The Hub Crawl: a Boston-based Urban Photo Scavenger Hunt

frequently asked questions

you got questions, we got answers (well, mostly).


wait, hub crawl? is this anything like a pub crawl?

Er, no. This event does not require nor encourage boozing. While you're free to booze it up during the event, you'll only have the three hours for the running around part and consuming alcohol may impair your ability to solve puzzles and run about town coherently. And, because it needs to be expressed explicitly here, The Hub Crawl can not be held responsible for your drunken antics should you choose to imbibe during this event.

We'll still take your money, though.


is this one of those scavenger hunts where you go around taking things from various places?

No. Not at all. The only things that get taken in this scavenger hunt are photos. By no means does the Hub Crawl Ninja Staff encourage participants to steal anything as part of the event. So please don't.


so how does it all happen? how does it work?

A team is assembled to play and meets up at the day of the event. At an appointed time, teams are given packets and are let loose upon the city in an attempt to get as many photo-captures as they can in three hours.

Team packets are comprised of a gamesheet (which contains the rules overview and The List) and a set of token puzzles. The List is made up of items, locations and people that teams must attempt to "capture" by photograph, grouped by locale (or neighborhood).

There are three different kinds of photo-captures: Standard, Challenge and Token. The difference between Standard and Challenge photo-captures is how difficult they are to find. Challenge captures are harder to find and are, thus, worth more points. Token photo-captures are harder still, award even more points and are handled differently.

Hidden in the city are Hub Crawl Tokens, little stickers or labels that participants must photograph. Solving one of the puzzles that came with the Team Packet will clue a location with its answer. Now, each token comes with part of a message. If a team manages to capture all of the tokens and figures out the secret message, they can take a Final Capture that will award them a large number of points. The Final Capture is an as yet unrevealed but very specific photo-capture of the Team.

After the three hours teams report back in at the Rally Point, the same area where check-in and registration occurred. There, captures will be tallied, scores tabulated and prizes awarded.


whoa, three hours of walking? what areas will the crawl cover?

You'll be walking around town for about three hours, yes, and though Boston is kind of not huge, that's still going to be a lot of ground to cover. Literally. This is why we require that not only would you be willing to walk around town for that long a period of time but that you are also physically capable. Typically, the Hub Crawl spans a region of Boston that is somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.5 square miles.

The June 2009 Hub Crawl (Downtown Boston) brought crawlers into the following areas:

  • The Boston Common
  • The Boston Public Gardens
  • Chinatown
  • Downtown Crossing
  • The Financial District
  • The North End
  • Theatre District
  • The Government Center/Faneuil Hall area.

The May 2010 Hub Crawl (Downtown Boston) brought crawlers into the following areas:

  • The Boston Common
  • The Boston Public Gardens
  • Chinatown
  • Downtown Crossing
  • The Financial District
  • Beacon Hill
  • The Government Center/Faneuil Hall area.

The May 2011 Hub Crawl (Back Bay Boston) brought crawlers into the following areas:

  • Park Plaza
  • Copley Square
  • Newbury Street
  • Copley Place/The Shops at Prudential Center Mall
  • Massachusetts Avenue

The May 2012 Hub Crawl (Boston North End) brought crawlers into the following areas:

  • North Station/Haymarket
  • Waterfront/Harborwalk
  • The North End
  • The Financial District
  • City Hall


puzzles? i'm scared. will they be hard?

No need to be frightened. While the puzzles that lead to the tokens are designed to present something of a challenge to participants, they're not insurmountable. Given the fact that players will have to solve puzzles while (sometimes literally) running around town without the convenience of a nicely secluded table, a comfy chair, plenty of time, care-free leisure and an air of silence, it's only fair that they not be impossible to solve. And even then, there are accomodations made for requesting hints for the puzzles should teams need them.

Why not try an example puzzle or two? (And to be nice, we'll even show you the answers just this once.) Mind you, these are easy examples but you'll get the idea.

