Mystery Challenge Winner Announced

Sinister has won the Mystery Challenge, just barely edging out Refuge. Congratulations to Mark “Shmitz” Major of Whirling Derby Games for winning his second contest at The Game Crafter.

Our judge, David Sheppard, has graciously provided a detailed analysis of how he reviewed the finalists. If you’re looking for even more information, he’s also provided his notes about the initial thoughts of the games directly after their first play through.

We’d like to thank all of the contestants, and especially David Sheppard for judging this contest. Don’t forget, our next contest is already under way.

The Game Crafter is a semi-finalist in the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest


The Game Crafter is currently competing in the 11th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest. There were 292 entries submitted and only 52 were selected to advance to the semi-final round. The Game Crafter and the other contestants are currently being evaluated and the top 24 business ideas will move on to the next round on April 9th. We think we’ve got a pretty awesome business (and community) here but we’ll see what the judges say! Wish us luck :)

Mystery Challenge Finalists

Our judge, David Sheppard, has narrowed the list of semi-finalists down to seven finalists. They are:

He also provided feedback for the entire top 20 in this PDF.

Congrats to the finalists. Good luck to each of your games as David plays them to determine a winner. 

The Flux Capacity Publishing Challenge Chat

Josh Bricker, president of The Flux Capacity, will be in a scheduled chat on The Game Crafter on Wednesday, March 12 at 8PM Eastern. This is a great chance for you to get all your questions answered about The Flux Capacity Publishing Challenge. Hope to see you there.

The Flux Capacity Publishing Challenge

The Flux Capacity is an up and coming board game publisher in Canada with two great titles under their belt, and more to come soon. TFC is looking for another game to add to their line-up and that’s where you come in.

All TFC games have significant replay value with a strong theme and solid mechanics. Their games are targeted at families with players aged 13 or older.

At TFC a strong theme means that the players are immersed in an experience that leave the players feeling that they were there, participating in the world that the game is about. The theme should be be threaded through the mechanics, art, and story of the game to unify the journey that the players take.

Solid mechanics means no fluff. Every choice has an impact on how the rest of the game plays out. There needs to be meaning behind each decision and the decisions should feel as though they belong in the world that the theme has created. 


To qualify, your game must comply with all of the following rules:

  • While the implications of the rules can and should be complex, the explanation of the rules must be simple (can be learned and/or taught in less than 15 minutes).
  • It cannot be a cards-only game. It must use other components such as pawns, boards, tiles, etc.
  • It should also not be a small game, but rather something with substance that the players can immerse themselves in time and again.
  • Play time must be less than 2 hours, and ideally 60-90 minutes.
  • It must play 2 to 6 players.
  • It must be a competitive game, not co-op. However, it cannot have an elimination mechanic.
  • The game must have a cost of $39.99 or less. 
  • You are welcome to use any components available in The Game Crafter shop.
  • A rules document or booklet must be downloadable from your game’s shop page and must also be included in the game itself. 
  • The game must be publish ready, meaning it has a logo, backdrop, shop ad, action shots, description, and cool factors. It must also have all images proofed, and have packaging (any of our boxes will do). 
  • This must be a new game created for this contest. It cannot have existed on TGC prior to the contest.
  • All artwork must be your own, commissioned by you, licensed to you, or in the public domain.
  • All entries must be submitted through TGC’s game editor (by clicking on the “Contests” button) no later than Noon UTC on May 27th, 2014.
  • Contestants may submit multiple entries to this contest. Each entry will be judged separately.


The winner shall receive a publishing contract with The Flux Capacity for their game with intentions to produce the game in 2015.

The second place game designer shall receive a pack of games from The Flux Capacity.

The third place game designer shall receive a copy of The Flux Capacity’s most recently produced game, Give it to the King!


The Flux Capacity has another kickstarter launching shortly for Gone Viking. Go check it out.

These are your semi-finalists for the Mystery Challenge

The votes are in and we are pleased to officially announce the list of semi-finalists for the Mystery Challenge.

