What is a Digital Scavenger Hunt?

Virtual & Remote Experiences Jun 24, 2019

This blog post was originally published on June 24, 2019. It was updated for formatting and with a few new ideas on August 23, 2022. Thanks for reading!

With digital scavenger hunts, treasure hunts, city/urban races, and GooseChase events popping up all over the world, it can be difficult to decide which you should organize for an event, and what tools you should use to do so. In this blog post, we answer some of the most frequently asked general questions about this activity format that is growing in popularity.

We've added new pages containing scavenger hunt ideas for work-from-home teams. Create a GooseChase account to start running a virtual/remote team-building scavenger hunt through our app today!

What is a Scavenger Hunt?

A scavenger hunt is a group activity where teams or individual players compete to find objects, reach locations, and/or solve riddles on a list provided by the event organizer. Traditionally, scavenger hunt items were printed on paper lists, with players using pen and pencil to fill in riddle answers, or check off locations and items they find. Often, “proof” that a team or player has found an item or reached a location is brought back to the organizer in order for points to be awarded. While popular as a school or youth group activity, scavenger hunts are also a hit among adult players as an orientation activity, team-building event, or professional engagement tool.

As portable cameras became popular and more widely available, photos or video clips of team members and individuals at specified destinations became a great way of providing proof of players completing scavenger hunt missions. This format has only become even more popular in recent years with the widespread adoption of smartphones and tablet devices.


Scavenger Hunt vs a Treasure Hunt

The main difference between a Scavenger Hunt and a Treasure Hunt is the order in which challenges are meant to be completed or items are meant to be found. Both scavenger hunts and treasure hunts require participants to complete missions, solve riddles, or find a series of clues, but in a treasure hunt, following a specific series of clues and solving challenges in order is a pre-requisite to making progress. Typically, the final mission leads to a large prize or “treasure” that players are competing for. Requiring players to complete missions in a sequential fashion makes the activity format more closely resemble a classic footrace.

Scavenger hunts are more of a free-for-all: tasks can be ticked off in any order, and it's more about the quantity completed in the end.

The widespread popularity of reality show “The Amazing Race”, and subsequent local events organized in its style have helped to promote this style of competition to participants around the world.


What is a Digital Scavenger Hunt?

A digital scavenger hunt is a scavenger hunt game organized and run on a platform such as GooseChase, which utilizes technology found on iOS/Android mobile devices to in order to allow players to complete their mission lists. Photo, Video, Text, and GPS missions are created and assigned point values by organizers, and players are automatically awarded points after completing each submission on their device.

GooseChase includes many real-time features that are not possible to realize with traditional pen and paper scavenger hunts, such as:

  • A live leaderboard of team standings.
  • An activity feed showing player submissions as they come in.
  • A game manager that lets organizers create additional missions after the game starts.
  • Bonus points awarded by organizers to spectacular mission submissions.
  • Game Script – a way to schedule and automate future mission and message releases.


What is GooseChase?

GooseChase is an online platform that helps organizers create and run digital scavenger hunt experiences for team building, learning, public engagement, or a variety of other events. Sign up and try creating a free recreational game, or contact us to learn more about our enterprise solutions!


Eric Chiang

Product Manager