Call for Submissions — Underrepresented Puzzle Game Creators!

We like puzzle games and want to support more people in making them. So, we’re offering grants to independent game designers from traditionally underrepresented groups, to work on grid-based puzzle games. Approximately 3-6 people will each receive between $3,000-$20,000  to use to complete their games.     

What kind of game development are these grants intended for?   
We’re giving out these grants in conjunction with a game project we’re developing ourselves,  and that project is setting the theme: puzzle games that take place on a discrete grid where the interesting gameplay comes from unique rules governing the behavior of the objects.

These games may involve block pushing, or they may be about manipulating more-complex objects that occupy grid squares. Here are some examples of games we like that fall into this general area:     

- Mirror Isles , Skipping Stones to Lonely Homes, You’re  Pulleying My Leg, A Good Snowman is Hard to Build by Alan Hazelden   

- Promesst 1 and Promesst 2 by Sean Barrett   

- Jelly no Puzzle by Qrostar   

- Heroes of Sokoban 1, Heroes of Sokoban 2, and Heroes of Sokoban 3 by Jonah Ostroff   

- Aunt Flora’s Mansion by Anna Anthropy   

- Corrypt, Game Title and Game Title: Lost Levels by Michael Brough   

- Snakebird by Noumenon Games   

- Yankai’s Peak by Kenny Sun   

- Stephen’s Sausage Roll by Stephen Lavelle   

- and in general see the games on the PuzzleScript Gallery 

We prefer to support new work with these grants but may also consider funding the porting of existing games to new platforms if you make a good case for it.   

How will the design of submitted games be implemented?   
You can implement your design any way you like. We do require the games to be actually running video games (no paper prototypes or board games, for example; those things are fine  in themselves, they’re just not what this grant is for.)       

How will the grant funds be awarded? Who owns the resulting work?   
Smaller grants will be given 100% up front. Larger grants may be given out in milestones, with the first milestone paid up front, later funding being contingent upon completing earlier milestones.     

You own what you make with this grant. We seek no rights to the resulting game and there are no strings attached. You can release your game commercially or non-commercially. We do not care what platform you build your game for (PC, console, phone, whatever else), or what the revenue model is if the game is commercial.     

Who is eligible?   
These grants are intended to support creators who are underrepresented in today’s game industry or who do not receive much support from the existing structure. If any of the following descriptions apply to you, you are eligible.    
* Women 
* Trans or Gender non-binary 
* People of Color 
* Not from North America, Europe or another western nation 
* English is not your first language 
* Disabled 
* People with mental health issues   

This list is not exhaustive. If you have any question about eligibility, just put in your submission via the form below and ask, and we’ll get back to you.   

In addition to the other eligibility requirements, you need to have the time and inclination to work on your game idea and develop it into a playable state.      

How do I apply?   
If you are interested in applying, please follow this link and submit by April 23: 

Include the following:   
- A brief paragraph about who you are 
- A brief paragraph about your game idea 
- The amount you are requesting - include a breakdown of how you will use the total grant amount
- Links to your in-progress or past work     

What is the deadline for applications / When and how will recipients be selected?   
Submissions close on April 23, 2018. Recipients will be chosen by a jury of independent game designers. We will notify recipients by May 18, 2018. 

For any questions not answered in this post...
Contact us:


  1. Ihor Ranchynskyi

    I’m a dude from Ukraine, English isn’t my native but I’m extremely fluent (TOEFL 114/120), would I qualify?

  2. This is great!

    The link to Aunt Flora’s Mansion is broken. Should be

  3. Hi! Would logic-based puzzles in the vein of, say, Sudoku, Slitherlink, or Picross, fall within the criteria of grid-based puzzle games for the purposes of this grant, or is it specifically important that there be concrete “objects” that can be interacted with by a player character? Thanks in advance!

  4. I’m 42 years old white male living in Poland, with my wife and daughter. I didn’t have a steady job for almost 10 years. I don’t blame anyone; I’m responsible for all decisions I made through those years.

    In 2016 I made the decision to become a programmer. I’ve learned HTML, CSS, and JavaScript; Python was next on the list. I’ve made a few small web projects (one of them using API), but the more I knew about programming and computers, the more control I wanted.

    C was the obvious next step. I took some online courses, but I gained most practical knowledge from the “Handmade Hero” series by Casey Muratori. I never watched all episodes, but Casey gave me the confidence that, even at my age, I still can be successful as a programmer, because it’s not about lines-of-code or a fancy new language (or framework) but practical problem-solving.

