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First Clue: 9/29 @ 6:00pm
Live Event: 9/30 - 10/9

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 explore Food & Housing
Past events featured Women's History (2019), Mental Health (2020), Climate and Environment (2021), and Literacy (2022).

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Want to support the sustainability and novelty of this annual game event? Consider becoming a 2023 sponsor at any of our levels.


Do you know or work at a nonprofit doing critical food and housing work in the DMV region? Let us know. We want to feature them!


How to Play

Game Genius welcomes you to its 5th 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), Climate/Environment (2021), and Literacy (2022). This year will focus on Food and Housing, and consist of two ways to play:


OPENING RACE -- On 9/30 @ 10:30amET, a race to complete the puzzle as fast as possible begins. Grand prizes will be awarded based on speed and accuracy.

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SELF DIRECTED -- Anytime between 9/30 - 10/9, anyone who has signed up can complete the puzzle on their own time. Fewer prizes will be awarded for this experience.



As a multi-day event, there are several opportunities to win. We work with local companies and venues to award player teams with thematic prize packages:



Local Experiences



Game Products & Services

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Swag & Small Items



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? - COMING SOON

How much does it cost to play? - That depends. Before March 1, super early bird tickets cost $40/team. Before July 1, early bird tickets cost $75/team. After July 1, regular tickets cost $125/team. Teams accommodate up to 8 players. 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 9.

Where does the event start? - On September 29, we will release a video with the first clue. The event then runs live for 10 days, starting at the kickoff on September 1 at 10:30amET. Unless you are competing in the opening day race, you can choose to complete the challenge whenever you'd like before October 9. 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.

How long will the hunt take? - This entirely depends on your ability to solve the puzzles and navigate the city. Our goal is to offer several checkpoints that encourage players to determine an appropriate time to stop. Each checkpoint will represent a step up in difficulty. Players are welcome to break up the game over several days or try to finish in a specific time window. For the race, 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!

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 during the event.

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 a lot of people to play with me? - Yes, but we recommend 2-5 players. Also remember that 1 team ticket represents up to 8 players. If there are more than 8 people, please acquire another ticket.

How does the District Hunt support Food and Housing? - Each year's puzzle story is designed around local nonprofits and other changemakers. See above for the list of partners. See the 2021 and 2022 reports 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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