Enigmida

By 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... Read more

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.

By subscribing, you agree with Revue’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy and understand that Enigmida will receive your email address.

350

subscribers

18

issues

#18・

Enigmida: A Most Puzzling 2021

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…

 
#17・

Enigmida / The new top escape room?!

This puzzle is similar in format to the last issue's puzzle.I'm thinking of a name. If I remove two letters from the beginning, I get another name. If I remove two more letters from the beginning, I get a word in a comparison... that would be a fictional name…

 
#16・

Enigmida: A tarot puzzletale & other wondrous recs

I'm thinking of something in my house. If I remove two letters from the beginning, I get a verb. If I remove two more letters from the beginning, I get somewhere. If I remove two more letters from the beginning, I get a card. What am I thinking of?Submit your…

 
#15・

Enigmida / TANGRAM vol. 2 🔺

You might remember TANGRAM Volume 1, which launched back in January of this year. I designed a multilayered puzzle hunt interwoven throughout feature articles on some uber-talented artists. It's not too late to snag a copy of this wonder-filled work.I'm excit…

 
#14・

Enigmida: A special RECON-undrum

A couple of months ago, I wrote about the 100+ virtual escape rooms I've reviewed for Room Escape Artist over the past year.Since then, I've started visiting in-person escape rooms again, and it's been a delight getting to play IRL with vaccinated friends. Wh…

 
#13・

Enigmida: 2 weeks to the Reality Escape Convention!

The USPS recently released a new Mystery Message postage stamp... but it was a bit lacking in mysteries, so I made some upgrades! In addition to the stamp's original mystery message, there are now 5 additional words or phrases encoded throughout the stamp's d…

 
#12・

Enigmida - 100 Escape Room Reviews

Throughout 20,000+ words and countless hours not just playing games but also obsessing over how to present constructive, meaningful, nonredundant critique of each, my work as a reviewer has consumed a sizeable chunk of this past year. You can read everything …

 
#11・

Enigmida / A Few of My Favorite Games... (Part 2)

How does it work?You're mailed some mysterious, puzzle-filled objects. This category includes a wide range of formats and mediums, and the best part often is exactly that: you don't know quite what to expect until a mysterious package arrives on your doorstep…

 
#10・

Enigmida: A Few of My Favorite Games... (Part 1)

How does it work?An actor facilitating the game aurally guides your team into a world of collective imagination, in a style akin to RPG gameplay. The facilitator describes your surroundings, often with some light visual aids, and you describe what actions you…

 
#9・

Enigmida - Passover, Radical Amazement, and Livestreams

Earlier this week, Jewish improv group The Bible Players recorded a playthrough of Escape the Plagues. You can watch some of the highlights below:

 
#8・

Enigmida / Happy π Day!

Happy 3/14! These images all have something in common. Find something else that follows the pattern, and submit your answer here. (Bonus points if you post your photo on social media and tag @enigmida!)

 
#7・

Enigmida: Escape the Plagues is launched! 🐸 🚀

Creating Escape the Plagues was a massive project, requiring months of research, planning, design, writing, playtesting, and iteration, and it most certainly was not a solo endeavor. I (Matthew) collaborated with my sister, Lisa, and an illustrator, Adrian, a…

 
#6・

Enigmida: One Week Until Escape the Plagues!!!

My midnight snack turned into a puzzle design session, and I found myself humming the ABCs the entire time. The answer to this puzzle is a two-word phrase. Submit your answer here to be included in the next issue AND for a chance to win a custom puzzle of you…

 
#5・

Enigmida / Your Favorite Social Justice Books?

One of the most exciting elements of the Escape the Plagues project has been learning from and incorporating a wide range of voices and resources into the game's content.Without saying too much, one of the puzzles involves a bookshelf... on which there are a …

 
#4・

Enigmida: Meet the Characters!

With Escape the Plagues just over 3 weeks away from launching, I'm thrilled to start revealing some more details about the game with you all! First up: the characters.Puzzle design is interdisciplinary by definition. In addition to implementing specific puzzl…

 
#3・

Enigmida - Why Puzzles?

Earlier this week, I had a lovely conversation with Errol and Manda of Room Escape Divas about empathy-driven puzzle design, my "puzzle origin story", and some of my current work. You can listen to the episode here.As they put it: "Huzzah! This is a pretty de…

 
#2・

Enigmida: Escape the Plagues and more!

Last but not least... my team won the MIT Mystery Hunt last weekend!!! I've been solving with team Palindrome for 8 years now, and after coming in second place the past couple years, it's so exciting to finally win. This also means our team will be writing an…

 
#1・

Enigmida: A Cryptic Welcome

Puzzles have the superpower to connect us through shared wonder, exploration, and discovery, and this ability was on full display this past year. It warmed my heart to regularly hear stories of solvers getting closer with friends and loved ones through the sh…