Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Famine Teams: District 5, Power

Jasper here! This is part five in a twelve-part series, looking at the teams who will be playing in The Famine Game this fall!

District Five generates power--the electrical kind, I guess? That's pretty important!

Apetitius Giganticus
Boston MA, Las Vegas NV, Providence RI, San Fran CA, Seattle WA

Now these look like some serious competitors! I recognize Mike Selinker from his wildly successful Maze of Games Kickstarter (plus some other random stuff), inveterate crossword fiend Tyler Hinman, and mechanical puzzle maker Pavel Curtis. I'm sure their teammates Rachael Groynom, Dan Katz, and Scott Purdy are no slouches either!

Also, they appear to control a frog puppet, which always spells trouble.

ETA: Mike Selinker has dropped out, but Winston Breen creator Eric Berlin has taken his place!

Occam's Unicorn
SF Bay Area

Unicorn unicorn unicorn! That's a funny word, isn't it? Unicorn. Unicorn. Unicorn. What was I talking about? Oh, yeah! I've seen these humans before too, though not always wearing funny hats.

Ellen Juhlin and Erik Stuart were part of Game Control for the Doctor When Game, which they talked about in SnoutCasts #119 and #114, respectively! Stephanie Geerlings and Rion Snow both came to Portland for WarTron in 2012. Joanna Bresee is apparently good at Sudoku, and she used to work for NASA! Last but not least, Brett Rogers has two of the funniest bits in this video, and he knows a lot about geocaching!

Next week: meet the teams from District Six!


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

SnoutCast #180: How the Goodwins Met Your Mother

We set out to do a show on subverting expectations--narrative and otherwise--but our conversation with TV writer Chris Harris took a slightly different direction and ended up (wait for it) subverting our expectations. WHAT.

(Colophon: this is what it sounds like when you record a telephone call using Google Voice.)

[ Download mp3 - 26 MB ]

00:59 - "Canadian"
02:21 - putting the "games" in The Goodwin Games
05:21 - Easter Eggs
07:28 - DeeAnn on Magic and Showmanship
11:11 - "no more actual games"
12:42 - a Game Control fantasy
16:50 - based on true events?
19:07 - the 9th and final season of HIMYM
21:51 - "I didn't leave the room once!"
23:10 - one last Easter Egg from @BenGoodwinRIP
28:07 - The End

Tell us we're wrong on the Internet! E-mail or post a comment at

Music: instrumentals from "Code Monkey" and "Tom Cruise Crazy" by Jonathan Coulton

[ Subscribe to SnoutCast / iTunes link ]

Curtis DeeAnn Chris

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday Flash Fiction: "Sportsball"

Read "Sportsball" at 512 Words or Fewer

Say it with me, now: four more stories. Four more stories. FOUR MORE STORIES.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Famine Teams: District 4, Fishing

Jasper here! This is part four in a twelve-part series, looking at the teams who will be playing in The Famine Game this fall!

District Four is near and dear to my heart, because its main industry is something cats love: fishing!

Mystic Katfish
SF Bay Area, Sacramento CA, Pittsburgh PA, Washington DC

I had no idea Nancy Grace was so interested in The Famine Game, but okay, 'tevs, lady! You sure have a lot to say about stuff! And the Tributes' video certainly showed off their puzzling skills, but what's the deal with not showing your faces? Humans can be sooooo weird sometimes!

At any rate, that Twitter account totally exists. Maybe they'll say some more things later on!

This Space Intentionally Left Blank
Boston MA

Wow! These humans are all dressed up and looking sharp! I also have it on good authority that several members of this team were involved in running the highly successful WARTRON: BOSTON event last month! (Keen-eyed observers will recognize this "Caesar Flickerman" as Boston's "Professor Goto.") You might have to turn up the volume on this video to hear all their dialogue, but the "wilderness survival" footage is priceless!

Next week: meet the teams from District Five!


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

SnoutCast #179: Teckmologiez

We're very forward-thinking here at SnoutCast. Well, at least one of us is. More or less. It's okay.

[ Download mp3 - 23 MB ]

00:59 - "technological"
02:57 - times change; cf. Shinteki Aquarius Remix
04:23 - what is a Luddite, anyway?
06:31 - wardriving was totally a thing
09:23 - using mobile SSH apps for WarTron's BUGME interface
13:47 - tracking teams with Google Latitude in 2011, vs. custom GPS hardware in 2001
18:05 - augmented reality: Yelp, Ingress, Halting State, Google Glass, etc.
24:16 - The End

In other news: The Doubleclicks continue to be awesome.

