A new plan for me and GMPuzzles

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Dear fans and subscribers: I’m just back from a fun trip to the World Puzzle Championship in Kirchheim, Germany. It was a successful trip in many respects (the US team was victorious for the first time since 2013, the last year before I took a three-year break off the team, and I was the 7th place individual). And it was good to see many friends in puzzles including regular subscribers and contributors to GMPuzzles.

This WPC followed an incredibly busy three month stretch for me in science (and I’m already right back into it as I write this morning). And without much time on weekends, I have been doing just enough to keep the web-side of this site going but have fallen pretty far behind on book editing and other tasks. This recent stretch has forced me to rethink how I should be spending my time in life, including what are the most critical pieces to make Grandmaster Puzzles into a successful company. So I have a five point update for you. While #1 may be tough to accept, I hope the promise of #2-5 keep you all as fans and subscribers as we move forward on a new plan for our publishing.

1. For at least the next 3 months, and possibly longer, we will not have any more free web weeks of puzzles on the site and we will be pausing subscription rewards in their current forms.

2. We will continue to release new books of puzzles; I will take advantage of some of the extra time from not having to do web posting to catch up on old titles like The Art of Sudoku 2 that are still unfinished, and also launch a new Grandmaster Puzzles Quarterly series that will be released every 3 months.

3. The most important and new change is tied to me rethinking how I focus my time and money with GMPuzzles. I am going to seriously invest my money in GMPuzzles over the next couple years, with an immediate plan within 3 months to hire a Managing Editor and then eventually part-time or full-time help in graphic design, web design, and software engineering to advance the work we can do.

4. This new team — particularly me and the Managing Editor — will define an updated business plan for GMPuzzles. This will likely include making the website much easier for new customers to find and get into our puzzles (an early concept, far from a finished design, to introduce an unfamiliar person to Tapa is here — we will do much better, but even this demo is 1000% better than the experience of landing on gmpuzzles.com/blog today). This business plan will almost certainly also include a digital plan to distribute our puzzles for a new generation of puzzle solvers via an enhanced web or app experience. Our audience is small but all of you are passionate, loyal, and dedicated fans of our puzzles. We need at least 10x if not 100x this audience to be a successful business, and we will try to crack more into the mainstream while not losing any of the quality and originality of our puzzle design that has grabbed your interest.

5. A big milemarker for us will be the 2021 World Puzzle Championship. I have co-organized a bid to host this tournament in Toronto and, if accepted, we will dedicate part of our Grandmaster Puzzles work both before and around the championship to bringing more attention to logic puzzles and competitive puzzling.

  • Walter says:

    I think this is exactly what to see…I still have trouble navigating the site and am not certain my puzzle answers are correct…would be nice to get better feedback…the app idea is perfect, I have wondered why you don’t have a digitally interactive app version of the puzzles yet…looking forward to seeing your hard work pay off!

  • Walter says:

    Also could you make it more user friendly for localized competition…I think you need to target regional puzzle competitions to try and get competition from high school and college puzzle teams…I think there is a lot of untapped potential both for your business and drumming up more enthusiasm for puzzles in society by creating more competitive opportunities for youth and early adult organizations…

  • Joshua says:

    Hello, I have gotten really into puzzling in recent months and have found your website as a fantastic resource for excellently made puzzles. I was planning to subscribe, but now that this is on hiatus, I was wondering if there was a way I could donate to you/the site in the meantime. I love this resource! I wish you luck.

  • Andrew Brecher says:

    Hope all your plans work out. The web puzzle space is really quiet now — Nikoli.com stopped publishing last year, croco-puzzle is apparently dead, and Puzzle Picnic seems to be heading that direction too. Not much out there except for a few blogs and some tournament sites like LMI.

  • Pushpull says:

    There’s http://puzsq.sakura.ne.jp/main/index.php for the time being. Not always the consistent high quality puzzles found here and you may have to use Google translate a bit for variants, but it’s a generally pretty great and constant stream of puzzles.

  • Bob says:

    Whatever you decide to do, you can count on my support. I’ve gotten an enormous amount of enjoyment from Grandmaster Puzzles and the USPCs in recent years.

    I would second Walter’s suggestion to try to drum up enthusiasm among high school and college students. A few years ago, I was considering a switch from industry to high school teaching, and part of my pitch was the idea of starting a logic puzzle club. The teaching thing didn’t work out, so nothing came of my proposals, but I still think it’s a good idea. Perhaps get invited to a conference of high school teachers to present the idea of starting logic puzzle clubs?

  • Daniel says:

    I really like the Tapa intro. I think it’s something I would really appreciate on many puzzle varieties. I definitely don’t mind you taking time away from GMPuzzles; I probably have a backlog of almost two hundred puzzles from just a few years of subscribing.

    • drsudoku drsudoku says:

      Thanks Daniel — I think more walkthroughs like this, even YouTube videos instead of static figures, and then organized beginner sets, are a huge value add to getting new solvers here. No more than a hundred people may have solved the whole blog and our books, but we have millions who’ve never seen any part of this site.

  • Pablo says:

    I’m new to GMPuzzles and I’ve been having a great time solving some of the puzzles here. I’m excited to see that you’re moving in a new direction that will make solving puzzles digitally more accesible! In the meantime, is there some way for us new users to get access to the back catalog of rewards?

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