How to Play The GISH Wizards & Weirdos Play-At-Home Scavenger Hunt
The App. It’s free and you definitely want it. Find new friends. Chat with people from around the world. Build your teams. Win things. If you aren’t already living that GISH life, get the GISH app and make it happen.
1.Registration. HALT! Before you embark on this quest, take heed: GISH is open to all, including but not limited to elves, humans, dwarves, hobbits, ents, orcs, trolls, unicorns, fae, halflings, gnomes, wizards, witches, giants, merfolk, wildlings, goblins, and dragons… but you are only permitted to compete in GISH if you are kind of weird and weirdly kind. Haters, bullies, dementors, or hostile personalities SHALL NOT PASS.
2. Eligibility. To be eligible to participate in GISH, you must register and electronically sign all registration documentation. All participants must be at least 14 to compete and must read and agree to the GISH “Rules and Regulations”. Minors under the age of 14 may assist participants (“Gishers”), but may not register.
3. Rights. We intend to share your stunning Item Submissions with the world. Therefore, by competing, you agree to the Rights and License stipulations as detailed in the “Rules and Regulations”. In addition to agreeing to these terms, you also agree that we may use your Submissions as needlepoint pillows, earmuffs, or as interpretive dance routines as determined by the whims of our Grand Judge, who shall heretofore be identified only by his nom de plume. (You’ll be quizzed on this at exam time.) Or in other words: What’s yours is OUR precious, not yours, it is ourses! We wants it, we neeeeeeds. It does not take it or stop us from doing what we likessss with it. Yes! Yes! YES!
4. Updates. We will post updates through both our app and our website whenever we damn well please during the Scavenger Hunt (FKA “GISH”). New Hunt Items, Rules, or Commandments may be added, changed or removed from the List with or without advance notice, so stay on it and don’t complain if something changes and you’re asleep at the wheel. You may stalk the Updates, but not GISH personnel. Celery stalking is allowed with a valid permit, but only in carb-loading zones.
5. Behavior. You are not permitted to physically, emotionally, or psychologically hurt, berate, bully, or otherwise attack yourself, another participant, or anyone inside or outside the Scavenger Hunt. We take this rule seriously! Any abuse of other participants during the Hunt whatsoever or for any reason will not be tolerated. If you feel the need to attack someone– including yourself, don’t. We mean it. This doesn’t mean you can’t disagree. We’re not going to mediate yours casual disputes — we trust you to work those out amongst yourselves. But all behavior on the app or any other GISH platform, past or present, real or fictional must be kind and no abuse will be tolerated. Violators could be penalized with loss of respect, loss of points, transfiguration into a hand tool, removal from the GISH Bunker and revocation of permission to access the Room of Preferment, or even banishment. Be kind.
6. Conflict Resolution. All conflicts between teams or teammates must be resolved through a respectful, cutthroat wizards’ duel just the way Merlin used to do it: with a soap-bubble blowing wand. Might makes right, so the biggest bubble wins. If, due to COVID travel restrictions, apparition and portkey travel is banned in your area and you cannot attend your socially-distanced soap-bubble-battle in person, you may do this over ye olde video-conference.
7. Submissions Process. Submit Items by clicking on our “Item List” on our website (it will be posted when the Scavenger Hunt begins), and then on the item, you want to submit. Then follow instructions. You must submit as instructed or you will not be awarded points for that item. This sounds scary and vague, but it won’t be.
8. Submission Formats. Photos must be submitted through our website using our upload feature. You need to submit your videos by entering your youtube.com links. Be sure to mark your videos “UNLISTED” on Youtube so that we can see them, but no one else can. Unless otherwise specified in the Item Description, video submissions can be NO LONGER than 14 seconds. We suggest putting “2021 GISH Wizards & Weirdos” and the Item Number in the description or title of your video on You Tube. This makes our job easier. But not yours. Which we prefer.
9. Altering Photos/Video. THIS IS IMPORTANT! With the exceptions (1) as detailed clearly in Commandment 10 above, and (2) adjusting the exposure (i.e. making the image brighter) or color of an image, unless an item specifically asks for manipulation of photos or videos, you are NOT permitted to do so unless we specifically suggest it. A few years ago, one of the top 3 scoring teams cheated by using Photoshop to make it look like they had completed a high-scoring item. They might otherwise have won GISH, but instead they were disqualified. We have graphic designers and NSA analysts on staff who can spot a digital counterfeit. We also use photoshop-detecting software that identifies pixel manipulations, Google image search and other tools, then Misha consults with a psychic to confirm the veracity of all items—so don’t screw with us on this point or you will be screwing yourself and your whole team. Only tools use screws. Don’t be a tool, or our resident witch will turn you into one.
10. Jousting. All knights who wish to joust may apply for the position, but please note that all jousters will be hired on a free lance basis only.
11. Breaking the Law. Some of the items in the Scavenger Hunt may be illegal to perform in some corners of the world including the lower kingdoms, the Forgotten Realms, and some sections of Middle Earth. It is your responsibility to assess the local legality of your actions during the Hunt. If you believe completing an Item will cause you to break a law, DO NOT DO THAT ITEM. We simply don’t have the patience to assess the Civil Codes that govern all the world’s municipalities and townships, so we leave it to you to know your region’s laws. In other words, (a) you are not permitted to break any law in an attempt to scavenge an item and (b) GISH will not be responsible if you break any law, and we won’t visit you behind bars or post bail if you do.This includes any rules, guidelines, or advisories currently in place with regard to shelter-in-place, physical distancing, being out in public without a mask, quarantine, curfews, or not kissing people in quarantine on the lips. We mean it. Your health & safety come first!
PS: Wash your damn hands and stop touching the front of your mask.
12. Scavenging Safety. The first rule of scavenging: be safe! Second rule of scavenging: Be safe! The third rule of scavenging is: have fun while being safe!
12a. Scavenging Safely. First Do No Harm. If you think you might hurt yourself or someone else trying to complete the Item, or cause actual damage (to property, the environment, or a specific site), do a different Item. We have many. How many? SO MANY. Plus two.
12c. Numbering Conventions. 12c only makes sense if there’s a 12b. Defy convention.
13. Shame. It doesn’t exist during the Hunt. If you have any leftover shame tucked away, get rid of it now! Throw it in your compost bin or recycle it into something more useful, like a pogo stick or moon shoes, or cast a Vanishing Spell to banish it forever. If you must hang onto it, stick it someplace so clever, you’ll forget where you put it. We recommend throwing it into the laundry so it can end up in the dark and mysterious place where lost socks go or storing it with Misha Collins’ 38 other pairs of Airpods (wherever they went).
14. Normalcy. We abhor it! For the weekend of the Hunt, you must reject all normalcy. Be weird. Odd. Different. Try on a whole new you so outrageous, your friends, family, and the public don’t even recognize you. This will pay off for you in the Hunt and in life. NOTE: Some of you may already be pushing the boundaries of weird and abnormal within society. Good work. Now kick it to eleven!
14a. Normalcy Addendum. In the era of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be tempted to gaze longingly into the past at the bygone “normal” days and wish for their return. While we’re certainly ready to bring back some of the great aspects of “normal” life, and eschew this New Normal as much as we all collectively eschewed New Coke… we still must say NO to all normalcy, current or past! Instead, we shall endeavor to go forward, and not reverse, as we move away from the current state of “normalcy” with haste.
15. Item Interpretation. During our regular Hunt, we have a strict rule against interpretation of items, which goes like this, “When we ask for the Item, we want what we have asked for. So if we ask you to have a tea party over Zoom with the Queen of England and her corgi, it should be actually you, with the actual HRH Elizabeth II, sipping tea with her pup over Zoom. Not a toy of you, or a drawing of you, but really both of you sipping milk oolong with your pinkies and paws up. Failure to do so may gain you zero points. You didn’t put out your fine virtual china and bake dog biscuits to get nothing, so connect with the Queen and give us what we ask for!
15a. Item Interpretation II. Due to pandemic physical distancing & quarantine restrictions, in the Play-at-Home Wizards & Weirdos Hunt, SOME creative interpretation will be accepted — but it must be an inspired combination of creative genius and hard work to receive points. Otherwise, you may get nothing. In the past, teams have been bumped out of the running for too much reinterpretation of items. In recent memory, a would-be winner placed dead last because every Item was reinterpreted as a photo of a squirrel wearing a horse head mask. That may be a lie, but one thing is 100% true: We are looking for the actual thing we say we are asking for, not a cheeky version of that thing, unless your cheeky, ingenious version of the thing is superior to the way we intended it to be and creatively utilizes the materials and opportunities available to you. (Cheekiness has its place. Think inside your house, but outside the box.)
