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Treasured Greens & In-betweens

Team Contest9/24 - 9/26
Self Directed: 9/27 - 10/11

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!
The 2019 Hunt focused on Women's History and 2020 featured Mental Health. Learn more about them in the event archive.
Our 2021 Hunt will address Climate and Environment changemakers and action steps.

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Interested in partnering or sponsoring the 2021 event?


Game Genius welcomes you to its 3rd annual puzzle hunt! Each event installment is designed around a specific impact theme and built into the physical and cultural landscape of Washington DC. Previous years featured Women's History (2019) and Mental Health (2020). This year will focus on Climate and Environment, and consist of two ways to play:


TEAM CONTEST -- Over the opening weekend, 9/24 - 9/26, teams of 1-5 players sign up to complete the puzzle as fast as possible. Prizes will be awarded to teams for accomplishing certain game tasks the best.

Compass on map

SELF DIRECTED -- After the opening weekend, 9/27 - 10/11, anyone who has signed up can complete the puzzle on their own time. There will still be friendly competitions scattered throughout the game experience.

Regardless of how you decide to play, the District Hunt is free to enter! Game Genius believes this fun event should be accessible to all. Our goal is to build awareness for social issues, and that includes everyone.


With that being said, we also need to fundraise to support the continuation of our work in the Greater Washington DC area! As a nonprofit, Game Genius appreciates any donations you are willing to make. Thanks to our fiscal sponsor, The Ocean Foundation, any donation to us made HERE is tax deductible ... and theme-aligned!

In addition, upon signing up, every team is given a special fundraising page to solicit donations from friends, family colleagues, etc. While proceeds go to Game Genius, think of this as a way for supporters to cheer you on. There's a game incentive for raising money or attracting donors, too! Reaching each level (listed below) as a team earns you a special perk or prize that may be useful during hunt. And the earlier you sign up, the better chance you have at reaching higher tiers...



Special Copy of Splash Down

= Raise $50

Rooster Puzzle


Free Puzzle Clue + Tier 1

= Get 10 unique donors OR Raise $200

Image by niko photos


Honorary Tree Planting + Tier 2

= Get 25 unique donors OR Raise $500

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Shirts with Team Name + Tier 3

= Get 50 unique donors OR Raise $1000

Image by Agê Barros


Contest Headstart + Tier 4

= Get 100 unique donors OR Raise $2000


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. Like previous years, the entire game will take place outdoors. We plan to select open-air venues and adventure routes that avoid large, tightly packed crowds. 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. Designing the District Hunt as a team event hopefully brings together people who trust each other.

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

How much does it cost to play? - Nothing! Game Genius believes this event should remain free to the public. Thanks to our partners, sponsors, and peer-to-peer fundraising, we are able to offer the experience at no charge.

When is the deadline to sign up? - September 17th. The event begins on September 24th, but we need a week to prepare for all the teams who have signed up. Haven't submitted your team yet? Here's the form:

Where does the event start? - On September 24th, we will release a video with the first clue. The Team Contest portion of the District Hunt runs from September 25-26. 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. You can choose to complete the challenge whenever you'd like before October 11th. After that date, we can't promise the clues will still be active in the city or online.

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) and online (from home), but please note that the Team Contest will only be available in person for fairness.

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? - We were lucky to onboard about 10 community volunteers to help design and operate the event! you can learn more about them here:

What age is this game appropriate for? - Our goal is to make this game appropriate for anyone who can comfortably navigate the city. We recommend younger players team up with their families or older friends to ensure puzzles aren't too difficult to solve. Once the Team Contest has completed, we intend to release a game walkthrough with hints and answers to all the puzzles. This should make the experience completable without our help.

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? - For the Team Contest, 5 players is the max. But for the Self Directed part of the event afterward, you are more than welcome to invite more people to join in on the fun.

How do I fundraise? - Great question. We'll be using a platform called GiveButter. All teams are given a special fundraising page to solicit donations from friends, family colleagues, etc. If you've lost that link, please email to gain access. We have included an incentive for raising money or attracting donors above. Each prize tier rewards teams with a special perk that may be useful during the Contest.

Any tips for fundraising? - Yes! You're welcome to get creative, but here are three ways to consider:

  • Self Fund: You can donate to your own team!

  • Solicit Others: Send your team page link to anyone who might want to donate! We suggest sharing a short message about why you're supporting Game Genius and the perks your team could receive.

  • Event or Service: If you feel more comfortable offering something in return for donations (i.e. bake sale, crafts or artwork, doing chores), you're more than welcome to collect funds outside of GiveButter and donate the proceeds through your team page. Remember, only GiveButter totals will count toward the perks. 

Are donations tax-deductible? - Yes. Game Genius is a 501(c)3 charitable organization. We've also partnered with The Ocean Foundation to offer an additional environment-related option for any donations.

What advantages or swag could I win? - See the perks and prizes section above. Note that every tier offers a slightly different reward. If your team raises over $5000 or attracts over 250 donors, then you'll get all the extras. If you're wondering about physical items, we plan on ordering through Bonfire for shirts and a local printer for Posters. For clues, extra players, and shortcuts, your team can use them strategically during the game!

How does the District Hunt support the environment? - This year's puzzle story is designed around local changemakers in the climate and environment spaces. We hope you learn about new information and resources while playing!

How can I sponsor or partner with the District Hunt? - We welcome partners and sponsors that align with the climate and environment 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. 

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With the help of 30+ partners, we've 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 game's puzzles. Hopefully this provides some clarity and closure to the experience, as well as highlights the growth and impact of our 3rd annual event.

Click the image or button below to download the materials: