Imagine your kid discovering an old map and a letter in the attic, and then corresponding with explorers who are using the information you send them to follow clues to treasure! That’s the premise of The Lost Journal of Flintlock Flynn, the first title from Airmail Adventures, now on Kickstarter.
The Lost Journal of Flintlock Flynn reminds me a bit of those escape-room-in-a-box games like Exit or Deckscape, in that you’re presented with various puzzles that you’ll need to solve in order to progress, whether the story involves actually escaping from a room or a situation, or searching for something. However, Airmail Adventures has a slightly different approach: this adventure actually consists of several “mailings,” because you’ll be in contact with the League of Treasure Hunters as you solve the riddles and send directions to them.
Here’s how it works: you (the parent) purchase the adventure with a pledge of about $50 (£39) plus shipping—Airmail Adventures hopes to ship packages by October of this year if the project funds successfully. The package actually contains the entire adventure, divided up into separate mailings, including the “seed” set. There’s also instructions for you and a hint sheet.
The seed set includes the items pictured above: a letter, a map, a sheet of music, and a compass. The letter alludes to a lost treasure hidden by the pirate Flintlock Flynn, and urges you to contact the League of Treasure Hunters if you’re able to find anything the writer missed. You’re intended to put this set somewhere that your kids will find it, with the idea that they’ll solve the first puzzle, and then figure out how to email the League of Treasure Hunters with their discovery.
Once that’s done, they’re ready for the next “mailing”—which you can either give to them or actually send in the mail, if you like. Subsequent mailings will include things like the league’s newsletter, recovered pages from Flintlock Flynn’s journal, and letters explaining what the explorers have discovered while following the instructions you sent them. There’s a mix of puzzles and codes, but you’re also expected to use your own real-world resources: some online research can be useful.
This adventure includes six mailings in all (including the seed), and a few fun artifacts, like a leather-bound journal and a small chest of “treasure.” Because of the nature of the adventure, you can set the pace yourself: if your kids get stuck, you can use the cheat sheet (hidden from them, of course) to nudge them in the right direction, and you can also decide if the mailings arrive extremely quickly or if they’re spread out over the course of several months.
I received a prototype to try out. While I did set the initial seed set out and just let my kids discover it, I had to break the illusion in order to play through the adventure in time for the Kickstarter campaign. (And my older kids are aware that I review this sort of thing, so …) Still, we had fun figuring out some of the puzzles together. I did resort to the hints sheet myself so I could see how the story played out, but now my kids can have a little more time to work through the rest of the mailings at their own pace. There are definitely some parts of it that were trickier than others, but overall I think the puzzle difficulty was comparable to some of the escape room games I’ve played.
If you enjoy puzzles and escape rooms, and you like the idea of creating an alternate-reality game experience for your kids, The Journal of Flintlock Flynn is a cool way to do that! Depending on the age of your kids, they may or may not believe it’s real, but they may enjoy figuring out the clues nonetheless.
Visit the Journal of Flintlock Flynn Kickstarter page for more information!