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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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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

What it looks like when your printer sends you a book for proofing


While at the Gamestorm convention this weekend, I got this in the mail.

Now, that's not quite what I expected when I heard we were getting a "proof copy," but it's still pretty cool. I splayed out everything on my hotel bed and discovered:

  • 1. The unprinted version of the regular edition.
  • 2. The unprinted version of the Gatekeeper's limited edition, with its plush black cover, ribbon, and cool worn treatment of the paper.
  • 3. Twelve 16-page folios of the interiors, with the first one flipped open to the title page.
  • 4. Color-treatment proofs of certain pages in both editions.
  • 5. The two endpapers of the Gatekeeper's edition. 
  • 6 & 7. The cover of the regular edition, both folded and color proof.
  • 8. The overlay treatments for the embossing of the Gatekeeper's edition cover.
  • 9. The sewn spine treatments for both editions.
  • 10. The mazefinder bookmark and the Gatekeeper's edition library card and pocket.
  • 11. The maze map, both folded and color proof.

This is exciting stuff. We are making a couple of fixes and then approving the book for its full run. Which leads to...

A new delivery date

We got a new schedule from our printer today. Assuming they start printing next week as planned, it's likely to arrive in Seattle in mid-June. We should be shipping to you guys by the end of June. Again, we're assuming everything works -- and that hasn't exactly been a safe assumption for us so far. But we remain hopeful that we'll have this to you not too long from now.

Repeating what I said in the comments: Every single step of this process has taken vastly longer than we expected. Some of that's because we cared about getting everything right. And some of it is because things just surprised us about how long they took. We know a lot better now, and I assure you that we didn't mean for this to drag out this long. Of course, it's not our business to be learning on your dime. We made mistakes in the planning process, but the primary mistake was simply not adding six to eight months to the intended delivery date. That's on us, not our contractors or our printers. Some things we can't control, but we can definitely control our ability to estimate difficulty. We were way too optimistic, and it won't happen again on my watch.

That said, I really think you will believe this book was worth the wait. It's been almost 19 years for me, and I'm thrilled with it. I hope you will be too.


Maze of Games: at the printer


This week I flew down to LA on official Maze business. And came back with some big news.

We sent The Maze of Games to the printer today. It took quite a bit longer to get here than anyone of us could have imagined, but it was worth it. It’s a really, really good book. The puzzles, especially those by the Conundrucopians, are some of the best that have passed through my hands. The novel has been through a torrent of editing and proofing. The art and graphic design is some of the prettiest work I’ve been associated with. And it just feels like a heavyweight book. I think you’ll like it.

The process of getting the book printed will take a while. With luck, the book will be rolling off the presses sometime in February. Then it might get to Seattle sometime in March. I can’t guarantee any of that, because it’s out of our hands now. But the important thing is that it is out of our hands now, and that makes it possible to get it to you.

Here's a look at some elements that have come together.

The cover

Elisa put the finishing touches on the cover today. Here’s what the back and front of the regular edition of The Maze of Games will look like. Note the weathered look, which we're experimenting with to get that old-time feel infused throughout this book.

Regular edition cover
Regular edition cover

And here’s (sort of) what the Gatekeeper’s edition will look like, back and front. The highlights will all be silver embossings. There will be ridges down the spine and a ribbon and other delights. Scott Kim's ambigram makes its debut here.

Gatekeeper's edition cover
Gatekeeper's edition cover

The Gatekeeper’s edition also has a couple of other intricacies that the backers of that edition and the first 100 people to order the hardback will get. Let’s just say that Colleen Quaice wasn’t the first person to check out The Maze of Games from the Upper Wolverhampton Bibliothèque.

The bookmark

The Mazefinder Bookmark is a simple way to keep track of your progress through the mazes. Here you'll see our page ordering system involving card suits and such. You mark your pages in the order you encounter them, so you'll know where you've been. You can also write your answers on the bookmark as well. Here's side 1.

Front of Mazefinder bookmark
Front of Mazefinder bookmark

The map

We finished the map too. Eric Harshbarger did a fabulous job working with me on the puzzle construction and writing, and Corey Macourek made it look awesome. The final version will be in color. (Some blurriness has been added in places to obscure puzzle content.)

Maze map (black and white)
Maze map (black and white)

The soundtrack

Down in LA, Austin Wintory, Elisa, and I laid down some principles for the music. It’s going to be six pieces each keyed to the specific mood of a chapter. Austin, fresh from his grand success with The Banner Saga, has a sweeping vision for the music which I absolutely love. And of course we talked about how it will tease your brain as well as your eardrums.

I was also down in LA working on another potential use for the music, which I can’t talk about yet. But trust me, if it works out I think you’ll really like the results of those discussions.

The perfume

Elisa and I dropped in on the Black Phoenix Alchemy lab yesterday to see the Gatekeeper scent that BPAL perfumiers Elizabeth Barrial and Brian Constantine are decanting for your consumption. It’s an amazing scent in an awesome bottle. It’ll be ready for purchasing sometime in March, we believe. We will give you plenty of warning, we promise.

The Gatekeeper perfume at the BPAL office
The Gatekeeper perfume at the BPAL office

*Poor word choice. Please don’t drink it.

The bottom line

We still have a lot of things to do on our end. We’re just getting into the build of the ebook, which is a major project. We need to prepare our art prints. We have thank-you videos and Google hangouts to schedule, and pencils and cryptexes to wrap up. So we’ll be busy for the next couple months. But not on writing, editing, art, graphic design, or proofing. We’re not doing those things any more, and it’s quite a relief. We thank you for your patience and support, and we hope you like our Maze of Games.

Mike and the Sharks