Cryptogram Puzzle Post
While rooting around the Travelling Man game shop in York, I came across a series of nicely presented envelopes promising “codes, ciphers, riddles, spells and illusions inspired by witchcraft and alchemy”: the Cryptogram Puzzle Post.
Issued monthly since March 2017, each envelope holds a self-contained bundle of 7 small puzzles, leading one to the next towards a final solution. That solution can be emailed to the author for confirmation of its correctness, or a set of three correct answers from a full Season can be submitted to unlock a “mystery art” prize.
At random, I decided to try the April edition in its pale blue envelope, titled The River. Inside was a brief story of a girl presented with various magical obstacles while travelling along a river. By solving a range of puzzles, from a Sudoku-like rune matching exercise to a physical puzzle based on the black-and-white artwork, the final answer was quickly found.
The puzzles were fun and relatively easily solved after making intuitive guesses as to the correct approach. The final solution was simple, unambiguous and satisfyingly relevant to the whole package. The artwork was also nicely done. Overall, a pleasant little diversion which could be tackled alone over a lunchbreak, or even by a small group.
Each envelope is priced at £7.50, with the option to order a three-part Season for £20, or the full year for £70 (including postage to the UK). If you’re looking for something a little different, I can recommend picking up one of the envelopes and you may find yourself sufficiently hooked to continue.
For me, the price makes it not quite tempting enough to order the full series, but I was happy with my single purchase. If I find myself at a loose end in a Yorkshire gameshop in future, I may well pick up another random envelope.