16. Item #37 can’t even. But Item #22 totally can.
17. Submissions Secret Tip #1. Quality counts! Quantity won’t win this contest alone. Make sure you take in-focus pictures and videos and you do what is asked for (see Commandment 10). Nothing gets our dander up faster than a beautifully executed item shot so poorly that we can’t see or hear what you did. Keep our dander down by making your submissions beautiful, artistic, and excellent.
18. Submissions Secret Tip #2. Interpretation is a slippery slope, but DO give us what we asked for in a way we didn’t expect it. You’re not boring, so don’t pretend to be for our sake. Surprise us.
19. Submissions Secret Tip #3. Have fun. If you’re having fun making or doing an item, odds are the result will be great. In other words, before tackling an item, figure out how to make the process fun. This includes when you capture the picture or video. You will likely receive more points if you are having more fun, too. If you’re not having fun, you are required to change course immediately so that you ARE headed in the direction of some serious good times. (We must add the small caveat that sometimes GISH is miserable—but that’s part of the fun, too.)
20. Submissions Secret Tip #4. Composition counts. Pay attention to everything in your Submission— including the setting and backgrounds of your images and videos. Beautiful, artistically composed images that look good in landscape OR portrait mode tend to get awarded more bonus points and have a better chance of being showcased in the Hall of Fame, coffee table books, and other places. Think about how your images will look when projected 50 feet high on our judge’s drive-in movie screen, on YouTube, or hanging in the GISH Hall of Fame before you shoot them.
21. Submissions Secret Tip #5. Submission Secret Tip #5 disapparated and has not been seen for 48 hours, and its mother is getting nervous. Please hang “LOST” posters in your neighborhood and if you see it, post its last known GPS coordinates or other eyewitness testimony on social media tagged #GISHTip5APB & #GISH. Thank you.
22. Submissions Secret Tip #6. Make the judges laugh, chuckle, chortle or giggle until we lose control of major bodily functions. Make us cry. Or puke a little into our mouths. Our Judges love granting points to people with a good sense of humor, so entertain us and you’ll be rewarded with Points. Dance, monkeys!
23. Submission Secret Tip #7. Artistic expression counts! You don’t have to be an “artist” (though we believe all creatures are), but be thoughtful in your creations. Try to tell a story with your image. Images that tell a story in a single image are generally more compelling than images where the subjects are just posing for the camera—though not always, so your mileage may vary. But try to be eye-catching, awe-inspiring and museum worthy. (No pressure.)
24. Poetry. They say that the most accurate predictions rhyme. (We’d ask you for one, but you won’t have the time.)
25. Submission Secret Tip #8. Give us your best shot! If we want a collage, or a grid, or a side-by-side or triptych, we’re not shy about asking for it. Otherwise, select your best single image as your Submission. Don’t give us 7 of your favorites or a handful showing your process or several shots of your item unless we ask for that. It can detract from the power of your Image (and sometimes, our ability to see it clearly), and will likely lose your points. Be selective and decisive.
26. Submission Secret Tip #9. WATERMARKS OR TEAM NAME SIGNS: Unless we specifically ask for it, we suggest that you avoid adding a watermark or sign with your team’s name on it in or on the image. We know you want credit, and wherever possible we’ll give it to you. And we know you’re rebels that do what you like, so we’re not saying you can’t—but just know it can impact our ability to share your work in video compilations, the book, social media, etc due to constraints of size and visual layout. You can add your team name to the video description on YouTube, the comments, etc. But if you want your work seen, please be mindful of this important Tip.
27. Submission Secret Tip #10. NO OPEN CAPTIONS. We appreciate your help in adding closed captions to your videos wherever possible, but please for the love of Misha’s pet pony don’t open caption them (where the words are burned into the image). It can impact our ability to share clips of your work later, and that’s just sad.
