Oh yes, it’s that time again.
For years now, crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have been hotbeds of innovative puzzle and game design, and I’m always happy to spread the word about worthy projects that I think will delight and intrigue my fellow PuzzleNationers.
So let’s take a look at some projects that are currently seeking funding and see if any pique your interest! (This time around, we’ve got twice as many recommendations as usual! So much puzzly potential!)
The first is a project by Fireball Crosswords and Fireball Newsflash Crosswords constructor Peter Gordon, entitled A-to-Z Crosswords Volume 2: More Petite Pangram Puzzles.
The project is easy to explain, but mindblowing to think about. Every single day for 24 WEEKS, you get a 9×11 crossword puzzle that contains all 26 letters. The puzzles range from easy to medium in difficulty, arrive by email, and are constructed by Gordon and professional puzzler Frank Longo.
This is a very cool project that deserves your support — they’re a little more than a third of the way there, with 9 days to go — and you should definitely check it out!
The next project is Puzzle Postcards: Season Two by the Enigma Emporium.
Last year, Wish You Were Here was part of our Holiday Puzzly Gift Guide, and it’s fantastic to see that the Enigma Emporium is Kickstarting another puzzle postcard mystery this year.
Essentially, an entire mystery is concealed within a handful of postcards, challenging you to mine them for every scrap of information as you uncover a series of coded messages. It’s spycraft in an envelope, very clever stuff.
Already funded with 12 days to go — and carrying a solid track record of previous successful Kickstarter projects behind them — I cannot recommend this one highly enough. I loved Wish You Were Here, as well as the follow-up series.
For a change of pace, our next project is The Fuzzies.
Basically, this is a Jenga-style dexterity game, but made out of little fuzzy balls instead of pieces of wood. And instead of choosing which piece you remove and place on top, that is determined by a deck of cards instead.
I don’t know how it works — actually staying upright in the first place — but apparently it does.
This family-friendly game has already tripled its funding goal with 29 days to go, so it might be right up your alley.
The next project we’re sharing today is the ENIGMAS deck of puzzle playing cards.
David Kwong — constructor, magician, and all-around puzzly fellow — has masterminded a puzzle mystery and a series of hidden messages and ciphers, all contained within a deck of cards.
ENIGMAS marries some of the ideas from his Enigmatist show — specifically the historical aspects — with an ingenious puzzle hunt to create an intriguing solving situation. Plus, once you’ve cracked all the puzzly elements, you’ve still got a beautiful deck of cards to enjoy.
This project has blasted well past its funding goal, and with 9 days to go, they’ve added a special limited-run deck of red cards (to compliment the standard blue deck) that will only be offered to Kickstarter backers and never sold in stores. With a pedigree like David’s, you can’t go wrong!
Our next project is bigger and no less ambitious. It’s Sherlock’s Mysteries: An Interactive Puzzle Adventure (not to be confused with another Sherlock-based Kickstarter running right now).
Combining board game and escape room elements, this project contains 10 mysteries (described as chapters) that combine into one interwoven narrative where you try to save the life of Sherlock Holmes!
By combining murder mystery-style solving with puzzles like ciphers and deduction puzzles, this project definitely tries to encapsulate the experience of being the Great Detective from the comfort of your own home.
About halfway to its goal with 21 days left, this project isn’t a lock (given the price tag of $135 to experience the entire story), but it’s definitely worth a look. (I’m especially intrigued by the fact that certain levels offer “refill kits” that allow the experience to be played more than once!)
For something just as puzzly but more immersive from a roleplaying point of view, there’s The Shivers.
In this game, someone has gone missing in the house owned by the Shivers family, and you play one of the family members trying to solve the mystery and defeat dangerous foes at work in various sinister and creepy scenarios.
This gameplay is bolstered by pop-up 3-D models of the various rooms of the house, bringing the setting and different stories to life right before your eyes.
This is a very clever combination of puzzle hunt, roleplaying game, and pop-up book that I’ve never really seen before, and like some of these other projects, it has blown past its funding goal with strong support from interested gamers and puzzlers.
Following the escape room/puzzle mystery at home template, Legacy: Quest for a Family Treasure is our next project to discuss.
You receive a black box in the mail, and inside, you discover in your estranged father’s will that there is a family treasure hidden somewhere in Europe. And you’ll have to unravel secrets of the past in order to secure your future.
This immersive mystery involves audio and video clues, physical evidence to pore over, and even incorporates Internet searching into the gameplay. I’ve been thoroughly impressed with the level of depth and attention to detail in this one, and clearly I’m not the only one, as the project has already met and surpassed its funding goal with 10 days to go.
The familial element adds a neat twist to the mystery-at-home genre, and I suspect this project will do very well.
The last project we’ll be sharing today is The Labyrinth: An Immersive Multi-Platform Puzzle Challenge.
There’s a lot of stuff included in this one: puzzle boxes, ciphers, maps, tools. They’re sending you a CRATE full of material here. The goal is to move through the various chambers of a labyrinth, solving puzzles as you go.
With 55 puzzles included — and an expected solve time of 8-10 hours — this is a breathtaking amount of puzzly paraphernalia. So there’s cost to consider here. The full puzzle costs $195 (there’s even a more expensive deluxe edition), so although that easily makes it the priciest project we’re discussing today, but also one of the most visually impressive.
And yet, with 14 days to go, they’ve already passed their funding goal nine times over. Check it out and see what you think of the expansive puzzle selection offered here.
Have any of these games or projects hooked you? Tell us which ones you’re supporting in the comments section below! And if there are any campaigns you’re supporting that we missed, let us know!
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