Don't want to do puzzles? You don't have to. The event is designed in such a way that doing just the photo-captures should still make your team competitive. Of course, if you want to win, though, you'll want to complete everything that can award points ...and that means powering through all those token puzzles.


so, it's just a three-hour event then?

Actually, no. The photo scavenger hunt part itself runs for the specified three hours. But there's also registration and scoring to take into consideration. So, that said, do plan on showing up early for registration check-in (especially if you didn't already pre-reg). Registration typically starts an hour before the event begins and there are plenty of teams to sign up.

After meeting back up at the rally point, captures will be tallied immediately. Depending on how that all goes down, that's possibly another hour but it goes pretty much right into prize-giving. If you cannot join us for the scoring portion, you will be notified of final scores via email and arrangements can be made for prizes won to be delivered to you. But please plan on being around for the tallying (otherwise we can't score you at all). For those into it, there is often an unofficial aftercrawl activity (involving food) that will follow. There, war stories are shared in a chill environment involving food and drink. Oh, and puzzle solutions, too!


what's the benefit of pre-registering? why is just showing up dangerous?

Pre-registering not only means early registration and early payment but it also means goodies (varies from event to event) and guarantees a team a packet of materials. It's pretty basic, really. If you don't pre-register and just turn up, there is a very real chance that your team may not get a packet of materials and therefore cannot participate. Them's the breaks, kid. Since this is a grass-roots operation, a finite and small production run of materials will be made and we literally can't afford to print out that many extras.

Also, there's the price difference. Pre-registering means that your team may only have to pony up $20 instead of $30. Not bad for an afternoon out. It's cheaper than a movie! In order to make good on this reduced rate, though, said pre-registered team must issue their payment during the early registration period (instructions communicated via email). So get on it already, son!

Not pre-registering beforehand and simply showing up to essentially pay at the door means paying more money, folks. C'mon, do the math!

And last but not least, if you don't pre-register and show up without a full team and/or can't be absorbed into short-staffed teams, you may not be able to play because your team doesn't meet the minimum number of players. Sucks, don't it? (Now, obviously, if you can't play, you get your money back.)

Also, pre-registering is doing your ninja pals a solid: if we have a confirmed number of folks attending beforehand, we can better plan our resources and make our attack from the shadows have a better defined course of action. What's more, the monies generated from the pre-registrations will immediately offset the costs of setting up the event as the costs themselves are incurred.

See? Now don't you want to pre-reg like all the other cool kids?

After the cut-off, teams interested in participating can still register online and even make their reg fee payment online as well but at full price. Otherwise, teams can just show up and try their luck with in-person registration (as well as pay full price). Get there early to increase your chances. Registration check-in typically starts an hour before the event begins.


what is a rally point? where do i find information about this year's event?

The Rally Point is a specific location where the event starts and finishes. At the beginning of the event, it's where registrations happen, team packets are handed out and announcements made. At the conclusion of the photo scavenger hunt portion of the event, it's where all the teams come back to for tallying and scoring. More importantly, it's this location that the Hub Crawl Ninja Staff will be hanging out at should anyone require any assistance during the event.

For detailed information about this year's Rally Point as well as updates in regard to the upcoming Hub Crawl, please check out this year's event page.


can i pre-register even if i don't have a full team?

Absolutely. At the very least, you reserve a set of materials for your future team to be when you do. And if you pay up during the pre-registration period, you save money for all your team members, both future and present.

And, hey, while we're at it, do you need help with filling out your team roster? Let us know! We'll hook you up with the Hub Crawl Matchmaking Experience. We've been bringing spares together with incomplete teams since the Hub Crawl first began.


what happens if it rains?

Well, typically, if you're out in the rain, you get wet. That's just science. And who are we to refute science?

