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Enigmida: A Most Puzzling 2021

Enigmida: A Most Puzzling 2021
By Matthew Stein • Issue #18 • View online
I started this newsletter in January 2021 with a list of highlights from the previous year. As I’m wrapping up Year 1 of the newsletter, I want to again share some reflections on the wild ride that was 2021.
A big thanks to all of you who’ve joined along for the journey so far. And we’re only just getting started! I have soooo many exciting projects already lined up for next year, including new team-building games, an immersive audio-based puzzle play, a whole bunch of articles about puzzle design, and lots of secret things I can’t talk about quite yet.
Moving forward, I’d also love your input: What have you enjoyed reading in this newsletter? What would you like to see more of? I’d like to be able to share more behind-the-scenes of puzzle design, but that’d almost always include spoilers for ongoing projects. That said, I’ve been thinking of other ways to share the puzzle creation process… Live streams of designing puzzles? Live solving sessions talking through my thought process? More collabs with other puzzle designers? Shoot me an email or DM and let me know what you think!
Wishing you all a happy, healthy new year! And as always, make sure to read to the end for this issue’s puzzle. Cheers!

Favorite Projects of 2021
  1. I designed tons of puzzles for Art of Play’s beautiful art journal Tangram. Volume 1 contained a standalone puzzle hunt. Volume 2 featured even trickier puzzles and led to hidden treasure (which you can still go find!) And I’m putting the finishing touches on the puzzles for Volume 3 as we speak.
  2. I co-designed a Passover-themed print-and-play puzzle game with my sister. An experiment in designing puzzles with a message, this project reached over 800 teams around the world.
  3. I somehow managed to play 100 in-person escape rooms this year! Along the way, I reviewed over 40 of these games for Room Escape Artist. Some of my favorite reviews include: Ghost Patrol @ Trivium Games, The Attraction @ Palace Games, Frost Base Z @ Rabbit Hole Recreation Services, Magic Lamp @ Gnome & Raven, and Undercooked @ Omescape Sunnyvale.
  4. I created custom puzzle hunts, pop-up escape rooms, and micro ARGs for a myriad of special occasions, including birthdays, proposals, and anniversaries. I always love getting to personalize a puzzle experience for a specific individual.
Outside of puzzles, I also had an eventful year. I relocated back to California after spending a lovely chunk of time with my family. My klezmer trio Baymele recorded an album that we’re excited to release in a few months. I also fit in a bit of domestic travel, and it’s been so fun meeting many of my new lockdown internet friends IRL at long last.
Puzzle of the Week
Think of a word you might see near the shore that’s also a homophone for a word that can come before PRESSURE.
That word with a letter changed, followed by the original word with a letter added is a 2-word folkloric character or fictional company. What is it?
Solution to last issue’s puzzle
Congrats to everyone who submitted a correct answer: Conor Durkin, Dan Katz, Marlee, Samira Sihabdeen, Ryan Kannegiesser, and Mark Wurzelbacher.
Cryptically yours,
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Matthew Stein

I'm an Oakland, CA-based puzzle and alternate reality game designer. I create experiences that guide participants to connect through play and to find wonder in the mundane.

In this newsletter, I share behind-the-scenes content, puzzle design thoughts, project updates, and other miscellaneous whimsy I think puzzle lovers will enjoy.

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