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In this sequel to the puzzle hunt What's That Spell, the wizard Verwald offers you a mysterious treasure – if you can find it.
188 backers pledged $20,625 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$20,625

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The Pitch

Verwald's Treasures is the sequel to my puzzle hunt What's That Spell, which was funded on Kickstarter in the summer of 2016. In What's That Spell, you matched wits with the wizard Verwald, and now, years later, Verwald has contacted you with an intriguing offer. He has decided to pass on some of his prized artifacts, and he is inviting you to come and prove yourself a worthy recipient. Surely, a wizard of Verwald's power must have a wondrous treasury of magical items, but what challenges must you overcome to claim them?

The Project

Verwald's Treasures, like its predecessor What's That Spell, is a puzzle hunt, with puzzles that come together to form multiple metapuzzles. This time, I'm working on a larger scale: What's That Spell had 12 puzzles, but Verwald's Treasures is expected to have over 30 puzzles, multiple metapuzzles, and even a meta-metapuzzle. And while the metapuzzles of What's That Spell incorporated a variety of physical artifacts, solvers may recall that they were, in effect, lacking in depth. This time, the artifacts will be truly 3-dimensional, and I am looking forward to sharing them with you.

Structural overview of Verwald's Treasures. It's complicated.
Structural overview of Verwald's Treasures. It's complicated.

Additionally, I hope to reach out and push some of the boundaries of what a puzzle hunt like this can do. I don't want to give away my plans, but my goal is for solvers to be surprised as they work their way through the hunt. I want to find new ways for you to interact with the puzzles and metapuzzles, as well as the world of Verwald's Treasures.

As before, the puzzles will be electronically delivered, and are suitable for solving alone or in groups. The artifacts for the metapuzzles will be available in three formats: templates that you can print, cut out, and assemble, printed templates that you can assemble, and fully fabricated wooden pieces. Depending on the reward level you choose, the artifacts will be delivered electronically or shipped to your door.

The Rewards

Initiate: The basic reward is the puzzle hunt itself. For $60, you can receive the puzzles of Verwald's Treasures and digital copies of the artifacts, as well as any bonus puzzles that are unlocked in the stretch goals. The puzzles are expected to be delivered in the fall of 2018.

For $70 plus shipping, you can receive the puzzles of Verwald's Treasures and printed templates for the artifacts, as well as any bonus puzzles that are unlocked for stretch goals. The puzzles and artifacts are expected to be delivered in the fall of 2018.

Artificer: For $120 plus shipping, you can receive the puzzles of Verwald's Treasures and fabricated wooden artifacts, as well as any bonus puzzles that are unlocked in the stretch goals. Please note that, due to my fabrication capacity, this reward level is limited. The puzzles and artifacts are expected to be delivered in the fall of 2018.

Magus: For $240 plus shipping, you can receive the puzzles of Verwald's Treasures and the fabricated wooden artifacts, packaged in a unique, custom-decorated case suitable for display, as well as any bonus puzzles that are unlocked in the stretch goals. In addition, you will receive a limited-edition mechanical puzzle designed by Pavel Curtis and myself. The puzzles and artifacts are expected to be delivered in the fall of 2018.

Sample of case exterior
Sample of case exterior

 

Sample of case interior. Dragon not included.
Sample of case interior. Dragon not included.

Runekeeper: For $480 plus shipping, you can receive all of the rewards for the $240 level, plus a personalized puzzle from me. You can specify the type of puzzle, the theme, hidden messages, or other aspects that strike your fancy. The puzzles and artifacts are expected to be delivered in the fall of 2018.

Runeweaver: For $1200 plus shipping, you can receive all of the rewards for the $480 level, plus a puzzle quilt from Boston-area fabric artist Martha Ingols. The quilt will be suitable for displaying on the wall, and can be solved as a puzzle or admired as a work of art. The puzzles, artifacts, and quilt are expected to be delivered in the fall of 2018.

One of Martha Ingols' previous puzzle quilts
One of Martha Ingols' previous puzzle quilts

Thaumaturge: For $3000 plus shipping, you get the whole kit and caboodle. You will receive the puzzles and artifacts of Verwald's Treasures, a custom-decorated case, a limited-edition mechanical puzzle from Pavel Curtis, a personalized pencil-and-paper puzzle from me, a puzzle quilt from Martha Ingols, and your very own puzzle hunt. As with the personalized puzzle, you can specify a theme, hidden answer, and other aspects of the hunt. Once I have written the hunt, you can decide what you want to do with it: solve it with a few friends, host a large event, keep it all to yourself...whatever your heart desires. If you would like to host an event, I can make myself available to run the hunt for you, so long as you can provide transportation from Boston and lodging. The puzzles, artifacts, and quilt are expected to be delivered in the fall of 2018, but the custom puzzle hunt might not be ready until 2019.

As with What's That Spell, I also plan to run Verwald's Treasures as a live hunt for solvers in the Boston area. For $80 or $120 plus a per-person surcharge, you can register a team of 4-6 solvers for the live version of Verwald's Treasures. Teams who register at the $80 level will receive a set of printed cardstock templates of the artifacts, and teams who register at the $120 level will receive one set of fabricated wooden artifacts. In both cases, teams will have access to any bonus puzzles unlocked in the stretch goals. The per-person surcharge is because one of the venues for the live hunt requires paid admission, and I will need to purchase tickets in advance. The surcharge will be collected after the Kickstarter campaign is over. If you wish to participate in the live hunt but still receive the rewards from one of the higher tiers, you should edit your pledge to include an add-on for the difference between the desired reward level and the Artificer tier.

This time, the logistics for the live hunt are a little tricky. Because of the size of this hunt, I am spreading it out over two days. However, the venue I have in mind for the second day of the hunt has space restrictions, so I can only accommodate about 24 teams at one time. 

To allow more teams to participate, I am offering two options for solving Verwald's Treasures live. In both options, the first day of the hunt will be held on Saturday, July 28, 2018, in Boston. The second day of the hunt will be held on two separate occasions: Saturday, August 11, 2018, and Saturday, August 18, 2018. These two options are offered as separate reward categories, in order to put a cap on each date. For both live hunt options, teams are welcome to bring different solvers on each day, as long as there are no more than 6 solvers on a given day.

Whether you choose to sign up to solve Verwald's Treasures at home or live in Boston, you will have the option to sign up for one of two difficulty levels, Apprentice and Archmage. The puzzles will be the same in both levels, but the Apprentice versions will generally come with more instructions or starting information. You will be able to choose your desired difficulty level when you receive your backer feedback form after the campaign has ended.

If you want to support this project but don't want to go in for the whole hunt, for $1 (Spark) you can purchase a single puzzle from the archives of Tortoiseshell Studio. For $20 (Hedge Wizard) you can purchase 30 puzzles from the Tortoiseshell Studio archives, and in addition, all pledges at $20 and above will be eligible to receive any bonus puzzles that are unlocked in the stretch goals. These puzzles will be delivered electronically by the summer of 2018.

Add-ons

What would a Kickstarter campaign be without add-ons? If the rewards above aren't enough for you, we have some more things you can get with your pledge.

For starters, if you're pledging at the Initiate level ($60-70) or above and you want to get some of the puzzles from the Tortoiseshell Studio archives, simply add on $1, $10, or $20 to your pledge to receive 1, 12, or 30 puzzles from the archives, as per the Spark, Prodigy, and Hedge Wizard levels. I will note that these puzzles have been published elsewhere, so if you have already solved them, this might not be the add-on for you.

Additionally, for $25 each, you can get a t-shirt or tote bag featuring the art of Verwald's Treasures or What's That Spell. The Verwald's Treasures shirts and totes will be available in white on a blue or black background, and the What's That Spell shirts and totes will be available in white on a navy or black background. We should have a wide range of t-shirt sizes available, and you are free to order multiple items with your add-on.

Art for What's That Spell t-shirt
Art for What's That Spell t-shirt

If you pledged at the Artificer level or higher and would like an additional set of fabricated wooden artifacts, simply add on $60 for each additional set. Additional custom cases can be purchased for a $60 add-on.

Also, as mentioned before, if you pledge for the live hunt but wish to receive the rewards of one of the higher tiers, make an add-on pledge for the difference between the higher pledge level and $120.

The Stretch Goals

This puzzle hunt will be produced if the base goal of $15000 in pledges is met. For every $1000 over the base goal, I will commission a guest constructor to write a bonus puzzle to accompany Verwald's Treasures. And if enough bonus puzzles are unlocked, I will ask some of the guest constructors to write puzzles that fit into a metapuzzle, to make a bonus puzzle hunt out of their contributions. At this point, I don't know how many bonus puzzles will be "enough" to turn into a bonus puzzle hunt, but I expect that the bonus hunt will need at least 8 puzzles.

Here's a rundown of the first few stretch goals, including guest constructors:

  • $15000: The puzzles and artifacts for Verwald's Treasures FUNDED!
  • $16000: A bonus puzzle by Ata Gurpinar FUNDED!
  • $17000: A bonus puzzle by Caitlyn Ragan FUNDED!
  • $18000: A bonus puzzle by Max Woghiren FUNDED!
  • $19000: A bonus puzzle by Ange Strom-Weber and Jen McTeague FUNDED!
  • $20000: A bonus puzzle by Carl Worth FUNDED!
  • $20539: A bonus puzzle by Kristy McGowan
  • $21039: A bonus puzzle by Elizabeth French and Justin Melvin
  • $21539: A bonus puzzle by Wil Zambole
  • $22039: A bonus puzzle by Katherine Bryant
  • $22539: A bonus puzzle by Lance Nathan

Additional guest constructors will be announced as we progress through the stretch goals.

Where Your Pledge Goes

There are a number of expenses associated with producing this puzzle hunt. First and foremost, there is my time and labor spent constructing puzzles. Then there is the expense of producing and shipping the physical components of the hunt. Additionally, I will be paying a number of collaborators for this project: an editor, testsolvers, some graphic designers, and the guest constructors for the stretch goals and special rewards. There may be other incidental expenses along the way, and if so, I will keep you informed with campaign updates.

Risks and challenges

What's That Spell had some production delays due to the amount of labor that went into assembling the puzzle artifacts. I have learned from that experience, and I am designing the artifacts to be less labor-intensive in their production. At this point, I have verified details of the artifact fabrication process, and I am confident that I can produce the artifacts in a timely manner.

This of course leaves the individual puzzles, but I have considerable experience in writing puzzle hunts, so construction should not be a problem. I am committing to running the live hunt in July and August, and after that I will need two or three months to rewrite site-specific puzzles and prepare physical rewards for shipping.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1 or more About US$ 1.00

    Spark

    Show your support for Verwald's Treasures! As a thank you, you will receive one puzzle of your choice: cryptic crossword, variety crossword, or logic puzzle. You will also get your name in the credits.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 20 or more About US$ 20

    Hedge Wizard

    Receive 30 puzzles from the Tortoiseshell Studio archives, with a mix of puzzle types. At this level, you will also receive any puzzles that are unlocked as stretch goals, though you will not receive the puzzles of Verwald's Treasures itself. You will get your name in the credits.

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    5 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 60 or more About US$ 60

    Initiate (digital props)

    Receive the puzzles of Verwald's Treasures, and digital templates of the artifacts that you can print, cut out, and assemble for solving the metapuzzles. Also includes any puzzles that get unlocked as stretch goals. You will get your name in the credits.

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    48 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $70 or more About $70

    Initiate (printed props)

    Receive the puzzles of Verwald's Treasures, and cardstock templates of the artifacts that you can cut out and assemble for solving the metapuzzles. Also includes any puzzles that get unlocked as stretch goals. You will get your name in the credits.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 80 or more About US$ 80

    Initiate (live solving, 7/28 and 8/11)

    Register a team of four to six solvers for the live version of Verwald's Treasures, to be held on July 28 and August 11, 2018, in the Boston area. Includes printed cardstock templates of the artifacts for the metapuzzles, as well as all puzzles that are unlocked as stretch goals. You will get your name in the credits.

    Note: Because one of the venues for the hunt charges admission, there will be a per-person surcharge, to be collected in advance of the hunt. Also, if you wish to play in the live hunt but receive the additional rewards of a higher tier, you may make an add-on pledge for the difference between the higher tier and this one.

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    Limited 0 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 80 or more About US$ 80

    Initiate (live solving, 7/28 and 8/18)

    Register a team of four to six solvers for the live version of Verwald's Treasures, to be held on July 28 and August 18, 2018, in the Boston area. Includes one set of printed cardstock templates of the artifacts for the metapuzzles, as well as all puzzles that are unlocked as stretch goals. You will get your name in the credits.

    Note: Because one of the venues for the hunt charges admission, there will be a per-person surcharge, to be collected in advance of the hunt. Also, if you wish to play in the live hunt but receive the additional rewards of a higher tier, you may make an add-on pledge for the difference between the higher tier and this one.

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    Limited 0 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $120 or more About $120

    Artificer (solve at home)

    Receive the puzzles of Verwald's Treasures, and wooden artifacts that are used for solving the metapuzzles. Also includes any puzzles that get unlocked as stretch goals. You will get your name in the credits.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 58 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 120 or more About US$ 120

    Artificer (live solving, 7/28 & 8/11)

    Register a team of four to six solvers for the live version of Verwald's Treasures, to be held on July 28 and August 11, 2018, in the Boston area. Includes one set of wooden artifacts for the metapuzzles, as well as all puzzles that are unlocked as stretch goals. You will get your name in the credits.

    Note: Because one of the venues for the hunt charges admission, there will be a per-person surcharge, to be collected in advance of the hunt. Also, if you wish to play in the live hunt but receive the additional rewards of a higher tier, you may make an add-on pledge for the difference between the higher tier and this one.

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    Limited 13 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 120 or more About US$ 120

    Artificer (live solving, 7/28 & 8/18

    Register a team of four to six solvers for the live version of Verwald's Treasures, to be held on July 28 and August 18, 2018, in the Boston area. Includes one set of wooden artifacts for the metapuzzles, as well as all puzzles that are unlocked as stretch goals. You will get your name in the credits.

    Note: Because one of the venues for the hunt charges admission, there will be a per-person surcharge, to be collected in advance of the hunt. Also, if you wish to play in the live hunt but receive the additional rewards of a higher tier, you may make an add-on pledge for the difference between the higher tier and this one.

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    Limited 4 backers
    $
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $240 or more About $240

    Magus

    Includes all rewards for the Artificer level, along with a unique custom-designed case for storing and displaying your artifacts and a limited-edition mechanical puzzle from Pavel Curtis and Nathan. Also includes any puzzles that get unlocked as stretch goals. You will get your name in the credits.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 12 backers
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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $480 or more About $480

    Runekeeper

    Includes all rewards for the Magus level, as well as a custom personalized puzzle. You can request a puzzle type, theme, and hidden message and Nathan will write one just for you. You will get your name in the credits.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 1 backer
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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,200 or more About $1,200

    Runeweaver

    Includes all rewards for the Runekeeper level, as well as a unique puzzle quilt designed and made by Martha Ingols, suitable for hanging on the wall. You will get your name in the credits.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 1 backer
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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $3,000 or more About $3,000

    Thaumaturge

    Includes all rewards for the Runeweaver level, plus a personalized puzzle hunt. You can request a theme, and Nathan will write a puzzle hunt, with 8-12 puzzles and a metapuzzle, just for you. Nathan will even run the hunt for you, if transportation is provided. The personalized puzzle hunt will be available some time in 2019. You will get your name in the credits.

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Funding period

- (30 days)