62 Entries in the Mystery Challenge!

The submission period for the Mystery Challenge has ended and we’re pleased to reveal 62 entries! It is now up to our community to vote on the entries to narrow the field from 62 down to just 20 semi-finalists. 

Additional Mystery Challenge Prize

We’re pleased to announce that as an additional prize the winner of the Mystery Challenge will get a spot at our booth at one of our premier gaming events to showcase their games. If you win you can choose from either a spot at our booth at Gen Con 2014, or our booth at Phoenix Comicon 2014.

All Us Geeks - Micro Game Design Challenge
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Jeff takes a moment and gives initial impressions of all 7 finalists in the All Us Geeks, Father Geek, and The Game Crafter co-sponsored Micro Game Design contest.

And the Micro Contest Winnner is…

Jeff from All Us Geeks and Cyrus from Father Geek have each tallied their scores in the Micro Contest

In third place, by a nose, is Overlords by Bill Paterno!

In second place we have Royals by AJ Lin!

And the winner is Dig Down Dwarf by Jason Glover.

Jeff and Cyrus have decided not to include feedback as to how they chose the winners in this post. Instead, they are doing complete reviews of all 7 games on their respective web sites over the next few weeks.

They have however provided this table of complete rankings for the 7 finalists:

Congrats to all 7 of our finalists for making it this far, and to our top three winners. Don’t forget that the Mystery Challenge has already begun if you’d like to try your hand at one of our contests.

Also special thanks to our guest judges. Be sure to check out their sites for great reviews and gaming content.


Mystery Challenge Inspiration

It seems quite a few people are struggling with the Mystery Challenge. On one hand they’re having trouble coming up with mechanics to be used in it. And on the other, they’re having trouble coming up with an original theme. It might be best to forget the word “mystery” as you work on your game and instead use the words “hidden” or “undiscovered”.  Allow us to provide a bit of inspiration.

Mechanically there are lots of things to choose from. Here are a few:

  • From a deck of cards, leave a few out at the beginning of the game and then have the players try to figure out which ones are missing. Basically your mechanic here is imperfect information like that used in the classic game clue.
  • You could use the mechanic of memory, like the classic game of Memory. However it need not be so simple. Instead of starting the game with a bunch of cards on the table, develop mechanics for discarding, looking at, and retrieving cards from the grid. 
  • You can use logic puzzles like those found in circuit design, or more human oriented logic puzzles like those found in Mind Trap.
  • You can use a traitor mechanic, where one or two players are the bad guy and all the other players are trying to discover who the bad guy is. This will revolve around all the players attempting to complete some objective and the traitor sabotaging that objective while not looking like he or she is doing that.

From a theme perspective you could do many things. Here are a few:

  • Obviously you could use “mystery” to inspire you and figure out “who done it”. 
  • You could also go more toward the discovery angle and have the players attempting to cure cancer. 
  • You could go more of a horror motif and attempt to collect the components necessary to bring the Frankenstein monster back to life.
  • You could do it as a treasure hunt, where players are an an epic journey around the globe following clue after clue to find accent gold and artifacts.

These are just a few ideas that may inspire you. Good luck!

Micro Contest Finalists Announced

Our judges for the Micro Contest have determined a list of 7 finalists from the list of 20 semi-finalists. Your finalists are:

The judges have also published a spreadsheet with the scoring mechanism they used, as well as comments from each of them about each game.

Mystery Challenge

Let’s get started with our next Game Design Challenge, shall we? This time we’re doing a Mystery Challenge. Players must test their deductive reasoning skills to solve a puzzle or figure out some hidden information. Sheppy is our guest judge for this one. You have until February 17th, 2014 to wrap up your design and get it submitted.

Micro Contest Semi-Finalists Revealed

The Micro Game Design Challenge semi-finalists have been revealed. Our judges are now narrowing down the list of 3 to 7 finalists.