“If I told you, I’d have to kill you.”
— , chief head of operations, SMERSH
“A still tongue makes a happy life.”
— , chairman of the Village
“It’s all very hush-hush”
— , head of an unnamed branch of British intelligence.
“Would you really want me to spoil it for you?”
— , some weird chick from the future
“Have I not spoken to you about keeping our guest quiet?”
— , wizard.
“You can’t tell someone a secret.”
— , MI6 agent
“Remember the words of your enemies, and the silence of your friends.”
— , conqueror
— , archeologist
“Silence is golden.”
— , poet
“But that I am forbid, I could a tale unfold to freeze thy young blood.”
— , king
“I have a whole bag of shh! with your name on it.”
— , mastermind
“Sometimes the best news is silence.”
— , American author
We realize that some of you need to know a little bit more before you hand over your hard-earned zlotys to some mysterious pseudonymous organization that still uses tables in its HTML, so we've created this short spoiler-free FAQ. We really don't want to tell you much about the game itself, however. After all, part of the fun is not knowing what comes next....
What is the Black Letter Game? — The Black Letter Game is a new kind of puzzling adventure, a subscription series of five real-world physical artifacts, each with multiple puzzles to solve and mysteries to uncover, delivered to your door one per month, starting in 2012.
Who made this? — I did, along with a secret cabal of neurosurgeons and spelunkers who have created and run The Game in the past.
So it's not The Game? — No, the Black Letter Game is something new. Unlike The Game — which is based on traveling from location to location, finding puzzles, and solving them — the Black Letter Game sends the puzzles directly to you. No travel necessary. The puzzles you'll receive are similar to those physical object puzzles you might find during The Game, but we think they're more complex (because each Black Letter artifact contains multiple puzzles). Also, rather than taking place over twenty-four hours (like The Game), the Black Letter Game takes approximately five months to complete, with a new artifact being sent out once a month.
That sounds like a lot of work! — We believe it's more like a lot of fun. Think of it as a five-month subscription to some really cool and unusual puzzles. Plus, all the puzzles fit together into a larger narrative, so it's more like a five-month subscription to a cool and unusual puzzle-themed story-arc.
What are these artifacts like? — We don't want to say much about the artifacts because we think that's a real spoiler. Let's just leave it at this: they're real-world physical objects within which are hidden lots of puzzles.
So we're going to be sent something like the "Pineapple Secret" by the Karakuri Creation Group? — No, those kinds of artifacts are in the $5,000 version of the game. Our artifacts are priced to fit within the typical game-player's budget.
Is this a competitive game? How do you keep score? — We've designed the game as a competition; however, it's totally reasonable to play the game "just for fun." In fact, unlike The Game which often requires a big commitment just to play (time, money, travel, van rental, et cetera), the Black Letter Game lets teams play wherever and whenever they want. Scoring is based on the time you spend working on each artifact, but the clock doesn't start until you do. (You'll be able to compare your progress against others on the soon-to-be-disclosed game website.)
If we compete and win, do we win something other than just bragging rights? — Those players who successfully complete the entire game will be invited to submit artifacts for future games.
When does the game start? — The game will start on Friday, March 2nd, at noon Pacific Standard Time. Your game clock will start the first time you log into the (still undisclosed) game website.
What if I'm busy on that Friday? — Although we think it will be most fun to start the game when everyone else does, it's OK for teams to start at different times. Starting an artifact after its release-date just means you'll have less than a month to finish the artifact before the next one arrives. It won't necessarily affect your score.
Can I still subscribe to the game after the game has begun? — Yes, space permitting, you can still join the game anytime during the first month. You will be joining the game already in progress, but your game clock (like that of all other players) will start only when you log into the game website for the first time.
Wait, you mean this isn't the game website? — No. This website is where you subscribe to the game and then register. The game website will be revealed once the game begins.
How many people can play? — The game will have a limited number of participants, so sign up early to guarantee a spot.
How much does it cost to play? — A full-series subscription is $60. You can think of it as $12 per artifact. We think it's quite a deal. (The price includes postage and handling, but not tax. Deliveries outside the United States will incur an additional charge.) We've tried to keep the price as low as possible to cover basic costs. We're not here to make money. We're here to have fun.
How do I pay? — Just click “Subscribe Now” (either here or at the bottom of this page) and you'll be taken to a page where you can pay for your subscription via PayPal. You don't need to have a PayPal account to subscribe; all you need is a valid credit card. PayPal will take care of the rest.
Can I play on a team? — Absolutely. In fact, we think most people will find the game more enjoyable if they play as part of a team. Once the game begins all players will be able to register their team names.
How big should my team be? — Teams can be any size, but we think solving the puzzles is more fun with small- to mid-sized teams. Of course the exact number depends on the personality of the players, but with more than a dozen people we think some members may feel marginalized.
Does everyone on my team need to subscribe? — No. The only requirement is that at least one person on the team subscribes. That said, however, we think a low player to artifact ratio (ideally 1:1) will make for a more successful and enjoyable experience. But it really depends on your budget.
What if I want to play on my own? — That's totally fine, too. The game was designed for either group or individual play.
How hard are the puzzles? — They're hard. But we're all experienced puzzle-designers here, so we also think they're fair. But they are hard. You will be challenged.
Does the Black Letter Game have anything to do with the Harkoon Belligerence Society of Tulsa? — No.
Are there any puzzles on this site? — No. The Black Letter Game has not started. We'll let you know when it begins.
OK, I'm in. What do I do now? — Sign up for the game by clicking the little gift box below. Remember, the game will have a limited number of participants, so sign up early to guarantee a spot.