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shuffling-around.zip (Release 4) *
Contains Shuffling Around.gblorb
At the IF Archive. Contains story file, map, clues, release notes, and source code.
Requires a Glulx interpreter. Visit IFWiki for download links.
Story File (Release 1)
Original IFComp 2012 entry.
Requires a Glulx interpreter. Visit IFWiki for download links.
Release 3 (author)
Requires a Glulx interpreter. Visit IFWiki for download links.
Feelies *
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Source code (author's current)
At GitHub. (This may be different from the release code on the archive.)
* Compressed with ZIP. Free Unzip tools are available for most systems at www.info-zip.org.

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Shuffling Around

by Andrew Schultz (as Ned Yompus) profile

Episode 1 of Stale Tales Slate

Web Site

(based on 25 ratings)
3 reviews

About the Story

A weird power to save a weird world.

So you just got fired from the best company ever, and it's the best day of your life. New opportunities! New horizons! New ways to look at things! Like calling this stupid kiss-off job fair a "convention."

Game Details


7th Place - 18th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2012)

Nominee, Best Puzzles; Nominee, Best Individual Puzzle - 2012 XYZZY Awards


I've put off release due to feature creep, but what I think is the final version of Shuffling Around is now at itch.io. It was conceived over 10 years ago, in April 2012, and it was submitted to IFComp in September 2012. Apparently release 4 occurred in July of 2015. Which is a while back. At least I've had other rewarding projects on the way, too.

DrkStarr, Olaf Nowacki and Amanda W. helped me finally push this through in 2022 with testing efforts.

The major changes to the story and puzzles themselves are a much smoother introduction and endgame. There are now three solutions in the final room to win. I kept the original, which feels strained compared to the two, but I like the end. A personal favorite is that each liver in one room now has a description that conforms to the game mechanics.

There's been a long journey to get here. I've gotten better at Inform coding--well enough to look at stuff from 2012 and see why the stuff that I just needed to make work was, well, not perfect, but I'm glad I got things started as quickly as I did. The whole process of testing has helped me grow, I think.

That's the quick stuff! The TL;DR is below.

I vacillated on when I should release the next version. It seemed when I'd get close, I'd find more bugs. But Zarf's Python regression testing scripts helped me push a lot of bugs out of the way. I achieved a huge brass ring in the last two weeks before release: I'd never used custom check classes before, but I tweaked regtest to detect lines with just a period in them, or lines without adequate punctuation at the end. I felt like I'd really arrived at that point, both with Python competence and knowing that, well, a lot of the text's obvious errors were caught.

GitHub also helped me organize things, and I learned so many commands to do what I wanted, or where I said "It'd be nice if git could do this, but nah ... wait, let's just check and make sure on StackOverflow." And then I stumbled on a question with a hundred or even a thousand upvotes, asked back in 2011.

Originally I was just going to fix one bug Sean M. Shore found: if you eat the saltine and use your cheat powers on something you already know (e.g. you find what Store R should become before clearing F, I and M), then you have wasted your cheat.

Of course it expanded into much more: renaming one room, then another, then another. Some NPCs and scenery got renamed, and I also implemented bounding scenery for fun. It became a case of "I like this anagram, but I think I can do better." Then, later, I did.

Then, a bonus point here, text cleaned up there, hint features streamlined elsewhere, code refactored for readability, Zarf's test scripts to help make sure nothing broke, and I learned Python along the way to make sure that the test scripts covered all the special flavor and hint text I'd laid out there, or that the clues from the Tagged Gadget were in fact all accurate. I even wrote up flowcharts for solving the various areas using Trizbort.

The website with the downloadable binary and feelies (walkthroughs, PDF maps, etc.) is at https://andrewschultz.itch.io/shuffling-around.

The GitHub site is at https://github.com/andrewschultz/stale-tales-slate/. The sub-code for Shuffling is at https://github.com/andrewschultz/stale-tales-slate/tree/main/Shuffling.

Though I want to move on, this was worthwhile for me, and I encourage anyone who wonders if they should re-release that IFComp game they had some fixes for to do so, big or small.

(For anyone interested in Roiling, well, I wouldn't mind a tester or two. It's in very human-testable shape, but I can't quite push the button, yet. Even help with one or two areas is big.)
Reported by Andrew Schultz | History | Edit | Delete
In anticipation of release 4, which will simplify some early puzzles and offer object-based hints, I used Jason Lautzenheiser's beta of a new version of Trizbort. It lets you color in rooms based on regions, which I think is particularly handy for SA.

The dropbox link is at https://www.dropbox.com/s/thb3vltfdp0qeg1/s2.pdf?dl=0 so you'll have to cut/paste it.

The map is equivalent to release 3 except for the Thickets room. While the binary is still undergoing changes, I don't think I'll do any more to the map.

Also, there's a bug where if you scan something with no text, it says BUG. Oops. I deliberately steered my testers away from this, thinking "It couldn't break."

This is the only major thing found so far, and it was a one-line fix. (By the way, anyone interested in testing SA who hasn't played it, give me a yell! I need help making sure the hint system doesn't misfire, and I have a way to track hints without spoiling it for the tester.)

Re: maps, you may like it for your game, too, and really...I'd love to see more notifications of (new) maps for games on IFDB! I think seeing a map can be a nudge for people to play a game they always meant to.
Reported by Andrew Schultz (updated on January 4, 2015) | History | Edit | Delete
Two years after the original entry, I managed to push through release 3 with the help of Mr. Patient and a ClubFloyd transcript, among other parties.

The main upgrade is that the game is clued better, and good tries are recognized. But there are a lot of bug fixes, with tons of general polish. The gadget and slider were merged, and you can now skip an area.

