Hi, I’m Mike. I’ll be answering as many questions as I can starting at 4:30 pm EDT / 1:30 pm PDT. All subjects are on the table. Some things you might want to know about are:

  • Tabletop games I’ve worked on: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Risk Godstorm, D&D, Axis & Allies, Lords of Vegas, Unspeakable Words, etc.

  • Books I’ve written: The Maze of Games--out now, and with a currently running Kickstarter for an audiobook starring Wil Wheaton, Dealer’s Choice, Puzzlecraft, The Kobold Guide to Board Game Design, etc.

  • Puzzles I’ve designed: stuff for Wired and the New York Times, puzzlehunts at Gen Con and PAX, puzzles at w00tstock, etc.

  • ARGs I’ve run: Vanish, Citizens of Virtue, Repo Men, etc.

  • Companies I’ve worked for: Lone Shark Games, Wizards of the Coast, Paizo

  • My awesome dog Guybrush Threepwood

  • Or whatever else you want to talk about.

Proof I’m me: semaphoto

Let's talk about things and stuff!

EDIT: Jumping in a car to Portland. Will answer questions later!

Comments: 224 • Responses: 83  • Date: 

MalReynolds12 karma

Considering you have made a few of the games that were featured on TableTop, are you ever going to be on an episode of TableTop with Wil Wheaton playing a game you made?

selinker7 karma

I would say that's entirely up to Mr. Wheaton. I would enjoy that if it ever happened.

MalReynolds12 karma

Hey /u/wil, /u/selinker wants to be on TableTop. Make this happen please.

selinker4 karma

Hey now.

MalReynolds5 karma

Just trying to draw his attention since he is a very active user here.

selinker4 karma

True. And he did just an amazing job on my Maze of Games audiobook. So let's keep him on my good side.

eddiephlash6 karma

What's your favorite class to play in PACG?

selinker7 karma

My favorite character is currently Alahazra the Oracle from S&S. That changes often, though.

Actually, no, it's a character you haven't seen yet. He has a death chicken.

timotab6 karma

What are the challenges with getting appropriate production levels of Betrayal at the House on the Hill since its huge popularity rise after /u/wil played it on TableTop?

selinker13 karma

I wouldn't know about Betrayal currently, because that's Wizards' game. But Betrayal has always had supply problems from the day it came out. I'm "lucky" that way. The Pathfinder game was in short supply when it came out. My game Unspeakable Words is also now selling for $300 on eBay. Seriously, I have never written a board game worth $300 on the secondary market. Don't pay those rates. Instead, please write to the publishers and demand more copies be printed. That way everyone wins.

warformyself6 karma


selinker6 karma

The single best advice I can give is: Make something awesome. Figure out how people are going to hear about it, get them to appreciate it and talk about it, and be the person who's known for doing that thing. Then when people like me are looking around for people to help them, they'll think of you.

warformyself5 karma


selinker4 karma


SuperDan13486 karma

What do you think about making educational tabletop games as alternative learning tools in schools?

selinker7 karma

I've given it a try. I have a new math game I'm working on that I like a whole bunch. I think games are a decent way to educate kids, as evidenced by the fact that I remember several games we played in class. One where about 50 middle school students simulated an Age of Sail mercantile economy left a particularly strong impact on me.

keiyakins2 karma

Math is an interesting one. I'm starting to think that games shouldn't try to teach it directly so much as make kids want to learn it and provide a more interesting practice space than drills. I mean, there's plenty of success stories applying things like Magic: The Gathering to the 'why' end of the problem.

selinker7 karma

Math is something people have to give themselves permission to enjoy. That's the first step.

foodgeekfish4 karma

One of the biggest challenges is selling the teaching capacity of a game which wasn't inherently designed as a teaching tool. While I have great faith in Mike and company's design skills, games which are primarily designed as teaching tools tend to be very obvious in their intent, and kids often shut them out when the educational aspect is primary.

This lack of fun in most educational games means that the only market for them is to the educational market, as they can't succeed on the basis of the game alone. And educational budgeting, at least in the US is both criminally low, and often abysmally administrated, so there's been little-no incentive for game designers to try and provide anything to the market other than the latest re-skinned version of Candyland or Sorry.

