I received the missive below... as you can see I hadn't responded to the first yet - but after this subtle kick in the rear I got going ...
We have been tasked with testing your Geek Cred as you approach your 40th birthday. Your tardy response to our initial communication has some of us concerned, though we are sure you will respond to your initial challenge soon.
You will face numerous tests and trials over the next 4 weeks. Perform well, and you will be rewarded. Fail, and you will wonder what those rewards may have been...
Your initial challenges will center on your new love of boardgames.
Identify the games from the provided pictures. The knowledge you gain will be valuable for later trials. An easy one to start with...
You are performing well. To review your responses to date.
1. Time - Correct. A fitting start to a quest that will end with you turning 40. 2. Agricola - Correct. It would have been a short quest if you'd failed at this hurdle. 3. Shadows over Camelot - Correct. More challenging yet well within expected knowledge. 4. Settlers of Catan - Correct. A classic that everyone should know.
Your next clue will require intelligent use of available resources. There is a good chance you won't have played this game.
This turned out to be easier because I had a clue - I had probably never played this game. Zooming in on the image revealed the word 'Confessorium'; typing this into google returned a link to the following game on BGG
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Mystery of the Abbey
I believe I responded to the Geekmasons with my answer within 10minutes. It was my last opportunity to be a complete smartarse
Your first clue will help you discern a location that contains the next clue. We figured after the Carcassonne clue that you must enjoy these
I received an email which contained the following image
It could only be one thing:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
BUFFY The Vampire Slayer
I ran to check the cases of the seasons that we had borrowed... nothing
I was beginning to doubt my answer when I received another email from the Geekmasons which contained a note which read:
Geekmasons ♥ Joss Whedon
and the following file:
The clue could only mean Season 6 - which was at Tezza's house... by this time it was late and I would have to wait until after game night the following evening to check... patience has never been a virtue of mine but I had no choice...
After games on Tues night – we went back to Tezza’s – where I raced to the DVD collection… sure enough the next clue was inside the case of season 6… it was a phone number…
It looked familiar so I punched it into my phone – and sure enough it was my eldest little geek’s (ELG)** mobile number (he lives interstate with his father)… but I couldn’t ring at 11pm… (although it was tempting)
The next morning I rang him as he was walking to school. The conversation went as follows:
ELG: Good Morning Mother Me: Good morning small boy, I’ve received a clue from the GeekMasons with this phone number on it ELG: Oh crap – I don’t remember it at this hour of the morning… (insert minor conniption on my part) Me: WHAT??? ELG: well it’s morning and I’m a teenager – my brain doesn’t kick in until at least 10… ring me later. Me – OMG – you are soooo getting disciplined for failure to perform your duties as requested by the Masons… ELG: Chuckles… love you mum chat later… Hangs up.
An entire day of wondering (and smiling at the efforts of others and anticipation) followed. Conversation that afternoon:
ELG: Hi Mum - I suppose you want your clue now Me (with great restraint): yes please ELG: well... I'm supposed to sing it to you but I can't remember the tune - but the phrase is: It's raining Leprosy and Acid I hope that means something to you...
Boy did it - it's a line from a song by Jason Webley
The man is a modern poet - Excerpt here:
I raced home and checked the CD - inside was this amazing poem:
The poem was evocative, making me think of either Hunchback of Notre Dame or Phantom of the Opera.... I checked the cases of both DVDs and sure enough I found the next clue:
For context - we recently underwent a change program at work, the implementation of which I was quite scathing about - we called it the penguin program and despite my angst - I have to support and endorse it.... hence the horrible change penguin moniker (damn masons - they're stalking me )
Working out my pseudonym was fun and turned out to be the password to the mail box... in the mail was this cool story
We've played this game a lot with family - and the expansion adds some new elements to what is quite a light game.
My highlight of the Con was playing my first 18xx game - and Winning
I emailed the Geekmasons asking for a copy of the files (so much work went into their creation) and received the following missive: Dear Merran,
We're glad to hear that you enjoyed both the challenge and the reward. We were impressed by the knowledge of Australian Geeks, and the spirit the puzzle was completed in. Patty and Neil represented us well, I'm sure they were thanked on our behalf.
We've attached images of all the puzzle sheets used in the contest. You may use these as you see fit. Let us know if you have any need of the originals (they are quite large though so may not be easily mailed).
You're message has given us ideas.... stay tuned for your next challenge.
Shortly after I received the following - to which the geeklist is my response Dear Merran,
We are pleased that you intend to immortalise your trials through the publication of a geeklist and would like to help. What better way than to give you some practice.
Your next challenge is to create a geeklist detailing your experiences at Bordercon. We'd like to see coverage of games played (your impressions, gaming partners, funny stories etc..), people you met, opinions on the event as a whole, and any special events.
You have until COB Sunday to publish the list. We will consider your geeklist a success if it garners at least 20 thumbs. (hint: publish considering US time zones to get best response).
The inner circle has devised a final test. Pass and you will be appropriately rewarded.
Good Luck. Geekmasons
Attached to the email was a find-a-word (I can't upload because there is no game to link it to
I spent a large portion of the day completing it while pretending to pay attention in meetings
The left over words were:
Nicholas Cage National Treasure Theriomorph
Once again google to the rescue... National Treasure is a movie starring Nicholas Cage and Theriomorph: possessing or depicted in the form of a beast - often used to describe lycanthropes or werewolves.
Where to from here???
Terry helped me out by setting up the DVD player to watch the movie. While he was doing that I received another email: 4-19-8 306-2-7 56-5-6 103-9-2 221-5-1 384-25-7 13-26-7 140-4-4 306-19-8 8-22-1
Again with the WTF!
We settled in to watch the movie. Part way through the numbers became clear..
Spoiler (click to reveal)
It's an Ottendorf Cipher. You start with an agreed text. The first number represents the page number; the second represents the line and the third represents the word
I had one of those 'aha' moments. The book was 'Fool Moon' book 2 of the The Dresden Files. I had recently been reading them ...
The decoded message read:
Happy Birthday you should look behind your bed side table
again with the Ooh Ooh
I ran and looked - there was a manila folder - inside was a picture of 1830