Finders Seekers is a monthly puzzle box that asks you to solve mysteries around the world. Each box delivers a challenging puzzle to be solved, comprised of clues related to a new city each month.
Think of it as an Escape Room adventure delivered right to your door!
My Subscription Addiction paid for this box. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
About Finders Seekers
The Subscription Box: Finders Seekers
The Cost: $30.00 + free shipping
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ACTIVE DEAL: Save $5 off and get free shipping!
The Products: A complex, challenging mystery along with clues and virtual scavenger hunts around a new city each month.
Ships to: US.
Finders Seekers July 2018 Review
Each mystery begins with a letter from The Society of Seekers—Finder's Seekers' official name for their fearless consortium of dedicated detectives.
The letter indicates the difficulty level and estimated time needed to complete the challenge, along with details of the mystery and the clues intended to help you in your quest. This month's mystery took place in Petra, Jordan! Like most of the cities featured in Finders Seekers, I've never been—but would love to, because, INDIANA JONES!
I've alluded to a few solutions to clues in this review to give a more in-depth understanding of how these mysteries play out.
The letter directed all Seekers to use the Internet and dedicated Finders Seekers landing pages to begin their quest. The premise of this month's mystery is to explore the ancient city solving puzzles and deciphering codes. If we're able to prove our resourcefulness and finish the 'Find,' our reward will be ancient scrolls that contain secrets of ancient Nabataeans who first inhabited the city's arid lands.
A map of Petra is included in this month's box. It features the 10 locales (and online URLs) we'll have to visit in order to solve the box's puzzles.
As we work our way through our 10 destinations, we'll earn pieces of linen with Arabic words written on them. We'll then locate those words in this word search:
Once we've found all 22 words, we'll be able to complete the final challenge! LET'S BEGIN. Our first destination? Bab Al Siq! I headed to SeekersUnite.com/BabAlSiq to begin my first puzzle.
The first site's clue read:
As the main entrance to Petra, Bab al Siq is a sprawling area with a thriving marketplace. Giant monuments dedicated to the family of “Abomanchos” are present along with a large area that was once a banquet hall. This once bustling metropolis thrived as the gateway to the trade route that dispersed exotic spices and fragrances throughout the world.
As you wander the market, browsing the displays of homemade goods, you are handed a curious bar of soap who’s sweet smell is familiar, very indicative of the region. The merchant includes a note that simply reads, “Only the clean will discover.” You realize immediately that this must hold the key to your first puzzle.
I knew right away which item to grab in order to solve this clue—an actual bar of Finders Keepers soap!
This was included in this month's round-up of puzzle-solving items, so there was only one thing to do: test this baby out. The hint on the landing page said "Wash your hands," so I did. I scrubbed and scrubbed pretty vigorously, looking for changes either on my hand or on the bar of soap, but didn't see anything!
I waited for my lathered bar of soap to dry, hoping a figure or a word would appear, but still didn't see anything. I started thinking more and focused on the clue's mention that the soap had a "sweet, familiar smell" that was "very indicative of the region"—it certainly did smell good! I researched for information about soaps made in the area and didn't find much, so I just kept scrubbing and hoped it would turn up.
Eventually, as I ran it under scalding hot water, I began to see a clear piece of plastic peaking up in the upper right corner.
So I kept scrubbing, and, BEHOLD! The plastic insert revealed itself!
I typed in "Amber" and found my first Arabic keywords! ANTUM and SALAM.
Now, it was time to start finding my keywords in my Petra Word Search. I grabbed my highlighter and away I went! (Gosh, those letters were tough to focus my eyes on! Eventually, I found 'em and moved on to my next location: The Dam. Here was the clue:
Petra's dam is a small understated structure, but it played a critical role for the ancient city by redirecting flood waters and protecting the city from being overtaken. Water was directed into the 'Dark Tunnel' and away from the city. Because of its scarcity, water became its own form of currency. A set of water jugs is nearby and some are balanced on ascale. In order to locate the next reward, uyou need to accurately calculate the weight of the last set of jugs in the image below.
And, here's the image!
This forced me to dust off some of those problem-solving relational skills we learned in high school math class! I started out by making x = L(Large), y = m(medium), and z = s(small). After that...I had to hand over the reins to my more math-minded Dad, ha!
Eventually, with some simplifying, multiplying, and reducing, we landed on the answer:
2 large jugs + 2 medium jugs = 22 small jugs.
The power of teamwork! We then found our next two Arabic keywords: KABEER and QALEELAN. Now, onto the next destination: The Treasury.
Isn't it one of the most beautiful images you've ever SEEN?! I'll never be over it. (Also: shoutout River Phoenix in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. My all-time favorite '90s heartthrob in my all-time favorite Indiana Jones movie, which filmed a scene in this very location! Okay, MOVIN' ON.)