If you do some research on Dr. Marcia Baldanza, she's done some great work in getting quality current games implemented into educational environments. Unfortunately, It's hard to overcome the often institutional mindset that games=play, and play can't provide education.

selinker2 karma

All true.

ganyr174 karma

what is the most challenging puzzle you have ever encountered?

selinker8 karma

Ooh, that's a good one. I'll return to the classics and say Kit Williams's Masquerade. It's a book that had a tremendous effect on me, and though I won't say that I solved it as a kid, I was able to make progress. It likely inspired The Maze of Games more than anything else.

tjberry_13 karma

Hi Mike, thanks for doing this.

Beyond S&S, what are your future game plans (if known)? More Pathfinder, or something else entirely?

Also, my wife and I love PACG, and I just wanted to say that I have been super impressed by your level of post-release support and professionalism in the face of all the overly-grumpy criticisms and nit-picks of this game. Well done sir.

selinker1 karma

Well, I'm pretty nitpicky myself.

MalReynolds3 karma

Can you tell us any changes that are coming in the S&S base set that you found to be in error from the RotRL base set? Meaning any rules changes to make the game more balanced, harder, etc.

selinker8 karma

You'll want to see today's blog on the Paizo site where I go into this in some detail. Should be posted by mid-afternoon.

S&S is harder because it requires you to think about your choices more, and it definitely demands that you live with the consequences of them.

MalReynolds1 karma

Cool. I look forward to reading it.

selinker2 karma

This blog right here.

Plus, there's a new rulebook.

gacbmmml3 karma

What is your favorite "type" of puzzle to solve?

selinker3 karma

I don't think you can beat the variety cryptic crossword.

cobaltcollapse3 karma

do you have any neat house rules for when you play D&D/Pathfinder?

selinker5 karma

Right now I'm deep in 5th Edition designer Rodney Thompson's D&D campaign, so in many ways I'm still trying to figure out the rules as he writes them.

dickoon3 karma

When are you coming to the UK to run a puzzle hunt from a library in Wolverhampton? Apart from 1897.

(Is the Wolverhampton library system aware of your book? Do they have a copy?)

selinker1 karma


dickoon2 karma

:-D Doubtless I am not the only UK person willing to help here, though moving from way north of Wolverhampton to way south. (ETA: there is such a thing as the Midlands Puzzle Party, though it's mostly for physical puzzles. As far as I can tell, it's in Warwick, about 45 miles SE of Wolverhampton.)

Why Wolverhampton? Other than that it's quite a cool name, which is enough. But so is Ashby-de-la-Zouch.

selinker1 karma

Because Wolverhampton, man.

Oh, I know about Ashby-de-la-Zouch. The question is, how do you know I know about it?

dickoon1 karma

Lucky guess, but please tell the story whose existence you're teasing.

Unrelatedly, there is a Canadian heptathlete with the surname Zelinka. She won silver in the Commonwealth Games, so hurrah for her.

selinker1 karma

Let me know when you discover any pentathletes with variants on my surname.

dickoon1 karma

The IAAF web site suggests she scored 4386 in an indoor pentathlon in Winnipeg in 2007. No joy at finding a modern pentathlete with an appropriate name but the search continues.

selinker3 karma

Wow, a 4386! That's amazing! I have no idea whether that's good!

AWintory3 karma

Hi Mike, how do you maintain a healthy diet of 1) Being awesome; 2) being immensely clever and 3) being genuinely good-hearted?

To the average puzzlemaker and game designer operating at a high level, these three prove to be elusive and they descend into a state of total madness. Add the presence of a wannabe-pirate-in-dog-form to the mix and it seems utterly impossible to hold one's grip on reality.

Simply, how do you do it? And make make it look good in the process ...

selinker5 karma

The pirate dog helps.

Seriously, you just make all of those things mandatory, and crush yourself like a grape if you ever fail to be awesome in those respects.

Also, as long as you can hear Kool and the Gang's "Jungle Boogie" in your head, awesome will follow.

AWintory1 karma

I remain skeptical ...

I'm starting to think this isn't even Mike Selinker at all. Only Mike Selinker would be so cunning as to hold a fake AMA as a sort of ARG ....

selinker5 karma

I can prove I'm me! I'll think of one memory only I would know. Like the one about the wallaby and the coconut cream pie. Yeah, nobody knows about that one but me. So I must be the real Mike Selinker.

dtfb3 karma

Thank you for holding this AMA. I attended a game-design workshop you and James Ernest ran at Origins a couple of years ago and constantly remind myself of some of your advice.

