Content-Heavy Puzzles

So I’ve been working a little bit on a puzzle Todd gave me from an old NPL convention.  I haven’t gotten very far yet (still been spending most of my free time cleaning up from the aftermath of a crazy October), but I’ve really enjoyed it so far.  The puzzle is all contained within a small newspaper, full of articles and photos with a comics section, horoscopes, personal ads, and ads for several local businesses.  This type of puzzle can definitely feel overwhelming at first since there is so much data to sift through, but that feeling starts to go away when you start to notice a pattern or anomaly for the first time.  And then once you solve a small piece, at least for me, that feeling of overwhelm is replaced by a feeling of satisfaction and cleverness.  Now I’m excited to go through the rest of the newspaper and connect the dots, mentally marking off sections that I’m confident I’ve completed, breaking the puzzle down into more manageable chunks.

I was thinking about these things as I was working on it and had the thought that maybe this newspaper puzzle falls into a certain genre of puzzles where part of the challenge is just sifting through the information and figuring out what each component is about and how they relate to each other.  Where some puzzles might present you with each of the necessary components up front, only giving you the task of working out the “trick” of the puzzles, the newspaper puzzle puts a step of obfuscation before that.  I think all of the Black Letter Game artifacts fall into the same category.

I think I really like puzzles like this, maybe because they feel a little bit more like solving a mystery at first, and I prefer a strong dose of mystery with my puzzles.  Or maybe it’s just because they make me feel clever by letting me solve little things at regular intervals.

So puzzle vets, is there a name for these types of puzzles, or a term you might use to describe them?  Have any favorites in this genre?


5 comments on Content-Heavy Puzzles

  • Dan E.

    I’ve always called them “Greeneville Gazette type things”…

  • Phil D.

    The Dr. When game had a beautiful example of this in the form of a “Choose Your Own Adventure” novel. While it was just a single puzzle (as opposed to the Black Letter Game puzzles), it was made up of multiple, well-crafted levels. If you can get your hands on a copy, I highly recommend it. (I can always lends you one if you can’t track it down)

  • Matt

    This sounds really cool. Is there any way to get a copy of it?

    • clavicarius (author)

      Matt, I’m scanning the pages. I could send them when I’ve got them all together!

      • Matt

        That would be super-awesome of you! Thanks!!

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