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An interactive puzzle novel written by Mike Selinker, with enchanting illustrations by Pete Venters.
An interactive puzzle novel written by Mike Selinker, with enchanting illustrations by Pete Venters.
An interactive puzzle novel written by Mike Selinker, with enchanting illustrations by Pete Venters.
2,630 backers pledged $171,146 to help bring this project to life.

48 hours to go: Might I interest you in an audio treasure trove?

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We've had great response for The Maze of Games audiobook collection, which has grown to include even more great audio material. We're very excited with the results so far, but just in case you don't think we've given you enough reasons to part with 25 more of your highly valued dollars, let me enumerate how cool this package is:

  • You get 60 files of Wil Wheaton's stellar narration of the book. It's really as funny, touching, and enjoyable as anything I've listened to. Plus you'll get a "solved" version that you can listen to in the most sensible order, if you're into that sort of thing.
  • You get songs from the book sung by Paul & Storm, Marian Call, and Kirby Krackle. 
  • You get chapter themes from composer Austin Wintory.
  • You get new covers from artist Pete Venters and designer Elisa Teague.
  • You get turn-of-the-last-century Audiophonic Conundrucopia puzzles from musical puzzlemakers Gaby Weidling, Dan Katz, Francis Heaney, and Brendan Emmett Quigley, and me, plus beatboxer/vocal artist Kid Beyond. Plus, if we fund at a few higher stretch goals, you'll also get puzzles from composer Greg Pliska, lyricist Amanda Yesnowitz, documentary filmmaker Eric Chaikin, and alt-folk legend John Wesley Harding. That's an amazing set of audio-inclined puzzlemakers, and we think you'll love the results. (The Audiophonic Conundrucopia will ship several months after the audiobook.)
  • Even if you haven't backed the audiobook, you can still solve all of these audio campaign puzzles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. Puzzle 7, the metapuzzle, is on the way.

If you already have a hardback or ebook coming, or just a copy of the PDF, you can solve along and get a full audiovisual solving experience. Here's a taste of Wil's version of The Maze of Games, narrating the section about the Orc Scouts.

We really like this package we're putting together, and we hope you'll take advantage of the opportunity to get it in these last 48 hours. Thanks for listening.

Shipping, PDFs, and soundtracks

We've shipped all but 16 physical orders, and those should be out by Wednesday. We'll make sure all orders that have shipped are marked as such in the next few days. This will only leave us those orders that are ebook only. We hope to have those out by the end of August, though we're still awaiting a final date from our dear friends at Puzzazz.

We got most of the PDFs out, when Gumroad's uploading capability unceremoniously broke down. We're in communication with Gumroad, and they hope to figure it out shortly. If it doesn't happen in the next day or two, we will find another way to get the PDF to the couple hundred backers of hardbacks and ebooks who didn't get it.

Meantime, Austin Wintory's soundtrack is nearly completed. The orchestral tracks and vocals have been recorded, and now all that remains is the mixing and file prep. And… some other stuff, but we don't want to give any spoilers. Here's a Vine of singer Holly Sedillos just killing it in Austin's studio.

The soundtrack is amazing. I call it "avant-classical," because it's got fascinating time signatures and harmonic elements, yet is still pretty darn catchy. It's going to be great, and it's not far away.

Gen Con and PAX Prime

Our next two stops in the Maze of Games tour are Gen Con and PAX Prime. We will have books and signings at both conventions. Our Gen Con signings will be at the Paizo booth (publishers of our Pathfinder Adventure Card Game) in the weekend of August 14-17, while our PAX signings will be at the Uncle's Games booth from August 29-September 1. We hope to see you there.

And as a reminder, the hardback book is available on Penny Arcade's store. Jerry "Tycho" Holkins wrote a nice (if profane) thing about it today. Plus we got some excellent buzz from the Seattle-area newspaper The Bellevue Reporter (check out that headline!). All in all, we're very happy at the reception our homegrown puzzle project has garnered. Thanks, as always, for supporting The Maze of Games.

Mike and the Sharks

shipping update and a new Conundrucopia

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First, before I get into some more Maze of Games updates, a few time-sensitive announcements:

  • I'll be doing a Reddit Ask Me Anything on Wednesday at 1:30 PM PST. If you have any questions about The Maze of Games or any of our other projects, please ask them!
  • I'll also be doing a lecture on The Maze of Games at ARGFest in Portland, Oregon, on Thursday at 4:45 PM PST. If you're interested in coming to Maze meetup #5 in the Courtyard by Marriott Portland City Center bar right after that lecture, please do. 

