We’re headed to PAX Prime!
Where we’ll be: Our space is inside the ACT theatre connected to the convention center. Room hours are 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM. We’ll sell & sign you stuff, and maybe even have some surprises for you if you ask nicely. We’re also really excited to share the room with some of our friends:
Our panel: We’ll humor your crappy card suggestions. Friday at 8:00 PM in the Sasquatch Theater.
Our comedy show: We’re hosting a night of comedy humor jokes with the Nerdologues, Improvised Star Trek and some surprise guests. Saturday at 8:00PM at The Triple Door. Doors open at 6:30PM. A few tickets might still be available here.
See you soon, Seattle.
SEATTLE / PAX: Join us & some surprise guests for a night of comedy humor jokes at the Triple Door. August 30th, 8:00 PM. Hurry & get tickets here.
Tabletop Deathmatch is our independent game design contest. One unpublished game will receive a first printing funded by us and a booth at Gen Con 2015.
Submissions to this year’s contest closed in June, and we spent the summer narrowing down the selection. It wasn’t easy; this year’s submissions really floored us. We received close to 300 and even narrowing down to 50 felt impossible — the quality of the games had really improved since Tabletop Deathmatch 2013. It seemed like all the games had been in development for months and sometimes years. They were all thoroughly playtested and most felt really close to being finished.
After we managed to find our 50 favorites, we sent them off to our expert panel of judges who pored over the submissions again. They had a week to scrutinize the game’s design, mechanics, re-playability, and originality.
Here’s who they picked. Check out the eight finalists.
This week, we’re all going to Gen Con in Indianapolis to meet the creators in person, playtest their games and in the end, find our winner.
We really believe in the finalists, and we hope you’ll check out the web series when it airs this fall. (If you missed it, check out Tabletop Deathmatch season one.)
Last winter, we launched a rather risky promotion we called The 12 Days of Holiday Bullshit, where Cards Against Humanity fans paid $12 to receive 12 mystery gifts over the course of December.
We’ve written pretty extensively about all the crazy stunts we pulled off, but it’s past due to talk about the last one. Included in the first day’s envelope was a note that there was a very hard puzzle spread across the 12 days’ mailings and a message, in Caesar Cipher, not to throw anything away. That’s because the envelopes were a key part of the puzzle. Now that the puzzle has been solved for a few months, it’s time to reveal and explain the solution. Each envelope had a lovely and punny illustration by our friend Maré Odomo of the each of The Twelve Days of Christmas in order (we especially love the Two Turtle Doves).
The first step to the puzzle was to notice that each envelope had a funny time, date, and location stamp on the back. It’s not a real time stamp; we made it up. And everyone’s was the same, even the times, another clue that something was fishy about it. The first thing to notice was that the seconds timestamp were the first 12 prime number, giving a unique and clearly non-random order to the envelopes other than the order in which they arrived.
The hours and minute hands on the timestamps were also not random, but rather spelled out the first secret message in flag semaphore when placed on analog clocks. The twelve envelopes in order of the prime numbers spelled out FEEL FOR GREEN.
Every envelope was bordered by a different strand of colored lights. That was a clue to use the green lights on the envelope as braille dots. However, it was not possible to read braille directly from the envelopes—braille requires a grid of dots and empty spaces. However, solvers eventually noticed that the colored lights had very regular spacings and so envelopes (in prime order) could be lined up to create braille characters when the envelopes touched. Each pair of envelopes had exactly three 2x2 regions where any green lights appeared, cluing that the next step wasn’t braille letters (which require a 2x3 grid) but braille numbers. Each pair of envelopes decoded to a three digit number.
All of those three digit numbers were between 1 and 550, the number of cards in Cards Against Humanity. That was a clue to use Cards Against Humanity (and, more specifically, the free PDF version of the game) as a book cipher. Each three digit number uniquely mapped to a single card in the game.
Looking at all 11 cards clued by all 12 envelope pairs, solvers noticed next that the first letter of each card spelled out B AND W DOT COM. This was a clue that the final answer was a website with a URL of a black card and white card combination. Unfortunately, there are tens of thousands of such combinations.
The next step was to see that each Cards Against Humanity card came from decoding a pair of envelopes. Each envelope was associated with a specific day of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Adding those two days together gives another way to index into each card to pull out another letter. For example, “Not reciprocating oral sex” came out of Day 12 (Twelve Lords-a-Leaping) and Day 3 (Three French Hens), so we also pulled out the 12+3=15th letter, N. This spelled out BOND MEANING.
(As an aside, it turns out it was really rather difficult to find cards that would satisfy this double encoding. We had to work backward from the final answer and use a computer program we wrote to find cards that would work this way.)
The words “BOND” and “MEANING” appear only once in Cards Against Humanity - “Bond” in a black card and “meaning” in a white card. So the final answer is:
Almost 1,000 Redditors solved the puzzle by working together over a period of months on the subreddit they created, /r/HolidayBullshit. We gave the main solvers prizes, including cash, fancy booze, a bunch of books and board games we like, and every product we make. Everyone else who helped out got a free Reject Pack of cards we liked individually but were too weird for the game.
It was a lot of fun for us to watch this community come together (and struggle together) to solve this very hard puzzle. The puzzle was designed to have some pretty big logical leaps in it so that it would take a large group a long time to solve, though we did need to give out a few small hints—most about what wasn’t a part of the puzzle. We’re really happy with how it turned out.
Unfortunately, some solvers managed to back-door the puzzle by looking up domain registrations (which we thought we’d hidden), but we made them forward-solve the puzzle to win the prize by requiring them to get the final two 11-character clue phrases. We’ll just let that be a lesson for next time.
Oh yes, there will be a next time…
And now. the thrilling conclusion of Jennless: Part 1.
Trin auditions temporary replacements for Jenn.
They are all bad.
A major media company wants our permission to put Cards in a web video with some of their actors. We’re generally OK with that, but we were wondering if they’re going to film it a billion years from now somewhere in the Andromeda galaxy.
Trin can’t live if living is without Jenn.
Come back from vacation soon, jennhasablog.
An important announcement: We’re going to GaymerX this year! From July 11-July 13, we’re taking over the Sutter and Stockton rooms in the Intercontinental San Francisco and creating a space called “Some Games We Like,” curated by IndieCADE. It’ll be a comfortable room to hang out and play games you might not be able to play anywhere else, like:
- Story War by Brad O’Farrell
- Perfect Woman by Peter Lu
- CRY$TAL WARRIOR KE$HA by Porpentine
- Hate Plus by Christine Love
- Extrasolar by Rob Jagnow of Lazy 8 Studios
- Blue Lacuna byAaron Reed
- HugPunx by Merritt Kopas
- Triad by Anna Anthropy
- Dog Eat Dog by Liam Burke
- Nostrum by Robert Yang
- Ninja Shadow Warrior by Kaho Abe and Toni Pizza
- Mainichi by Mattie Brice
- Depression Quest by Zoe Quinn
- A collection of board games by Patrick Ewig.
The Some Games We Like room will be open everyday of the convention at 11:00 AM. Come visit.
Look at what a crazy all-star list of games this is. I can’t wait for GaymerX this year.