Society of Curiosities – The Posey Ring & The Chapbook

society-curiosities-posey-ring-chapbook-review

A gripping story with satisfying puzzles to boot.

Date played: 03 Jan 2021
Team: Jamie and Mim
Time to finish: 1hr 47 mins

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I’ve been a big fan of Society of Curiosities since their prequel game, Mysterious Map Heist, was up as a freebie. Since then I’ve been chomping at the bit to play their games.

Sadly, the second adventure in the subscription wound up on the ‘to-play’ pile for a good two months before I could play.

And it was so worth the wait.

Premise

When the Society of Curiosities was founded, one of the first curiosities we acquired was an
illuminated manuscript – an alchemical book – of great value. It was stolen from us before we
could complete our studies of it. We believe The Doctrina was behind the theft.

We launched an investigation into them. We learned their leaders each used a constellation
as a codename, but it’s as far as we got – all traces of The Doctrina disappeared once they
became aware of our inquiries.

The project was eventually abandoned… Until now.

Theme: A perfect blend of physical and digital artifacts

The quality of the components – both digital and physical – are superb.

Society of Curiosities has improved on many of the digital elements that were present in Madok’s Lost Treasure, with the addition of a web messenger sevice and video elements.

The collection of physical ephemera that you get feels somewhat intimate – as though you’re rifling through someone’s personal belongings. The attention to detail is excellent and shows that SoC goes that extra mile to provide materials that feel real.

The stakes in this adventure were much lower than in Madok, but had a slightly more espionage tone to it. Communicating with our team on the ground felt natural and made us want to get into character ourselves.

Puzzles: Challenging and varied with satisfying a-ha moments

Socierty of Curiosities uses ‘skill building postcards’ to clue you in on certain puzzle types before they happen. One of the puzzles in Posey Ring was one we knew already, but with the priming of the postcard beforehand, it went from ‘tried and true cipher’ to a solid part of the narrative.

I also learned a fair bit about new puzzle types here too. Rather than including puzzles for the sake of it, the adventure takes the time to tell you about that puzzle type and its usage. It’s an extra step that is much appreciated for a puzzle nerd like myself.

The puzzle mix in Posey Ring was solid, and the lion’s share of puzzles were new to me. SoC has put in some neat ‘a-ha’ moments in this game that made us pause to admire their innovation. There are no limits in terms of what might be a puzzle.

Everything is well signposted, and even the stuff we stumbled over we saw that the signs were there once we finally got the solution. There was one puzzle at the halfway point that we probably wouldn’t have got without a heavty series of hints, though.

Hints / experience: Outstanding customer service

My copy of this game arrived without an opening mission brief letter, which contained the codeword to start the game. This put a little bit of a stopper on our game before it had started.

But within a few minutes of getting in touch with SoC, they’d sent me a PDF of the mission letter and offered to send out a physical copy in case I passed the game on to someone else. It wound up being barely a hiccup in our session. Michelle and Yacine of Society of Curiosities are passionate about their work and want every player to have the best experience, and this shines through in cases like this.

We used a few hints during the middle portion of the game, which in turn lowered our mission score. The hints work well, and let us work out the solution without needing a complete walkthrough.

One thing I really appreciate about these games is the debrief at the end, which takes you step by step through every puzzle and how you solved it. Not only is it incredibly useful in cases like this where I write up my thoughts later, but it also helps hammer home how much the players have achieved in a relatively short space of time.

Summary: A successful follow up and an excellent adventure

The Posey Ring and the Chapbook is another feather in the cap for Society of Curiosities. They’ve expanded their world and built on the narrative that made the first adventure so gripping. Their puzzles are innovative, fully embedded in the theme and so satisfying to solve.

I’d recommend this one to anyone with an adventerous spirit and wants to experience some true treasure hunter moments. I can’t wait for the next part of the subscription to arrive!

The Posey Ring & The Chapbook
Designed by Yacine Merzouk and Michelle Rundbaken
Cost: 
$19.50 per month (GBP), or $49 every three months (GBP)
Requirements: Access to internet, ability to send and receive text messages (optional), kettle

Get $5 off a Society of Curiosities subscription with code ARMCHAIRESCAPIST