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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.

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Gatekeeper perfume available from BPAL!


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


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

Maze of Games: here


This is me in front of ten pallets of The Maze of Games.

Several thousand copies of The Maze of Games arrived at our warehouse yesterday. We are, as you might expect, delighted. And so we can finally begin the process of getting copies out to you. It's not a short process, but it's finally underway.

Step one is confirming all shipping addresses. We have been tracking address changes as we go, but if you have moved in the last year, please go here and fill out this form. We want to make absolutely sure your address changed in our system. Even if you have submitted an address change, please do it. If you haven't moved since you filled out your initial survey or After the Crowd info, you're fine. 

Step two is sorting and preparing all the physical products for shipping. We have all the hardbacks, Gatekeeper's editions, pencils, maps, bookmarks, and cryptexes in house and ready to be prepped for shipping; art prints will soon follow. It will take a while to number and sign the many hundreds of books that need such a treatment. We hope to have this process completed within a couple of weeks, and everything shipped out sometime in July. Please be aware that we have thousands of orders, and cannot respond to individual requests to prioritize one over another.

Information about access to the PDF will be included with your order.

The ebook and soundtrack are not yet finalized, but a lot of progress has been made on both. A lot depends on Apple and other things we can only moderately control. But we hope to have this process completed soon.

If you have a special reward such as a thank you video or Google hangout, you'll get a personal message from us about that.

Are you in Seattle?

We're thinking of having a release event in Seattle. If you are in Seattle, and are interested in picking up your order at such a hypothetical event, please send an email with the subject "Seattle" to vasb@ybarfunextnzrf.pbz (after caesar shifting that 13 places in the alphabet, of course). 

Almost here. Thanks as always for your patience, and your support of The Maze of Games.

Mike and the Sharks

gifts from abroad


Here's something I got in the mail today. 

And here's something else Elisa and I got. (With special guest musician Austin Wintory on the keyboards.)

These are real books. They look great. And a whole lot of them are being bundled together in a far-off land and making their way here not long from now. Good stuff.


Maze of Games: nearly printed


Here is The Maze of Games being printed.

The Maze of Games is rolling off the printer as I write this. We sent it over three months ago, but we've learned it takes a whole lot longer to get a crazily complex book like this printed. We have a new schedule for when we believe it will get to you.

The book is scheduled to be done printing in a couple weeks and on its way to us in late May. It will get to us in late June. Our friends at Penny Arcade will begin the shipping process at the end of June, and hope to be completed by mid-July. Again, that's assuming all goes well, and our assumptions have been wrong before. But we're optimistic that we're on a good road here.

Other elements are also coming together. We've got things like the ebook and soundtrack being worked on, and cryptexes and pencils bundled for the moment the book arrives. See below. (No. 2 pencil for scale.)

All of this will ship out together, if all goes well. We're very excited to be reaching the end of this process, and bringing you the things that we hope you will love.

Making The Maze of Games available again

We are also planning to open up an ordering site by the end of May (again, all schedules approximate). That will allow you or your friends to order more copies of the hardback, ebook, and soundtrack as we prepare for shipping. We'll make sure everyone knows when that launches.

We'll also put together a mailing list for people to keep up on Maze-y developments. We'll keep making updates happen here, so if you're following along on Kickstarter, you won't need to keep up with the mailing list.

We're also going to open up the perfume ordering sometime in the next month or so. We expect that will be on the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab site, so they can ship it directly to you. All Maze of Games backers will have an opportunity to get that perfume, if you like.

More announcements... to be announced!

I have some more big things to say, but, well, I can't yet. We're waiting for some dominoes to fall in the desired arrangement before doing so. But please know that they are (a) big, and (b) worth waiting for.

I hope that'll be the case for everything associated with The Maze of Games, of course. Thanks again for listening, and for your patience. We will talk to you soon.

Mike and the Sharks