At the beginning was the golden owl

(Special dedication to Fabien Olicard)

For those who don't know, "the quest of the Golden Owl" is a french game dating from 1993. Its creator, Max Valentin, had asked a sculptor, Michel Becker, to elaborate an owl worth today's 150 000€ and to put it into play through a book of riddles printed, during its first edition, at 70 000 copies. The quest attracted a large audience and Max Valentin, now deceased, monetized his game through the sale of his book and the online services created for the occasion.

But for many players, the experience was disappointing because the riddles were not solved, the answers never communicated and the owl never found. The only winners were Max Valentin and his descendants, but also the telecom operators and the publisher of his book.

However, in these gloomy times, it appears to me that the time was gone to relaunch the idea of a quest based on reflection, research, a game with a long time horizon, but free of everything that might have left a bitter taste to owl seekers. I knew what I wanted to do : To keep the central soul of "The Golden Owl" but to modernize it and get rid of its flaws. For this, several guidelines: Internet, internationalization, universality, feasibility, limited duration, several winners, community, indices.

  • Internet : The game will take place on the web, the only place where the world is truly global.

  • Internationalization: 2 languages for the first edition.

  • Universality: The puzzles are translated and are designed to be accessible to all, regardless of the player's knowledge, talents and origins.

  • Feasibility: At the end of the season, a book will be published. It will give the answer to the puzzle and, most importantly, explain how to solve it.

  • Time limit: Each season has its truth. The results are given at the end of the season. Contrary to owl seekers who are always searching, at the end of each season, the jackpot is distributed.

  • Several winners : A ranking is established by distribution of points. The fastest to give the right answer to each puzzle are the highest ranked. At the end of the season, the best ranked share the loot.

  • Community: All the money raised by the sponsorship is paid into the jackpot, as is half of the money paid by players when buying clues or answer rights.

  • Clues: Clues can be purchased to solve puzzles. The puzzles are complicated, but you get help. So players from all over the world, if you are smart and know how to use an Internet search engine, welcome to Arqualea.