Just recently I have seen images of a wooden puzzle book popping up all over the internet so, curious as to what it was I thought I’d have a look at what this puzzle book that claimed to provide a new way to read a story actually was and this is what I found. The Codex Silenda, a book that requires you to solve a series of puzzles before you can turn to the next page and read the next chapter.
It’s sudden appearance all over the internet is just as curious; The Codex was never intended to be a commercial project but, a simple need for funds has catapulted this wonderful item into the limelight and presented its creator with a problem many authors would love to have.
Its creator Brady Whitney came up with the idea of the Codex Silenda for a project thesis where the objective was to find a real world problem, research and then create something that would solve that problem. “Since my passion lies in the realm of toys and games, I decided to focus on puzzles and through my research I found that most tend to fall into one of two categories. [There are] those that are cheap and simple, that once you’ve solved them they lose their mystery and you never play with them again. Or you have those that are made by master puzzle makers [who] only produce them in limited numbers due to their handcrafted quality. It was my solution to address this huge gap by designing a puzzle that could combine the best of both categories.”
After a lot of false starts, discarded prototypes and frustrating issues caused by cheap materials and unsuitable tools, Codex Silenda created a Kickstarter page with the intention of raising $30,000 to enable them to produce a high quality copy for Whitney’s thesis and enough copies for those who had supported the Kickstarter campaign. Within 6 hours that target had been reached and currently it stands at over $200,000 with the tiers of inclusion being closed as Whitney cannot commit to being able to produce enough books to fulfil any more orders.
The book isn’t just a puzzle book though, each puzzle reveals a chapter in a short story that follows the story of an apprentice in Da Vinci’s Workshop who encounters the same Codex.
However in the story the Codex acts as a trap set by Da Vinci to capture any would be spies/snoopy apprentices in order to protect his work. The only way to escape is to solve each of the puzzles before the master returns from his trip.