The Black Letter FAQ.

We realize that some of you want to know a little bit more before you hand over your hard-earned zlotys, yen, or pounds to some mysterious organization that still uses free templates for its HTML, so we've created this short spoiler-free FAQ. Of course we really don't want to give away too many details. After all, part of the fun is not knowing what comes next....

General Questions
About the Artifacts
About the Puzzles
About Teams and Gifts
About International Players
Who Made This?
How Much Does It Cost?
Subscribe!

General Questions

What is the Black Letter Game?

The Black Letter Game is a series of four limited-edition real-world physical artifacts, each with multiple puzzles to solve and mysteries to uncover, delivered to your door over a period of four months.

How does it work?

Unlike other puzzle games or puzzle hunts or locked-room mysteries, the Black Letter Game sends the puzzles directly to you. No travel necessary, so you get to play wherever and whenever you want. And unlike games which may last an evening, a day, or perhaps even a weekend, the Black Letter Game provides puzzling excitement over several months. Each artifact you receive contains multiple interlocked puzzles, with many hours of play, that are as aesthetically-pleasing as they are enigmatic.

There's a website, too, right?

Correct! By subscribing to the Black Letter Game, you join the prestigious Intern Assessment Program at the fictitious Black Letter Labs, a top-secret organization battling an evil group known as The Seventeen. As an intern at the Lab, you'll have access to the Intern Assessment Program's website for several months where you can track your puzzle-solving progress, connect with other interns, and interact with the pseudonymous (and also fictional) team that is running the program.

Cool! When does the game start?

The game site is live. Anyone who has a subscription code (purchased below) may now register and log in to the game. For those participating in the rerun, you must register before the end of the first week of January. We will begin sending artifacts around the middle of the month. You will receive new artifacts at approximately one-month intervals, and the game will conclude approximately two months after the last artifact is sent.

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About the Artifacts

What are these artifacts like?

We don't want to reveal much about this year's artifacts because we think that's a real spoiler, but in the last Black Letter Game, artifacts included a Rand McNally-style road map, an antique baseball card, and a full-length paperback book. The artifacts in this year's Black Letter Game are similar real-world physical objects, but we think they're even better than what's come before.

So we're going to be sent something like the "Pineapple Secret" by the Karakuri Creation Group, or the "Major Bug Mini Tanks" by Daniel Egnor?

No, those kinds of artifacts are in the $1,000 version of the game. (That's a joke — there is no $1000 version of the game.) Our artifacts are priced to fit within the typical game-player's budget.

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About the Puzzles

How hard are the puzzles?

Let's be honest: they're hard. No way to get around that. But that's part of the pleasure. And we're all experienced puzzle-designers here, so we've made sure each artifact has different kinds of puzzles of varying difficulty. That being said, you will be challenged. Guaranteed.

What if I'm not a super-great puzzler? Is this still for me?

If you enjoy solving any kind of puzzles, if you appreciate well-made artifacts, if you delight in thinking outside the box, if you're willing to work through those difficult times to get to that great AHA! moment — then we think the Black Letter Game is for you.

Will there be hints to help me along?

Absolutely. We understand that players may need a hand now and then, and we'll do what we can to provide hints to all players who want them. The game's website includes an interactive system that allows you to submit full or partial solutions to puzzles to the Lab, and then to receive email responses letting you know if you're on the right track. At the end of the game, we will also provide solutions to all the puzzles.

Is this a competitive game? How do you keep score?

We've designed the game so it can be competitive; however, it's totally reasonable to play the game "just for fun." Scoring is based on the time you spend working on each artifact and the number of submissions you make to the Lab, but there's nothing wrong with ignoring all of that. The idea is to have fun — the game is designed so you can play the way you want!

If we compete and win, do we win something other than just bragging rights?

Those players who successfully complete the entire game (by solving all the puzzles on each of the four artifacts) will be rewarded with a special game-themed prize. Woo-hoo! In addition, winners may be invited to submit artifacts for future games. (Double woo-hoo!)

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About Teams and Gifts

Can I play on a team?

Yup! In fact, we think most people will find the game most enjoyable if they play with a group of friends. Also, because solving different kinds of puzzles can require different kinds of skills, having a good mix of people playing with you is recommended.

How do I make a team?

Once the game begins, subscribed players will be able to register a team name and invite other players to join them.

Does everyone on my team need to subscribe?

No. The only requirement is that at least one person on the team subscribes so the team has at least one set of artifacts to share amongst themselves.

