Why The Hunting of the Shark matters (to me)

Hey folks. I’m writing to tell you about our new book The Hunting of the Shark: Twenty Years of Lone Shark Puzzlehunts. It’s a massive puzzle compendium of all the major puzzlehunts we’ve run over the last two decades. I don’t think you’ll find a better puzzle collection anywhere. You can read all about it on the Kickstarter page, which is live until April 11. Here, I’d like to tell you why it matters to me.

James and I started Lone Shark in October 2003. In those first few years, James and I and Evon and Tey and Jenny and Henry and others set about to creating the most respected puzzle event business in the country. We went everywhere and did everything: ARGs, game launches, conventions, manhunts, corporate events, walkarounds, puzzlehunts of all shapes and sizes. We got to play with the biggest companies’ toys at the biggest events. In our second decade, as Marie and Shane took over the event side, we expanded our spaces to cruise ships, escape rooms, and permanent museum exhibits. All of that was great. It kept us in lightbulbs and entertained tens of thousands of fans. We got to do the coolest things.

None of that’s why The Hunting of the Shark matters to me. It’s because there are 100 names right at the front of the book. The world’s greatest puzzle designers, artists, and event managers thought, “Those Lone Shark people? I want to make stuff with them.” These are 100 of the most interesting people I’ve ever met. They’re smart, kind, and relentlessly focused on spreading joy. They — not me — made the most outstanding and “out there” entertainment anyone’s ever made in this space.

Going back over twenty years of events — curating, revising, reshaping — was like working with all of them again. I could hear their voices in my head saying “You could do this?” and “Definitely don’t do that.” It became a book filled with personalities. You can hear different creators holding your hand, drawing pictures, crafting grids, playing characters, misdirecting you with a wink and a smile. You won’t hear any of them volunteering to give you the answers.

As I came up with this idea at PAX in late August of 2023, there was one person I wanted to tell the most. That was Teeuwynn, our former creative director who was pivotal to launching our event and puzzlehunt business. I decided to reach out after the con. I was too late. Tey passed away that weekend, devastating the puzzle and game community. With the kind permission of her husband Mike, the book is dedicated to Tey and will prominently feature the unique puzzles she created.

I’m pleased at the number of colleagues that let us show you how brilliant they are. You’ve never seen anything like this treasury of ideas, because you’ve never see this stellar group of puzzle pros in one place. If you’re into it, I hope you’ll join me in celebrating the magic they create.

The Hunting of the Shark‘s Kickstarter runs until April 11. I appreciate you taking a look.