28. Shatner Clause. Occasionally GISH attracts “personalities” with massive social media followings who want to compete. We welcome them to join us in the mayhem, but we want ordinary folk to know that they still have a solid chance of winning, so here’s our policy: If a member of a GISH team has more than 500,000 social media followers or “likes” on any social media platform and/or the judges deem this individual a widely-recognized celebrity of any ilk, and if that celebrity team ever wins anything GISH, we will award THE PRIZE to TWO TEAMS. The highest scoring NON-CELEBRITY team will also be awarded the Prize. If this unlikely event should occur, we will be awarding the Prize to BOTH the Celebrity team AND the other team composed of the hoi polloi. (No celebrity team has ever won yet, though.)
29. Former Winner Eligibility. No team may win two years in a row, but since we’re changing up the winners’ prizing system a little for the Wizards & Weirdos Hunt (see Commandment “How To Win”), this may be impossible without a time turner anyway.
30. Time Turners. No time turners may be used at any time during the Hunt Period or to speed up the time until the Hunt, or to take us back to a bygone era without written consent by the management.
31. Divination. You may not employ oracles, crystal balls, legilimency/mind reading, or other forms of divination to complete an Item unless it expressly calls for utilization of those powers.
32. Familiars. Every team may have a maximum of fifteen familiars (one per team mate). Familiars may be called upon for advice and act as the team’s consigliere or vizier in all matters except legal negotiations unless the familiar is also a feline that has passed the bar exam.
33. Confusion. Confusion is a vital component of the Hunt. This is by design. Confusion brings us joy. If you are confused, you’re doing it right. DO NOT, we repeat, DO NOT contact customer support or GISH on social media or try to sweet-talk the GISHBOT in the GISH Bunker for tips or hints or for any issues related to confusion on how to do an item. 1/2 of the Hunt is you figuring out what the hell we’re asking for. The other 1/2 of the Hunt is you doing it. The other 3/4 of the Hunt is you taking a picture or video of the item. The other 5/6 of the Hunt is you making a tutu out of shredded wheat. The other 1/76th of the Hunt is Janet. She’s a houseplant in the corner and it’s your responsibility to water her daily.
34. Masks and Physical Distancing. All human-to-human and human-to-mammal rules of physical distancing as recommended by the CDC or WHO must be observed and face masks worn when in the physical presence of anyone outside your immediate household or “pod” as permitted by law. Humans may stand within 6’ of any merfolk that have been recently tested negative for any illnesses. Throughout the Hunt period, at no time may you touch your face except with your thoroughly, deeply sanitized left foot, a 10-foot-pole, or gloved hands. If you do not have gloves, any sanitized plastic, latex, or vinyl coverings will suffice in a pinch.
35. Charisma. Don’t sweat it. You’re a natural.
36. Dungeons and dragons. All dragons must be properly crate-trained before allowing them free range of the dungeon.
37. How To Win. This year’s Wizards & Weirdos GISH Hunt is like none before it — we’re trying something new! Through fellowship and fortitude, three teams will be rewarded for their excellence in GISHIng, each in one of three classes:
38. Scoring. Each Item will have a point value associated with it. Team scores shall be compiled by tallying up the total points accumulated and assigned to the team’s Item Submissions by our judges.The judges may assign additional points to items that are most excellently executed, if they wish. We reserve the right to take artistic merit, precision, and creative ingenuity into account. Our winning teams not only GISH hard, they GISH well, and often our winners multiple items that have been granted extra points for being the absolute bomb-diggity. Likewise, we have awarded partial points for items that demonstrate an extremely good effort, but don’t quite achieve the item task. Teams that creatively interpret or blatantly disregard the Item are likely to receive 0 points or even be docked points for that Item if we’re judging it before we’ve had our morning vegan turkey leg.
39. Winning. You know you want to. The three teams that cumulatively receive the most points through our convoluted and highly guarded secret system of Judgment will be awarded Winners of GISH’s Wizards & Weirdos Hunt in one of three classes: Knights of the GISH Pentadecagonal Round Table of GISHlandia, The Order of the Bards of GISHLandia, and The Order of the Clerics of GISHLandia. However, no team may win more than one class! Each of these classes is judged on the merits of how well your team performed in areas of overall tenacity, grit and courage, creativity, and humanitarian effort, along with overall achievement in GISHing. Confused? Great. Us, too. We just work here.
40. Hygiene. To be certified as a winner (in life, if not the Hunt), all players must floss their toes daily twice throughout the Hunt Period and post a video of their toe-flossing on TikTok, Twitter, or Instagram tagged #IFlossForMyHealth & #GISH. All toes must be kept shaved, except if one is a hobbit — in which case braiding toe hair is acceptable.
