The Conundrucopia is a 40-page book that, on its own, could probably win a bunch of puzzle book awards. It is insanely good. Every one of those world-class puzzlers I imprisoned in my cage has turned out a world-class puzzle. It looks awesome. Here's Elisa's cover.
There are probably one or two of you who just had a serious flashback. The rest of you don't quite know what that cover's based on. I'll make it a challenge, then. First person to post the origin of that cover's concept gets a tip of the hat from me. (Those who are in the book already know, so not you guys.)
Anyway, I mentioned the book was phenomenal, and I'm going to post the table of contents so you understand what I'm getting at. Here it is, in an unfinalized order:
- “An Instance of Quizzism,” by Ken Jennings
- “Professor Babbage’s Other Engine,” by Scott Weiss
- “Dr. Flattbottom’s Conundrum,” by Jeff Martin
- “Pop Quiz,” by Patrick Blindauer
- “A Japanese Battle,” by Matt Jones
- “Edison’s Cylinder,” by Eric Berlin
- “As Heard Thro’ a Fogg,” by Greg Pliska and John Chaneski
- “The Case of the Missing Social Calendar,” by Deb Amlen
- “The Deck of Destiny,” by Cliff Johnson
- “Free the Moon Zeppelin!” by David Ellis Dickerson
- “Helter-Skelter, Skimble-Skamble, All Around the Park,” by Brendan Emmett Quigley
- “A Most Exhausting Day,” by Eric Harshbarger
- “For Science!” by Francis Heaney
- “Geoffrey P. Tynesdale, Consulting Metagrobologist, in The Case of the Emperor’s Son,” by Peter Curtis
- “Train Station ANTics,” by Richard Garfield
- “Initial Impressions,” by Will Shortz
- “Horseplay,” by Gabrielle Weidling
- “Flatland Eyewitness Reports,” by Scott Kim
- “The World’s First Roles-Performing Game,” by James Wallis
- “A Bit of Disorganization,” by Jeff Chen
- “Prestidigitis,” by Peter Gordon
- “A Piece off the Action,” by Jeffrey Harris
- “Harry’s Chessmen Boggler,” by Wei-Hua Huang
- “Cutting Boards,” by Thomas Snyder
- “Puzzles from the Eastern Enigma,” by Trip Payne
- “Bold Predictions—of the Future!” by Wil Zambole
- “The Magic Circle of Mr. Houdini,” by Roy Leban
- “alfie at the zoo,” by Mike Selinker
- “Two by Two by Clue,” by Tyler Hinman
- “Bikeworks,” by Mark Gottlieb
- “English Roses,” by Liz Berry
- “The Mysterious Canals of Mars,” by Sean Trowbridge
- “A Desperate Call for the Preservation of Books in Our Declining Society,” by Dan Katz
That is about the best table of contents I could imagine. I asked folks to imagine what puzzle they would submit to an 1897 puzzle magazine, and -- look, Dave Dickerson wrote a puzzle called "Free the Moon Zeppelin!" So much good stuff here. I'm looking forward to showing it off to you.
But I can't just yet
I'm not going to sugar-coat this -- well, I just did, by showing off the awesomeness that is the Conundrucopia. But the calendar has turned on December, and with that has come the awareness that we're not going to make Christmas. We're quite close to finishing, with only the covers and a few bits and bobs to design, and a whole lot of proofing to implement. But we're looking at somewhere in the first quarter of 2014 now. I'll get to what that means in a second, but first, some explanations.
I'm not the kind of person who thinks you, the backer, should be subjected to some tale of woe about how we just didn't know what we were getting into when we started this project. We had a pretty good idea what we were doing, because I put together the best team possible to make this particular project. Pete is brilliant, Gaby is brilliant, Elisa is brilliant, Tanis is brilliant, our business team of Liz and Marie and Evon is brilliant, everyone who contributed to the Conundrucopia is brilliant, and I'm not too shabby either. I can't imagine a better team to run this marathon with.
But when we hit the heights of fundraising and enthusiasm that we did, something overtook us. We went from thinking we needed to make a very good puzzle book to thinking we had to try to make the greatest puzzle book we could imagine. And that meant everybody redoubled their efforts, putting in tons of overtime to make the best puzzles, the best words, the best art, the best design.
And all that overtime adds up. It's an assembly line process; Tanis can't edit what hasn't been designed, and Elisa can't lay out what hasn't been drawn or edited. By the time Elisa got the edited files, we were already past the date she was supposed to finish them. We figured we could make up time. We couldn't. We kept improving it and improving it, and now it's even better than we thought it could be. We've invested as much time on this book as on any other project we've ever worked on, and it will show. Just not yet.
What we can do in the meantime
We know a bunch of you ordered this book for holiday presents. Obviously, the book isn't getting to your friends and family by Hanukkah or Christmas. But if you want to give it as a gift, we want you to follow through on that the best you can. So we've made a little winter holiday card from the Gatekeeper. Here's the front of the card, with a fine bone-chilling piece of art from Pete.
There's going to be a holiday-themed puzzle on it too. I don't want to spoil that, but I promise you it will be fun and festive.
We're going to distribute the card by private Kickstarter update. You can print it out and solve the puzzle. But if you intended to give The Maze of Games as a gift to someone else, then we'll go a step further: We'll mail you a printed copy, and you can give it to them. It will have our holiday apologies that their present didn't arrive on time, and let them know they can look forward to the gift from you in the near future.
Again, this is intended for those giving the book to others. If you bought a copy for yourself, you can get the full experience just from printing the card or solving it online. But if you want a keepsake for that special someone, we're here for you.
Let us know what you think
We're trying to do right by you guys. We're pretty sure that you'll like what we come up with when we've finished making it as good as it can be. But we want to hear your feedback. Let us know what you think in the comments below, and we'll aim to help you with anything we can.
And now, back to proofreading. There's a moon zeppelin to free.
Mike and the Sharks