The Fool and His Money: The Moon’s Map

Having described the first two phases, I suppose I should go into some detail about the endgame, which I still haven’t finished. (It’s not that this is part is taking me longer than the rest, it’s just that I didn’t start posting until I was almost done with the earlier parts.)

tfahm-mapThe Moon’s Map is composed of tiles that show segments of a curving road, with silhouettes of people standing by it, as well as occasional letters and numbers. Each puzzle you solve in the main part of the game causes a new tile to appear. If you like, you can start arranging the tiles before you have them all. Obviously the correct solution makes the road segments into a single continuous path, but the tiles themselves do not contain enough information to deduce the correct arrangement. For that, you need to go back into the main puzzles and interpret the cryptic hints you didn’t know what to make of when you first saw them. Some of the puzzles have sentences as their solutions that turn out to be hints for the Map.

Once you have the map put together, now, that’s when the fun really begins. The silhouettes, now each standing next to a letter of the alphabet, apparently represent the people named in the list on the Seventh House page; selecting a tile makes a link directly to their corresponding puzzle page, where the story fragment contains clues to the letters that you need to add to the name to form an anagram of a word. Find that word, and you unlock a further puzzle on that page involving the mysterious letters or whatever other changes were made to the picture after you solved the first puzzle. This seems to result in what I can only think must be a clue to a grand puzzle that unites the whole map.

There’s basically no instructions for any of this. The “Help” button will give you a gentle nudge about the general sort of thing you’re supposed to be trying to do, but it’s vague. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. This section of the game, more than any other, is about discovery as much as it is about solving. I love this stuff in all its layered complexity. The Fool’s Errand may well have invented the metapuzzle, but The Fool and His Money gets a lot more out of it.

It even gets some story out of it. There are a number of silhouettes that don’t have letters. Click on one, and you just get the text “I am but a spirit”. I didn’t even look at them closely enough to notice this until writing up this post, but: They seem to be the people that the Prince destroyed by abstraction over the course of the story. There are seventeen of them — didn’t someone tell me to “Seek the Seventeen” or something? There were seventeen puzzles unlocked initially — did the number reduce as I solved puzzles that caused the Prince to kill people? Do they correspond to major arcana in the Tarot or something? I have questions.

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