Invisible Chess and Positive Moves

Hello all!

After a few weeks away, I’m back, slightly more tanned and salt-crusted, and ready for my close up, so here goes.

I suspect this very much dates me…

Contrary to the gif above, my name is actually Ivan Carić, and I will be your pilot (as well as tour guide and conceptual sommelier) for the Locksmith’s Dream. Practically this means that I will be shaping, building, and unleashing what we’re confident will be a unique, delightful, and intriguing series of events, all rooted in an unexplored part of the Secret Histories.

As I mentioned in my first post, I come from the “before times” and I’m an old friend and colleague of Alexis. I’ve been quietly working in the background on aspects for the Locksmith’s Dream on and off for the last six months or so.

It’s strange to be back on my own in my fancy shed, where I do most of my work. It’s eerily quiet, with only the most under-appreciated member of the team for company (he does give high-fives though).

Grom raising morale (literally a salty seadog)

Designing the Locksmith’s Dream is like playing chess with an invisible opponent. Each move opens up new possibilities, which may themselves be traps. Each time I’m sure of a great play, the opponent of practicality puts new obstacles in the way.

Can anyone identify this set? It may well be relevant, come October…

The excitement of fleshing out the world of the Secret Histories in a way that can be represented physically leads to rabbit holes which turn out to be sprawling warrens. Developing real objects which can be interacted with – and that offer insights or clues – is no easy feat but a delightful challenge filled with moments of joy when an idea works.

All this leads to say it is coming together. This month, we’ve engaged our chef and are starting to get excited about meals and special foods to entice you. We’re refining the design and looking at the implications for props and artefacts. For example, I’ve been fiddling with prototypes for satisfyingly tactile coins and tokens for the guests, as well as looking to source exactly the right sort of lanterns for guest excursions into the grounds of Treowen at night.

Some very early prototypes  


This last month I have managed to find someone who will design a model of Treowen that we can then actually build (that’ll be a whole other fun bundle of problems to solve!). Currently the plan is to build an open model out of wood (like a doll’s house, but without the cold, dead eyes) that will sit in the main staircase, and which will provide cues about objects and places that it might be interesting to explore. There are lots of fun ideas with lighting, tiny little props, furniture and models that we’ll be experimenting with.

As I mentioned earlier, we’ve hired a fantastically talented chef (welcome Dominic!), and over the next few months we’ll be researching and exploring dishes to tantalise, and delight. We will be  providing, lunch, breakfast and assorted delicious in-between treats (to keep your strength up). With a four-course dinner in the beautiful wood paneled dining hall in front of a warming fire as the centerpiece. The food will be traditional British country house fare, 1920s inspired but with some Secret-Histories-flavoured amuse-bouches, and entremets scattered throughout. We’ll devote a blog post or two later in the year about this.


The website is progressing nicely, and unless we cause serious offence to any gods in the intervening month we’re still on target to launch ticket sales at the end of the month. They’ll go on sale at 6PM BST/10AM PDT on Tuesday the 31st of May.


A few people have asked for the exact dates of the Locksmith’s Dream experiences this year to help them plan, so here they are:


  • Beta – Saturday 15th – Sunday 16th October (✨HALF PRICE TICKETS✨)
  • Saturnalia Midweek – Wednesday 7th – Thursday 8th December
  • Saturnalia Weekend – Saturday 10th – Sunday 11th December
  • Yule Midweek – Wednesday 14th – Thursday 15th December
  • Yule Weekend – Saturday 17th – Sunday 18th December (with a 🎄seasonal twist🎄)


There are only 22 tickets per event, so these might sell out quickly! You’ll be able to purchase tickets for the Beta or any of the Saturnalia / Yule events when the website launches at the end of May.


What’s next

  • Working to finish the Locksmith’s Dream website, so you lovely people can book your spot.

  • Finish hiring the actors we’ll need to bring the Locksmith’s Dream to life. Although the Locksmith’s Dream isn’t a theatrical performance as such, the actors will be playing discrete roles for the guests to interact with, and provide helpful cues. In what is a common refrain now, we’ll provide more detail on their roles, and how they will contribute to the experience.

Make sure you’re signed up to the mailing list to hear more about the Locksmith’s Dream as soon as we announce things!

3 comments on Invisible Chess and Positive Moves
  1. SHIET. Was really hoping for the last week in December. I’ll come on a weekend during classes, you can’t stop me from coming and finding all of those juicy puzzles and secrets.

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