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How to plan a puzzle-themed fundraiser

National Puzzle Day is January 29 and we know that many Extra Lifers love puzzles and puzzle-based games.

There’s an ineffable satisfaction in solving puzzles, something that feels hardwired into the human brain that allows us to feel like we have done a good job when we click that last piece of the puzzle into place. That feeling is so universal that humans have been building games around puzzles longer than history can tell us. For a gaming-oriented organization like Extra Life, puzzles can become a great tool for bringing communities together for events or even local fundraising partnerships.

To put together a successful local event built around puzzle games, it’s worth considering what games you want to have on hand to draw in the puzzle aficionados. Keeping a good mixture of games can both encourage groups to play together and provide options for people who need some time to themselves with solo puzzles.

Tabletop Puzzle Games

Tabletop puzzle games present a perfect opportunity for group play. Azul has been one of the most popular tabletop puzzle titles since it was released in 2017. It tasks players with building an art installation to decorate the Royal Palace of Evora in Portugal. Those who earn the most points by completing certain patterns and sets win the game. To provide more options in a similar vein, Sagrada gives players the responsibility of building a stained-glass window. Using a mix of strategic placement and dice rolling, players will need to be clever to make their masterpiece.

To provide a different kind of puzzle game built for the tabletop, try Doctor Esker’s Notebook. This card game has players unraveling the mystery of what happened to Dr. Esker using the notes he left behind. The deck provides multiple mysteries to solve, each one taking about an hour. Definitely check it out as a fun way of adding a bit of the unknown into your puzzle sessions.

Puzzling Video Games

Video games that are good for providing ambient spectacle and solo play for people who need a break from other people. Tetris Effect has been one of the most standout puzzle games of the last few years, wowing people with its incredible presentation of the classic puzzle title. While it can be connected to a television, a VR station might be just the thing to give your puzzle event more of a draw. Additionally, having a couple stations for people to play co-op Portal 2 might be just the thing for smaller groups of players to enjoy.

For something a bit different, Heaven’s Vault has players interpreting the ancient relics and ruins of a far-flung sci-fi universe to figure out what happened in its distant past. The unique implementation of narrative and puzzles provides a striking injection of adventure and mystery for a puzzle-oriented gathering – plus it might be one of the most under-appreciated games of 2019, so many people at your event will have likely never played it.

Can You Escape?

Finally, another great idea is to coordinate your event with a local escape room. Reach out to the location’s manager to see what they might be open to contributing. You might be able to organize a trip to the location as part of your event or even a portion of the escape room’s proceeds from that day as a donation to Extra Life. Of course, that all depends on their willingness to work with you in your fundraising efforts. Approach with some ideas, but also with some flexibility. If the event is still in the planning stages, see if you can work around the escape room’s schedule to make a partnership as easy as possible.

It’s never too late to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! Donations for 2019 are accepted year-round!