Thursday, August 1, 2019

Boardgame - Cryptogram Puzzle Post

Beauty and the Braaaaaaains...


None (Self-published)
Jack Fallows
# of Players:
1 (perhaps a couple more)

Game Design & Mechanics
  • The Cryptogram Puzzle Post is an ongoing subscription project that's been running since 2017. Through the author's Patreon page, people can subscribe to a monthly puzzle envelope.
    Note that even though I marked it as a "board game", each envelope could better be viewed as a small, unbound puzzle book. The format of this review reflects that.
  • Each game envelope is magnificently illustrated. Said cover illustration is not typically part of any puzzle. (But then again, you never know, I guess.)
  • The envelope contains a set of eight A5 sheets. The first sheet always show the same stuff: a short paragraph explaining what the CPP is, a poem 😮, and a suggested playlist of indie music to accompany your puzzle-solving 🤯.
  • The following seven sheets tell an ongoing story, and hint at a series of puzzles. The initial puzzle is stand-alone, but its solution will be needed to tackle the second puzzle, and so on. Sometimes the solution will be inserted directly in that puzzle, sometimes it will provide a vague clue as to what now needs to be done.
  • The final puzzle will always yield a textual answer (a single word, or a few). You can then email Mr Fallows directly, and ask for confirmation that you've solved that particular month.
  • Some puzzles will expect you to write on the sheet, maybe even cut it down into pieces.
  • Every 3-month "season" has a connecting theme, meaning that combining all the answers make a longer phrase. Validating that phrase with Mr. Fallows entitles you to a bonus prize, while supplies last. (There are also meta-puzzles that require owning a full year's worth of envelopes, but I don't really know about those.)
  • After a certain time, hints and solutions become publicly available.
  • The entire first year (2017) can now be purchased as a digital download.
  • It's pretty. Very pretty. Can't quite describe it, but you can check out the website and see what I mean. There is a strong artistic vibe coming from this series, and it will certainly strike a chord with the "artsy" types.
  • It's also quite clever. Having played through 4 envelopes, it seems that a lot of efforts have been put into ensuring the puzzles would be varied and well-thought.
  • Ironically, as much as I hate having to "destroy" components, I had no qualms with the CPP model. The small detached sheets are super-easy to photocopy and manipulate.
  • Soooo... puuurty... 😵 (Am I repeating myself?)
  • The subscription model can feel a bit pricey when you're, say, a Canadian dealing with steep exchange rates. 🙄 It's clever, it looks good, but is it 10 GBP worth of gorgeous cleverness? Only you can decide.
  • Although you can theoretically start the subscription at any point, I suspect it just won't be as enjoyable as if you start at the very beginning of a given year.
  • Sometimes the process by which a "result" is used into the following page is really part of a single puzzle, so ultimately you don't necessarily get 7 puzzles per envelope.
Additional Considerations
  • The very first issue (March 2017) can be downloaded for free. There's your opportunity to try it for yourself.
  • If you end up purchasing digital files for 2017, let me point out that one of the initial puzzles cannot be completed as-is. Something's missing from the file. I won't say which one (and I already pointed it out to Mr. Fallows), but you've been warned.
Currently Out (underline bold titles are those I've played)
  • Season 0, Issues 1 - 12 (played issues 6-10)
  • Season 1, Issues 1 - 12
  • Season 2, Issues 1 - 9

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