There are a lot of games and puzzles these days that require you to crack ciphers and break codes—for instance, escape room games or puzzle hunts—but what do you do if you’re new to the genre? Richard Malena, a high school math teacher and game master, is creating a Puzzle Keyring to give you a handy way to get started.
The Puzzle Keyring is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, with a pledge level of $35 for the ring plus a Puzzle Hunt. There’s also a $60 level for the deluxe keyring.
Full disclosure: I met Malena a few years ago through a mutual friend, so he’s a friend of mine and we play tabletop games together on occasion. (*cough* But not often enough, Richard. *cough*) He has contributed to games like Betrayal at House on the Hill: Widow’s Walk, Pathfinder, and Phoenix: Dawn Command, as well as creating puzzles for competitive puzzling events, so he knows his stuff and even teaches it in his classes.
The Puzzle Keyring is a small deck of cards on a keyring that you can quickly flip through when trying to crack a code. The front has questions to help you identify a code, along with an example of the code in action. On the back is the basics of the code, so you can use it for deciphering. Think of it like a secret decoder ring, except it helps with many different types of codes and ciphers instead of just one. The keyring currently has 15 cards on it, but more cards will be added as stretch goals are unlocked.
In addition, Malena is writing a special beginner-level Puzzle Hunt designed specifically to be solved using the Puzzle Keyring, so you can get some practice seeing how these puzzles work. Generally, you have a few different puzzles to solve, and then each of the solutions from those puzzles contributes to a meta-puzzle, which leads you to the final answer.
If you’d like to get into the world of puzzle hunts, or you just love codes and ciphers, I think the Puzzle Keyring will be a fun and useful tool to have in your pocket!
For more information or to back the project, visit the Puzzle Keyring Kickstarter page.