For some reason the events of last year were on your mind, that afternoon. Okay, so they were always on your mind, but this afternoon they were at the forefront of your mind, pushing aside your three open cases and even eclipsing the stack of copycat postcards the FBI had asked you to look through.
Last you'd heard, J.C. was safe in witness protection. You even knew where, although you weren't supposed to. The FBI wasn't forthcoming with information, so all you could do was scour the internet for some mention of your friend, his family, or even The Ouroboros... (although you were careful not to attract too much attention on that front). Still, you had heard nothing, and somehow nothing was worse than something, in this case.
A gentle shuffle told you that Alice, the mail carrier, was approaching, and your ears proved prescient as the soft thud of letters hitting the floor was followed by the squeak of the mail flap closing. You should really oil it, you told yourself, same as you did every afternoon when the mail arrived. You knew you'd never get around to it, though.
Bill. Bill. A happy birthday card from a dentist you hadn't been to in years. And then...
Your breath caught in your throat. You recognized that handwriting. Your usually-steady hand quivered ever-so-slightly as you tore it open, not waiting to locate your knife. An assortment of postcards--familiar yet entirely alien--tumbled into your hand. Your brow knitted unconsciously as you read, eyes flicking across the back of the first card.
"...Please help me one last time" it ended. You sat up straight, pulse-quickened. A drop of fear fell like a pebble in your gut, rippling outwards. And you smiled. This was something, and something was better than nothing.
Reaching for a pen you deftly spread the cards across your desk. It was time to get to work.
Blowback is a sequel to last year's Wish You Were Here, and while it can be played without having played Part I, it does pick up the story where it was left off before.
Blowback features a set of 5 high-quality postcards packed to the brim--front-and-back--with puzzles, codes, and ciphers. Much like Wish You Were Here, they can be shared and played as a group and solved in almost any order, while they still all feed together into the overarching story and unify to complete larger, unseen puzzles within.
To play Blowback you will need not only your wits and hard-work, but also writing materials and an internet-connected device. The story of Blowback is set in the real-world and many of the puzzles will require you to research languages, history, science, geography, and other disciplines in order to solve them. No specialization is required beyond what you can find by digging around the internet, but your research skills will be put to the test.
After listening to the feedback from Wish You Were Here, many of the puzzles in Blowback are more concise, with fewer puzzles that take a long time to decipher even after you're cracked it. As such, it provides a brisker puzzling experience and leads to an overall solve time of just around 1 hour per card.
If you want to get a sense of the style of puzzle you can expect in this--or any of our games--then check out our Facebook page. We post a new puzzle every Friday and often use these weekly puzzles to test out new styles and concepts we're playing with.
The Enigma Emporium was born in early 2018, the result of long conversations about puzzle games, subscription boxes, and our own likes and dislikes concerning what was available in the marketplace.
We are huge, huge fans of the genre. We've played a lot of what's available (Unlock!, EXIT, Breakout, Deadbolt, etc) and, while there was a lot we liked, there were some elements in all of those that we weren't as fond of.
Our two primary goals are to A) Provide as immersive and aesthetic an experience as possible and B) Give as low a financial barrier to entry as possible.
To the first, we have done our best to make both the cards and the packaging for Blowback something beautiful that you'll will want to handle and admire and keep around even after you've solved it.
To our second goal, we wanted to make sure that we had a variety of prices available, and decided to start out on the lower end. So instead of a $150 mystery (or a $25 subscription that ends up being $150 6 boxes later) we kicked off with a simple, $12 set of puzzles. Down the road we certainly intend to have some larger, more elaborate games that will have a higher price point. It is important to us, however, that anyone who has any interest in what we do have multiple, excellent games that they can choose from for a very low price.
As many of you probably know, the success of our first campaign caught us off-guard and we were entirely unprepared with stretch goals. We don't intend to make the same mistake here, but stretch goals are also tricky for a puzzle game that has a carefully-constructed and tested internal system and narrative. So, we've come up with something we think you're really going to love.