Recently I saw a post on BoingBoing about James Renner's "The Secret" puzzle book which was a blast from my past. I remember obsessing over it back in 1982. I was surprised to learn that only 2 of the 12 treasure keys have been found.

Did you ever read this book and try to find any of the treasures?

selinker4 karma

I can't tell you how many emails and letters I've gotten about this book. There are people who believe I'm hoarding the keys. I have no idea why.

I have read it, and I did not try to find the treasures. But I think it's a pretty neat book.

DrabAbarD3 karma

There are people who believe I'm hoarding the keys. I have no idea why.

I have no idea why.

He's clearly hoarding keys.

selinker2 karma

This is what I'm talking about.

thecakey3 karma

Hey Mike, my group of friends and I are big time fans of Pathfinder the Adventure Card game. I have Skulls and Shackles on pre-order. I heard that some of the game's mechanics have changed but Piazo has been pretty non informative as to what is to be expected to. Also, Can you shed some light on the new characters that are included in the new base set? Questions regarding the character decks that are meant to be played at the FLGS, other than being able to play with others who enjoy the game without having to lug around the big box, what sort of draw/benefit to playing at the FLGS? (like promo cards that can only be obtained while adventuring etc.)

selinker4 karma

See Gaby's blog from last week.

The new characters are Lirianne the Gunslinger, Alahazra the Oracle, Jirelle the Swashbuckler, Feiya the Witch, Damiel the Alchemist, Oloch the Warpriest, Seltyiel the Magus, and Ranzak the Goblin Raider.

We're still working on season 0 of the organized play, so rewards will be simple in the first wave. After that, who knows?

localgyro2 karma

First question -- is your dog truly awesome enough to be named Guybrush Threepwood? (From the photo, it seems so, but ... photoshop.)

Second -- who are the puzzle-makers out there that you're in awe of? The folks that you think "damn, how do they do that?"

I know people who know people who know you, so I'm just tickled that you're AMAing here! (I have a Selinker number!)

selinker3 karma

1) He is that awesome. Also, he fights like a dairy farmer.

2) If you read the Conundrucopia, you'll find most of them. But for example: Scott Kim, Will Shortz, Mike Shenk, Thomas Snyder, Mark Gottlieb, Dan Katz, Francis Heaney, Ken Jennings. So many more.

3) I know me too!

DrabAbarD1 karma

What is a Selinker number?

selinker1 karma

A "Selinker number" is how far you are away from me, based on the number of people between you and me. For example, JK Rowling has a Selinker number of 1.

timotab2 karma

This means the Queen has a Selinker number of 2.

selinker1 karma

At most.

DrabAbarD1 karma

Does meeting you at conventions count? If so, I think most of us are 1 or 2. You go to more of them than I know exist.

Speaking of, are you excited for Portland tomorrow? I know the weather is fantastic today for non-vamps ;)

selinker2 karma

It does, and I am!

Matthattan2 karma

Hey Mike! I just started the Maze of Games last weekend. I'm currently stuck for a bit because I've reached the first math-based puzzle and that isn't my strong suit!

Have you heard from anyone (other than beta-testers) who has already finished the whole book since its release? How long do you expect it to take the average solver?

selinker4 karma

I would be shocked if anyone had finished it yet. Then again, I am often shocked by people's enthusiasm for things.

There's a possibility it will never be fully solved. We'll see.

furrylittlebeast2 karma

I'm stuck on the first puzzle. I feel like I need to make a physical cryptex in order to figure it out. Next Kickstarter?

selinker2 karma

I do not think you need to make a physical cryptex, but several people have done so.

thelonegoldfish2 karma

On the maze of clubs, are we allowed to re-enter the start space as long as we don't cross our own path?

selinker3 karma

Nothing tells you that you can't.

IllusionaryHaze2 karma

What projects are you working on for the future?

selinker3 karma

Currently working on The Maze of Games audiobook (type "Maze of Games audiobook" into Google and you'll get to the Kickstarter page) and the stuff associated with that.

Currently working on Wrath of the Righteous for Pathfinder.

Currently working on a puzzle hunt for Dragon Age and events for D&D and other things at Gen Con and PAX.

Currently working on the game Epic Vs. Awesome with my friend Kid Beyond.

Currently working on figuring out when I can take a vacation.

timotab2 karma

How do you feel about how Kickstarter has changed and is changing board game publishing?

selinker3 karma

I love it. Putting the power in the hands of the designers can only be positive. We still need quality standards, though. Just because you're doing it yourself doesn't mean you can scrimp on quality.