41. Complaining. No. Just don’t. Also, you must not gripe, whine, whinge, at any of the GISH staff, judges, or volunteers. Petitioning is forbidden. GISH is a feudal monarchy, not a democracy! PACs and SuperPACs may be formed, but phone banking, lobbying and bribery is prohibited except on Tuesdays from 4—6 AM in the alley behind Fred’s. (All kickbacks must be in small bills only, on any duck that fits in your wallet.) Our “Support” email must be used only as a last resort. Please visit our Holy FAQ section prior to asking questions. Read the dictionary. Explore encyclopedias. If you must vent, you may fabricate a doll of Misha, deem it your “Complaint Vessel”, and whine to it. But don’t complain to us or so help us we will turn this Hunt around right now.
42. Bribery. Pepperoni is the new coin of the realm. All pizza will be accepted as cryptocurrency for the purposes of bribery, except as prohibited by Commandment #31. Note that the exchange rate for pizza may change depending on the region and fluctuations in the economy, and deep dish has no monetary value in the current market.
43. Nostrils. All nostril flare must adhere to company regulations, with a minimum of 15. (It’s up to you whether or not you want to do just the bare minimum.)
43a. Repetition. If it’s important, we may repeat it for emphasis. But we might not, too. Pay attention.
45. Redundancy. If it’s important, we may repeat it for emphasis. But we might not, too. Pay attention.
46. Outsourcing. Although we encourage you to reach out to family, friends, neighbors, students, teachers and your social media communities to assist you with the completion of the items, we expect YOU and YOUR TEAM to be the primary participants in completing your Items. You are not permitted to crowdsource or purchase multiple Items wholly from third parties. The majority of your items must be sourced, created, and performed by your team – meaning at least one team member must be in or have created the majority of the videos and images. During and after the Hunt we will investigate potential winning teams to see if team members have outsourced the completion of a mass amount of items. What does this mean? This means if you tweet to a thousand of your followers for individuals to do lots of your items and deliver you the images or videos, all of these submissions would be ineligible. On the other hand, if we ask for an item to be completed in the heart of the Amazon jungle and you know a cousin who knows a captain of a canoe who knows an anthropologist living in a tent that is studying the lifespan of the male flagelunting bug, you may have that anthropologist take a picture and submit it if said anthropologist is currently sheltering in place in the space where that bug is also quarantined. But if we see multiple instances of this and it’s clear you’re just sitting at your computer and outsourcing like a boss, your team may be disqualified. You may also not reach out to volunteer proxies who offer their services to teams to complete Items. Use your head on this. DO NOT email our support to ask questions regarding this commandment. You be the judge… and then we will.
46a. Out-houses. All Gishers must wash their hands for at least 2 minutes after using the outhouse. No exceptions. Every time. (This means you, Todd.)
46b. In-houses. You should stay there throughout the duration of the Hunt when possible, unless allowed by law to roam safely.
47. Proxies. You may not conscript proxies or GISH mercenaries to complete Items in your stead unless specifically stated in the Item or for a specific, good reason (such as a location-based item). Teams that use proxies to skive off their Items may lose points for outsourcing or even be disqualified. See Commandment 36 and remember: we’re everywhere, and we see you.
48. Video/Image Plagiarism. You shall not submit any items that were created by another team. Any team that is caught submitting another team’s Item shall be eligible for disqualification. You may not submit any items that were taken before this year’s Scavenger Hunt. Any team that is found to be submitting items that were created before the Hunt is eligible for disqualification.
48a. Video/Image Plagiarism. You shall not submit any items that were created by another team. Any team that is caught submitting another team’s Item shall be eligible for disqualification. You may not submit any items that were taken before this year’s Scavenger Hunt. This is important, so we are repeating it for emphasis. See Commandment 45.
49. Sensitivity & sustainability. We expect you to do your part to help make this a kinder, if not gentler, Hunt with a smaller carbon footprint. With that in mind, all potatoes may be baked, but may not be boiled in oil under any circumstances.
50. Dietary Restrictions. In medieval times, there were no spoons or forks (we’re going for emphasis, not historical accuracy. Roll with it.). As such, all Gishers may only use sticks and other conveyances to eat their food but may NOT use their hands, because Purell didn’t exist in Olden Times. In the same spirit, we will not be spoon-feeding you information. (See Commandment 33).
