A maze is a tricky thing, with plenty of twists, turns, and unexpected surprises. Our puzzle novel The Maze of Games has been no exception. Years after we ran two fantastic Maze campaigns on Kickstarter, we're still finding new pathways and puzzles within the Gatekeeper's domain. We wanted to take everything we have for The Maze of Games and put it into one massive omnibus package, supplementing it with fun new material. But to do that we had to send author Mike Selinker and developer Gaby Weidling into their own maze. As you may have guessed from the video above, things went a bit awry. The two are now stuck in the maze.
On the upside, before the Gatekeeper trapped Mike and Gaby, they were able to gather quite a bit of stuff. For the first time, you can get everything for The Maze of Games in one place, including a bunch of new items for fans who thought they had it all. Fresh off the book being solved for the first time, we're Kickstarting a new answer guide handwritten by characters Colleen and Samuel Quaice entitled The Keymaster's Tome. There's The Gatekeeper's Variety Hour audio puzzle suite and a new audiobook for The Theseus Guide to the Final Maze. If we're very clever and very lucky, we can help Mike and Gaby escape the room and add a few more goodies to our cache.
Along with the puzzle creations we've lined up for you, we have a unique adventure. The Maze of Games Escape Room by Epic Team Adventures opens its doors today, March 14th. You can book your experience today at epicteamadventures.com! Designed by Gaby, Mike, and ETA's Jesse McGatha and Richard Thames Rowan, this intense experience is the first of several mind-bending puzzle rooms set in the Gatekeeper's world. When you book, you can use the escape room discount code we've added to every backer level so you can experience what Mike and Gaby are going through. Hopefully you'll have an easier time getting through the maze than they are.
Below you'll find all the details on The Maze of Games Omnibus and Escape Room Experience, including descriptions of all the items, backer levels, stretch goals, and the Maze of Games Escape Room. And what would a Maze of Games Kickstarter be without puzzles? Make sure to come back as we update. Mike and Gaby will send us messages from inside the room, and we'll need your help to decipher them. See below for details, and keep an eye on @LoneSharkGames on Twitter for all the puzzling info. Mike and Gaby have assured us there are secret badges along the way for everyone who can help them escape the maze.
The Maze of Games is a puzzle novel Mike had trapped in his head for 18 years prior to 2013, when we took the unique book to Kickstarter. It's the story of two British children from 1897, Colleen and Samuel Quaice, who get trapped in a series of increasingly deadly mazes by a skeletal guardian called the Gatekeeper. What makes the book unique—other than its strange story and dynamic art by Magic: The Gathering artist Pete Venters—is that the pages are in the wrong order. You must solve the puzzles and restore the narrative in order to help the children escape the maze. A 40-page section called the Conundrucopia features all of the best modern-day puzzlemakers writing puzzles in the style of the 1890s. It's cool.
If you pledge to this Kickstarter campaign, you can get access to:
- The hardback of The Maze of Games, its PDF, and its audiobook narrated by Wil Wheaton.
- The softcover of The Theseus Guide to Guide to the Final Maze and its PDF.
- The recently updated second edition of the Maze Map poster and PDF, a unique 20"x30" story maze by Mike, Eric Harshbarger, and Corey Macourek.
- Audio albums of The Maze of Games Soundtrack by composer Austin Wintory and the Songs in the Key of Maze EP by Marian Call, Kirby Krackle, and Paul & Storm.
- A discount code for the solvable ebook for iPhone and iPad by Puzzazz.
Each backer who receives physical goods will pay the actual cost of shipping their rewards. Final shipping rates and costs will be loaded into our PledgeManager, and you will pay for your shipping via the PledgeManager as well. We'll charge backers as close to our actual shipping costs for their shipping address as we can for each order. Lone Shark is not making any profit on shipping and handling. FYI: The Maze of Games hardback is a heavy book. See the FAQ for our current shipping estimates.
Plus there's a lot of brand new stuff you've never seen. Including this amazing project.
For years, we've imagined a live experience where you get thrown into the Gatekeeper's maze and have to solve your way out. We knew of only one team who could bring this vision to life: downtown Seattle's Epic Team Adventures. Our friends at ETA have made some of our favorite rooms: the film noir-themed The Sparrow Files, the Poe-inspired The Raven and the Red Death, and many more. ETA's team includes some of the Maze's biggest fans, and so we collaborated with them to make The Maze of Games Escape Rooms.
Far from being satisfied with making one Maze of Games escape room, ETA concocted an adventurous plan to make four rooms in the same space, all themed around authors trapped in the maze. Gaby and Mike worked with ETA designers Rich Rowan and Jesse McGatha to craft these escape rooms, and we got our Gatekeeper Wil Wheaton to narrate the whole thing. It's a tremendously cool experience that you can see in the video above.
