Munzee is an Android and iPhone game that involves finding QR codes around Fort Worth and around the world – often located in plain sight – for points. But that’s just the beginning.
If you enjoy exploring Texas history and want a self-guided tour of the Fort Worth area and beyond, you may want to take up geolocation gaming. That’s a fancy term for games that use smart phones or other GPS receivers, including Geocaching and the lesser known Munzee.
The Munzee app now includes GPS coordinates for more than 11,000 Texas historical markers that you can discover for points. This includes many inside the Fort Worth city limits, many in surrounding cities and counties and markers dotting the entire state.
In Fort Worth, you’ll find Texas history virtual “munzees” – indicating the location of historical markers – in Oakwood Cemetery and Rockwood Park, for example. There are lots in the Stockyards area and downtown too. One commemorates Westover Manor and another the site of the area’s first TV station, WBAP in East Fort Worth. And there are hundreds more that you can find for points.
Sound interesting? Here’s what you need to know to play Munzee in and around Fort Worth.
More About Munzee
The idea for Munzee dates to 2008. But it was 2011 before the technology existed to make it happen. The original concept of the game was simple: scan QR codes – those black square squiggly boxes in many publications and on lots of shop windows – for points.
QR codes can be hidden or in plain sight. In fact, if you’ve seen QR codes appearing on light poles in shopping centers near you, that means Munzee players are active there. Scanning a regular code with nothing special about it, called a greenie, gets you 5 points. There are also motels, hotels, pigs, tomatoes and many other designations of munzees. Each has its own point values and its own unique characteristics, as explained on the Munzee website.
There are also virtual munzees deployed by players in locations where they don’t want to place a physical sticker or think it’s best not to place a sticker. Virtuals are the easiest way to claim Munzee points because you often don’t even have to get out of your car to claim the find. All you have to do is get within 300 feet of the location and “capture” – or claim a find at the location.
Munzee is just a game – and the points aren’t good for prizes or anything else. But players do keep track of their rank, play in teams called clans and collect virtual badges to indicate their prowess at certain features or aspects of the game.
And here’s something interesting: the company is headquartered in North Texas. You’ll find Munzee’s offices and store on the square in downtown McKinney.
Exploring Texas History With Munzee
In November 2016, Munzee enhanced the game with more than 11,000 Texas history virtual munzee deployments. All you need to do is get within 300 feet of the marker, press your big green Munzee button and claim a generous number of points – perhaps 30 or 40 points or more. As with other Munzees, you can snap a photo to share while at the location if you’re a paying, premium member.
For example, you can read about the old Azle Christian Church, then drive near it to claim some points with your smart phone. While you’re in Azle, you can check your app for other kinds of munzees that may be deployed nearby, then claim those for points as well. (There’s another Texas History virtual just a block or so from that church, by the way.)
There’s no word if additional historical munzees will be added to the map, but the company is continuing to build out and expand the game, so anything’s possible. In all, the game is played in 221 nations by as many as 300,000 players. There’s even a physical munzee deployed on Antarctica.
Closer to home, you’ll find hundreds spread across Fort Worth and the surrounding area. While this game doesn’t offer the same challenge as the related Geocaching game, it’s a great way to explore the city and explore some history too. And you might soon rank among the best players in the world. It’s not hard at all.
Good To Know
- To obtain the Munzee app on your smart phone, you can scan my personal QR code and get some points too. If you don’t have a QR reader app on your phone, explore Munzee by visiting their website.
- The name Munzee comes from the German word for coin, which is münze. The game is most popular in Germany and the United States.
- While the game involves hiding QR codes in some areas, most deployments in Fort Worth seem to be clearly visible at shopping center, malls and other public locations on light poles, electrical boxes and similar infrastructure. You can place your own munzees in whatever locations you like from day one.
- A premium membership for $30 a year opens up a few additional options for enhancing play, but most features are available for free. A small ad strip at the bottom of your smart phone screen helps Munzee pay for the game. You can buy credits and products from the company, but these aren’t necessary to enjoy the game, especially if your primary interest is in historical virtual munzees.
- While the company claims 300,000 players worldwide, we were able to achieve more than 2,500 points in less than a week. That puts us at level 34 in the game and gave us a ranking of about 19,000th in the world – indicating that many players must not be very active. In fact, you’ll notice only a handful of dedicated players in Fort Worth and a few others who play occasionally.