Behind the fiction of Flatpak

Once, during our bi-monthly meetings together, we explored the idea of a puzzle book disguised as a catalogue. As avowed puzzlers, we see puzzles everywhere, and thought that a catalogue could be a good place to hide a large number of puzzles of all sorts; some ciphers, others mathematical problems, others still using shapes and alignment. We created the ultimate litmus test; would puggles (people who don’t play puzzles) pick up the apparent furniture catalogue and assume that was literally what it was?

We began by designing a few pages using royalty free images and played around with different ideas. Once happy, we then released one a day over August and September. The once a day practice is really beneficial as it forces you to deliver, makes you think on your feet, and also builds up a ready supply of puzzles. Over the course of that summer the puzzles became very popular online with people caught up in the story which was revealed day by day as they solved the puzzle.

Skip to November. With a nervous finger on the launch button, we started our Kickstarter campaign. We’d set a low success cost, as it both encouraged pledges from our own experience as supporters, and we knew that once made we could add it to our growing catalogue of books. We were surprised even by how fast it became popular and we ended up with the 11th most popular campaign in the Games>Puzzles category.

Our due date was March and we seemed on course…then the world became very strange, which added a small delay to sending out over 800 catalogues. With this creation is a brand new website, flatpak2020.com and a different format of solution entry. We tried exceptionally hard to avoid using QR codes or flagging up puzzles specifically, so instead decided upon page numbers. If there’s a page number in the corner, there’s a puzzle on that page.

All the associated media and social accounts have been created to add to that believability impact. We are excitedly looking forward to the first email from a puggle asking where their nearest store is! Our printers even phoned, worried about all the errors they had found in our catalogue. We had to explain that they were actually all deliberate and it had been professionally proofread by the most patient of people.

It isn’t all frivolity. Inside the catalogue there are at least 130 different puzzles (we promised 120 on the Kickstarter, but couldn’t resist), and each puzzle reveals more of the story hidden behind the catalogue. In fact, it explains why there are puzzles in the catalogue, and how to literally escape the catalogue. We’ll even get a special badge made for the first person to solve it (we think it will take a good few evenings to solve every one).

If you’d like to buy a copy, they are going to be released shortly to the public, so head to tiny.cc/flatpak2020 to get your name on our mailing list. We can’t wait to have you on board.

You might even leave your catalogue out on the coffee table for someone to glance at – don’t worry, you won’t have to buy any new furniture. ..