(Spoiler - click to show)Store F = LOGOI
Store I = SOOTH
Store M = SAY BS

Lots of random chatter was added, room names were revamped, and there's even a Trizbort map.

http://www.intfiction.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=16475 contains the details of the change log.

Hope people who find it worth a replay enjoy it, and hope this encourages other IFCompers to touch up their game with big or small fixes.
Reported by Andrew Schultz | History | Edit | Delete
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Number of Reviews: 3
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Great Game Age? Art Gem!, July 9, 2019
by deathbytroggles (Minneapolis, MN)

If you enjoyed Nord and Bert Couldn't Make Head or Tail Of It--specifically the Shopping Bizarre--then Shuffling Around is an absolute must play.

I've always been fairly good at anagramming but found it mostly dull. But Schultz did just such an impressive job at turning it into a funny, engaging game with clever puzzles and endearing characters. And even if you're not good at anagramming, there are an unbelievable amount of gadgets you can use to give yourself different types of hints depending on your weaknesses that allow you to play at the exact pace you want. On top of that, if you get truly stuck you can just ask the game for more direct hints if you want to avoid going to an anagram solver on-line.

Like the Shopping Bizarre in Nord & Bert, you must often solve random anagrams lying around to get objects for your inventory to use on puzzles later. And while some of the puzzles are really straightforward (e.g. anagramming a bunch of items in a kitchen to make yourself some food), there are some rather genius multi-step puzzles, my favorite being the one to defeat the archenemy in the sortie.

But beyond just the puzzles, Schultz spent on what I can only imagine was an ungodly amount of time writing copious descriptions of rooms and objects that use clever anagrams for no other reason than to show off, and it was wonderful. Admittedly some of the anagrams are forced and make the writing a bit stilted in places, but in this world it was welcome.

There's not much of a story and it's mostly a disjointed puzzlefest, but considering each anagram I solved was like pushing a dopamine button, I was glad to be a rat in this maze.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A word puzzle game that relies heavily on anagrams, February 3, 2016

This game is mid-to-long parser game involving a lot of word puzzles in the form of anagrams. You travel through a wide variety of bizarre spaces whose description is written with as many anagrams as possible (like a 'scantier canister') to overcome a vague and threatening bad guy named Red Bull Burdell.

The presence of so many anagrams in the text makes it very rich, requiring slow and careful reading. It can be difficult to piece together what's going on. In general, it seems that you are a special chosen one, prophesied to bring an end to Burdell's reign through your ability to change objects and locations.

You change things by typing in anagrams of objects and locations in the room. It's fun trying to find anagrams of everything, although sometimes it's difficult to know if adjectives are supposed to be included or not.

It is of course interesting to compare this game to Counterfeit Monkey and Ad Verbum. Shuffling Around leans closer to the 'pure puzzle' style of Ad Verbum, but it has a fairly large map and storyline, like 'Counterfeit Monkey' (but a bit smaller). In contrast to both games, all the rooms'
descriptions are filled with wordplay.

A must-play for fans of word puzzles.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
This game is built out of word puzzles, with a loose narrative style, November 20, 2013
by streever (America)

Short on character and story, this game is almost entirely a collection of word puzzles, specifically of the anagramming sort. If you like word puzzles, you'll like this.

The in-game help system is first-rate and should allow any wordsmith to complete the game without a walkthrough.

The writing is good, at times slightly over-verbose, but never unnecessary.

I was slightly confused by the intro: it took me a little more time to puzzle out the difference between the gadget and the slider, and why I'd take one and not the other. I think it could use a little more exposition earlier on. It may be a minor spoiler, but I think the game would be improved if the player knew early on that (Spoiler - click to show)the gadget is easy mode--the slider is hard mode. You can probably complete the game with either, or neither, if you're adept at anagrams, but it'd be nice to be able to swap between them mid-game, so you could start with the slider & switch to the gadget when under extreme duress.

If you can't wait for the Sunday Puzzle by Will Shortz on NPR each week, this is a game for you. If you're more interested in character/narrative driven story experiences, you'll probably be less enthusiastic about this game.

I love the word-puzzle aspect, and am glad that I discovered Schultz work via InfoComp2013 and 3diopolis.

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Shuffling Around on IFDB

Recommended Lists

Shuffling Around appears in the following Recommended Lists:

Recommended Linguistic Games by E.K.
Good games that use language puzzles, or language itself as the puzzle.

Word-play and word puzzles by streever
This is my list of fun games for word-play/puzzles. Some of them have substantial stories, and some do not.

Now Thatís What I Call Wordplay! by vinceren
GOD i love word puzzles :D or, I liked The Phantom Tollbooth a LOT as a kid.

See all lists mentioning this game


The following polls include votes for Shuffling Around:

Games with a limerick (or more) in them by Andrew Schultz
They may be all over the place Or just one, but it's hard to trace Well-known or obscure Games? Each, my joy's pure You've helped to boost this knowledge base. Any limerick can be in the game. Maybe in its blurb. The bar is low here as...

IF of yours you'd most recommend by blue/green
If someone were going to play one IF you've written, which one would you recommend? This can be based on any criteria you choose: personal favorite, highest rated, most representative, most accessible, whatever. (You can always change...

For Your Consideration: Games from 2012 that should be nominated for the XYZZY Awards by Molly
There were a lot of great games released in the past year, and now that the XYZZYs are coming up, it seems like a very good idea to take a poll of all the games from last year people would like to see nominated. The management has asked...

See all polls with votes for this game

This is version 11 of this page, edited by Keltena on 10 February 2024 at 5:11pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item - Delete This Page