Tell us we're wrong on the Internet! E-mail or post a comment at

Music: instrumentals from "Code Monkey" and "You Ruined Everything" by Jonathan Coulton

[ Subscribe to SnoutCast / iTunes link ]

Curtis DeeAnn

Friday, July 19, 2013

Friday Flash Fiction: "Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?"

Read "Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?" at 512 Words or Fewer

This week's story gets its title from what I believe may be one of the most hated interview questions of all time. Right up there with "describe your biggest weakness."

The title also signals a moment of retrospection for me: I've been cranking out these 512s for almost five years now--since October, 2008--and living off my savings in the meantime. I'm plausibly closer to building a career as a writer, but I haven't actually done it yet. And all that aside, whatever I end up doing to pay the bills, my ultimate goal is to never have to actually interview for a job ever again.

But that's another blog post.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Famine Teams: District 3, Technology

Jasper here! This is part three in a twelve-part series, looking at the teams who will be playing in The Famine Game this fall!

District Three specializes in technology, which these two teams certainly show off in spades, what with their fancy graphics and modern architecture!

SF Bay Area

These guys are bona fide Game veterans! They've helped run many events, including the Bay Area re-cast of the WHO Game, and some of them are starting to branch out even more! Bob has started a series of charity puzzle events which are also available online, and Rich is developing the ClueKeeper platform which anyone will be able to use for all kinds of hunts! I don't know what else Chris, Rico, Bill, and Mike have been up to, but I'm sure they are also fine upstanding young men!

Hey, look, more outtakes!

Death From Above
Boston MA"

I have no idea who these humans are, but they appear to have shot their video in some kind of classroom setting, so they must be smart! Not only that, but they also incorporated at least five different codes that I recognized: Braille, semaphore, Dancing Men, Pigpen, and Morse! And I have it on good authority that they survived WARTRON: BOSTON a few weeks ago! Let's hope that Pranjal, Teasha, Paul, James, Sam, and Henry don't turn out to be too clever for their own good!

Next week: meet the teams from District Four!


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

SnoutCast #178: Listener Mail Potpourri

This week, we respond to your feedback from the last few weeks. Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks!

CORRECTION (ADD 16 Jul 2013): commenter Nathan Curtis is NOT Nathan Fung who helped us playtest WarTron.

[ Download mp3 - 23 MB ]

00:58 - "sympathetic"
01:47 - Nathan links to many online hunts
03:15 - Chris in England discovers overnight puzzle hunts in the Czech Republic
07:03 - Nathan knows a lot about BAPHLs
09:37 - a lively discussion about Game application puzzles
11:09 - yes, Nathan, we'll talk about both WARTRONs Real Soon Now :)
14:21 - James asks about removing motor vehicles in the middle of a Game
20:39 - our cat Jasper is very interested in The Famine Game!
24:11 - The End

Tell us we're wrong on the Internet! E-mail or post a comment at

Music: instrumentals from "Code Monkey" and "I Feel Fantastic" by Jonathan Coulton

[ Subscribe to SnoutCast / iTunes link ]

Curtis DeeAnn Tye

Friday, July 12, 2013

Friday Flash Fiction: "Photorps and Emotions"

Read "Photorps and Emotions" at 512 Words or Fewer

This week's story title is a nod to the amazing new Doubleclicks album, Lasers and Feelings!

And yes, it is unabashed Star Trek fanfic. But hey, if Abrams and Scalzi can get paid for doing it, why the hell not?


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Famine Teams: District 2, Masonry

Jasper here! This is part two in a twelve-part series, examining the teams with which the humans will be playing in The Famine Game this fall!

Supposedly District Two specializes in masonry, but I'm not sure how that applies to these two teams, since neither one appears to demonstrate any skill in bricklaying or stonework. Maybe we'll find out later? Or maybe they mean Freemasonry? It's a mystery!

Bostucky Plugh
Kentucky, New Jersey, and Massachusetts

It's another bunch of unfamiliar humans! That would make sense, since I haven't been to any of those easterly states since 2008! Cats don't really like traveling that much, I've found. And we don't really enjoy puzzles, either, but if we did, I'm sure I would find some of the bits in this video downright fascinating! Or something. Anyway, nice to meet you, Mark, Joe, Nathan, and Paul! Try not to die!

The Puzzle Underground
Portland OR

Hey, I know these humans! Ana, Rob, Vic, Matt, and Emily have all been to our house many times before! Kate hasn't visited yet, but I hear she plays a mean harp. And I understand they're all regulars at Puzzled Pint, either as "solvers" or "constructors!" (I just learned that terminology recently, from Greg Costikyan's book Uncertainty in Games!) This trip to the Capitol might be the farthest these guys have ever traveled for a weekend Game, but I'm sure it'll be lots of fun and totally worth their while!

