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An interesting sci-fi tale with more than two dozen puzzles to solve as you read and explore this non-linear story.
An interesting sci-fi tale with more than two dozen puzzles to solve as you read and explore this non-linear story.
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295 backers pledged $2,895 to help bring this project to life.

About

PuzzleTales: Interactive Puzzle Stories

$2,895

295

PuzzleTales are interactive stories with puzzles between chapters that you solve to unlock the next part of the story.  If you are familiar with puzzle hunts, escape rooms, or logic puzzles you will like this experience.  The first tale is a sci-fi short story called Svalbard, written by award winning author Lavie Tidhar.  Do you have the mental fortitude necessary to conquer all 25+ puzzles and unlock the entire story?  

What Is It?

PuzzleTales.com will be a website where you can read an interesting short story.  Between chapters of the story, there will be puzzles to solve which will unlock the next chapter.  Our first tale, Svalbard,  tells the story of Mai as she explores a utopian post-apocalyptic world and discovers ancient time vaults, forgotten robot enclaves and slumbering super computers. You will help her scavenge for old technology in the ruined cities and discover ancient secrets about previous civilizations.  There are multiple paths through this non-linear story, and many secrets to discover as you play along. 

Flowchart showing a possible layout of the story (yellow) and puzzles (green).
Flowchart showing a possible layout of the story (yellow) and puzzles (green).

Each chapter will have one or more puzzles that thematically ties into the story.  You will find word puzzles like crossword puzzles, cryptograms and anagrams.  There will be logic puzzles like sudoku, slitherlink and battleship. Discover math puzzles like kakuro, magic squares and crypto-math.  You may also encounter coloring puzzles, mazes or connect the dots.  Every puzzle is unique and there will be a wide variety of challenges to keep you entertained. 

The puzzles are designed to be moderately challenging: not too easy and not too hard.  We are aiming for around 30-60mins of solving time for each puzzle. If you get stuck, there will be a built in no-penalty hint system to get you past the roadblock.  We want people to get to the end and reach the conclusion of the story, so we'll help if you can't solve a puzzle.

Stretch Goals

We did it!  We reached our funding goal. Thanks everyone! 

But let's not stop there.  Given the chance, there are many ways that we can continue to enhance the project for everyone.  So here are some stretch goals that we can strive towards. Please help us spread the word.

$500 - UNLOCKED - Illustrations for each chapter and an interactive map.

$750 - UNLOCKED - Dedicated high score page for Backers only and each Backer's name listed in the credits on our website.

$1000 - UNLOCKED - Five extra secret easter-egg puzzles will be created and hidden throughout the experience.

$1500 - UNLOCKED - We will create a beautiful illustration for the story and give all backers a high quality download link so you can print a small poster or use it as digital wallpaper.

$2000 - LOCKED - We'll make at least one of the puzzles interactive with animations and sounds. It's a mini-game!


Why Are We Qualified 

Jake Olefsky is the founder of Braingle.com, which contains the world's largest collection of brain teasers, riddles and puzzles. In addition to creating numerous successful websites, he has spent decades creating and solving puzzles of all kinds.  Jake is the driving force behind this project and will be creating the puzzles, the website and coordinating the project.

Jake has done this before. His first puzzle tale was completed last year and has been very popular.  The Hypatia is a mystery told on a spaceship with more than 25 puzzles to solve. You can play it right now, but be warned, the puzzles are quite challenging :) More challenging than the puzzles will be for this new experience.

For PuzzleTales, we are upping the quality of the story, making a dedicated website, and making better puzzles with great artwork.

Lavie Tidhar is the World Fantasy Award winning author of Osama (2011), the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize winner for A Man Lies Dreaming (2014), and the Campbell Award winner for Central Station (2016), in addition to many other works and several other awards. You can read one of his short stories, "Yiwu", at Tor.com or listen to LeVar Burton read it.


What Is Already Done

1) The Short Story has already been written.  Lavie Tidhar has delivered a wonderful 13,500 word sci-fi tale that you will enjoy reading.

2) The Puzzles are about half way completed and being finished at a rate of 1-2 per week.

3) The Website is mostly built.  You can visit it now to learn more about the project.  The part of the website that lets you read the story, get hints and solve the puzzles is nearly finished and is going through beta testing right now. 


What We Need

We need to hire an artist to do some illustrations for each chapter of the story and to create unique artwork for some of the puzzles. 

1) We would like to have a small drawing for each chapter that illustrates what happens in that part of the story.  Some of these drawings will have small puzzles hidden inside of them. We were inspired by Middle Age and Renaissance manuscripts which sometimes had "Historiated Initials" at the start of important chapters.  These are enlarged letters that depict a scene from the text (example below).  We would love to do something like this for the chapters in our story.

2) We would also like to have a beautiful, hand drawn map that shows the locations that you visit throughout the story.  The map will be interactive, with places appearing as you discover them, and it will function on the website as a way to navigate.  If you want to jump to a different branch of the non-linear story, you can bring up the map and pick your destination.

3) Some of the puzzles require specialized images to be created.  With your support, we can make sure that the artwork is top-quality.

4) If this fundraising campaign exceeds our goal, we will be able to enhance the product in additional ways.  Maybe with extra illustrations, extra puzzles, enhanced website features or other perks.  Stay tuned for more details if it looks like this is possible...


How You Can Help

1) Become a backer of this project!  Supporters will get the complete experience which includes the full story and all 25+ puzzles.  Get it now at a discount off the full retail price.

2) Spread the word! Your support and encouragement is greatly appreciated.  Please share with your friends, family and coworkers on your favorite social media.

3) Solve our sample puzzle and challenge your friends to find the answer too.

Click to download and solve a sample puzzle
Click to download and solve a sample puzzle

What You Will Get

Every backer will get access to the complete experience which includes all 25+ puzzles, the sci-fi short story written by Lavie Tidhar and illustrations by a talented artist.  This is a digital product, so all rewards will be delivered on our website.  Some of the puzzles may be interactive puzzle games, but most of the puzzles will be available as a PDF, so you can download, print and solve them offline.

For those competitive backers who choose the "Head Start" option, you will get access to everything 2 weeks before everyone else.  Finish before your friends even start!

Our goal is to have the first tale finished and published by July of this year.  If this format of story telling is successful, we hope to publish more puzzle infused stories in a variety of genres and difficulty levels for people to enjoy.

Risks and challenges

This is a digital project, so there is very little risk in terms of delivering the rewards and scaling up to accommodate all the backers. The story is already written and edited. There are no roadblocks to finishing the puzzles. The website is mostly complete and ready for action. The missing piece (and the main purpose of this kickstarter) is the artwork. There are talented artists being considered for this project, but a risk is that they drop out for some reason. If this happens, the search for a new artist may delay the project by a little bit, but we have built a buffer in to accommodate this if necessary.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 9 or more About US$ 9

    The Full Experience

    You will get the full story and all 25+ puzzles on the day of our public launch.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 15 or more About US$ 15

    The Head Start

    You will get the full story and all 25+ puzzles two weeks before our public launch so you can get a head start on everyone else. Finish before your friends even start!

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    38 backers
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    Pledge US$ 8 or more About US$ 8

    The Full Experience [Early Bird Special]

    You will get the full story and all 25+ puzzles on the day of our public launch. Save a buck by backing us early.

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    Reward no longer available 20 backers
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Funding period

- (30 days)