OK, onto the news of the week.

An audio Conundrucopia

With the 16-day Maze of Games audiobook campaign having reached its goal and now at the halfway point, we launched a fun new suite of audio puzzles in the same vein as the Conundrucopia. The Audiophonic Conundrucopia will be a set of 1897-themed puzzles, but all delivered digitally, just like the campaign puzzles we're releasing now. (They're really good, by the way. Go check them out.)

We'd like to fund this Audiophonic Conundrucopia stretch goal, so if you're interested in a bunch of great audio puzzles by the best musical and spoken-word puzzlemakers such as Kid Beyond and Francis Heaney, this might be for you. And of course, you can pledge simply because you want Wil Wheaton's amazing narration, or the cool music from Austin Wintory, Marian Call, Paul & Storm, and Kirby Krackle. An audiobook is only $25, so I hope you'll give it a whirl.

We also opened up 13 Gatekeeper troves which contain some of our only remaining Gatekeeper's editions. If you've been hoping to get one of those, take a look at the campaign.

We'd love to bring this great audiobook to as many of our original backers as possible, so if you're interested, please go here and see if it's to your liking!

Where we are with shipping

We have nearly all of our physical rewards sent out, except for art prints. San Diego Comic Con interrupted Penny Arcade's shipping last week, so we've still got a little more than 100 physical orders to ship out. Most of these are in the Seattle area, surprisingly enough. When we pulled the orders for our local meetups, some Seattle folks accidentally moved to the back of the list. We're sorry about this mixup, and hope to have all physical shipping done within the week.

We sent a PDF invitation out last week via the service Gumroad, but several backers say they didn't receive it. If you think you should have gotten one but didn't, please check your spam filters. If it's still not there, send a note to info at our-company-name-as-one-word dot com.

The ebook and soundtrack are still under construction. We've seen an ebook build from Puzzazz that was about 75% done by our estimation, and it's getting closer every day. When we hear from Puzzazz when it will be ready, you will know immediately. Similarly, the soundtrack is getting finalized, and we'll get it out when it's in our hands.

So, we're getting there, but not quite done. If you haven't gotten your stuff yet, thanks as always for your patience. I think you will like what you get.

If you have gotten your stuff, I really hope you're enjoying it. It's so cool to see the book in people's hands, and on their Facebook walls and Twitter feeds, and even in this delightful wiki. You guys are the best. Thanks as always for supporting The Maze of Games!

Mike and the Sharks

Maze of Games: shipped, Penny Arcade store, and the Audiobook Kickstarter

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Hey folks. Just want you guys to know that all but about 100 of the physical rewards have shipped. If you haven't received a notification from us about your books, maps, and the like, you'll probably get one in the next few days. PDFs are going out shortly, and other electronic rewards in the next few weeks. We're very happy to be almost done with getting your books to you.

We also have a lot of big news today.

The Maze of Games audiobook Kickstarter

This is live.

You can go to our new Kickstarter campaign and pledge for a copy of the Maze of Games audiobook, with masterful narration by Mr. Wil Wheaton. We're making a really fun audio experience with the novel text (not the puzzles). There's music by Austin Wintory, Marian Call, Paul & Storm, and Kirby Krackle. The first 100 backers will get a exclusive audio puzzle. Read all about it on the Kickstarter page, and if you like what you see, pledge away. 

FYI, we won't be updating this page with updates from the new Kickstarter much. If you want to keep up with the progress of the audiobook and the campaign, follow along over there.

Ordering more copies of The Maze of Games

Lots of you have been asking about how you get more copies of the book. Here's the answer: You get the hardback at the Penny Arcade webstore. Please head over to there if you just want a hardback, not the audiobook. If you want the audiobook, you can combine your Kickstarter pledge with a copy of the hardback and/or the ebook.

The ebook and soundtrack will be orderable when they're ready to go, which won't be too long from now.

The Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab perfume is also available now over at the BPAL site

Cool day. Please enjoy the awesome, and thanks for supporting The Maze of Games.

Mike and the Sharks

Gatekeeper perfume available from BPAL!

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The Gatekeeper perfume is available! This amazing scent from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab compliments The Maze of Games in an extraordinary manner. It is based upon our lead antagonist, lovingly distilled by perfumiers Elizabeth Barrial and Brian Constantine. It is unbelievably cool. Here's the BPAL description.

