Games World of Puzzles June 2024


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…From the Editor


R. Wayne Schmittberger, who served as editor in chief of GAMES from 1993 to 2014, passed away on February 19, 2024 at the age of 74. Wayne’s passing was a tremendous loss not only to those who knew and loved him, but to the world of games and puzzles at large.

I first met Wayne in 1998, on the day after Thanksgiving, when I came to the GAMES offices in suburban Philadelphia to interview for a job as crossword editor. Armed with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a handful of dead-end jobs, I had plenty of interest but no relevant experience…and no idea what to expect from the interview. As soon as Wayne introduced himself, I felt at ease. His manner was cordial and approachable. It didn’t take me long to realize that I was talking to someone who was not just smart, but incredibly intelligent—on a completely different level than the average person.

I don’t remember many specifics from that interview 25 years ago, but I clearly recall marveling at the board games and magazines piled floor to ceiling in Wayne’s office. When I got the job in January of the next year, I would come to understand that Wayne’s mind was always as busy as the scene in his office. Whether it was thinking of new puzzle ideas, writing articles, coming up with pranks for the April Fool’s issue of GAMES, discussing a movie he had just seen—Wayne was constantly thinking and learning. But at the same time, he was friendly, down-to-earth, and always willing to chat, even about mundane matters.

I could go on for a long time about Wayne’s genius, but, first, some history: Wayne was born in Brooklyn on October 9, 1949. He graduated high school at the top of his class, then went on to Yale University, where he majored in French—which he chose to major in because he felt it was his weakest subject. Afterwards, he attended New York University School of Law. While at law school, Wayne began to discover his true interests. Recalling those days in the 2017 article “40 Years of Fun & Games” (September 2017 GAMES WORLD OF PUZZLES), he wrote: “In late 1977 I was a young lawyer living and working in Manhattan. But my main focus in those days, as it had been throughout my law school years, was games, especially chess, bridge, go, poker, and Scrabble: playing them (often in tournaments), trying to get better at them, and studying their history.”

Wayne stopped by a local game store one day and spotted a copy of GAMES. When he noticed the magazine was based in Manhattan, he made an appointment with the editor, Mike Donner. After successfully completing a few trial assignments, Wayne was offered an associate editor position, which he gladly accepted. “Less rewarding financially than law, certainly, but a much happier workplace for me,” he reflected.

GAMES would prove to be a perfect fit for Wayne—he would remain there for 35 of the next 40 years (briefly taking another job when GAMES ceased publication for a time in the early 1990s). Much of that time was spent as editor in chief, which was his title when I joined the staff in 1999. Over the years, he devised countless games and puzzles. He cited the board game Ozymandia (September 1981) and the April 1994 cover Photocrime “Murder Most Fool” as some of his all-time favorite personal contributions.

One contribution of Wayne’s that stands out most to me is the elaborate April Fool’s prank in the April 2004 cover. The headline is enough to catch the attention of any game enthusiast. The accompanying story, written by “R.H. Wei” (aka Wayne), was called “The New Oldest Game in the World.” The article, which was completely fabricated, told the story of Vincent Hughes, a professor of archaeology at the University of Edinburgh, who discovered a mysterious obelisk at an antiques shop in Turkey. Suspecting that it might be a piece from the ancient Egyptian board game known as “The Game of Flying Obelisks,” Hughes began the hunt for more evidence. He eventually unearthed a 7,000-year-old board from the game in the Egyptian desert, along with more pieces, and was able to reconstruct the game. The game board and complex rules (really an invention of Wayne’s) were depicted in the issue.

Not just anyone could write a fake story like this. The amount of background knowledge required would be enough to deter most writers. But Wayne was an accomplished author with a number of books to his credit, including 1992’s New Rules for Classic Games and the World Book encyclopedia entry for “Game.”

After leaving GAMES in 2014, Wayne wrote Montague Island Mysteries and Other Logic Puzzles, a novel/logic puzzle book that follows a group of friends who meet regularly to play murder-mystery games at the island home of a wealthy couple. The book was a success, and Wayne followed it up with three sequels: Return to Montague Island, Beyond Montague Island, and Montague Island Memoirs. He also invented the mobile app game Square Routes, which was adapted into a pencil-and-paper puzzle in our May 2015 issue.

In addition to contributing countless articles, contests, Wild Cards, and puzzles of all kinds, Wayne was a valuable and generous source of wisdom and advice to me, especially after GAMES and WORLD OF PUZZLES merged into one magazine. When I became editor in chief of GAMES WORLD OF PUZZLES last year, I felt—and still feel—indebted to him for all of the inspiration and guidance he provided. Wayne was an extraordinary person and will be sorely missed.

Jennifer Orehowsky
Editor in Chief



Remembering R. Wayne Schmittberger, longtime editor in chief of GAMES
Discovering Japanese Logic Puzzles: Pipe Link
The 14th in a series of columns featuring lesser-known Japanese logic puzzles
A Fresh Look at Crosswordese
A Q&A David Bukszpan, author of Crosswordese: A Guide to the Weird and Wonderful Language of Crossword Puzzles
A Scrabble Champion’s Dreams and Livestreams
Meet current North American Scrabble Champion Josh Sokol
The Meeple in Your Neighborhood
An occasional column profiling local game stores, this time featuring Game Kastle in College Park, MD
Reader Survey Results
The results are in…here are readers’ thoughts on GAMES WORLD OF PUZZLES!


Wild Cards
A potpourri of amusing little puzzles for your solving pleasure
Contest: Word…Search?
Contest Results: Crypto-Doubles (from October)
Electronic Game Reviews
Bravo! Digital Edition, Balatro
Tabletop Game Reviews
Vintage games from the collector’s closet


    • Bank Heist
    • Colombian Sudoku
    • Jacks or Better
    • Patios of Pentominoes
    • Points of Departure
    • TriviaLogic: One Night Only
    • …and More!