Malcolm Owen On February 5, 2004 at 11:57 am

When you buy your Stone, you get a nice pyramid with the obvious stickers of identification emblazoned on various parts. Once you open it (Which, due to the stickers being slightly posh ones, makes the pyramid really untidy. Use a knife or scissors if you can, much neater) you find a little white basic registration manual, a booklet containing a few bits of cryptic information to try and draw you in, a thin string thing and your Stone. The artefact itself is surprisingly not made out of stone, instead being metal dipped in black plastic, and on it are some symbols that are unique to only 2 "Stones", one being yours and the other owned by someone else.

Once you get to the website ( and register your stone (including answering a question from the booklet) you can then actually play the game bits of the site. is a community of fellow Stone-Owners whom are all attempting to answer various puzzles on the site as well as meeting new friends. A general members-only forum, if you will.
To get to any of the puzzles you have to use the "Intermediate", a weird triangular mish-mash of dots and spaces, each dot representing a puzzle. Each time you complete a puzzle, another new dot becomes available for you to toil over. The puzzles themselves are similar in a way to the game shows Catchphrase or Concentration; a visual puzzle which contains both questions and answers. Without giving too much away, you must work out what exactly the image is going on about, and then try and figure out what the exact response is. This, of course, is a bit harder than you would think, requiring many hours of search-engine abuse and Googling to find even the slightest hint of an answer. Sometimes you have to find something then find something else connected to the something, in a long chain, others are more straightforward and can be answered in a few minutes. It’s very taxing on the average person, and so you can ask for an answer from the "Commons" (The Forums), but instead of an outright answer, they will prod you in the right direction with something cryptic to say. This leads to another problem where you aren’t actually allowed to say what you know directly either (as that may give the game away to other people stuck on the puzzle), so conversations bordering on the almost pointless ensue. It may be annoying and only helps a small amount compared to what you may want, but after many hours of struggling, the relief of finally solving a puzzle is a fantastic feeling. It’s also one of the few games that gives an "aha!" moment when you sleep, whereby something you didn’t quite understand earlier in the day becomes painfully apparent.
Aside from being a way into the website, the physical stone’s markings are mirrored by its twin, which is owned by someone else, and you can find this person online through the site too. There’s a chance that you might find your twin as soon as you register your stone, or as my luck shows, there may be no-one there to accompany you on the journey. Some people have met up with other "Stoners", others have been shunned by their stone-mate, and it all depends on what they want to do as well as your feelings too.

In summary, this black stone necklace thing is a key to a website, where you can hurt your brain doing extremely hard puzzles, get help with said puzzles that turn into puzzles themselves, possibly meet someone else whom has the same markings on their stone, and it’s something to wear as jewellery. Not exactly the best thing I have bought, but compared to buying a puzzle book, this is far more mentally stimulating, even though it is a piece of kitsch that isn’t made of the stuff in it’s name.

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