I am proud to present you with The Copycat Files, an entirely new game from the same world as Wish You Were Here and Blowback. The short narrative is this: After news broke about your incredible skills in helping J.C. break free via his carefully-encrypted postcards, an influx of copycat cards began to arrive on the desks of the FBI. Most were obvious fakes and wastes of time, but a few looked like they might have merit to them, so the FBI forwarded the 5 that seemed like they could lead to actual intel and have requested your assistance in deciphering them.
The Copycat Files is going to be a stretch goal/add-on. If we hit five key goals we will be able to produce The Copycat Files in addition to Blowback and offer is as an add-on to all backers already getting Blowback for $7 (it will retail for $15 when it's officially released).
You'll notice that most of these goals are social. We've calculated that, if we fund, we'll be able to produce The Copycat Files for backers at the over-half-off rate and be able to deliver just fine since we're already shipping to everyone. Our stretch goals, then, are largely focused on getting the word out. We're still a young company, so we want to be seen by as many people as possible because we know that, once people play one of our games, they'll love them.
So, if you want to help break through these and unlock The Copycat Files, share, like, comment, and tell your local FLGS and/or escape rooms about us!
We think that everything on here is completely doable and are super excited that we might be able to deliver not just one but two awesome games at the same time for a super cheap price!
Read Kurt's full review here.
Read REA's full review here.
Read Toby's full review here.
Read GeekDad's full review here.
(Additionally, to check out review coverage of our first game Wish You Were Here check out the review section of that campaign here.)
We learned a lot about shipping from our experiences fulfilling Wish You Were Here. First of all, we learned that we can't ship the games in their own envelopes for a couple of reasons. First, the United States Postal Service is abysmal at delivering envelopes and we had a nearly 10% rate of failure to deliver including:
*Failure to deliver (even though the address was correct and shipped just fine on the second try)
*Extreme delays (letters arriving... a month after they should have).
On top of that, the envelopes (especially those going internationally) took a beating. Granted, the envelopes are just a temporary container for the cards, but we worked hard to make them look nice and want them to look just as nice when they reach you.
All of which is to say that we are now shipping all copies in individual bubble mailers. This keeps them from getting damaged in transit and the larger package also helps the USPS keep track of it, reducing the number of shipments to never reach their destination.
The downside is the increased cost. Whereas an envelope could ship for a stamp or two, each bubble mailer costs anywhere from $10-$13 to ship internationally. At present, we aren't planning on increasing our shipping costs as compared to our first campaign.
We know we aren't going to have much of a profit margin on international orders, but it's more important to us, as a young company, to continue to be accessible to everyone across the globe as we build our audience. We are still exploring options to bring the cost down, but don't know when we'll be able to implement those.
Either way, we won't be increasing the cost on single-copy shipping and the cost of multi-item shipments will only be minimally higher. Another reason we want to heavily subsidize our shipping is because, at present, we aren't Asia or AU "friendly" to ship. What that means is that VAT, customs, or any other local shipping fees are not covered and processed on our end.
UPDATE (3/5/19): We have secured EU-friendly shipping via Spiral Galaxy, so backers in the EU won't have to worry about extra VAT or customs charges.
Now, these games aren't too expensive, so even a 20% VAT fee isn't going to be enormous, but we wanted to subsidize the shipping as our way of offsetting any other taxes or fees you may incur locally.
Risks and challenges
For those of you who were along for our previous campaign, you'll know that we were both careful about not over-promising while also being aggressive in what we could deliver. We pre-ordered product and began the shipping process immediately following the end of the campaign.
This time around is a little different. We have a whole second game potentially as part of this campaign, and have also completely changed our shipping systems. We're investigating potential pledge-managers to handle our post-campaign processing, though as of launch we haven't found anyone we're happy with, so we may still handle this all in-house. Either way, we wanted to build in a little extra time to handle these next changes.
Also the last time around we were working out-of-pocket, but this time we have not-insignificant capital put away to help us overcome and unforeseen hurdles we may encounter. Problems happen, and while you can't always anticipate them, we feel that we are prepared and equipped to deal with them if and when they occur.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (21 days)