Thursday, November 27, 2008

The ABC's of Treasure Hunting - "B"

"B" is for "Bluffing"

Treasure hunting is a game of pitting wits against each other, thinking out-of-the-box, lateral thinking, resourcefulness, encrypting and deciphering, hiding and uncovering the clues, challenging the obvious, creating and defraying deceptions. What could be more intellectually entertaining than that? In a word, if I may dare suggest, is all about "bluffing" each other.

Bluffing starts even before the game begins.

"You taking part in the xxx hunt, ah?"
"Ah? What hunt? Didn't hear about it" - Bluffing!
"Oh? You don't know? You can read about it in" - Bluffing!

Why? Because you want to limit the competition!

Then bluffing at the briefing ...
"I missed the start of the briefing. Anything special that the COC mentioned, ah?"
"No, nothing, just the standard stuff. You didn't miss anything" - Bluffing!

Why? Because it was an important tip - and you hope the opponents will never find out. Could make a difference - even if it may be small tip.

During the hunt :
"Cannot find ah? Sign drop lah! Don't waste time!" - Bluffing!

Instruction to driver/team mates "Do the Chow Yong Fatt (or bollywood) - don't give it away!" - Pretending to be still hunting for the answer, after having found it and opponents are watching you nearby.

Why? This one's obvious and natural - never give away the answer!

You found a treasure in 7-11. You quickly check the situation. Then when nobody is watching, you rearrange the shelves to bluff the rest, to give the impression that the store does not carry the treasure. Poor store-assistant - he was left wondering why the manager scolded him for not doing his job properly! Fortunately, the CCTV recording was on and the store-assistant got to see another day at the shop! But will he twitch at the sight of another hunter after that?

Still at 7-11 (or a hypermart):
Play hide and seek with other hunters. Pretend to be browsing for a treasure at the wrong place. Then when the hunters are out of sight - quickly go the right spot, pick up the treasure and pass it on to a partner. Partner goes to pay for it while you continue to "bluff" the spying opponents who are still trying hard to watch your movements.

And here is one of the "thickest skin of them all" - ask the shopkeeper - what did the other hunter buy! Does it work? Depends - some hunters actually buy "decoys" - another Bluff! Update[8 Dec 2008] [Oh, don't forget to cover your own tracks too. "Eh, Kawan. Nanti semua pakai cam I tanya ku beli apa, cakap tak tahu, dah lupa, ramai customer. Kay? OK! You my best friend!"]

Of course, there are the deceptive questions from the COC - some are gems - those we will talk about again and again, hunt after hunt. Red herrings we call these "bluffs". Then, there will be those "horrors" that got us all baffled, but do not deserve another word of mention ever again! "It was there when I last checked!" "Sure"!

Update[8 Dec 2008] [When hunters are baffled, they do one of the most instinctive things - bluff their way through. Didn't find the answer that fits? The COC got you? Then get back at them - just "create" a sign and put that down as your "spotted answer". It is now up to the COC to believe you or not. If they do, you got them and the points! A bluff that has worked occasionally! If they don't, then the outcome will be the same! Nothing to lose! You are, after all, in "The Game of The survival of The Fittest (the answer that fits best)!"]

Update[8 Dec 2008] [Then there are the self-inflicted injuries from habitually performing a risky kind of exercise - jumping to conclusion. Asking the wrong questions, making the wrong assumptions and then doing all the wrong things. Being there? Done that? We call this "bluffing yourself"! Ouch!]

At the finishing point:
"You done the challenge, ah?"
"Yah! Just waiting for my team to come back from toilet. How did you fare?" - Bluffing!

Why? Hopefully, the opponent unwittingly reveals something useful about the challenge!

This posting is not complete without including the story about the "Bluff of the Century" - actually the century egg.

A team took a long while to crack a treasure riddle and when solved, they discovered they only had very little time left to find a century egg. They searched for it but could not find it. Then one of them hatched a very clever idea - make your own century egg.

Get a duck egg, coat it with some gum and dust it with saw-dust, wrap it loosely in newspaper and hand it in. The verdict?

They got full points for it - the COC never knew about it - even many days after the hunt until someone told him about it! He saluted the ingenuity of the team and admitted he was "out bluffed"! Today, they are partners in the business of Event Management - doing treasure hunts for you and I to take part in!

And now, it is the post-hunt time:
Hunters often compare notes, right after the hunt or during the dinner before the answer presentation:

"So, how?"
"Very tough lah! Crazy hunt! Don't know what the COC wants!" - Bluff! Bluff! Bluff!
"For us too, lah! Drop so many questions!" - Bluff too!
'Ya, kah! We also lah!" - Ditto!

The presentation starts - the art of body language interpretation also begins:

As each question and answer is presented, you watch your competitors seated nearby, reading their body language. You try to gauge if they got it right or not. It is an art and can be perfected with practice! Some who are very aware of this "espionage", put on a bluff and "act their body signals" to send the wrong messages!

Update[8 Dec 2008] [The COCs enjoy indulging in "bluffing to entertain" at presentations. It is the moment they have been looking forward to - they just love the "horns growing out of the head" inspired chances to stop a few breaths, make some hearts jump out of their bodies, eyes pop, jaws drop, start teams finger-pointing at each other "You lah! Don't want to listen!" and feed their ego by drawing the chorus of "oohs and aahs" accompanied by a mixed symphony of well-mannered boos and sincere applause. It is also to show-off their craftiness!

How do they do that? They will flash a few photo-slides of "other answers" right at the beginning of each question and make you think you got them right, get you to cheer, drum the tables and celebrate animatedly - in other words - make a fool of yourself - and then shoot you down with the killer bullet, leaving you red-faced and contemplating your next response for the rest of the evening.

Of course, the innocents are relieved to hear the final correct answer - pick up their dropped "body parts" and re-set them. The wrongly accused get to "What! What! I was right!" back. Cold blooded bluffing that comes in waves! How sadistic - and we all love it! Do it again, one more time! Encore!]

Finally, it is the end of the presentation, the scores tallied by every team and in the short interval that follows, the spies mingle around to check out the opponents:

"So! You champ lah!" - Bluff!
"No way, lah! You wanna bet?" - Bluff!
"No need to bet lah! Full treasure, no time penalty, first to arrive - you sure jaguh lah! - Bluff!

The results are out and the winners are declared! And so the bluffing ends! So you think!

"What did you drop?" - Bluff - you already know, you just want to dig it out to confirm.
"This one lah! We didn't see it, we saw something else that fits" - Bluff! (shy to tell the truth)
"Luckily, we solved the treasure in time, otherwise, chia-lat!" - Bluff! Trying to deflect attention to the real problem.

Well - not all "Bluffs" are "Bluffs" - many are harmless and are "just part of the fun" - amazing as they seem sometimes. But because deception is always the order of the day, no one can really be sure, what is and what is not an intentional bluff. It is exciting just trying to keep the mysteries alive as long as possible!

That's why "Bluffing" is part of being competitive and fortunately, it is often viewed as sporting fun! Mind you, me - the hunters get better and better at it, as they adapt very quickly to see through each deceptive manoeuvre.

Well, in my opinion, it has not gone overboard - yet, has it?

That's "B" ... tell you about "C" later.

Meanwhile, share with us, your "bluffing" stories!


CK Loh said...

My "bluffing" story?

No, I haven't bluff before. Just kena bluffed.


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