Cuke Ellington

I recently returned from a trip to New York City, where I ran my Search for a Superhero game twice: once for a client, and once for 35 puzzle fans across 7 teams. Thanks to everyone who came out, including some of you who I'd previously only met online.

Puzzlers in action

The hard thing about making and marketing a puzzle game — or an escape room, for that matter — is showing what makes playing the game fun without giving away any of the secrets and spoiling the experience of actually playing the game! So, I'm pretty happy with that photo up there — good lighting, happy people, and the materials in just the right state to give a hint of what playing the game looks like, but not give you any spoilers. (And if the picture above makes you think this game might be a good fit for your workplace, hit me up!)

May puzzler

Every month I offer a new bite-sized puzzle. Here's the latest one:

Take the full name of a famous American jazz musician. Change one letter in his first name, and you’ll end up with two words that describe people you’d find in a kitchen. Who is it?

Submit your answer here 🗳

Threads of Fate by Rita Orlov

My friend Rita is Kickstarting her latest puzzle game / narrative adventure, called Threads of Fate. Everything that I've played by Rita — The Emerald Flame, Light in the Mist — has been a beautiful, wondrous experience. I have heard from playtesters that this new game is amazing as well. Rita has already blown past the main goal and first three stretch goals, and there are 5 days left in the campaign.

The objects that intertwine to make Threads of Fate

Order of the Golden Scribe in New York City

My friend Shuai and her company Patchwork Adventures are relaunching her puzzle event/tea party/cult initiation ceremony, The Order of the Golden Scribe. The event got rave reviews from No Proscenium and Room Escape Artist. It's running for 3 weeks starting, next Friday, at the Cell Theatre in Manhattan. Buy tickets here.

Order Of The Golden Scribe l Afternoon Tea l Immersive l Escape Game
Join us in a pop-up escape game dining experience unlike any you’ve seen before. Teams of four will work together to decipher clues, solve puzzles, and unlock teas, finger sandwiches, scones, desserts. But if you talk to the right order members you might find there is something else afoot. *The Orde…

Microsoft's 2023 Puzzle Hunt

… was last weekend, but you can still register new teams, the puzzles are still available, and they're still answering hint requests, up until May 28. I wasn't free last weekend so I started the hunt this week, and I am really enjoying it. The first round of puzzles are very approachable, and some have some really nifty tech that allows you to solve on screen (instead of moving to a spreadsheet). Some puzzles even offer a text box for confirming partial answers — a feature that makes the whole thing super friendly to beginning solvers.

Puzzle University
Registration for this year’s Puzzle University is now open!

The Last Defender wins a Golden Lock

Back in 2016, I helped build an immersive, theatrical escape room experience called The Last Defender. It ran in Chicago for ~8 months, and then later it had a short run in Denver. It's something I'll be forever proud of, as it pushed the bounds of what an escape room could be. While it was up in Denver, it caught the attention of the Top Escape Rooms Project, and earned 28th place in their 2019 TERPECA (Enthusiast’s Choice Awards) list of Top Escape Rooms in the world, right between The Secret of Saint-Rumoldus in Belgium and Sacrum Labyrinth in Moscow. TLD relaunched in Chicago in early 2020, but alas, when the pandemic hit, the venue that hosted the game shut down, and The Last Defender got permanently mothballed (some of it in my basement). In case you never got to play, here's a video from Denver that shows some of the gameplay.

To my delight and surprise, folks have not forgotten about our little game. I just learned that Room Escape Artist has awarded The Last Defender a Legacy Golden Lock Award! I'm really honored. I've played a lot of Golden Lock winners over the years, and it's very special to be in their company.

2023 Golden Lock Awards - Room Escape Artist
We announce the 2023 Golden Lock Awards for the best escape games we played in this year: real-life, tabletop, and events

A-to-Z Crosswords by Peter Gorden

$14 gets you 91 mid-sized pangrammic crosswords, across 13 weeks. What more could you ask for? Back the Kickstarter here.

Solution to the April Puzzler

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