Thaumistry: In Charm's Way

A New Text Adventure Game from Bob Bates

Breaking News!

For those of you anticipating a July release of Thaumistry, I'm afraid the game will be delayed.
I broke my right hand.
To be specific, I fractured the shaft of the fifth metatarsal. I wish there were a great story behind the injury -- I'd like to say I had a mountain-climbing accident, or that I got into a bar fight -- but the truth is that I tripped and fell against a wall.
This has meant that for the past few weeks I haven't been able to type, which means I haven't been able to code.

I was hoping that the injury would not delay the release of the game past the promised July delivery date -- I wanted to be that rare Kickstarter game that actually came out on time. But sadly that is not going to happen. The game will be delayed by the 4-6 weeks it is taking me to recover.
The doctor did leave a few fingers free, but it turns out the splint on the last 2 fingers is so long that it hits the keyboard before my other fingers can reach it! I have been able to make *some* progress by holding a pencil in my splinted hand and poking at the keyboard, but as you can imagine, this is somewhat less than speedy.
I'm sorry for the delay, and I'll let everyone know a revised ship date as soon as I can.


I am delighted at the success of the Kickstarter campaign, but we still have stretch goals to strive for. I especially would love to see us fund the mobile versions so people can “Play Anywhere.” You can still sign up to get the game and other fun stuff by supporting us by clicking one of the options on the "Get the Game" page on this website!

Thank you for your support!


Thaumistry: In Charm's Way is an all-new comedy text adventure from award-winning Infocom and Legend Entertainment author Bob Bates coming to a PC near you in July 2017!

The game was announced in January 2017 in
this interview with Bob on and was successfully funded on Kickstarter in February!

This is the promotional video for the Kickstarter campaign (now closed)!

The Game Story

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Thaum: (noun). A unit of magical energy
Bodge: (verb). To hack or kludge

Eric Knight was a child prodigy who was featured on the cover of Invent! Magazine at the age of 13 for his invention of an anti-stain chemical treatment.

Unfortunately, he hasn’t invented anything since and now, at the age of 23, he has a strong case of imposter syndrome. He feels like a failure.

For the past few years he has been given laboratory space in a start-up incubator, but as the game opens, he is holding a letter from IncuLab threatening to pull the plug if he cannot demonstrate within a day that his latest invention works.

As he thinks this over, an energetic stranger bursts into his lab and says, “I’m your wake-up call, dude. You feel like you don't quite fit in, right? Weird things happen when you're around? Traffic lights turn red just as you get to them. Elevator doors don't close when you push the button. Your alarm clock randomly fails in the morning. There's a name for people like that. We're called Bodgers. I'm one, and you might be one too.”

Eric soon learns that Bodgers are a group of people through whom magic flows into the world. Some Bodgers aren’t aware of this ability, and they come to regard themselves as accident-prone, jinxes, or jonahs. But Bodgers who realize their identity can learn to channel this mischievous magic. The aim of a Bodger is to make a small thing go wrong in order to make big things go right.

Is Eric himself a Bodger? Through the course of the game he tries to find out. But first there is an imminent danger that must be dealt with. Another inventor has created a thaumeter – a device that measures magical energy. Its unveiling is planned for the end of day, and if that happens then the existence of the Bodgers will be exposed, and mass persecution will follow.

Why a Text Adventure?

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Bob Says: Years ago, I wrote text adventure games for Infocom.

Then I wrote text-and-graphic adventures for Legend Entertainment.

And then, sadly, the genre lost its commercial potential and I had to move on to making different kinds of games for a living. But I was always looking back over my shoulder to the games that used only words to fire players’ imaginations, games where the person playing the game felt an intimate connection with the person who designed it.

Something was lost when our industry moved away from parser-driven games. Players lost the feeling they could try anything they could think of. Games became more claustrophobic. And players especially lost the feeling they were playing with the author who wrote the game.

With this game, I hope to restore that intimate connection. I hope that each player feels they are playing with me. That we can have a conversation. That we can have fun together.

By the end of alpha testing last year, I knew the game will be up to the standards of a classic adventure game. It is a full-size, comedic, puzzle-driven text adventure of the sort we would have been proud to publish at either Infocom or Legend.

But I don't think of this as a return to the old days. The game has a modern setting and a modern feel. Imagine if you could talk to a game and it could talk back. That's the future, and it begins here!


(Click to enlarge)

Game Status

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The game finished alpha testing last May. Twenty people played through and sent in their transcripts. The puzzles, locations, and characters are complete.

The game will go through a final round of beta testing in the spring.

Publication is scheduled for July, 2017.

About Bob Bates

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Bob Bates began his game writing career at Infocom in 1986. Since then he has written, designed, produced, or contributed to more than 45 games that have sold over 6 million units and won over 70 industry awards, including two Adventure Game of the Year Awards. He has worked on #1 titles for both the PC (Unreal2) and for consoles (Spider-man3), as well as several Top 5 games on Facebook (including FrontierVille and Empires & Allies).

In 1989 he co-founded Legend Entertainment, where he was a designer and co-studio head until it closed in 2004. After several years as an independent consultant, he became Zynga’s Chief Creative Officer for External Studios and later served as Zynga’s first Design Fellow. He has since returned to consulting and independent game development.

A frequent speaker at industry conferences and events, Bob has twice been Chairman of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), and he is the co-founder of the Game Designers Workshop, an annual conference of storytelling game designers. He is the author of the bestselling book:
Game Design: The Art and Business of Creating Games, which is used as a textbook by several colleges and universities. He is on the Advisory Boards of the George Mason University Undergraduate Game Degree Program, and of Project Horseshoe, a game-design think tank.

Bob is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the IGDA, was selected as the IGDA’s 2010 Person of the Year.

You can learn more about Bob and his previous games on his personal website: