About this project
The quickest possible pitch: The author of the "Winston Breen" series of puzzle-filled children's books now wants to send great puzzles to your kids every single week.
And now, a little more slowly: Puzzles! I love them, and maybe you do, too. At their best, they can be so crafty, elegant, and challenging. If it's a word puzzle, you'll start off with a blank grid... you'll write in a few words... maybe you'll find yourself stuck for a moment or two before you have the flash of insight, the aha moment, that lets you continue on your way... and soon, with some luck and some skill, you'll have a completed grid to look at with satisfaction.
Kids' puzzles, however, tend not to be very satisfying. Think about the kind of thing your child brings home from school -- computer-generated word seeks and those boring criss-cross vocabulary puzzles.
Your kids deserve better -- they deserve puzzles that are more fun, that are more likely to engage their brains, and that provide greater satisfaction when they are completed. That's the kind of stuff "Puzzle Your Kids" will provide.
What You Get
New Puzzles Every Week (and then some)
At the most basic level of funding, $10,000, "Puzzle Your Kids" subscribers will get two puzzles each week. These will be be kid-friendly in every way -- smaller than your typical newspaper crossword, with words your kids either know or can figure out, clued at just the right level of difficulty. Here's a sample! And here's another! (And if you need them, here are the answers.)
At least twice each year, subscribers will also get a mini "puzzle hunt." Each hunt will consist of six to ten puzzles, which tell a sort of story. The answers to these puzzles fit together into one final puzzle, which provides the story's ending. Puzzle-loving kids might be familiar with the bonus hunts at the end of the Winston Breen novels -- now your kids can have brand-new hunts made just for them!
The Logical Next Step
At the $18,500 level of funding, "Puzzle Your Kids" will include a third puzzle each week -- a logic puzzle, crafted by me or by Pavel Curtis of Pavel's Puzzles. Indeed, many weeks we will offer two logic puzzles -- a fairly simple one and then one that's a little more challenging (but still just right for young solvers!). Here's a sample! (And the answers.)
Something Just For You
At the $30,000 level of funding, subscribers will get an additional puzzle hunt. This will be exclusive to Kickstarter backers. It won't be sold in the (eventual) "Puzzle Your Kids" store, nor will it be sent to subscribers who join after the Kickstarter funding round. It is for you and only for you, as thanks for helping me get this project off the ground.
Let's take a look at each level of rewards in a little more detail.
$18 - $32 - $60: A whole lotta puzzles
Congrats! You're getting three months -- or six months -- or a full year of puzzles! Once again, that's two kid-friendly word puzzles each week, plus the occasional puzzle hunt, plus a bonus weekly logic puzzle if we unlock that stretch goal.
$100: A year of puzzles plus all three Winston Breen novels
The books that inspired "Puzzle Your Kids!" Nominated for more than a dozen state awards between them, these mysteries have been devoured by puzzle-loving kids nationwide.
$250: 64-piece jigsaw puzzle: "Trail and Error"
Putting the pieces together is just the first step! After you assemble the 64 pieces, you'll find yourself looking at a clever word puzzle. Solve that and you're done, right? Nope! This puzzle, from Pavel's Puzzles, has layers, and you'll want to solve them all. At $250, you can -- plus you'll get a year's subscription to "Puzzle Your Kids" and all of the Winston Breen books.
$450: A game show in your home!
Let's play a game! At $450, you'll get everything already mentioned, plus I will host a game show (a very puzzly game show, as you might imagine) for one or more kids. We'll agree on a date and time, and then meet on either Skype or Google Hangouts. You'll let me know in advance what age my audience is, so that I can make sure to have material appropriate for any age, 9 to adult!
Where The Money Goes
Because you might be curious.
I want to make this a viable, ongoing business, and that takes seed money. Right off the bat, I'll need...
- A decent Web site, both front end and back end
- Various pieces of software: Subscription management. Puzzle construction. Publishing. Graphics. Oh, and probably a subscription to a stock-photo service, so I can do the occasional picture puzzle.
- Time. Perhaps the most valuable thing a successful funding will purchase is simply the time it takes to create the puzzles.
That's a big chunk right there. Then you've got testsolvers, the occasional outside artist, and the wide assortment of expenses that any new business incurs. Down the line, I'd love to reach a point where I can commission work from other constructors.
Wanna Help Spread The Word?
There are a lot of people out there who want their kids to have fun while engaging their brains. Parents of really bright kids. Parents of gifted kids. Homeschoolers. Unschoolers. Regular schoolers.
I'm not likely to reach all of these folks, but I can reach more of them with your help!
- Please share this project on Facebook and Twitter -- it's as simple as clicking one of the buttons near the top of this page.
- Follow me on Twitter, at @ericberlinct and/or @puzzleyourkids! Retweets matter!
- There is a very good chance you said to yourself while reading this, "Hey, you know who would love this...?" Tell that person! Or his or her parents! E-mail them a link to this project. Word of mouth is the number-one way "Puzzle Your Kids" gets going.
About The Guy Doing All This
Eric Berlin is a puzzle constructor and writer living in Milford, Connecticut. He is the author of The Puzzling World of Winston Breen and its two sequels, The Potato Chip Puzzles and The Puzzler's Mansion. He has created scores of puzzles for The New York Times and other outlets, and is a member of the National Puzzlers' League.
This is Eric's second Kickstarter. His first was back in 2009. It was a far less ambitious undertaking than "Puzzle Your Kids", but still -- it was funded and fulfilled and seemed to make its backers happy. Trivia note: That first project was the sixth-ever project to be funded on Kickstarter.
Much thanks to Dan Berlin, Lea Berlin, Mike Selinker, Joe Cabrera, Mark Halpin, Jeff Cadge, and Pavel Curtis for their wisdom and assistance in helping me get this project off the ground.
Risks and challenges
The number-one risk to completing this project is that I am a one-man show, and I cannot predict what craziness might occur in the future. If some form of force majeure intrudes and causes me to shut down, I will do my best to return funds to my backers, amortized against the percent of the project already completed.
Aside from act-of-God stuff, though, I feel pretty confident about my ability to see this project through. I'm already constructing puzzles and have the first couple of months' worth tucked safely away.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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