Indie 500, Titan Series, and 100 Games updates!

Today’s blog post is all about what’s going on in the world of puzzles and games, and let me tell you, some awesome exciting things are afoot for puzzlers in the days ahead!

First off, The Indie 500 crossword tournament is this weekend!

There are only a few days left to sign up for this new puzzle tournament spearheaded by constructors Erik Agard, Peter Broda, Neville Fogarty, Andy KravisEvan Birnholz, and Finn Vigeland. And if you can’t make it to Washington, D.C., this weekend, don’t fret! For just $10, you can participate from home, receiving the puzzles by mail or email. (There are even bonus puzzles being offered, and you name your own price!)

You better believe I’ve already signed up for both sets of puzzles. I can’t wait to see what the Indie 500 crew has in store for its inaugural event.

Secondly, there are only a few days left to contribute to the incredibly ambitious Titan Series Kickstarter campaign. A three-year, nine-game program masterminded by the folks at Calliope Games, the Titan Series involves some of the top names in the field of board games and card games, including James Ernest, Paul Peterson, Zach and Jordan Weisman, and Eric Lang.

Congratulations are already in order, as the campaign passed its initial funding goal of $135,000 (!!!), and is now pursuing additional games as stretch goals! Although the entire lineup of games created for the Titan Series won’t be completed until 2018, there will be plenty to talk about in the months ahead.

Finally, you may recall the video I posted above, featuring a forum hosted by game creator and puzzler Mike Selinker (mastermind of The Maze of Games and member of the aforementioned Titan Series team of designers).

In the video, Mike listed the 100 Games You Absolutely, Positively Must Know How to Play. Spanning card games, board games, video games, and roleplaying games, it’s an impressive list, to be sure.

And Amber Cook has accepted Mike Selinker’s challenge. She’s launched a blog called The 100 Games Project, and she intends to tackle all one hundred games on the list!

As a member of the Looney Labs team, Amber has contributed to some terrific games herself, so I’m looking forward to reading her thoughts as she experiences all sorts of new games and puzzly challenges.

With so much going on in the world of puzzles and games, it’s hard to keep up, but immensely worthwhile.

Thanks for visiting PuzzleNation Blog today! You can share your pictures with us on Instagram, friend us on Facebook, check us out on TwitterPinterest, and Tumblr, and be sure to check out the growing library of PuzzleNation apps and games!

It’s Follow-Up Friday: Kickstarter Round-up edition!

Welcome to Follow-Up Friday!

By this time, you know the drill. Follow-Up Friday is a chance for us to revisit the subjects of previous posts and bring the PuzzleNation audience up to speed on all things puzzly.

And in today’s post, I’m returning to the subject of puzzly crowdfunding campaigns!

I’ve covered various campaigns for board games, card games, and puzzle projects across the Kickstarter and Indiegogo crowdfunding platforms over the years, and today I’d like to share three more that could use your attention.

The first is Peter Gordon’s Fireball Newsflash Crosswords.

Culturally timely clues and entries are a hallmark of this marvelous variation on his long-running Fireball Crosswords brand, and Gordon has a knack for melding flowing grid design with sharp, topical entry words.

He’s in the home stretch (only hours left in the campaign!) and Gordon’s history of topnotch puzzles is all the incentive you need to contribute.

But he’s not the only puzzler going straight to the puzzle audience with a new collection.

Constructor Brendan Emmett Quigley has a new collection of Marching Bands puzzles, and he’s offering a great deal! Twenty-six Marching Bands puzzles. Talk about value!

The last Kickstarter I want to highlight today comes from the board game end of the spectrum.

The folks at Calliope Games — responsible for Tsuro, one of my new favorites from the last year — have masterminded a three-year, nine-game program with some of the top names in the field, and they want your help bringing the Titan Series to fruition.


These are three intriguing and very worthy projects, and I hope you contribute to one or more of them. As someone who has become a regular donor to various Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns, I am proud to have funded some marvelous new ideas and watched them take shape over the months that followed.

Thanks for visiting PuzzleNation Blog today! You can share your pictures with us on Instagram, friend us on Facebook, check us out on TwitterPinterest, and Tumblr, and be sure to check out the growing library of PuzzleNation apps and games!

The greatest gift exchange there never was…

It’s Christmas Eve, so hopefully you’ve perused our Holiday Puzzly Gift Guide and completed all your shopping in a timely and not-at-stress-inducing, hair-tearing-out manner.

But if not, fear not! Some of the puzzliest and cleverest people in the artistic, board game, and puzzle communities may have just come up with the perfect last-minute solution for you.

You’re probably familiar with the concept of the White Elephant gift exchange, wherein everyone supplies a gift, and then a game of keeping or swapping takes over, allowing people to take turns, develop friendly little rivalries, and generally enjoy a bit of holiday frivolity.

But have you ever heard of a White Heffalump exchange?

This year, numerous game designers, artists, and puzzlers were recruited by Mike Selinker, the head of Lone Shark Games, to participate in a White Elephant gift exchange. But this exchange had a marvelous twist: every gift was imaginary.

So everyone involved — including such names as James Ernest (head of Cheapass Games, publishers of Veritas), John Kovalic (artist for Munchkin and creator of ROFL!) and puzzler constructions Eric Berlin and Brendan Emmett Quigley — created an imaginary gift for the exchange.

And then they all played the game on Twitter, so fans and friends could enjoy the madcap holiday cheer.

Here are a few of the “gifts” created for the White Heffalump gift exchange:

It’s easy to imagine a trip with The Doctor would be a highly sought-after prize.

What’s more heartwarming than retroactively sharing a friendship since first grade? (And possibly an iron-clad alibi, should you need one…)

It’s like one of those grab-the-money booths from an old game show, but with SWEETS!

A formidable steed and a delicious meal all in one. You can’t lose!

And the wily Matt Forbeck offered up the ideal machine for generating presents for next year’s White Heffalump exchange.

From “time to play with toys” and a dapper platypus to a 29-word crossword and a wish-granting pocket pet, the gifts were hilarious, innovative, and absolutely ridiculous, and the gameplay back and forth as people traded and stole gifts was just as entertaining.

[For more details on the exchange, check out Matt Forbeck’s write-up here or Mike Selinker’s incredibly thorough recap here.]

So, if you’re still struggling with gift ideas, you can always go the White Heffalump route. It’s creative, low-budget, and loads of fun. Enjoy!

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