UserSusanEstalle2 karma

Do you get burned out on your games when your designing them? How do you wash out the cobwebs? Do you play light fluffy games? Do you have a special meal that you cook?

selinker5 karma

I have developers whose job it is to not be burned out at the same times I am.

I do play a lot of games, though.

EdPeggJr2 karma

With your Marvel RPG now selling for hundreds of dollars and being considered one of the best Supers RPGs ever, when will something like it be reprinted?

selinker6 karma

Man, I wish. The Reed Richards Guide to Everything might be the best thing I've ever written other than The Maze of Games.

SicJake2 karma

Hi Mike,

Wife and I love Pathfinder AVG, but we find alot of the scenarios tend to feel very samey, I know each pack had one scenario with a unique/new mechanic. How has this changed in the new base set coming up? Is there more variety in the scenarios?

selinker6 karma

Oh yes. Skull & Shackles is crazeballs. I think you will like it.

Remember I said this when you encounter the words "The Free Captain's Regatta."

mkhcodes2 karma


Have you encountered anything in the design of the next Pathfinder: ACG sets that you REALLY wanted to add, but found it not possible because it would add an incompatibility with with previous versions? If so, can you provide an example or two?

It seems that while on the one hand, the decision to keep the various sets compatible allows for card reuse, but on the other hand reduces your flexibility the changes that you can make.


selinker1 karma

Oh, definitely. And I've had to shoot my developers down too often to count. It's a shame, but it's quite literally a house of cards. Anything could bring it down.

Looking at you, Ranzak.

barlog772 karma

Hi Mike, thanks for doing this AMA. Love your games, especially Betrayal at House on the Hill!

I'm curious what your thoughts are on the Thornwatch game that's in the works from the Penny Arcade guys since you got to try it out? It seems like a really great adventure card game overall.

Thanks and hopefully I'll run into you at Gencon!

selinker2 karma

I love Thornwatch. I'll be doing a cool panel with Mike K at PAX Prime about it, and I think people will like watching it.

I'm proud of having kicked those guys toward making the game. It's really fantastic, and I can't wait to play for reals reals.

barlog771 karma

Ah man, sadly I won't be at PAX Prime to check out the panel. I would if I was going.

I'm glad you did motivate them to pursue it and make it a real thing. I can't wait to play it.

Thanks for the answer and keep up the great work!

selinker2 karma

Well, maybe you'll see it on the interwebs.

barlog771 karma

Hopefully, yeah!

Another question if you're still here. I've been kicking around the idea of a survival horror type game (not sure if it'll be board or card, maybe both). Good idea or bad idea? I haven't seen too many games like that out there.

selinker1 karma

There are a bunch. Zombicide, for example. But it doesn't mean it's a bad idea.

barlog771 karma

Cool. Yeah, I don't think I would go the zombie route, probably more like the Lovecraftian way of horror. Still kicking it around, got a long way to go.

Another random question: Is there a new season of tabletop deathmatch coming up and will you be judging on that?

selinker1 karma

Yes, and I'm not sure I'm allowed to say.

davricle2 karma

Hi Mike! Thanks for the wonderful games you've created! I love Pathfinder ACG!

Can you tell us what is down the line for the future of the Pathfinder ACG? Anything we can expect?

If you were to give advice to an aspiring Board Game designer, what would it be?

selinker6 karma

You're welcome!

You can expect lots and lots of cards. You can expect us to keep changing things up. You can expect some really cool characters to play. You can expect us to not stop till you tell us to.

See my answer elsewhere in this AMA about advice. Summary: Make something awesome.

bigbludude2 karma

Hi Mike,

Just a few quick ones:

  • Really enjoyed your appearance on the Tabletop Deathmatch series, are there any other web related series you'll be appearing in soon? (and please throw up more YouTube vids)
  • Of the games you've designed, which ones do you consistently lose at?
  • What was the last book you read? (just curious)

selinker2 karma

1) Yeah, there's some more vids. I don't think any have been announced, tho.

2) I'm a decent Lords of Vegas player, and pretty good at Unspeakable Words. I never win Betrayal.

3) Christopher Moore's Fool.

mjkoopman2 karma

Can we please banish leftover cards after we're done rebuilding our decks? (Deck 3+) :)

thelonegoldfish1 karma

/me adds this to the list of rules we've gotten wrong.

selinker2 karma

Um, no.

warformyself2 karma


DrabAbarD2 karma

My money is on Link 26

selinker2 karma

Your money is right on the mark. Link 26 is really called Ladybug, and we play it all the time at the National Puzzlers' League convention.

RicBat2 karma


selinker4 karma

Things change all the time in game design. The Pathfinder ACG was not originally a fantasy game; it was an apocalyptic horror game. I might still make that game some day, because the end result of Pathfinder is pretty different than where that game started.

keiyakins1 karma

There's an issue with a lot of the 'big' games, like D&D or even A&A of approachability. A novice player is prone to smacking into an apparent brick wall of things they need to know before they can get going. What can be done about that, in your opinion?

selinker1 karma

Computerize everything. Online video demos. Lots of handholding.

PseudoBeard1 karma

Hi Mike, thanks for doing this AMA. When you design a game, do you typically design the theme first and fit mechanics to it, or do you design the mechanics first and mold the theme around them?

selinker2 karma

This is a very common question, and yet I think it has a flaw at the heart. Theme and mechanics aren't really separate things for me. I'm usually writing a game about something not completely formed. For example, my partner Rian Sand had an idea for a setting and a style of play, and I had an idea for a structure and an effect on the player's mind, and all of it came together in the Pathfinder game. It's a lot more messy than it seems.

RoboBob30001 karma

Hi, Mike! I'm loving the Maze of Games so far! Thank you making exactly the kind of book I've always wanted someone to make for me!

I'm an amateur puzzle author, and I've been writing for the annual Microsoft Puzzle Safari event for the past few years. The latest Puzzle Safari is happening this Saturday. I love writing for and participating in these sorts of puzzle events, but I'm always bummed by how infrequently they occur. Does Lone Shark Games ever run public puzzle events of their own (or would you even consider doing so)? I would gladly fork over cash to be able to play in these sorts of things more often.

selinker1 karma

We do! For example, come to PAX Prime and you'll see our puzzles for Dragon Age!

plki761 karma

Puzzle Safari is pretty spot-on in it's annuality. Intern day happens every year now that it's sponsored.

Puzzle Hunt used to be a lot more regular but the same teams kept trading off winning and (at least in my experience) running the first hunt is exciting... Running the second hunt feels like a second job.

Anyway, just as an FYI, Mike did run at least two or three puzzle events at Company Picnics (back when those were a thing). :-)

selinker1 karma

We've run a bunch of events at Microsoft. Some day I expect I'll be involved in running another Microsoft puzzle hunt.

gerryhanes1 karma

What breed is he?

selinker2 karma

He's a rescue, so we don't know for sure. We think border terrier/poodle mix (a "troodle"). We think he's born of pure awesomeness.

MalReynolds1 karma

Thank you for taking in a rescue dog.

selinker2 karma

Somebody has to. In our case, we got the best one ever.

dmasta411 karma

Hi Mike!

I gotta say- Pathfinder is a game that sees a lot of play with my gaming group. Thank you so much for bringing cohesive mechanics to the D&D type genre! It's so refreshing and, dare I say, cool!

I have aspirations to be a game designer and have a good handful of games getting play tested and play tested and refined but my question is: Would you recommend someone with my inexperience and limited contacts in the BG industry focusing on rolling out my idea thru Kickstarter or pitch it directly to a board game publisher?

Also, is there something you wish you had known that could have helped you before you published your first game?

Thanks so much, Mike!

selinker5 karma

Kickstarter is amazing. Just be aware that being a publisher is HARD. I mean really really hard. You need to make sure you can actually do what you say you can do, or you're done forever.

Finding a board game publisher to publish your game is awesome too. Go to a convention and meet them. They'll listen.

I wish during my time at Wizards I had actually learned more about the publishing process. When James and I started Lone Shark Games, I had a lot of lessons I needed to learn the hard way. You will find lots of mistakes on your own; have a handy cash reservoir to address that, because you will need it.

2headed_boi1 karma

How do you feel about Fighting Fantasy? I've heard a lot of people wax nostalgic about them but it still seems like a trumped-up choose your own adventure to me.

selinker1 karma

Well, keep in mind that Choose Your Own Adventure was pretty new when Fighting Fantasy came out. I would say both are important to the development of The Maze of Games.

Happy_Bridge1 karma

What consumes more time, Tweeting or Facebooking?

selinker5 karma

Tweeting. Fewer characters means it takes longer.

kahb00m1 karma


What is the most overpowered card in Rise of the Runelords and why is it Holy Candle?

In all seriousness, thanks for making a great cooperative game, and tell Tanis I appreciate her playing with us at Origins when she was so busy! Looking forward to S&S and PSACGuild!

selinker3 karma

It's Holy Candle because something has to be Holy Candle.

I appreciate Tanis too!

two_off1 karma

Which Kickstarter projects have you backed?

selinker3 karma

103 of them

I started a thing called the Lone Shark Games Kickstarter Fund, whose job is to fund the projects of my colleagues and clients. I think I've put about three grand into it. My friends are amazing.

Silenzo1 karma

Hey Mike, do you know if Betrayal at the House on the Hill will be making its way back to store shelves?

selinker2 karma

I do not. I really would like it to.

DrabAbarD1 karma

Would you like a short word puzzle?

A word there is most startling;
A letter less a word still brings.
Starting with nine, nine there can be;
All without re-arranging me.

selinker2 karma

I wrote the answer, and then deleted it to let others try.

DrabAbarD1 karma

You are a scholar and a gentleman :)

selinker2 karma

I'm certainly a scholar.

goldguy811 karma

What was is like designing an ARG as opposed to an RPG?

selinker1 karma

Designing an ARG is the craziest thing you can ever design. You have to take into account thousands of real people's real time actions. It is exhilarating and also something I'm not willing to do full time, because I want to live.

goldguy811 karma

Thanks for the response! For as fascinating as the ARG scene is, they always did seem hit or miss whether they work or not.

selinker2 karma

That's true about everything.

RoofPig1 karma

So, on a scale of 120-250%, how much of your time is currently being taken up by future PACG sets, and how does it feel to have a license to print money?

selinker1 karma

Roughly 150%. It is a lot like a license to print cards.

EyeOfCthulhu1 karma

Professor, I heard that Skulls and Shackles will be available at GenCon... Is this true? Will you have Pirates there? Are you going to dress like a pirate? What if I bring Rum?

-Ronny Raymond

selinker1 karma

These kids today and their Pokemons. In my day we had three toys: GI Joe, the other GI Joe, and a rock. Sometimes we didn't even get the rock. I tell you.

EyeOfCthulhu1 karma

Damnit! Professor I'm trying to fight here, would you stop rattling in my head for a moment!

selinker1 karma

What is with this Pitbull guy anyway? Is he on every song? Everywhere I turn it's Pitbull, Pitbull, Pitbull. More like Pitifulbull if you ask me.

Caittus1 karma

I've been hearing how amazing the Maze of Games is from my colleagues, which makes it all the more frustrating that I still haven't received my copy. Is there any news on how the problems with Maze of Games fulfillment are being addressed?

selinker1 karma

We're almost done. San Diego Comic Con just throttled us. We're back on line and hope to have every physical book out by the beginning of next week.

DrabAbarD1 karma

If it helps, I'd suggest working from the PDF anyway. The book is just plain old too nice to write in. Seriously. The hardest puzzle for me thus far has been the choice of working directly in the book or not.

Caittus1 karma

I never got the PDF either.

selinker1 karma

Email info at the name of my company dot com. We are compiling a list of people who for some reason had the PDF invite bounce.

DrabAbarD1 karma

What is the hardest part about maintaining this life of game design, cons, AMAs, Kickstartes, etc. ?

It can't all be roses. Can it?

selinker1 karma

It is not all roses. It beats just about everything else I could do, though.

DrabAbarD1 karma

Well, I'm glad you're doing it in any case. Thanks, Mike!

selinker1 karma

You're welcome!

DrabAbarD1 karma

Where did the name, "Lone Shark Games" come from?

selinker1 karma

James Ernest and I were kicking around names, and I think he hit on the name. And then like the genius he is, he threw the alt-spelling of "loan" in front. Then we were the gaming equivalent of the Oneders.

DrabAbarD1 karma

He does seem good at that. Cheapass Games was also a good choice.

selinker3 karma

It's an alt-spelling of "Seabass."

thelonegoldfish1 karma

When designing puzzles that feed into meta-puzzles, how do you test for other valid but unintended answers?

selinker1 karma

You test and test and test and test and hope.

