What is Verwald's Treasures?

Verwald's Treasures is a paid puzzle hunt constructed by Nathan Curtis (that's me!). It was initially funded via Kickstarter in the winter of 2018, ran as a live event in Boston in the summer of 2018, and after four years will be available to everyone.

Who is writing Verwald's Treasures?

Verwald's Treasures is written entirely by me, Nathan Curtis. I have previously written and edited puzzle hunts for the Boston Area Puzzle Hunt and the Museum of Mathematics, as well as my 2016 hunt What's That Spell and the 2021 hunt Burn After Solving, written with a team of collaborators. In addition, I publish variety crosswords and other standalone puzzles on my Patreon page.

What is a puzzle hunt? How do I solve these puzzles?

If you’ve never heard of puzzlehunts before, here’s a very brief summary: in a typical puzzle, you receive some information and have to extract an answer out of it, which is almost always an English word or phrase. Puzzles can come in many different forms; the only real commonality is that you usually receive no direct instructions, so it’s up to you to figure out how to make sense of the information you’re given. You can read a longer introduction to puzzlehunts here.

How large is this puzzle hunt? And how difficult are the puzzles?

Verwald's Treasures has over 30 puzzles, with multiple metapuzzles. It is difficult to gauge the difficulty precisely, but in general, the puzzles are much harder than Puzzled Pint, a bit harder than P&A Magazine and Puzzle Boat, less difficult than the Galactic Puzzle Hunt and Teammate Hunt, and much less difficult than the MIT Mystery Hunt.

Is there a leaderboard for Verwald's Treasures?

Verwald's Treasures is designed to be non-competitive. Teams who complete Verwald's Treasures were be recognized on the "Teams" page, but otherwise there are no rankings and all teams are listed alphabetically.

Why did Verwald's Treasures take four years to complete?

It's a long story, but here's the capsule summary:

After the initial run of Verwald's Treasures as a live event, there were some puzzles originally written to be site-specific that had to be rewitten. Other puzzles needed revision after the live event revealed issues not caught in testing. Subsequently, I had health issues that impacted my ability to work on the hunt, and events like moving to a new apartment and dealing with a global pandemic disrupted progress. Also, I spent a long time grappling with technical facets of the hunt presentation, and eventually contracted outside help to make the presentation work.

If you are one of those backers who has been waiting four years to see the hunt in its finished form, I thank you for your patience.

How do I access Verwald's Treasures?

Anyone can register a team, and team captains can add members to their team. However, in order to access the puzzles, there is a $30 charge that must be completedin order to see the puzzles once they are released. To make a payment, log in with your team credentials, then click on your team name in the upper right of the page to view your team page. Enter your email address in the form under "Membership," and then click "Make payment" to enter your credit card information. Kickstarter backers will receive a discount code to access the puzzles at no additional cost.

If you cannot pay by credit card, you can send $30 via PayPal or Zelle using the email address tacotortoise@gmail.com. Afterwards, please email me to let me know who you are and what team you are on, and I will make sure you have access to the hunt.

Are there going to be physical artifacts?

The Kickstarter cmpaign for Verwald's Treasures included physical puzzle artifacts as a reward for higher-level backers. In the online version of Verwald's Treasures, there will be digital versions of all artifacts that would be included. The physical artifacts will be assembled and sent to backers after the online hunt has launched. If you want to solve with the physical artifacts in hand, you can delay starting the hunt without strongly affecting your solving experience. After the physical rewards have been sent to backers, additional copies of the artifacts will be available to be purchased separately.

What about other Kickstarter rewards?

Other Kickstarter rewards will be sent out after the online portion of Verwald's Treasures has launched. Finishing the online hunt has been a priority for me.

Is Verwald's Treasures related to What's That Spell?

Verwald's Treasures is a sequel to What's That Spell. Solving What's That Spell is not necessary to complete Verwald's Treasures, though Verwald's Treasures does contain spoilers for some elements of What's That Spell. If you would like to solve What's That Spell before Verwald's Treasures, I will make What's That Spell available for purchase on my website soon.

I think there’s a mistake in this puzzle!

Please describe the error in an email to and I’ll try to correct it. If you think there is a problem with the website, it might be the case that some things are temporarily not working when I make an update for an erratum or other issue. If the website error persists after a few tries, please contact me at the above address.

I’m stuck on a puzzle. What should I do?

Here are some general puzzle tips that might be useful:

  • Thoroughly check the work that you’ve already done. Fixing a small mistake or incorrect assumption can greatly help with getting unstuck.
  • Get fresh eyes on the puzzle, or conversely, take a break and look at something else.
  • Consider what information you haven’t used yet.
  • It can be useful to put everything you have into your favorite search engine.
  • Have you tried…

Also, as you make your way through the hunt, you have an apprentice who can help you. If you submit "APPRENTICE" as the answer to any puzzle, you will get a list of prompts to reveal canned hints.

Additionally, after the hunt has been open for one week, you can submit hint requests about more specific issues. You can only have one hint request open at a time, and I ask for your patience in waiting for a response, as I will be answering all hint requests myself and I only have so much time available.

Is there anything else I should know about Verwald's Treasures?

Some puzzles in Verwald's Treasures contain Easter eggs that are not used in the solution of the puzzle, or in the completion of the hunt. You can confirm Easter eggs using the answer submission form for a puzzle if you have not already submitted the correct answer. Only a few puzzles contain Easter eggs, but if you find one, consider it a reward for your curiosity.

I have a question that’s not on this list!

Contact me at verwalds-treasures@tortoiseshellstudio.com and I’ll do our best to answer it.