Unless weather conditions reach flat-out torrential and going out is just a Bad Idea™, the Hub Crawl will still run. About a week before the event, weather forecasts will be monitored by Ninja Staff. As we draw closer to the event date, Hub Crawl communications to Team Captains will confirm that the event is still on target or if Rain Dates are being considered. Any time between the day before the event and the morning of the event, the final communication will be made providing final confirmation. Keep an eye on our Twitter account as we often muse about the weather there as we get closer to showtime.

Put simply: If there's a light shower or drizzle, the event is still on. The Rally Point will no doubt change in that case and you will, of course, be notified of this. If the event has been postponed, you'll be notified as soon as the idea is even entertained. Postponing is our final recourse as availability is a nightmare to (re)coordinate.


is this event dog-friendly?

For the most part, yes.

Obviously, whether or not going indoors with your pet is alright is going to vary from location to location but should you want to turn the Hub Crawl into an extended dog-walk, you are welcome to. Most of it is, after all, outdoors. To date, there has been a dog present (and an unofficial member of a team) for three of our events.


who are the Hub Crawl Ninja Staff? why do you do this?

The Ninja Staff are just some locals (and some off-siters who only wish they were local) who like to nerd it up and invent activities like this one. It's a strange hobby, yes. And, no, the Hub Crawl is not some bigly huge commercial or for-profit entity (see aforementioned admission of nerdery). We all have full-time jobs and this is totally a side thing we do for the love of puzzles and for the love of getting lost in Boston. Put simply: we just do this, well, because we can.


what's the deal with sponsors? and who are your sponsors anyway?

The Hub Crawl is always on the lookout for possible sponsor ninja who are in line with our vision, creativity and sense of fun. Not only do our sponsors help us by providing prizes and other goodies by way of donations, we in turn help leverage their brand via street level exposure, social media promotion and potential viral marketing.

For more information on how sponsorship works with the Hub Crawl, visit our sponsorship page. While you're at it, check out our complete list of current and past Sponsor Ninja.


how do i get a hub crawl run in my city or for my event?

Er, yah. We're still working on that. Check back later.


what charitable organization or humanitarian cause do proceeds from the hub crawl go to?



awesome! is there any way i can contribute to this?

While we may appreciate any contribution you're willing to make, getting other folks you know excited about The Hub Crawl is about the best thing you could do for this grassroots-run event. Blog about it. Tweet about it. Facebook it (can we verb that?). Google+ the hell out of it. Shout your devotion from the mountain tops, if the spirit moves you. Our best proven asset is the power of word of mouth.

...However, if you still want to contribute to The Hub Crawl, please feel free to make a donation. Ask us how. We won't stop you.

If you're a local business and interested in being involved with the event, consider supporting The Hub Crawl through some sort of sponsorship. At the very least, it's a great advertisement and promotional opportunity as well as an excellent way to increase your brand awareness and make new fans. Check out our sponsorship page or just send an email and we'll talk.


aside from the rules, is there anything i should know before playing?

Why not check out our tips section? It's full of advice from folks who have participated in previous crawls as well as a couple pointers from the Hub Crawl Ninja Staff.


that's it?

Yes, that's all there is to this. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot us an email. Or, better yet, if you've done a crawl and got some feedback, we'd love to hear it. Feedback is serious business and we are always looking to improve the game event experience.

newbie guide

Veteran crawler Kirk Israel has drawn up a cartoony guide, simplifying the rules and presenting them with cute monsters. Check it out!

try some puzzles

Here are a couple example puzzles for you to try, the kind you can expect to turn up at a crawl.

And, heck, here're their solutions, too.

take our quiz!

Not all Hub Crawl peeps are created equally. Find out what kind of Crawler you are!

sponsor a crawl!

Are you a patron or company interested in sponsoring the Hub Crawl? Let us know and you can help us make this next event our best one yet!

Check out all our Sponsor Ninja!

got questions?

Don't see your question in the faq? Email us or hit us up on any of the social media sites linked below.

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