That being said, we think lower player-to-artifact ratios (ideally 1:1) make for a more successful and enjoyable experience. And we recommend for teams that are distributed across multiple remote locations that each location have at least one subscribing player. But it really depends on your budget.

How large 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 too many people — for example, seventeen — we think some members may feel marginalized.

What if I want to play on my own?

That's totally fine, too. The game was designed for either group or individual play. But individuals will certainly find the game harder.

Is it easy to give the Black Letter Game as a gift?

You bet! Each time you subscribe to the Black Letter Game you receive a unique subscription code (purchased below). This code will allow you to register on the game website. You can use the code for yourself, or you can give the code to someone else as a gift (it’s like a gift certificate). We're sure your friends, families, and teammates would just love to find the Black Letter Game under this year's Christmas tree, Chanukah bush, Kwanzaa floral arrangement, or arbitrary seat cushion.

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About International Players

If I live outside the United States, can I still play?

Yes. You can purchase a subscription just like anyone else. PayPal will even convert from your local currency to US dollars. Whee!

Will my international shipping costs be higher?

Sadly, yes. Depending on where you wish to have your artifacts sent, there will be an additional shipping & handling fee. Note that this fee does not include any VAT or customs fees required by your country. If levied, you will be required to pay all import-related charges.

We don’t have exact prices for international shipping yet (we’re still in negotiation with several providers), but we are guessing it will be in the range of $35-45 per subscription. When you register, you will provide us with an address to send your artifacts, and we’ll be able to calculate your exact S&H then. If you decide at that time that the additional cost is too high, we can refund your subscription purchase.

What if I'm giving a subscription as a gift to someone who lives outside the US?

Good question! If you want to give a subscription code as a gift to someone outside the US, just tell us the subscription code you plan to give. We’ll attach a note to that code (on our internal system) so that when it’s used by the person you’ve gifted, we’ll know to contact you — instead of them — about shipping costs.

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About the Designers

Who made the Black Letter Game?

A secret cabal of neurosurgeons, weirkeepers, and mycologists who have created and run various puzzle games in the past, including The Game.

Are there any puzzles on this site?

No. All the puzzles are in the physical artifacts you will receive in the mail.

So there are no puzzles anywhere else?

Well, OK. You got us. There is a puzzle on the Black Letter Labs website that every player must solve before registering. Think of it as a warm-up — or maybe a diabolical test on our part to make sure you're worthy. But other than that, all puzzles are on the artifacts themselves.

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The Cost

OK, I'm in! How much does it cost to play?

If you subscribe now, the price is only $99.00 — that's just $24.75 per artifact, constituting hours and hours (and hours!) of puzzling action. Plus, each subscription includes full access to the Black Letter Labs website and intern support. And a prize if you complete the entire series. I know: WOW! That's less than the cost of seeing a terrible movie with a box of Goobers and Raisinets.

How do I pay?

Just click the PayPal button at the bottom of this page. You don't need to have a PayPal account to subscribe to the Black Letter Game; all you need is a valid credit card. PayPal will take care of the rest.

Maybe I should wait a while before subscribing.

Sure, wait as long as you like. Have another cup of coffee. Chat up that cute-looking barista. Clean your fingernails. Call your mom. Take a trip to Taipei.

But remember: this rerun of the game will have a very limited number of participants. We expect it to sell out quickly.

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Anything Else?

What do I do if I have a question that’s not covered in this wonderfully-exhaustive FAQ?

You can send us mail at any time. We'll get back to you ASAP.

Oh, wait! I just thought of one more question!

Go ahead. We're ready.

Does the Black Letter Game have anything to do with the Harkoon Belligerence Society of Tulsa?

No.

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Subscribe Now!


Each subscription to the Black Letter Game includes four limited-edition artifacts delivered to your door, access to the Black Letter Labs website and the community of other players, as well regular interaction with the creators of the game (by submitting guesses and solutions, and receiving feedback). Your subscription also includes a special prize if you complete the entire series — and all for the low price of $99.00 (plus shipping & handling*). That means each artifact is less than the cost of a week of Iced Chai Tea lattes. We think that's a pretty cool deal.


The previous Black Letter Game sold out — so what are you waiting for? A midnight call from Bletchley Park? Subscribe now! Just click the teeny-tiny button below. And while you're at it, you might also consider subscribing for a friend. Or two. Or an entire team. Don't let your fellow puzzlers miss out. The Black Letter Game makes an excellent holiday gift!




UPDATE: The rerun of the Black Letter Game is currently SOLD OUT. Sorry about that! If you'd like to participate in a future Black Letter Game or event, feel free to join our mailing list by sending a message to info@blacklettergame.com