Games and Puzzles

For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated with Games and puzzles.


Aces Up

For two years (until the advent of defective yeti) I wrote a bimonthly games ezine entitled "Aces Up"  There I wrote reviews, articles, session reports, and posted original games that I had invented.  Most of the content that was on "Aces Up" can be found below.


The bi-weekly Beer And Games Enthusiasts League has been meeting in Seattle since 1997.  Originally consisting of a dozen employees and partners, the group now has over 30 members, with a typical turn-out of 15 on any given night.   B.A.G.E.L. focuses on light "family" games, suitable for play amongst friends and between brews.  The current favorites of the group include Call My Bluff, Royal Turf, Bohnanaza, Adel Verpflitchtet, Princes of Florence and Settlers of Catan.  The bulk of the B.A.G.E.L. game library can be found here.  And you can  read some older session reports over yonder.

Birthday Treasure Hunts and "The Bolivian Games"

Since 1993 I have held an annual birthday treasure hunt for my closest friends.    Players assemble into teams and solve a series of clues (usually 5-8), each a puzzle or riddle which, when solved, reveals the location of the next.  An example of a clue is my Infamous Xylophone Puzzle, which was found in my 1999 Hunt.  Teams entered a classroom containing three toy,  xylophones and a tape player.  Each bar on the xylophone was marked with a letter of the alphabet, and a looping tape played a 14-note "song" that featured a xylophone identical to those in the room.  If a Hunter played the 14-note song on one of the xylophones, they would simultanously spell out a 14-letter message that lead to the location of the next clue.  The problem was that, with up to three teams in the room at the same time, Hunters had difficulty discerning which notes were coming from the tape and which were being struck by their opponents.   Possibly the most diabolical puzzle I have ever employed in one of my Hunts.

You can read recaps of the last two Treasure Hunts here:

And read the FAQ at: "The Bolivian Games" was an event I organized for the 1993 All Volunteer Conference while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in South America.  The Games were a series of ten farcical "athletic events" that showcased the skills that the participants had acquired as Bolivian PCVs.  The highlight was the "100 Meter Latrine Dash," in which participants "sprinted" to an outhouse, clad in shorts but also with a pair of pants lowered around their ankles.  Yes, you heard me right:  I managed to talk over 30 sober adults to run a foot race with their trousers down.   Indisputably my greatest achievement as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Original Games

I have created a number of original games, some of which are actually playable.  Here's a few:

Corporation: A negotiaton game, for 5-8 people, playable with an ordinary deck of cards (or two).    I was surprised to discover, earlier this year, that someone translated Corporation into French.

Sibling Rivalry: A two-player strategy game, playable with a chess set and checkers,  in which the winner is the last one to die.

Futbolito:  Bolivian soccer is an imprecise art.  This game recreates the chaotic "sport" of the Traditional Sunday Futbolito Match.  This game first appeared in the Bolivian publication El Canje.

Threedom:  One of my favorite standard-deck-of-cards two-player games.

Swipe:  A dice-and-card game for 3-6 players.   Not a bad bar game , really

Treasure Hunt:  Collect more diamonds than your opponent in this game of shifting landscapes.  Playable using a deck of ordinary cards or the special cards supplied.


Game Report

Titan:  The Arena (my very first game review)
Groo:  The Card Game
Monsters Ravage America
Filthy Rich
Illuminati:  Y2K

Aces Up  (Although some of these were previously covered in The Game Report, the reviews themselves are different.)

25 Words or Less
6 Nimmt!
Apples to Apples
Buried Treasure
Button Men
Caesar and Cleopatra
Call My Bluff
Can't Stop
Clash of the Light Sabers

En Garde
Filthy Rich
For Sale
Great Dalmuti, The
Hare and Tortoise
Hera and Zeus
Illuminati (Y2K)
Kohle, Kie$ & Knete
Lord of the Rings
Lost Cities
Mississippi Queen
Monsters Ravage America
Reef, The
San Marco
Star Marines
Star Traders
Take it Easy
Titan the Arena
Web of Power
The Games Journal

Cosmic Coasters
Dia De Los Muertos
Witch Trial
Wyatt Earp

defective yeti

Adel Verpflichtet and Barbarossa
Get the Goods
Puerto Rico


After Dinner Games
The Billion Dollar Monopoly Swindle
The Book of Classic Board Games
Dice Games Properly Explained
A Gamut of Games
The New Games Treasury
New Rules for Classic Games
Win at Hearts



Shoestring Gaming
Updates to Classic Games
No Second Place
Good Gift Games 2000
The Presidential Election: A Game Review
The Emergency Gaming Kit


I used to be an active member of  Then I switched to posting exclusively to the Spielfrieks Yahoo!  Group.  I even wrote a  text-only filter for Spielfrieks to facilitate reading.

Here are some (sorely outdated) links to game websites.

Here are some letters I received (and replied to) back when I was running Aces Up.


Over the years i have taught myself to make a wide variety of puzzles by hand, from crossword puzzles to