    Since then I’ve learned Windows API, OpenGL but I’m always looking for more black-boxes to decode; 3D math and Linux are my latest interests.

    I’m pretty confident about my skills, and I believe I could be a valuable asset to many dev teams. The problem seems to be, that no-one wants to hire middle-aged programmers if they don’t have existing professional experience. I would be happy to work as an intern, but no, only graduates allowed. Can you spot the paradox?

    I don’t have any projects on my GitHub profile; I’d rather spend time learning new stuff, than showing-off “my own version” of a well-established algorithm or making another clone of some classic game.

    I have some ideas for the kind of games you described; the question is: am I eligible for the type of help you’re offering? Do you think 40+ people, who want to start a new career but have a hard time fitting into a team full of young guns, are under-represented? Or do you think I still need to “check my privilege” even if my family is struggling to pay a rent every month?

    • Polish Tester Mouse

      Tomasz, concentrate on one technology, work on some open source projects and you should be able to get in the door if you have something to show!
      I’ve worked with a guy who changed careers COMPLETELY at about your age and he was doing REALLY well. (Gamedev companies may not be so keen, but there are many software houses in Poland that are open to ppl of any age).

      • Thank you for the advice.

        I’m doing my best to concentrate on just one technology, but it’s often hard because of the way a lot of them are interconnected. The fact that I’m obsessed with all kind of systems inner-workings does not help either.

        One minute I’m on my computer, watching tutorials on manipulating objects in 3D space using matrices, and suddenly I’m sitting on the couch reading the Calculus and trying to understand WHY the matrices even work.

        I can see my future as a pretty good low-level programmer if I don’t starve to death while learning all the details of my new craft.

        The more I learn, the more I know, how little I know already.

  5. I’ve arrived late..
    I am from Spain and I am mainly interested in the information that is useful for the interface of games in Unity and how a marketing campaign can be carried out.
    My game is not very flashy but I love the mechanics that stretch the images to offer a different challenge to the user, the negative is that it is not aimed at the masses, but is designed as a game that could fit in any office because they are used Real photographs related to art, Roman culture and places in Andalusia.

    I’m not going to ask for money .. I would be content to offer information or tips on details that can make a videogame more striking, I hope you understand the limitations that some developers find when we do not know how to do everything and we find difficulties in small details that do not we know how to approach when it comes to something that is not programming.

  6. Philip Broughton-Mills

    If you like push grid games, then the upcoming one that I’m intrigued by is “Baba Is You”:

  7. “Who is eligible” reads a lot easier by just stating who is excluded, ie. healthy white males from USA/UK.

  8. My thought exactly, Hans! :D

  9. So, is this open to small teams, or just individuals?

  10. Wow. I actually though about applying. But I don’t support any kind of racial or sexual discrimination (even against white males). You can keep your contest…

    And yes… I could technically apply, because English is not my first language.

  11. When I first saw the post on twitter I was super excited that a developer that I look up to was helping out smaller, less know people. But then I came to the eligible part, to be honest, I was really surprised. In today’s culture of “diversity” and having an even playing field, I find myself being in a deliberately excluded group that is based off of things I have absolutely not control over, my sex and race… If this isn’t discrimination I don’t know what is.

  12. How to submit the Game ?

  13. Hi.
    My game changes a lot recently, so I submitted another form.
    Please take a glance at the latest one.

  14. Great to see Thekla is supporting under represented groups.
    I’m a blind programmer building game development tools for blind gamers. (
    I built the game engine for “A Hero’s Call” ( though now I’m back to working on my own.
    Not working on any puzzle games at the moment, but I’ve got some big ideas for empowering blind gamers to build their own games through integrated tooling and an online community.
    I wish I could see to play Braid and The Witness.
    It would be awesome if Thekla’s next game took accessibility into greater consideration, though I realize Jon has a strong design vision he needs to achieve.
    I’m a big fan of Jonathan Blow and very interested to see how Jai turns out.
    I’ve heard Jeff Roberts speak in HandmadeCon 2016.
    Cheers to Thekla, and cheers to Jeff for doubling the funding.

  15. I forgot to apply because of the ludum dare…
    good luck for the applicants! willing to see these new games made possible. :)

  16. Would be good if grants were given to ANY individual – especially those on low income who could really use the money and help.
    Discriminating against gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, i.e. Males who are white and straight is pretty despicable. No need to bring identity politics into this.. into anything for that matter.

  17. I updated my game (Yet Another Pushing Puzzler a lot recently. Will you take it into account?

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