We hope that you can all make it to Seattle and match wits with the Gatekeeper. To encourage you to visit us, all reward levels of this Kickstarter campaign include a discount code good for $35 off the cost of a full room booking of The Maze of Games Escape Room at Epic Team Adventures. If you pledge, click this link to get access to the code, allowing you to book your room experience on the ETA site today. The code can be used any time in the next year. Remember: Pledge, get the code, book the room.
For those who just want to buy it all now, look at the level called Everything Maze Plus A Full Room, which lets you pledge for an entire room plus all the physical and digital rewards. We can't send out individual codes until after the campaign closes, so if you're in a hurry to book, get your $35 code here today and then pay the rest on the ETA site.
The Keymaster’s Tome is a new physical book made for this Kickstarter, available in both printed and PDF form. People have been asking us since the dawn of this project when we were going to have a Keymaster to go with our Gatekeeper. The Theseus Guide to the Final Maze was the closest we could get to an answer booklet without divulging the Maze's secrets to everyone, and it was fun to add more puzzles too. But just this past month, a group of puzzle solvers finished the final puzzle in The Maze of Games. With that done, we felt that the time was right for an answer book, so Mike and Gaby hand-crafted The Keymaster's Tome, a version of The Maze of Games puzzles (not the story) with answers, conversations, and tidbits hand-written in the margins by the Quaice siblings as they make their way through the maze. Here's as much of a look as we can show you.
The book is available as a PDF in the Just The New Digitals level, as well as a softcover in the Just The New Book & The New Digitals level.
When we started the campaign, The Keymaster's Tome was 60 pages detailing answers for the main puzzle section of The Maze of Games. Now that the campaign has exceeded our funding goal, we're adding hand-written and annotated answers to more puzzles.
UNLOCKED: $13,500 - We added 24 pages of Conundrucopia answers in our hand-written, story-based style. That raised the Tome from 60 pages to 84 pages.
UNLOCKED: $15,000 - We added 8 pages of extras: the endpapers, the library card, the credits, and so on. Everyone who pledges to this campaign will have their name in The Keymaster’s Tome. This got the Tome from 84 pages to 92 pages.
UNLOCKED: $17,500 - We added 8 pages of The Theseus Guide to the Final Maze answers. This got the Tome from 92 pages to 100 pages.
UNLOCKED: $20,000 - We added 8 pages of soundtrack and Maze Map answers. This got the Tome from 100 to 108 pages.
UNLOCKED: $25,000 - We added an audio answer key to The Gatekeeper's Variety Hour, recorded by Mike and Gaby!
UNLOCKED: $30,000 - We've begun the creation of a new Maze of Games website with The Keymaster's Tome content for backers to access!
UNLOCKED: $35,000 - We're including cool Maze of Games wallpaper (in black and white and color) in every digital bundle!
UPCOMING GOAL: $40,000 - We'll include the Maze of Games escape room 2-page spread from Puzzlecraft in every digital bundle and add the handwritten answers to The Keymaster's Tome!
We’re introducing two new audio products as part of this campaign. First,The Theseus Guide to the Final Maze now has its own audiobook, which adds a new chapter to the existing one for The Maze of Games. Both star Wil Wheaton doing all the voices.
The second audio project is The Gatekeeper's Variety Hour (originally named The Audiophonic Conundrucopia), a radio show hosted by Wil alongside us and our puzzlemaker and musician friends Kid Beyond, Molly Lewis, Austin Wintory, Francis Heaney, Eric Chaikin, Greg Pliska, and Wil Zambole. It's easy to turn it on. You must solve the puzzles to turn it off.
Both of these new audio experiences supplement The Maze of Games audiobook, created by Skyboat Media. If you've only got the physical books, open up your ears for a whole new way to play.
OK, we swear this story is true. When we first made The Maze of Games, we made 250 copies of a black and silver leatherette-bound in-world book called The Gatekeeper's Edition. It has deckled pages, a library card, a ribbon, and other boss features. We fulfilled all of those and agreed never to make that edition again. Done and done.
But ... our guy Shane was cleaning up the warehouse in preparation for a move last month and literally tripped over a box of Gatekeeper's Editions. We assume we kept them in case some didn't reach their destinations, and everyone forgot about them. Now that we found this treasure trove, we couldn't just keep it locked up. So we're making a mere ten absolutely, positively, very last ever copies of The Maze of Games Gatekeeper's Edition available at the Keymaster's Trove level, along with a signed copy of the Keymaster's Tome. If you're interested in owning a piece of history, take a look at that level.
