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Kickstarter Alert: ‘Blowback’ Puzzle Postcards

Gaming Kickstarter Tabletop Games

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The Enigma Emporium returns with another set of postcard puzzles, a sequel to its Wish You Were Here set that was Kickstarted back in October.

Blowback continues the story as this master criminal sends you more information about shadowy organizations and … well, I don’t want to spoil it for you.

In case you missed it, Wish You Were Here is a set of six postcards (one was added as a stretch goal) that are covered with puzzles and codes. There’s a note on the back of one that introduces the story—it’s a master criminal who offers you four confessions, but you have to figure them out, and there’s a wide variety of puzzle types.

You’re expected to use outside resources, too—the internet is your friend! GeekDad Jim Kelly and GeekMom Jenny Bristol both wrote about the original Kickstarter campaign, which was successfully funded and delivered to backers by November. You can pick up a copy of Wish You Were Here from the Enigma Emporium shop.

Blowback postcards
Five postcards with lots more puzzles to solve! Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

This mysterious figure is at it again, sending you more postcards from various places: England, Paris, and one that celebrates the Greatest Minds of Norway. This time, each postcard has a little message in plain text on it, but there are also other inscrutable things: boxes, dashes, numbers, letters that look like gibberish.

One of the things I like about these postcards is all the little details on them, from the images on the faces of the postcard to the stamps and postmarks to the various smudges and scratches that will have you wondering: are those intentional? Or just a red herring? Are these stamps a clue to something? Or are they just stamps? (No, really. I haven’t figured this one out yet.)

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Are these stamps important? What do they mean? Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

I got a sample of the Blowback postcards and I’ve been working through them with my family. We’ve figured out a few of the postcards so far, but there are others that we’re finding pretty challenging. (There is a hints section on the website, but we’re not quite ready to give in to that just yet.)

The story picks up where Wish You Were Here left off, but you don’t have to play the first part in order to solve these puzzles. Still, if you missed the first one, it’s worth checking out! (I will note that the Kickstarter page itself has some spoilers for the story from Wish You Were Here, though it doesn’t give answers to the puzzles—if you haven’t played through it, you might consider skipping the text on the page and just going straight to the pledge portion.)

The Kickstarter campaign has pledge tiers for both sets individually at $12 each, or you can pick up both together. There’s also a stretch goal: if they hit certain social goals during the campaign, they’ll also include The Copycat Files. The story is that after your success with the first set of postcards was made public, the FBI started getting a bunch of copycat postcards. They’ve forwarded five that seem like they may be worth looking into.

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Hmmm … what goes in these dashes, and what do the numbers mean? Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

One of the things I really enjoy about these postcards is the way that they provide a lot of the puzzle-solving entertainment of the escape-room-in-a-box games, but because of the form, they’re a little more immersive: you don’t have to pretend you’re in a room or on an island, or that you don’t have access to your phone for some reason. You get to use all the tools at your disposal to figure things out. Also, once you’re done solving the puzzles—unless you scribble directly on the cards—you can pass them along to somebody else to solve, or just leave them sitting out as a conversation starter because they just look like regular postcards at first glance.

If you love puzzles and escape room games, you should definitely check out the Blowback Kickstarter campaign and consider backing it!

Disclosure: I received a sample of the Blowback postcards for review. Logan Giannini, who also reviews games here at GeekDad, is one of the folks behind the curtain at the Enigma Emporium.

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