Team Clavis Cryptica finally made it to 100 points in the Black Letter Game last night, completing our first artifact. That leaves me eagerly anticipating Artifact #2 and wondering what it might be. We can’t talk very candidly about the game, lest we reveal any spoilers, but we can certainly speculate about the future!
*Warning* This post should not give any explicit spoilers for the Black Letter Game, but if you are planning on signing up and don’t want to have ANY preconceived notions of what will arrive on your doorstep, you might prefer not to read this post. And go sign up already!!*
I think a lot of people found the first artifact to be very unusual. I was certainly surprised! I think it was kind of a gutsy move, showing that the creators really trusted the quality of their puzzles to shine, knowing that the minimal nature of the artifact might turn some people off or disappoint. Personally, I thought it was a fun thing to do right out of the gate. I’ve never received a package quite like that before!
The other fun thing about Artifact #1 is that it leaves the field of possibilities wide open for what the next four artifacts could be. Here are a few of my guesses for what might be in those next boxes, keeping in mind restrictions of cost, size, and faithfulness to the game’s narrative.
A puzzle box is a small, hand-crafted box made up of interlocking pieces, usually with a space inside for hiding a small object. The boxes can only be opened by sliding certain pieces in a specific order. These boxes are beautifully crafted, fun to solve, and provide an inconspicuous hiding place for a small trinket or note.
A puzzle box would really make a perfect artifact. Hiding one of the puzzles inside the box would be an easy way to make owning the physical artifact necessary. And when you’ve extracted the puzzle, you’re left with a beautiful keepsake. The FAQ of the game actually mentions puzzle boxes (though using a very expensive one as an example of what they won’t be doing), so I think there is a relatively good chance this could be a future artifact. The only real barrier for this type of artifact would be cost. The cheapest box I can find on dedicated websites runs at $20, which is probably a little high for this game.
Similar in theory to the Puzzle Box, a box that is locked with a combination would allow for something hidden inside (a puzzle or an answer), and create a multi-step puzzle. The next artifact promises to be harder, and a multi-step puzzle could be a way to deliver on that promise. Although, the more I think about these types of artifacts, the less they seem to fit in with the backstory and narrative that the game provided.
Photograph / Series of Photographs / Negatives
This one would certainly fit with the narrative of the game and has lots of room for puzzles and clues. Visual clues on the photos, things written on the front and back, maybe they come in an envelope. Actually, I hope one of the artifacts is a whole bunch of photos so I can run out and buy a magnetic whiteboard and make a murder board like they do on Castle!
Audio / Video
I absolutely love audio/visual clues and puzzles, so if a CD or DVD (or hey, even something more archaic) showed up on my doorstep, I’d be nothing but thrilled. Easy to make, easy to reproduce, small, cheap, and could be made to fit the narrative. Come ooooon A/V puzzle!
I think this one is a strong contender! Maybe a letter to the editor, a classified ad, or a wedding announcement. Something from the funny pages? Maybe even the crossword or the sudoku! Lots of room for creativity here.
A suggestion from Nick, and I like it! Not necessarily a map that leads you anywhere, but a map that hides puzzles. One idea could be a puzzle that has you draw a route from city to city, like connect-the-dots, and when you’re done it reveals a shape.
It’s complicated. I expect at least some of the future artifacts to be different from the first in that one crucial way, and yet many of the ideas I named are quite similar in nature to the first. It’s hard to think of ideas that really meet all the requirements (affordable, fits in a box, fits with the narrative and play structure they’ve established), so I think I won’t be disappointed if future artifacts do end up being similar to #1. The puzzles were super creative and really solid (except for that one, you all know which one I’m talking about), so I’m just excited to see what they do next, no matter how exactly they choose to do it.
Any fellow players out there care to speculate with me? What do you think will be in the next box? More of the same? Something completely different? Very small rocks? Severed head?