DrabAbarD1 karma

Any advice for running a Kickstarter campaign similar to that of Maze of Games? Do's, don'ts, and for-the-love-of-god-and-all-that-is-holy avoid's?

selinker2 karma

Well, there probably won't be one like The Maze of Games again. We ran it as an ARG, with hidden puzzles, badges, and all sorts of other fanfare.

But overall: Plan for every eventuality. Plan for wild success, difficulty reaching your goal, everything. Have a chart on a wall. Plan.

pblindauer1 karma

Any advice on what I should do with myself while waiting for my "Maze of Games" to arrive? I'm so excited to get it!

selinker2 karma

Trip Payne's got an extravaganza coming in a couple days, I hear.

pblindauer1 karma

Ooh, that's right! It's going to be a puzzlanche!

selinker1 karma

I'm pretty sure it's a puzznado.

heyscot1 karma

Mike, what's the deal with french pastries lately?

selinker6 karma

I know! The tassels keep coming off!

Oh, pastries. Um, those are fine.

c2561 karma

How do you feel about the recent spate of digital board & card games, versus physical board & card games? Is it worth changing a game's design to help it bridge the gap and appear in both media? (for example: simplifying math so people can do it in their heads, or replacing slap- and speed-based mechanics so it can be played on a screen)

selinker1 karma

Probably. I mean, make the game you need to make, but if you're thinking of such things, so much the better. I sure like the opportunities, anyway.

FishGoBlubb1 karma

Oh hey, you've play tested one of my puzzles. I'm part of Eric's puzzle parties in Alabama and will hopefully be designing another puzzle for the fall party if it all comes together. Mind if I bug you to test it out in a couple months?

selinker1 karma

Send it through Eric!

FishGoBlubb1 karma

You and I are Facebook friends and I probably still have your email somewhere. I just thought it was nifty to see a familiar name on IAmA.

selinker1 karma

Cool beans.

UrbanQuest1 karma

Still waiting for Maze of Games to arrive! Can't wait to start solving!

I have a couple questions.

1) What was your favourite part of making the book?

2) Any advice for up and coming puzzle makers?

selinker2 karma

1) Getting all my friends to help.

2) Write awesome puzzles.

cltidball1 karma

Hiya Mike!

I just wanna say that my husband and I are absolutely LOVING the Pathfinder ACG. We got it as a Christmas present from his brother last year, and have been playing it every weekend since, pretty much. We're about halfway through adventure pack 5 and pack six is enroute.

I just found out that there's a new base set of the ACG coming out in August(?)... will the Runelords base set bet inter-playable with the new set, or are they two completely different games (characters & stuff-wise), not to be combined?

Thanks so much for this AMA, and looking forward to an answer!

selinker2 karma

Everything is interconnectible. We want you to be able to use everything in everything else.

cltidball1 karma

Wooo, awesome! Definitely looking forward to combining them, then, once we get around to getting the new base set! Thanks for answering! :)

oneplus9992 karma

At least in the S&S beta, some characters really wouldn't translate well between the sets, so beware! EG the gunslinger does better in a box with guns, so taking her to RotRL would be rough, Sajan might not find an Amulet of Fiery Fists in S&S. Not to mention the balance might generally be off in one way or another. Example: if undead monsters are more or less common, Kyra will become stronger or weaker. Same deal for role cards; some roles are specific to S&S mechanics (though every S&S class has one role that should work fine in non-S&S games) Several RotRL characters will reappear in S&S with slightly modified stats, so if you just really like on particular character, there's a good chance you'll get to play as him/her again. At least for your first playthrough, I'd strongly recommend using S&S characters only. There's a lot of fun, flavorful characters and powers in there. You'll find something appealing I'm sure!

Also, just to be clear: you will NOT want to take your post-RotRL characters and drop them into the start of S&S, they'll be overpowered, since they are basically like high-level characters being dropped into a level 1 campaign.

Don't think I've revealed anything about the game that hasn't already been talked about on a blog or forum post by the devs, so hopefully no spoiler-finger-wagging inbound.

cltidball1 karma

Yeah, I wasn't figuring on really using the characters between the sets... but, all of the items/weapons/armor/etc. etc. being interconnectible is pretty awesome.

And dropping a post-RotRL character into the start of a S&S campaign is definitely appealing, though most definitely over-powering. Heh.

selinker3 karma

Yeah, intercompatibility does not mean interoptimization. Still, blasting through Karzoug the Claimer with a Dragon Pistol sounds like fun.