizations through our annual District Hunt. Here are the key benefits of being a partner:

  • Exposure to new audience, including players, event sponsors, and other nonprofit partners

  • Opportunity to engage both team and constituents with a fun challenge



Game Genius welcomes you to its 4th annual puzzle hunt! Each edition of the event is designed around a different theme and built into the physical and cultural landscape of Washington DC. Previous years featured Women's History (2019), Mental Health (2020), and Climate/Environment (2021). This year will focus on different forms of Literacy, and consist of two ways to play:


TEAM CONTEST -- On opening day, 10/1 @ 10:30amET, a race to complete the puzzle as fast as possible begins. Prizes will be awarded based on speed and accuracy.

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SELF DIRECTED -- After the race begins, 10/2 - 10/10, anyone who has signed up can complete the puzzle on their own time. No prizes will be awarded for this experience.






Coming Soon

Image by Agê Barros


Coming Soon

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Coming Soon



How are you planning around the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic? - Game Genius will follow up-to-date CDC recommendations to offer this year's hunt in a safe manner. Game Genius can't control what everyone will do in public, so we ask that you make the best judgment for you and your loved ones. 

Who can sign up? - Everyone! The District Hunt is open to any individual or team who wants to play.

What's the story? - "The Wordsmith's Wriddle" will introduce an underground society of wordsmiths who use the power of language and storytelling to subconsciously change the course of history. Players will start at Planet Word and navigate around the city to find a series of hidden books that uncover what the group is planning next.

How much does it cost to play? - That depends. Before July 1st, early bird tickets cost $15/person or $50/team. After July 1st, regular tickets cost $30/person or $100/team. Thanks to our sponsors, we are able to offer the experience at discounted rates to players who work for any of our nonprofit partners or cannot afford full price.

When is the deadline to sign up? - Registration remains open until the event ends on October 10th. However, players must register by September 30th to participate on opening weekend.

Where does the event start? - On September 30, we will release a video with the first clue. The Team Contest portion of the District Hunt begins on October 1 at 10:30amET. Stay tuned for more information on specific timing through update emails sent by us. We recommend you block off one or both of the days to compete. The Self Directed part of the event takes place after the Team Contest begins. You can choose to complete the challenge whenever you'd like before October 10. After that date, we can't promise the clues will still be active.

What are the geographic boundaries of this event? - Our design team plans to build entirely within the DC diamond. There might be clue references about the Greater Washington region (DC, MD, VA), but players will only need to travel within the District.

How does the event work? - Part of this is a secret, but what we can tell you is that teams will progress through clues using a website on a smartphone. We plan to offer the experience in person (physical adventure), with some pieces completable from home online.

How long will the hunt take? - This entirely depends on your ability to solve the puzzles and navigate the city. Our goal is to make it completable within 1 day. Players are welcome to break up the game over several days or try to finish in a specific time window. In the contest, we'll design for the fastest time to be somewhere around 2-3 hours.

What do I need to participate? - For puzzle materials, we suggest bringing a smart phone and charging cable/device, along with pencil and paper to take notes. For the experience, we encourage players to plan accordingly around the weather and wear comfortable clothes/shoes for adventuring around a city. For transportation, we will design around what is safe and accessible for players. We will try to avoid advantaging those who have access to personal vehicles.

Who designed the puzzles? - A small team of Game Genius staff, local students, and volunteers. We're always looking for more designers, if you're interested for next year!

What age is this game appropriate for? - Our goal is to make the puzzles approachable by a 10-12 year old. They may not be able to solve everything by themselves, but should conceptually understand the game with the right guidance. We will also have a text hotline for clues after the race.

Do I need to have experience solving puzzles? - You don't need previous experience, but it can help identify familiar patterns or logic flows. Puzzles come in many different flavors, and we'll provide hints after the team contest. For the contest itself, we will not be giving clues to preserve the integrity of the game!


Can I complete the hunt alone? - Yes! It might be a daunting task and we always suggest playing with others, but there are no puzzles that require more than 1 person to solve it.

Can I invite more than 5 people to play with me? - Yes, but we recommend 2-5 players for maximum fun.

How does the District Hunt support Literacy? - This year's puzzle story is designed around local changemakers who focus on improving the region's literacy (i.e. basic language, cultural, financial, tech, civic). See our 2021 report below for an example of event impact.

How can I sponsor or partner with the District Hunt? - We welcome partners and sponsors that align with the literacy event theme in some way. As a small organization and volunteer committee, both monetary and in-kind support is very useful. We plan to grow this event every year, and we look forward to building a strong relationship. Please send an email to for more information. 

Can I donate to Game Genius and are donations tax-deductible? - Yes and yes! Game Genius is a 501(c)3 charitable organization. Any level of support is much appreciated. Click here to get started.



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Last year, with the help of 30+ partners, we assembled this 7-page packet of ways players can support the local environment and the amazing changemakers trying to make our DMV community a better place to live.

We also embedded walkthrough video links for all of the puzzles to provide clarity and closure to the 3rd annual District Hunt experience.

Click the image or button below to download the materials: