About this project
We’ve crafted an experience that captivates by sending you down dark twisting and turning pathways with clues that arrive to your door over the course of eight weeks.
Are you the type of person who likes mysterious things like true crime podcasts, suspenseful TV shows, or page-turning mystery stories? Before you were an observer, but now you are an active player in the middle of solving a mystery, and that mystery is called: The Decoder Ring Organization.
And, we need your help to finalize the production of the game!
Each season is comprised of 18-20 packages, including many handcrafted letters and objects, along with digital content such as audio, video, and websites. These items will be mailed several times per week over the course of 8 weeks, meaning a subscriber gets 2-3 clues per week, along with the digital media.
Season One, which is titled, “The Decoder Ring Organization: Roland”, will send a welcome email mid-December. This means it can be given as a perfect holiday gift for 2016. The experience officially starts in the beginning of January, and will span until the beginning of March. After the Season's story comes to a close, the subscriber can decide if they would like to continue experiencing the story by signing up for subsequent Seasons.
The Decoder Ring Organization is the name of this interactive experience. The name comes from the fictional organization in the game that begins the player on their journey. You can see a little more about that organization here:
You can also visit their website TheDecoderRing.org
You may recognize the guy in that video if you watched the main video up above- it’s me again. I hate being on camera, so, yes, part of this project’s budget is allocated to be put towards people who can act. :)
Every season ties up the mystery within its own story, but there is an over-arching storyline that connects each Season. Currently, I have fully planned out the 3 seasons offered in the rewards, which I will be releasing over the course of 2017. If these first 3 seasons are a success, I have even more planned that will continue the story with future Seasons.
As I mentioned in the Project Video, Season One, The Decoder Ring Organization: Roland, centers around the dark circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Julie Harrison, a high school student. She was a resident of rural Moore County, VT. It kills me to have to stop explaining the story here. There is so much more to it, but I want you to be able to explore as much of it as possible on your own as you play through the clues. Within the journey of the game, you will come across different characters and tricky situations. You’ll receive packages that may seem confusing, but they will fall into place as you realize that it is a necessary thing for another part of the game. When we say the story is twisting and turning, we absolutely mean it.
I can’t explain it, and I won’t try, but there is something about getting a package in the mail and not knowing the contents. There’s something about holding an object in your hands and diving into the story it holds: the tangible items make it that much more real.
It’s a different connection than playing a video game, watching a movie/tv show, or even reading a book.
There’s something nostalgic about The Decoder Ring Organization. Like ordering a mystery item from the back of a comic book or painting along with Bob Ross, there’s something inherently exciting about interacting with the your media.
The Mini Mystery – Add-On (+6)
A thank you letter- but is that all it is?
This is a compact puzzle with a few layers to solve. It appears to be a thank you letter. A very strange thank you letter from The Decoder Ring Organization. And, there’s something else in the envelope to help you.
How do I add this on?
- If you have already pledged at least $5, add-on $6 to get this reward.
- These will be delivered December 2016, and make a great teaser for the upcoming experience.
(This piece of mail does not affect the story that is laid out in the standard Seasons, but it is a fun little enhancement that will arrive before the rest of the story in December.)
Haven’t backed yet, but want to get The Mini Mystery on its own?
This Add-On is also available as its own reward tier, now- with free shipping in the U.S. ($2 everywhere else)!
Hello Kickstarter! I’m Rob Kramer, and I am largely the person behind The Decoder Ring Organization.
At the very beginning of 2016, some friends and I were discussing another friend’s upcoming birthday. We talked about what to get her, and we were discussing what she liked.
True crime podcasts.
So, seeing as we were all creative people, we started talking about making her a game that combined these elements.
Since that discussion, the small game has taken on a life of its own. I began filling notebooks with sketches and notes. Something about the idea that we discussed just fascinated me. I started adding in my own influences as I began to realize that what I was making was not just a single gift, but rather its own large-scale project. I would come up with a package or clue and realize, that with my background in graphic design, illustration, and having made props, that, yes, I could create this.
When I first began chiseling away at the rough idea, I kept some guidelines in mind. One of the most important was: "what would I like to see, as a player."
My Other (self-imposed) Rules:
1. Something that arrives on a frequent schedule so that the plot can unfold like a television show.
2. A varying of puzzle difficulties, with rewards for success, but no punishments for failing to solve them.
3. A game world that felt almost real, and the player could interact with the situations and realistically developed characters.
4. Take the excitement you get from a video game, and merge it with receiving unexpected gifts in the mail (even if you just forgot what you ordered on Amazon). Wrap that up into an experience that you can be excited to see among your mundane day-to-day junk mail and bills.
5. Make the idea as affordable as possible, but including as many interesting objects and interactions as possible. The game would get boring rather quickly if the only thing you received were letters.
I have done my best to stay true to these goals, and I think it shows.
Having multiple iterations really helped the creation process. Some things worked beautifully, and some things needed to be tweaked, reworked, or completely removed from the game. Having game testers eager to critique the prototypes, helped me to create the best version of these ideals.
Thank You Kickstarter
I can not wait for our backers to start the experience that is The Decoder Ring Organization!
Have a question or a suggestion? You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I really would love to hear from you.
Risks and challenges
I understand that different materials or printing times could be delayed. I have addressed that by adding about a month of leeway into the schedule.
I also understand that the things I have priced out could shift in price between when I am posting this Kickstarter and when I am able to order everything to begin work. I have attempted to address that with the monetary buffer I have built into this project's goal.
All-in-all, I've addressed my own concerns in advance, and, if anything goes differently than expected, I will just have to rely on the backup plan I have prepared.
If any unexpected problems do arise, I will keep backers informed of any changes in plans.
However, backers should feel confident that when the goal is reached, that this project will be shipped at the specified times, and will not have funding issues.
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