Games World of Puzzles December 2019


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…From the Editor

What we like best about the holidays here at GAMES WORLD OF PUZZLES is the way they bring people together. And that’s something worth celebrating.

Games are an excellent way to connect with family and friends. That’s why we’re excited to share Thomas L. McDonald’s feature article about the best new Euro-style board games, “Spiel des Jahres” (page 34). McDonald, our longtime game reviewer, knows the field well and recognizes what makes games interesting, unique, and just plain fun to play. Spiel, an annual get-together in Germany, has introduced plenty of great new titles to the board-gaming community, including The Settlers of Catan and Carcassonne. Is the latest gaming sensation among the 2019 winners of this prestigious award? Only time will tell, but we think readers will be curious to check out all of the games that McDonald covers in his overview.

Of course, there are plenty of other holiday gifts for you in this issue, like Mrcela Mladen’s charming “Change of Art” (page 48) and Bob Stigger’s Yuletide cryptic, “The Twelve Days Revisited” (page 62). Those of you with a curmudgeonly cast of mind will want to try Raymond Simon’s Scrooge-like trivia quiz, “Check It Twice!” (page 46). Regular contributor Raymond Young really gets into the holiday spirit with two offerings: the nifty little word search “Holiday Craft” (page 15), which ends with a present for solvers, and a Christmas-themed “Dungeon Sudoku” (page 42).

This issue also contains plenty of perplexing puzzles sure to please logic lovers like “Multi Kakuro” from Conceptis (page 13). Joel Nanni offers solvers “Flustered” (page 30), which is a logical variation on the beloved game of Boggle. And we also introduce a brand-new puzzle, “Setka” (page 54), which blends crossword-style clues with Sudoku. This novel brainteaser comes to us courtesy of first-time contributor Rachel Geman.

Just to tie everything up in a bright little bow, there is “The Buzz About the Bee,” a thoughtful Q&A with Shalini Shankar, a professor of Anthropology and Asian American Studies at Northwestern University, who recently published an in-depth look at the Scripps National Spelling Bee (page 40). Shankar’s book goes way beyond spelling to look at how childhood and play have changed in recent decades, as well as examining the growing phenomenon of “brain sports.”

After you’ve unwrapped all your presents and visited family and friends, you can settle down for a long winter’s evening of solving!

Jennifer Orehowsky
Senior Editor



2019 Spiel des Jahres
A look at all of the winners and nominees for Germany’s prestigious Game of the Year award
Your Word Against Mine
A collegian captures the North American Scrabble title
The Buzz About the Bee
A Q&A with Beeline author Shalini Shankar
Dungeon Sudoku
Can you appease Scrooge and the Grinch to solve your way out of the dungeon?
This Old Game: Flinch
Vintage games from the collector’s closet
Check It Twice!
A Yuletide trivia quiz to celebrate the season


Wild Cards
A potpourri of amusing little puzzles for your solving pleasure
What’s Happening
Previews of upcoming events
Contest: Coded Crisscross X
Contest Results: QWERTY (from April)
Change of Art
Find the 10 differences between these scenes


    • Double Cross
    • For Bird Brains
    • Holiday Craft
    • Rebus Recall
    • The Long and Short of It
    • The Twelve Days Revisited
    • …and More!