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Twisty Little Passages Kickstarter ends June 13 - 06-12-2019

I'd like to share a quick update, reminding you about the Twisty Little Passages Kickstarter campaign, which ends in fewer than 48 hours on June 13.


The campaign has gone well so far, hitting its funding goal and beyond. I'm so grateful for the feedback, support and encouragement I've received on the project.

I've posted five introductory-level demo puzzles to the campaign page, which you can download and try out. Many backers and early reviewers have shared that they are a lot of fun to play through and they've very much enjoyed them. I also shared a series of articles on the TLP developer journal, talking about aspects of puzzle design and what goes into developing good, engaging puzzles.

Rather than rehash all the details of the campaign here, you can check out the updates that I've posted to the campaign:

We've just unlocked a stretch goal for an additional secret bonus puzzle, and there are a couple more stretch goals for bonus content and upgrades within reach.

Benefits you receive from backing the campaign:

* You will get Twisty Little Passages at a huge discount off MSRP.

* Everyone pledging for one or more copies of the book will receive all unlocked bonus and stretch goals.

* All physical book backers also receive a free digital copy for print-and-play!

* US, EU, Canada, and Australia get customs-friendly shipping!

* Group backers can combine pledges to receive a big discount on shipping!

Thanks for your interest in Twisty Little Passages! It's a great concept that I'm super excited to be working on, and I think the finished product will turn out really well.

Here's to a great conclusion to the campaign!


Twisty Little Passages is live on Kickstarter! - 05-14-2019

Today, Caravel Games launches Twisty Little Passages on Kickstarter!


Twisty Little Passages is a unique game book of dungeon crawl puzzle adventures. Guide Ren, the Elkassi spy, through a series of mazelike puzzle areas on her quest to defeat the evil demon king, Mordrach.

Strategically navigate the tricks and traps of each level. Find keys to unlock doors. Acquire magical elixirs to boost your life. Gain weapons and armor to increase your combat prowess. Be on the lookout for enchanted artifacts and unique items and treasure. Defeat enemies in the cleanest way possible and use your wits to survive each area.

Each area is a puzzle to solve, depicted as a map either of a dangerous level of a dungeon or other varied locales, with one solution you must discover to complete the area. The book pages are laminated and you play by using a fine-tipped dry-erase pen to mark your progress right on the page, keeping track of player stats and inventory and marking off treasure you collect and enemies you defeat.

Manage your resources and stats carefully to solve each puzzle and advance the story. Puzzles start simple and ramp up in difficulty as you progress in your quest.

Twisty Little Passages is being produced as a labor of love to provide a unique puzzle gaming adventure experience to players of all ages.

We have several reviews going up that we're linking to on the Kickstarter campaign page, so you can learn more and see for yourself if Twisty Little Passages is something you'd like to have.

We appreciate your interest and support. I will personally be available to respond to your questions and comments throughout the campaign.

Bonus Flash Stretch Goals

We are offering a chance to earn free bonus content by reaching the goal of hitting certain funding levels during the first 48 hours of the campaign. You can help reach these flash goals and unlock all bonus content!

Back Twisty Little Passages here:

Best wishes,
Mike Rimer
Caravel Games

All the truths and falsehoods - 04-01-2019

As you may know, Caravel has an august tradition of latching on to April Fool's Day (AFD, for short) as an opportunity to share (literally) incredible news. Some of it is simply outrageous, while other bits, though covered in a veneer of outrage, may actually be true. AFD, 2019 Edition, is no exception.

This year, we bring you multiple exciting news items presented in the form of logic statements! With some exclamation points!

One of these items is false. The rest are true.

Mike Rimer is preparing to run a DROD-inspired Kickstarter campaign this spring, and it's not a video game.

(Mike's the one writing this, and he doesn't normally refer to himself in the third person, but for logic's sake, he had to resort to objectivity in this case.)

Mike is collaborating with some die-hard DROD fans in developing a DROD RPG-like puzzle adventure dungeon crawl book called Twisty Little Passages.

(Bonus points if you know the reference.) Yes, you read that right. Mike is working with an experienced group of fantasy artists and illustrators to bring forth a high-quality puzzle experience that (as far as anyone involved knows) has never before been seen in printed book form. For those familiar with board-gaming terminology, this project can be described as a "legacy Eurogame" filled with a series of puzzle campaigns you advance through one after another in a classic fantasy-themed setting.


Each puzzle will take the form of a dungeon level or similarly dangerous area, where you need to find your way from the start to the goal, fighting monsters along the way, getting power-ups and special items, using keys to open doors, carefully planning routes, and trying hard not to die before defeating the boss at the end. This project will be produced as a 8.5" x 11" full-color book via high-quality offset printing, and the pages will be laminated so you can play through each puzzle area by drawing right on the page with a dry-erase marker.