51. Spoons. We’ve been telling you all along: you don’t need spoons to play, and in fact, we actively forbade them. But if you need them for reasons of accessibility, you may use one. (This is true for any accessibility requirement.)
51. Dragons. All dragons who are double-parked may be ticketed or towed without warning.
52. Environmental Considerations. Teams that provide evidence that their bedroom-to-bathroom commute was made through sustainable “roller skate” technology are eligible for Carbon Credits.
53. Responsibility. We’re taking planetary stewardship seriously. This Hunt is negative-waste and sustainably sourced. If you made it out of food, make sure that food gets eaten. If you use something, recycle it into something so much better you probably should have bought the new thing to begin with. You get the idea.
54. Content Sharing. You may not “share” your images or videos until after the Scavenger Hunt, but you may not password-protect them either as we need to access them for judging. Violators will be subject to virtual incarceration and/or loss of Points or disqualification. We encourage you to share your images and videos after the Hunt ends, and will alert you when it is permitted — typically 8 minutes and 47.3 seconds after the Hunt is officially over. Watch out social media for the all-clear.
55. Collaboration. As cold-hearted as this sounds, don’t collaborate with other teams unless the Item is designated as a Collaborative Item. This is a cut-throat competition. Each team has to execute each item on their own. If we find out that teams are collaborating you will get either fractional or no credit for the item. However, collaboration with any of the following is strongly encouraged: imaginary friends, teammates and their respective imaginary friends, familiars, ghosts, the fae, wraiths, and thestrals.
56. Judging. Items shall be judged with side-eye in a private, anonymous ceremony wherein none of the judges even know each other or themselves.
57. Ponies. Ponies must be confined to the living room, but unicorns are essential workers and may roam freely.
58. The End. The Scavenger Hunt shall end at 8 PM PT on Sunday, March 7, 2021 unless otherwise stated on our social media platforms and/or our Updates page.
59. Arbitrary Rules and Constraints. REMEMBER: May be placed on the “Updates” page during the course of the Scavenger Hunt. Watch it daily. Pay attention. OBSESSIVELY CHECK THE UPDATES PAGE HERE: GISH.com/updates
59a. You’re almost through… don’t give up!
60. Infamy. Think you have no chance of achieving GISH Fame? Wrong! If you are convinced you won’t win, you can still wow us with a specific item and be drafted into the Hall of Fame for that Submission! Select a handful of items to complete and make them the most amazing items the world has ever seen. If your team’s item is chosen as one of the best versions of that item by our judges, it (and your team) will be forever memorialized in the GISH Hall of Fame. Your item and team name will be seen forever on our website. These Submissions will be the stuff of legends.
61. GISHPoints. You want these. They are granted for all of the following: completing GISH, volunteering for GISH, being part of our HARSH Judging program, registering early or at certain times, or eating with your mouth full while at the designated time that Misha indicates privately. What do they get you? Lots. Last year our top GISHpoints holders got automatic upgrades to the next tier of registration and discounts in the Gishporium. Who knows what they will bring this year… We have other devious plans for these points, but needless to say, if you don’t have ‘em, get ‘em, if you got ‘em, get more of ‘em! GISHPoints! Boil ‘em, mash ‘em, eat ‘em with spoon!
62. Alignment. All participants may operate in the “chaotic good” alignment only. If you feel misaligned please go in for an evaluation and have your tires rotated for better balance and performance.
63. Kale. Our love affair has been on-again, off-again, and our love for Kale has never been so strong, but we’ll avoid PDAs for the sake of propriety.
64. Exceptions. There may be many. Check the Commandments and Updates pages regularly.
65. Commandment 44 is on holiday.
65 1/2. You break it, you bought it.
65 3/4. You may modify adherence to commandments for reasons of personal safety, quarantine or accessibility due to a disability or injury, as needed and within reason, though there’s no reasonable time to break some of them (such as commandments about safety, legality, kindness, or outsourcing/cheating, the rule about ponies, or complaining). Use your judgment, and then we will use ours.
66. Life Lessons. Be kind. Be precise. Be flippant. Be creative. Be courageous. Be shameless. Be GISH.