Next week: meet the teams from District Three!


Tuesday, July 09, 2013

SnoutCast #177: inaugural #terngame debrief

This week, we talk to Jan Chong and Larry Hosken, who recently ran the first-ever #terngame puzzle hunt for Twitter interns and employees!

Also today: Happy 3rd anniversary to Puzzled Pint in Portland, Oregon!

[ Download mp3 - 25 MB ]

00:59 - "airborne"
02:11 - how did #terngame come about?
05:36 - explaining a puzzle hunt to laypersons
06:51 - the Octothorpean connection
08:32 - "at Twitter, we like bird names and bad puns"
09:51 - let's talk puzzles
13:13 - walking around non-sketchy San Francisco
14:16 - feedback would be good
17:53 - cf. other events you've run?
20:17 - "call off the photo of Dick!"
23:33 - other cool stuff
26:23 - The End

Tell us we're wrong on the Internet! E-mail or post a comment at

Music: instrumentals from "Code Monkey" and "Skullcrusher Mountain" by Jonathan Coulton

[ Subscribe to SnoutCast / iTunes link ]

Curtis DeeAnn Jan Larry

Friday, July 05, 2013

Friday Flash Fiction: "Bookworm Adventures"

Read "Bookworm Adventures" at 512 Words or Fewer

Happy Fourth of July weekend, everyone! This story/scene has nothing to do with any of that. I hope you enjoy it anyway.


Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Postcard #59

Another result from my 2010 birthday project, this one sent by a SnoutCast listener in England who is working his way through our past episodes. Thanks for listening, Chris!


The Famine Teams: District 1, Luxury

Jasper here! I don't understand why the humans like these "puzzle hunt" Games so much, but apparently there's another one coming up in a few months! They got very excited two weeks ago when something called "The Reaping" happened and their "team" was named as a Tribute. Hooray! I guess?

Anyway, twenty-three other teams were selected to play in this Game at the end of September, and I got curious about who the humans were going to encounter on their trip, so I did a little research! (Cats are awesome at Internet research. It's a fact. Look it up.) I'll be sharing my results over the next several Wednesdays, one district (two teams) at a time!

Let's begin! This is part one in a twelve-part series!

Team Snout
Portland OR, SF Bay Area, Norfolk, UK

This team comprises my humans (Curtis and DeeAnn) plus their friends Cary, Chris, Corby, Josh, Karl, and Lisa! Astute observers will notice that eight people is two more than Game Control's recommended maximum team size, but that's okay. The humans have fielded teams as large as nine people in the past, and lived to tell the tale! I believe this time they've reserved a fifteen-passenger van, which should be quite (wait for it) luxurious!

But wait, there's MOAR: ten and a half minutes of outtakes, if you can stand it!

The Hunger Dames
Los Angeles CA

I have never met these humans before, but if I'm not mistaken, they are all female! That makes this only the second all-female Game team I've seen. It's about time! And I love how they own their womanliness in both word and wardrobe--calling themselves "The Hunger Dames," making their slogan "may the broads be ever in your favor," and wearing those stylish V-neck shirts! Knock 'em dead, Amy, Annie, Maggie, Maya, and Summer! But not literally. My humans need to come home and feed me! Cats get hungry too, you know!

Next week: meet the teams from District Two!


Tuesday, July 02, 2013

SnoutCast #176: Gone in 15,638,400 Seconds

In which we look back on some significant-to-us (and possibly relevant-to-your-interests) events from the first half of 2013.

[ Download mp3 - 25 MB ]

00:59 - "semiannual"
02:10 - January/ongoing: monthly Puzzled Pints, weekly SnoutCasts and 512s
02:45 - February: JoCo Cruise Crazy 3, Oscar Party
05:35 - March: GC Summit, ClueKeeper alpha test, WARTRON: BOSTON applications, Tabletop Day
09:57 - April: that QueryShark thing, Paradise Lost, playtests for...
12:40 - ...May: Portland Afoot Game and DASH 5 PDX
20:54 - June: Famine Game applications, WARTRON: BOSTON
22:17 - upcoming events: Great America Race, Elevate Tutoring Puzzle Hunt, Midnight Madness NYC, and more!
26:55 - The End

Tell us we're wrong on the Internet! E-mail or post a comment at

Music: instrumentals from "Code Monkey" and "The Future Soon" by Jonathan Coulton

[ Subscribe to SnoutCast / iTunes link ]

Curtis DeeAnn