A lot more information will be released soon. If you'd like to be informed the moment the Kickstarter goes live, you can sign up for the Caravel Illumination newsletter here:

There is a credible rumor going around that the 2018 "Deadlies" Awards will be held soon

The "Deadlies" are a cherished tradition. It's a time to vote for your favorite creations published last year, including level sets, game scripts, stories, art, meta-content and more. If you want to see what was featured in last year's event, you can review it here to whet your appetite to vote for the best of 2018:

Edit: 2018 preliminaries are here:

The End of DROD is coming

Erik Hermansen has been scheming away in his basement these past years and has produced an all-new gaming creation that is decidedly Not DROD. It goes way past DROD. So far past, in fact, that he lovingly refers to this new game as "The DROD Killer", with the expectation that many DROD players will unilaterally prefer his new game to DROD and there may be something of an exodus. Beethro has grit; this game has attitude. If Erik's claims hold true, the game could eventually be released as the Deadlier Rooms of Deadlierest Death, or maybe something zany like the Mortifying Multiplex of Mort. Or, since Erik considers it a "death killer", maybe it should be technically referred to as the Lively Levels of Life (LLOL!).

Regardless, we don't think DROD is likely to go away anytime soon, and there's no reason why people can't enjoy both kinds of games. It's been gratifying to read the praise the DROD franchise has received over the years, such as being dubbed the "best puzzle game of all time", and there's no reason there couldn't be, say, multiple best puzzle game franchises of all time.

So by all means, have a look at what Erik is cooking up! And after reading about it, if you have a better suggestion for what the game should be called, please share it!

The DROD Killer

One of these statements is a paradox.

Happy AFD, and happy DRODing, not-DRODing, and TLPing!


Pair Droding - 04-09-2018

Hey, kieranmillar here, delivering you hot nuggets of news directly to your face!

What a month April has been! Only 9 days in and already so many amazing things have happened! Caravel news is a lot like waiting for a bus, you wait ages, then keep waiting, then some guy walks up and says "hey sorry buddy you're waiting at the wrong bus stop, this one is closed, but it's OK, I'm a wizard and I'll get you to where you need to go", and then he pulls out a broomstick and you hop on and as you're zooming through hyperspace at light speed you shout "THIS IS THE MOST INCREDIBLE EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE!"

That, my friends, has been the month of April so far.

DROD Online

Unbelievable DROD superhero skell has only gone and made the greatest innovation to DROD since the introduction of pressure plates, it's DROD Online, actual 2-player DROD! Play specially crafted rooms with another player, directly in your browser! Yes, you read that correctly! If you're reading this and don't have a forum account, sign up now (it's free) and press that Play button on the forum front page, wait to get matched with someone (or even better, organise a time with a mate) and go solve some rooms! You and your Stalwart buddy, teaming up at last! It's about time!

But seriously, it's an incredible experience, read more about it here.

The Deadlies

The annual award ceremony where we celebrate the awesome community content in the Caravel community over the previous year has finally concluded and picked a set of winners. This year Insoluble did a great job doing pretty much most of the work, but people still give me the credit. Hey, I'm selfish and I'll take it, but go give Insoluble a high-five too.

Read the winners here.

Mix and Match Contest

Did you know that despite not posting a news letter about it, the community still hosts a contest most months? You can win actual DROD stuff! What better time to get involved then RIGHT NOW because a new contest opened up today!

Nuntar is hosting a contest themed around building rooms with very restricted element sets. Pick your favourite group from the 8 provided and go make some cool rooms! Show us all what you've got here.

See, I told you April has been amazing so far. And if this is only the first 9 days, imagine what else we have to look forward too, there are still 21 more days to go!

Latent Energies - 01-15-2018

Greetings, Caravel community! This is Chaco writing this newsletter. It's been a long time since the last Illumination, and there's a lot of ground to cover, particularly for our e-mail and homing pigeon subscriber friends who haven't had an update since last February.

I'd like to open with a recount as to where we find ourselves right now. It's been over 3 years since DROD: The Second Sky was first released, and about half a year since the main DROD games and DROD: RPG were ported to the Steam platform. It's been a rather grand finale: as mrimer said in the TSS credits, "Here we are, at the end of an era. [...] Now that Beethro's story has been told, it's time for me to move on to other things." It should be acknowledged that, as of the past six months or so, Caravel's staff have been less active around the forums, all for good personal reasons.

Caravel Games Staff Status

Here's everything I know about what Caravel staff members are up to:

Erik Hermansen (ErikH2000): Working as a writer for Seespace Labs, and doing some philosophical thinking. Still occasionally playing DROD and posting on the forums, more or less as a normal member just trying to figure out these tough rooms along with the rest of us.

Mike Rimer (mrimer): Taking a well-deserved break from development and bugfixes to spend time with his family.

Matt Schikore (Schik): Still around on the forums, keeping the web server and the whole forum operation running. Say hello to him if you see him!

Maurycy Zarzycki (skell): Actually since I can Iíll speak for myself - for now, until unspecified future, Iíll no longer remain an active Caravel Games staff member. With a kid, day job and my own projects I just canít find time for DROD. Iíll still hang around and if you need help or something fixed hit me up if you see me. Iíll also keep managing DRODís open source portion, though itís highly unlikely Iíll manage to release a new version. And even if I did it could only ever be Windows release. -skell

Terence Fergusson (TFMurphy): Been absent for a few months, but presumably still somewhere out there, fighting the good fight against the encroaching Fluff.

