Perplex City is a cool alternate reality game incorporating a card game element, puzzle-solving and a significant online component. It’s very dense (or you have to be to start playing – which I did).
I got hooked because of a special preview card (#002 Designer Flakes) given to BoingBoing’s Mark Frauenfelder [full post]. He’s previously blogged the game here & here, because an American retailer is selling the physical cards.
Mark likens the experience to “The Matrix meets Alice in Wonderland meets The Da Vinci Code”, but I think it’s a bit more akin to a distributed/massively multiplayer collectable card game with a common goal. Not that such a thing exists.
It’s not based dueling like Magic: The Gathering/Yu-Gi-Oh/Pokemon, but a shared experience where all players are competing against their own intellect, given a trickle of new information in the form of clues on the site or new physical cards.
There’s actual a meta story in the Perplex City world about recovering a lost cube which is meant to be “recovered” by a player for an actual monetary reward ($200,000.00). You keep up with events by completing cards, reading the site and interacting with players in the real world and the game world.
Okay, so now that I’ve profoundly confused myself and most of you, I’m off to buy some cards. Thank goodness they don’t actually sell these things in my local bookstore/comic store or I’d be out of cash, just like the fall of 1994 (Magic: The Gathering).