Mike Selinker is the president of the Seattle design studio Lone Shark Games. He's the co-designer of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Lords of Vegas, Unspeakable Words, Apocrypha, The Ninth World, Thornwatch, and many other games, as well as the author of other books like Puzzlecraft, The Kobold Guide to Board Game Design, and Game Theory in the Age of Chaos. While at Wizards, he helped design and develop games like Betrayal at House on the Hill, Risk Godstorm, and Axis & Allies, and was a creative director on 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons. He’s also the executive director of the political advocacy group Basket of Adorables. He can be found at @mikeselinker.
Pete Venters is the book's illustrator, and one of the most popular game artists around. He is best known for his nearly 300 pieces of trading card art for Magic: The Gathering, but has also worked in concept art, comic books, and book design. He is the illustrator for the Gothic Charm School trade paperback, written by his wife, Jillian Venters. He and Mike have collaborated on projects for Disney and Wizards of the Coast.
Elisa Teague is the book's graphic designer. She is a game and puzzle designer, her latest titles including Geek Out!, Betrayal at House on the Hill: Widow's Walk, Lions and Tigers and Bears - Oh My, various Dungeons & Dragons and other RPG modules, and the upcoming Kingdom Hearts Talisman. She has also been an art director, developer, and production manager on over 100 titles in the industry, including Lone Shark Games' monster hit (pun intended) Apocrypha Adventure Card Game.
Gaby Weidling is the book's developer. She's a game, puzzle, and event designer whose handiwork can be found in games like the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Betrayal at House on the Hill: Widow’s Walk, Apocrypha, and more. Some of her favorite puzzle projects include developing The Maze of Games and Puzzlecraft, designing a series of escape rooms set in the world of Magic: the Gathering’s Innistrad, and teaching puzzle design at DigiPen. She spends her spare time trying new things, cuddling her cats, and just generally being a sunshine cannon. Someday she’ll quit the game industry to become a detective or reboot Matlock. Maybe both. She can be found at @ermahgerdgerby.
Tanis O'Connor is the book's editor. Her past work includes design, development, and editing on Dungeons & Dragons with Wizards of the Coast, the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game at Paizo Publishing, many other game and puzzle events, and 5 (!) MIT Mystery Hunts. Do not try this at home.
Oh, right, we nearly forgot. Gaby and Mike are trapped in the Maze of Games escape room for the entire length of this campaign. We'd go and let them out, but it's more fun to let you figure out how to free them. We're going to give you daily puzzles of several types, all of which combine to figure out how to get them out. It'll all end in a final campaign-end livestream, but before we get there, you better get cracking on these puzzles.
Here's what you got:
- In the campaign video above and six later update videos are seven rebus puzzles. Those are visual addition puzzles like the kind you see on the show Concentration. Each leads to an answer, which will get you one of seven badges. The first one contains this image. Another hidden puzzle across all the videos will get you the eighth badge.
- If you follow our Twitter account @lonesharkgames, you'll see a set of 20 daily Tom Swifties. Those are puzzles where Tom says a sentence in a particularly punny manner such as "'I'd like to stop by the mausoleum,' Tom said cryptically." In our Gatekeeper Swifties, the answers are all names of authors the Gatekeeper has trapped in the Maze. Answering all of them will lead to a final instruction which gives you a ninth badge. The first ten such puzzles are gathered here.
- At five geek-themed events—the MIT Mystery Hunt, the JoCo Cruise, Emerald City Comic Con, the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, and this week's PAX East—we'll be there giving out postcards. All five puzzles' answers combine together in a specific way to get you a tenth badge.
- Finally, getting Mike and Gaby out of the Maze of Games escape room will get you the eleventh badge. That's only available when the campaign comes to an end.
When you have an answer for any of these puzzles, submit it on our answer site. You'll get a response from us that will let you continue your quest and maybe give you a badge. When you get one, use it as your Kickstarter, Facebook, or Twitter icon. That'll show off how smart a puzzler you are, and maybe even that you care if Mike and Gaby get out alive. Regardless, we'll see you in the Maze.
Risks and challenges
We don't have a lot of risks on this campaign. The Maze of Games Escape Room is ready for opening, the audiobooks are recorded and formatted for download, and the third-printing books are getting ready for shipment. All the digital rewards and most of the physical rewards are ready to go.
The only physical object that isn't finished is The Keymaster's Tome, because we hope the campaign lets us make a larger version of it. When the campaign is over, we'll finish up work on that and send it to press in the United States. When all that's ready, we'll get it all to our fulfiller for shipping in the US. It may take longer to get our non-US orders done, but we'll get them fulfilled as quickly as we can.
This is the first of TWO puzzle book campaigns we'll be doing fairly close to back-to-back. After this one finishes, we'll start readying the campaign for the long awaited reprint of Puzzlecraft: How to Create Any Kind of Puzzle. We can't wait to get these great puzzle books into your hands.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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