Patrick Fisher (gamer_extreme_101): Seeking his fortune as an Extreme Gamer. Not currently available to answer support e-mails, unfortunately.

There's also some other ancillary members like Gerry Jo Jellestad (trick) and Eytan Zweig (eytanz) who haven't been around for a while but still probably count as official Caravel Staff. If I've forgotten anybody, please, correct me!


So, wait, if Erik's retired from Caravel, Mike Rimer's on vacation, and skell is also taking a break, who's piloting the ship, the Caravel? I guess Schik's in charge now.

Community Status

Well, one of the greatest aspects of the Caravel Games community is that it mostly runs itself: a perpetual motion machine constantly making new rooms, reacting with joy, amazement, and incredulity towards said new rooms, and having fulfilling intellectual discussions about colorblindness, poetry, and the merits and demerits of eyeball pudding.

It goes without saying every day, but needs to be said aloud anyway: The people are what make this community great - from the everyday posts on the forum, to the most modest help requests and fulfillment on the Hints and Solutions board, to regular old chit-chat asking how people's days have been or what people should make for dinner - these are the ties that tie a community together. We're all good friends here, invested in each others' opinions and lives, even if very few of us have met in person. And we've done an excellent job welcoming new people from both odd corners of the Internet and the wider Steam community. The Caravel Forums are healthy and are going to stay healthy for a long time.

Hold Releases

The architects have been hard at work: there've been 23 holds released this past year, so many that it would be impractical to fit 23 blurbs into this section. There's a huge variety from architects old and new, from small one-level one-session holds to grand undertakings with more than 50 rooms each. Three contest compilations were released in the past two months, and at least two more are still in active development on the Architecture boards.

Why not take a look at the chronological list, and see if there was a hold you missed on release?

Holds in Progress

Highly dangerous architect Doom is busy putting the final touches on a new one-room hold, a spiritual sequel to blorx1's Room of Humility. Solving this self-contained 10-brain nightmare will surely keep the entire player base busy, at least for a day or two.

There are several promising-looking holds in Architecture as well. I'll pick out five from the vast crowd: PigmyWubba's "The Letter W" experiments with player roles that start with W; Dying Flutchman is working on his second hold "Combined Hazards" with an emphasis on floor mechanisms; Romain673 is working on several holds at once including "Left and Right", a hold where you can only wait or switch sides; fresh newcomer rambomet has introduced themselves with a story-based hold "Edry's Adventures"; and eatmorepies is working on "Halph's Secret", a hold apparently involving Halph and goblins, a theme we haven't seen in a long time. All of these holds (and more in the Architecture forum!) could use some more beta testing and comments!

The Letter W:
Combined Hazards:
Left and Right:
Edry's Adventures:
Halph's Secret:

Don't Ask Reward

Since there's been a lot of self-directed activity but not much notice from "on high", it only seems right to continue this Caravel tradition. This issue's "Don't Ask" reward winner is mauvebutterfly, who joined the forum just two years ago, but quickly got involved with several different aspects of the forum: discussions, beta testing, help, and critiques. Eventually he released his own hold and then managed to host an official contest, The Untold Tales of Gunthro Budkin. He has taken a solid place as a great member of the community.

As the writer of this newsletter, allow me to give some recognition for these contributions! mauvebutterfly, pick a free prize from the Prize Pile!

Upcoming Events

There isn't currently any official contest in progress on the forums, but several members have expressed interest in hosting one soon and there have been some good ideas tossed around, both in DROD or DROD RPG architecture, and in non-game creative fronts. If you, the reader, have a suggestion, feel free to post a topic in the Contests forum and we'd be glad to hear it!

On the "unofficial competitions" front, Blind Race #5 is currently being designed by a team of devious yet merciful architects. In case you're not familiar with this tradition, Blind Races are small holds made of three to four levels with about four to twelve rooms each. They're released at a specific time, and several racers broadcast their attempts to get through the brand-new hold as fast as possible, in a live race to the finish! An exciting test of both DROD know-how and race-specialized tactics.

Blind Race #5:

Why not check out some of the past race videos, for some evening entertainment? Or as an alternative, these holds are available to download on the forum and through CaravelNet, if you want to try your own hand at some speed playthroughs:

Blind Race #1: Hold:
Blind Race #2: Hold:
Blind Race #3: Hold:
Blind Race #4: Hold:

Closing Thoughts

Well, it's a quiet murmur of business as usual around here, as it often is between major Caravel releases. But we haven't yet explored the fullest reaches of DROD's potential: witness all the newest challenges still being created with both the new TSS elements, and even old Architects' Edition elements still being put to highly original uses in new contexts.

The steady, day-to-day output of the community is amazing: I think it's not only because puzzle game players as a whole are so motivated, but also because they have a spirit of generosity. Puzzles aren't just a challenge, an imposing threat meant to defeat all comers. They're gifts to enjoy for their own sake. Making, figuring out, or watching a solution is a great feeling.

To help build anticipation for the future, I'll let one more piece of news slip: there might be a Caravel Games surprise project to look forward to...

- Chaco, signing off