Where can I find inspiration for a postal adventure project?
May 22, 2009 11:56 AM   Subscribe

Where could I find ideas about creating an adventure/mystery/game for friends over the summer, via postal service?

I have tried searching online, and I can find pre-established games (like Diplomacy) that are played by mail, but I can't find exactly what I'm looking for.

I would like to create a kind of mystery using only mail by post--no online communication. I envision that it would involve sending once-a-week mysterious items by mail--playing/tarot cards, photos, clippings, poems and such--maybe CDs or DVDs (though maybe not, as I want it to be more low-tech). The participants would not know who is sending them and would not be told who else might be receiving them. The items would all point to some kind of mystery to be solved. It might involve each participant having to make connection to one or several other participants by some process of discovery, or clues that work only in combination with other clues. It might involve, ultimately, locating some kind of prize, or meeting up at a certain place or event--at least some endpoint or final goal.

It would need to still work if some people don't participate, due to lack of interest or confusion. The participants would tend to live in the same suburban/metro area and would be people who typically socialize with each other via shows (many are musicians) and parties; age range early 20s to mid 40s.

I'm not necessarily looking for a fully established game idea, just something to get me off the ground in terms of building a theme and creating some bit of mystery and wonder for my buds.
posted by troybob to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (4 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
This probably won't help in actual implementation of your game, but may provide inspiration. Wikipedia also has a great article of Alternate Reality Gaming.
posted by litterateur at 12:16 PM on May 22, 2009

Each player receives a letter from a non-profit organization soliciting donations. But also in each letter is one piece of a jigsaw puzzle (torn tarot card? newspaper clipping with mysterious markings?) and an exhortation to look for more in the coming days.

As the letters/jigsaw pieces pour in, the letters themselves get weirder and weirder, and the non-profit org. becomes the heart of the mystery. Someone working there is sending clues to strangers?

Eventually, the person sending the letters begs each recipient to meet in person. Have everybody meet same time/place. The letter sender doesn't show, but the others connect.
posted by jbickers at 2:07 PM on May 22, 2009

Y'know, the only problem with something like this, now that I'm thinking about it, is that you're guaranteed to have at least one person who is gonna freak out about anything mysterious they get in the mail and go to the cops.
posted by jbickers at 2:12 PM on May 22, 2009

You might take some inspiration from Haggle. It meets the requirements of working even if some don't participate.

A google search for puzzle hunt will also link you into many 'live' mystery and puzzle solving events.
posted by meinvt at 6:16 PM on May 22, 2009

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