THE GATEKEEPER: A dry perfume, solemn and riddled with ancient, whispered secrets: brittle bones, the well-worn leather spines of forgotten books, crumbling papyrus, and the warm, strange scent of yellowed, crumbling manuscripts. Each 5ml bottle is $26.00. 

If you've purchased any Maze of Games hardback or ebook, you can use our backers-only special coupon for $5 off a bottle of The Gatekeeper. You will get a separate email with that coupon information. (Sorry in advance for the multiple emails.)

Here's how you order the perfume.

  • Go to the BPAL Gatekeeper page.
  • Click "Add item to cart."
  • Proceed to check out
  • At the top of the form, on the large orange banner, click "View cart."
  • Fill out your billing and shipping info.
  • Choose your payment type, place your order, and enter payment info.
  • Bask in the olfactory glory that is The Gatekeeper.

Or, if you'd like to pick it up live, come to our Saturday Maze of Games meetup at Dark Delicacies in Burbank, CA, from 4-7 pm! All the BPAL folks will be there, plus me and fulfillment coordinator Evon Fuerst. Come meet us and pick up your perfume there!

Shipping progress

Many copies of the hardbacks, Gatekeeper's editions, pencils, cryptexes, and maps are flying through the air to backers right now. We're maybe a third done, with lots of progress expected next week.

Art prints are still in process. We're still auditioning paper samples and hope to get those into production soon. If you ordered a print, it won't delay your receipt of the books.

After we fulfill all the physical orders, we'll move to fulfillment of the PDF, and then the ebook and soundtrack when those are ready.

Audiobook Kickstarter launch date

We're hoping to launch The Maze of Games audiobook Kickstarter on July 21 at 2 pm PDT. We believe most of the physical rewards will be fulfilled by that point, and since we want people to have access to the audiobook files as soon as possible, we'll be kicking into gear then. We promise that this new Kickstarter will not delay fulfillment of your rewards in any way. And we think you'll think it's awesome.

Thanks as always for supporting The Maze of Games!

Mike and the Sharks

Maze of Games: shipping

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We have all physical rewards (except art prints) sorted, signed, numbered, prepped, and ready to go to Penny Arcade for shipping. So we're beginning that process today. We hope to be done with sending out the physical rewards within three weeks. It's a massive job, but our friends at Penny Arcade are more than up to the task.

Importantly, we are no longer accepting address changes. We are presuming that the address you've given us most recently is where you want your rewards sent.

Once we're done with physical rewards, we'll turn our attention to digital rewards and PDFs. Both the soundtrack and the ebook are in process of being built, but we'll hopefully have more info about them in the next couple weeks.

Meantime, I'd like to tell you about some events we're hosting or visiting. 

Seattle-area pickups

We have over 200 backers in the Seattle area, so we're hosting three events to get them their orders. They are at:

  • AFK Elixirs & Eatery (3750 E Valley Rd, Renton), Tuesday, July 8, 6-9 pm
  • Card Kingdom (5105 Leary Ave NW, Seattle), Wednesday, July 9, 6-9 pm
  • Uncle's Games (15600 NE 8th St, Bellevue), Thursday, July 10, 6-9 pm

If you're in that group, you'll get an email from us right away asking you to RSVP. Or you can click on this link to RSVP right now. If you don't, we'll assume you're not coming and will send out your order with the normal batches. These are public events, so please feel free to bring people who you think would be interested in our little book.

Los Angeles perfume launch

Folks who've been waiting for Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab's Gatekeeper perfume are in for a treat: We're launching the perfume at the BPAL Will Call at Dark Delicacies (3512 W Magnolia Blvd, Burbank) on Saturday, July 12, 4-7 pm. You will be able to pick up a bottle there. If you can't make it, don't fret! The perfume will be orderable on the BPAL site shortly thereafter.

Other events and new purchases

The Maze of Games team will be at these events in July:

  • The National Puzzlers' League con in Portland, Maine, July 17-20.
  • San Diego Comic-Con in San Diego, July 24-27.
  • ARGFest in Portland, Oregon, July 29-August 1.

We're not sure yet whether we'll have books at those events. Once we have at least most of the physical orders shipped, we will be making hardbacks available for new purchases on the Penny Arcade site. We'll make an announcement when that goes live.

A preview of our next campaign

And now that we're beginning the shipping process, we have an exciting announcement. Later this month (not next month, as this video we shot in June suggests), we're going to make The Maze of Games available in a very different format. Take a look and see if you like this.

More info on that cool thing soon. For now, lots and lots of boxes. Thanks, as always, for supporting The Maze of Games.

Mike and the Sharks