The challenge at The Treasury involved using this poster that was included in the box:
Here was the challenge:
There is a special display on a large table in one of the rooms with insturctions for claiming your next reward! In order to move on, you must select the three vases that hold the treasure and who's forms are perfect copies of each other. Choose wrong and you may not make it out alive!
I loved this challenge. Spot-the-difference games were my FAVE growing up, I tell ya what. After some careful deliberation, as there were many trios that matched and some that you couldn't pick, I selected: Huldo, Rabbel, and Obodas!
I then found my next three words: ALYAWM, MOBARAK, MARHABAN.
Now, in case you do end up getting the Petra box, I won't spoil the rest of these fun clues, but I will show you the other tools I used to solve them!
This puzzle nearly killed me. The background of this challenge was:
As you explore the Street of Facades, there is a large variety of tombs and enclosures built into the rocks all around. These tombs were for prominent courtiers and tycoons from the middle of the first century. Wandering through the site, there is one tomb that really draws your eyes. There is something important about it. You look closely at the pattern carved into the rock and you can tell there is a word inscribed. But it is hard to read after years of wear. If you crack the code, you'll earn your next reward!
I don't even know how long I stared at it. I got help from the Finders Seekers Facebook community, who is GREAT about giving tips and direct-messaging those who need help, and they recommended I "frame the image and look at the negative space."
IT TOOK HOURS. I had to move onto new destinations and keep glancing over at it quickly, hoping all of a sudden I'd just see it, but I never did! I ended up having to research prominent rulers buried in the Street of Facades and guess a bunch of names. I eventually landed on it, but hoo boy, was it deflating.
This Theatre depiction was included in the box and worked kind of like a backward number crossword puzzle, where you were provided with the answers first but had to work out where they'd fall. It was...pretty frustrating, I ain't gonna lie! This alone took me about 45 minutes with LOTS of erasing. Once you find what the numbers are in each outlined box, you enter them in descending order, which leads you to your next Arabic words.
I was very glad to move on from that puzzle.
This insert took me to an old Byzantine Church, with floors covered in ornate mosaic paving. A strange pattern litters the floor, and it's revealed that pieces are missing. I had to cute the jagged pieces all out and try to piece them together like a puzzle. Once together, letters were revealed.
This clue also required help from the amazing Finders Seekers community on Facebook for tips. Members are awesome about direct-messaging in order to offer helpful clues to those who are stuck. The Facebook group is full of such supportive, curious, like-minded adventurers, and it's nice knowing that other's have been stumped by similar clues but got through with help from pals across the country.
I used this one in conjunction with a small graphic on my main map to solve the puzzle. See those markings in the bottom right-hand corner? They helped indicate how to play a game of tic-tac-toe on my map and led to letters that formed a name of an ancient ruler! This was one of the easiest challenges I faced (and it was still tough, so that's sayin' something!)
The challenge at Colonnaded Street involved connecting a string of letters they hinted at with incense (but I really just used a ruler to draw lines and connect!) The surrounding letters among the connected lines revealed the secret 5-letter word that allowed me to move onto the next challenge.
By this point of the puzzle, it had been a span of over two days working on it and I was deeply frustrated. Nothing was feeling remotely easy, and it felt like too much Googling was involved to get started instead of natural, brain-twisting problem-solving! A lot of the joyful Eureka moments of these challenges were taken away or deflated by looking at a sheet of paper and feeling confused by even the directions Finders Seekers provided.
I eventually solved the Hashiwokakero puzzle pictured above. It's a logic game that allows only two lines max to connect different dots, and each dot needs to have the same amount of lines coming in or out of it as its number indicates.
After one more challenge depicted only online, I finally moved on to the last challenge of the box.
All the Arabic words I'd highlighted on my word search vaguely formed some letters. I had to unscramble them to find a word related to Petra or Jordan aaaaaaaand:
There we go!
Verdict: Perhaps I was just in a grumpy mood while finishing this, or maybe my brain just isn't sharp enough for Finders Seekers challenges and evolving difficulty levels, but this box was really tough to get through. I absolutely ADORED last month's Washington, D.C. box, so I was hoping to go into this one feeling just as good about it! Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. (Even with the Indiana Jones-related setting!)
I found the challenges too cumbersome with too little reward or emotional payoff by the end. I still truly admire Finders Seekers passion for puzzles and yearning to introduce subscribers to different cities and cultures all over the world. I'd just hope that next time I partake, I have a bit more fun with it.
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? You likely won't receive the Jordan box right away, as Finders Seekers ships a box related to a new city each month, but you may receive it soon after subscribing! Order before the 22nd of each month to receive your box as soon as possible.
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Value Breakdown: This box cost $30.00 total, including free shipping. The items contained within the box are relatively inexpensive but allow for a stimulating way to spend a few hours.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What was the most puzzling clue for you in this month’s Finders Seekers box? Did you struggle as much as I did?!