Buried Cipher - Box 1 of 3 Buried City Saga - Puzzle review
Being in Australia, I'm a bit late to receiving Buried Cipher, but since the second box in the series is coming out soon, I thought I'd share some of my thoughts (spoiler free of course) if anyone is unsure if this would be up their alley!
I am newer to the mechanical puzzles world, and of course have spent waaaaay more than I expected in the short 5 months since I got hooked. (zero regrets forevs). But I am yet to have a 3D printed puzzle. There's something off-putting about the plastic form, seeing print lines and the odd feel to print material or even unworthy of the attention needed for solving. I unashamedly realise now how blatantly ignorant I was! Because my 3D print handling experience was three or more years ago, I now know where 3D printing actually IS for quality and feel ha! I have been spoiled with lovely woods and metals, but I decided to try out the first box in the Buried City Saga, and boy was I not dissapointed.
Puzzle type: Cipher + Combination
Maker/Designer: Tacroy (tacroy#6856 on Mechanical Puzzles Discord)
Puzzle 1 of 3 in the Buried City Saga
What sold me on the Buried Cipher box was the almost embellished extra layers of story, detail and mystery. Not only are you solving a physical object, but you feel like there's real history to what you hold. Now of course none of this is actually real, but if you're like me, you really enjoy letting yourself suspend believe and really dive into a story and world that's laid out for you. The more you go with it, the more it takes you and that just means FUN! There's packaging and included 'things' aside from the puzzle itself, that made me say aloud 'Oh COOOOL!' when I was first lifting them out of the delivery box. Things that didn't need to be done, or added, but the fact that they weren't needed is what makes it all even funner. I'm talking even just the nice feel of the chosen paperstock of the letterhead.
When I pulled out the small tablet, I gasped out loud because it felt WAY too heavy for it's size. It almost madr my brain believe it wasn't 3D printed. I tell ya, that meant even more enjoyment! The box itself (I got the dark marble weathered option) is wonderful. A great size in the hand, and the parts I expected to move on the box, moved with a grippiness that I was super thankful for. The snugness and tightness only added to the 'real'ness of the puzzle.
The challenge of the puzzle itself is at it's heart a cipher, and if you like ciphers then I need not say more. I enjoyed that just enough was hidden a step away from where my mind thought it might be. Balancing unsuredness and reward nicely. At this point I really hoped I could do an Indiana Jones/Nathan Drake pencil rubbing of the tablet in a notebook, totally unnecessary of course, and oh man did it work! (If you have this first box already go grab a pencil now and DO IT!). I added notes around the rubbings and worked out the clues and answers. Even when I thought I had the right pathway, I still wasn't sure. But the puzzle gave me little responses as I went, showing me I was headed in the general direction. And there were great moments of 'wait....is that a thing there?....Oh yes it is ha ha!!'.
The artwork and design of the puzzle and tablet I thought were so well done. There's some real care and appealing aesthetic here. The illustrations are balanced and refined and I grew to like it even more as I worked with it. 'Solving' the puzzle to it's end was of course a delight. And the 'reward' gives you a chunk of depth to the story and realness this project is striving for. Before getting the puzzle I had thought the story elements would be fine, but I forget just how much world-building can suck you in if you let it. The first box was a combination type cypher, and now I'm even more excited for the upcoming Box #2 of the series 'Buried Treasury' because it's an SD puzzle box. Ooooh yeah!