Let’s get this puzzle (kick)started!

The Internet has become the new frontier for innovation. The global marketplace is more open than ever, and with blogs, websites, and social media, virtually anyone with an idea can get the word out. From artists to inventors, entrepreneurs to aspiring businessmen, the Internet is as close to a level playing field as you’re ever likely to find.

The newest tool in the arsenal of big thinkers and big dreamers is crowdfunding, wherein creators take their ideas directly to the people in the hopes that a lot of small donations will add up into capital to make their ideas reality.

Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have literally made dreams come true, and that’s as true for puzzle entrepreneurs as anyone else.

From a tangram game for your iPhone to the world’s biggest word search, from a X-shaped Rubik’s Cube variant to puzzly video games and short films, it seems like the puzzle community is as vocal in its support as it is generous.

And as I was browsing Kickstarter, I came across a few as-yet-unfunded projects that seemed interesting.

The first is a puzzle-based platformer game with a darkly artistic motif.

It’s called Monochroma, and it involves a pair of brothers solving numerous puzzles and overcoming obstacles as they explore a curious black-and-white cityscape. It’s heavy on atmosphere and suspense, and looks like great fun.

The second is an attempt to crowdfund a collection of cryptic crosswords made by some popular cryptic puzzlers (similar to successful efforts by Roy Leban, Trip Payne, and other puzzlers to fund their own puzzly endeavors). Cryptic crossword fans are a crafty and devoted fanbase, so I suspect this kickstarter will do well.

The third is an intriguing hybrid of books and board games, inspired by the legend of King Minos’s labyrinth from Greek mythology. Essentially, one player (or multiple players) tries to gain points and escape the maze that traverses every page of the book. Its one-and-done gameplay experience (there are no do-overs, apparently) might dissuade some donors, but the challenge could definitely entice some hardcore maze enthusiasts.

The last one is arguably the most ambitious, featuring a light-up life-size puzzle for attendees of the annual Burning Man festival.

Playuzzle is a grid of color-shifting polygons, and the challenge for players is to use strategically placed buttons and their own movements through the grid to make every polygon the same color. It’s like a life-size Q-Bert game!

With ideas as varied and interesting as these, the puzzle community can rest assured that we won’t run out of engaging puzzly challenges anytime soon.

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