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This Week (and Year) on GMPuzzles

This week we’re going to feature our “Best of 2017” with the top puzzles as selected by you through the FAVE button. From Monday through Saturday we’ll be highlighting roughly three puzzles per category (region division, number placement, loop, …). We’ll also be releasing details on new subscription options for our fans, replacing the patronage model we’ve used in the past.

While this is a time for a lot of annual retrospectives, this past month also marked the 5 year anniversary of GMPuzzles. My initial business plan went out on 12/12/12 at 12:12:12 and our first post here was at the end of 2012 before New Year’s Eve. For those that have been solving from the start, and for those who joined later, thanks for supporting our puzzlemakers and our community by being a patron of the site, purchasing our books, or referring friends and family to our puzzles.

I’m incredibly proud that we’ve published about 2500 puzzles in these five years, including some phenomenal classics and cool variations, and have had 0 broken puzzles (with anything other than exactly 1 solution) despite being a hand-crafted puzzle company. I stopped keeping track of how often solvers have doubted us, but I think we are at least 100-0 when someone posts that one of our puzzles has a mistake. (We have had a couple typos in our blog posts and I’ll take the blame on the rare times when the answer entry was wrong but our puzzles have never been.)

Thinking back over five years, I judge that we have been very successful in highlighting great logic puzzle design and encouraging new designers to get into puzzle construction. However, we still have more to do to build a larger audience of solvers that appreciates hand-crafted logic puzzles. Some of our efforts this year will be to have more introductory titles/weeks. In our first year, we often had focus on single classic puzzle types in posted weeks and we will get back to that a little more during this year as well as trying to have more “easy” puzzles more regularly. A longer-term project is to reorganize our website. While we have a large backlog of puzzles in each style, it is hard for a person just discovering our blog to know where/how to start. We’re thinking through some user experience improvements for new solvers reaching the site and welcome any ideas you have.

In 2018, we are also going to work on scaling our publishing. I spent a lot of 2017 turning semi-automated processes into fully automated processes, including how we generate our puzzle art and our web posts. We just finished submission guidelines for all of our puzzles and contributors will receive these soon. I’m also very happy to announce that Serkan Yürekli will be joining me as an editor for our books and other puzzles which will add to our throughput.

We have several new books in mind for 2018, including the launch of a recurring sudoku publication with a mix of Classics and Variations which will be a great title for fans of sudoku, and several more e-books highlighting genres that haven’t been in books yet like Pentominous, Nanro, and Statue Park.

On a different note, we’re going to launch a “Puzzlemasters’ Workshop” title to highlight entirely new puzzles and variations. We get a lot of unusual variations submitted here, and they are hard to post on the web as one-offs. The goal of this title is to give authors enough space to develop an idea across several puzzles. The first edition, expected around midyear, will have a new style from each of our puzzlemasters and a few guests, with 6-10 puzzles in each new style. If this works, we’ll continue this series and open it up for other submissions as a way to continue to cultivate new puzzle design even while our web puzzles start to have a greater focus on “classics”.

Thanks for solving with GMPuzzles, and here’s to a great 2018,
Thomas

Changes with our use of Patreon

TL;DR – We’re leaving Patreon, but will set up subscription options soon on the site for those who still want to get all of our content, including bonus puzzles and e-books.

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New Puzzle Books

We’ve just released a new print book and a new e-book from our Grandmaster Puzzles authors.

Logic Puzzles 101: Previously released as an ebook, this collection of 101 puzzles including Masyu, Slitherlink, Yajilin, Nurikabe, and Fillomino from Grant Fikes is now available in paperback form. Find it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other fine retailers.

Slitherlink and Variations: New to our e-store is this fourth part to Serkan Yürekli’s Classics and Variations series featuring 13 new classic Slitherlink (including 1 giant puzzle) and 40 new puzzles spread across 10 variations that will truly test your loop drawing skills.

Upcoming Puzzle Events and Other News

The recent Patrons Week of puzzles can be found in this PDF.

This coming weekend is the US Round for the WPF Puzzle Grand Prix. There are 35 puzzles by Thomas Snyder split across three different rounds. The A and B rounds include the ten “The Art of Puzzles” styles while the C round has some less common styles like Numberlink and Letter Pairs. Given the range of difficulties, there should be something fun for everyone. We’ll post some of the highlights from the competition next week after the competition closes.

This coming Saturday is also the US Sudoku Qualifier.

We’re working to get another e-book and another print book released this soon. Come back next weekend for more details.

Update 2: New e-books: Logic Puzzles 101 and Snake & Variations

In the last week of 2016 we added two new titles to our e-book store.

Logic Puzzles 101

Logic Puzzles 101, from Grant Fikes, contains 101 hand-crafted puzzles to teach the art of logic for Masyu, Slitherlink, Yajilin, Nurikabe, and Fillomino puzzles. While we won’t have any new puzzles on the site this week, you can explore this 5-puzzle teaser with the easiest puzzles from each section.

Snake & Variations from Serkan Yürekli continues the successful series of classic puzzles and variations that started with Tapa and Kakuro titles. If you haven’t gotten enough of snakes after our recent Snake Pit week, please explore this new title with dozens of interesting Snake puzzles.

Site update to https

Quick note that we’re migrating our webpages to use https instead of http and cleaning up other minor things as we enter 2017. The only major issue we’ve identified in going to https is with the solving applet hosted by thegriddle (to clarify: the way you input solutions and add favorites) which will not load unless http connections are allowed. We expect a fix to this issue in 2017 so that all content can be loaded securely.

If you encounter other site issues over the next week, please comment here or send a private message so we can address them as quickly as possible.

Update

People looking for new puzzles from me should check out next weekend’s Puzzle Grand Prix. Many USPC contributors (and therefore many GMPuzzles contributors) have written puzzles. I’ve made LITS and Shape Minesweeper sections; Serkan Yürekli has made some Kakuro; Roger Barkan (author of the Colossal Cave Collection) has made some Caves.

There are still no solvers of the Hidden Contest.

I continue working through my transition; while I’ve been at my new job for a month, I only just found my permanent residence in CA for this year and will move in next weekend. Still a lot to do before I see the time returning to do much with GMPuzzles.