The Curtis Game


All photos by Britta Hartfiel

Our friend Curtis is a long-time puzzler. He’s also the person responsible for creating and nurturing the Portland puzzle community via Puzzled Pint and WarTron. So when his 40th birthday rolled around, some friends of ours decided that the most appropriate gift would be a personalized Star Trek-themed puzzle hunt, starring Curtis himself.

It was loads of fun, and truly amazing to see how hard everyone worked to make it fabulous. People created some really amazing stuff for it, including Brian’s incredible tricorder puzzle box and Maria’s Q costume (below). Check out the full list of credits for a sense of how many people contributed.


For our parts, Jey made a Star Trek-themed app to accompany Curtis the whole way, and I made Jey’s Homn costume. I also played Curtis during the dry run playtest, so I got to experience all of the puzzles (including the tricorder) firsthand. On the day, I acted as Helm during the game’s finale, a custom Artemis instance.




Some costume notes:

  • We had a truly serendipitous cloth-buying experience–after hunting around fruitlessly, the exact thing I had imagined ended up being on the sale table at an incredibly deep discount.
  • To make Jey taller, he wore cork-soled platform sandals. To hide the fact that he was tottering about in women’s shoes, I pulled a thick black stocking over the whole thing to make it look like a boot–a trick I learned from watching the behind the scenes of the Aeon Flux film, many years ago.
  • I didn’t take any photos of the process of making the costume because I was afraid I would forget the secrecy pact and tweet/show them off at a meeting accidentally/somehow inadvertently spoil the fun.

Happy birthday, Curtis!

All photographs in this post are by Britta Hartfiel.