Kieffer Bros. Blog

Learning Colors, Shapes, and More with Color Time

Color Time - Made by Kieffer Bros.Color Time is a game for young learners to play with a parent (or anyone old enough to read). It can help little ones learn colors, shapes, numbers, and letters.

Start by saying the word out loud so they know what to look for, like “Find the color blue”. Don’t be afraid to repeat the answer multiple times. If they pick a wrong option, you can use the opportunity to tell them it’s not right. Then make sure to reiterate the answer they are looking for. Be gentle. Don’t lose your patience or you’ll ruin the fun and spoil the learning experience. Sometimes it’s fun to choose the wrong answer. When your kid gets the right answer, don’t hesitate to celebrate and give them praise. Learning is awesome and the more fun you make it, the more they’ll want to keep learning.

As your child gets better at the game, you can choose to increase the number of questions per round. You can also choose to hide the answers, which can be useful the more your child learns to recognize numbers and letters.

Contact us if you have any feedback. We sincerely want to hear about your experience.

Check out to play.

a screenshot from the game, The Witness, showing a strange sign in a colorful meadow with trees scattered about and a blue sky sprinkled with white clouds.

A Puzzle Game You Should Play—The Witness

Hey everybody, If you are reading this blog it’s probably because you like our games. It behooves me then to tell you that you definitely should check out this game: The Witness.

It’s an indie puzzle game that was seven years in the making. It’s a super simple concept turned into an epic. It’s Blockwick meets Myst. It’s so completely up my alley… I can’t even. It’s basically what we would build for Aqueduct 2 if we had a budget of six million dollars.

Go buy it now (for Mac and PC).

a photo of a frosted glass office door. On the door a sign reads, "Kieffer Bros. Game Studio"

Cryogenic Sleep Mode

a glass wall plasted with concept art sketches
Concept Art Wall from 2011

It has been nearly eight years of making games, and we’ve reached a crossroad. Our search for a sustainable and ethical business model as an indie game studio had it’s up and downs, but never fully blossomed into long-term sustainability.

Making indie games—really any kind of independent creative venture—is hard. Making money from them is harder. Making a decent living is even harder. Lately, we’ve been thinking a lot about the sacrifices that are required to keep our business going, but more importantly, if we were willing to continue making these sacrifices (We’ll try to write more about this in the future).

After months—years really—of contemplating this question, we’ve made a decision to take a step back and stop working on our game studio full time.

We don’t, however, see this as the end of the road. We’d love to keep making games, but for now it has to be a hobby, not what we rely on to feed our families.

a screenshot from the word game, Spell Rift, showing a map with purple mountains floating above a starry sky
Spell Rift - 2011

So, what we are doing is putting our game studio into a sort of cryogenic stasis. You’ll still be able to buy our games, but we won’t be working on anything new. At least full time anyways.

While brain games are super important, there are countless other worthwhile things we’d love to work on that address issues of greater gravity (and projects that not only involve being able to pay rent, but perhaps could consistently afford us health insurance too).

a screenshot from the puzzle game, Blockwick 2, showing an array of purple, blue, and white blocks of varying sizes strewn around the area.
Blockwick 2 - 2014

We are endlessly grateful to everyone who has played our games and made it possible for us to work for all these years. Thank you forever. We hope to one day cook up more brain food for all of you and the hungry masses.

World Peace,

Kieffer Bros.

a screenshot from the puzzle game, Aqueduct, showing a group of pipe blocks starting to create a path from a faucet to a drain, but not fully complete.
Aqueduct - 2010

P.S. If you know of the existence of any mobile game publishers who are interested in premium puzzle games, let us know. We still have a bunch of awesome game projects on the back-burner that we’d love to work on full-time.

P.P.S. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay posted on any new game projects we may release.

Cooperative Blokus

We had a fun time playing Blokus this weekend. The object of the game is to place as many pieces on the board as possible, with all your pieces touching by at least one corner and no sides. Rarely are you able to finish with all of your pieces used up, so the winner is usually the the player with the least amount of pieces left. There were four of us playing, and it ended up being a fairly close game, but it got us all wondering, what if the game were played cooperatively? Could everybody use every single piece? Could everybody win?

The board is 20 × 20 (400 squares) and each player has what amounts to 89 squares. So 89 × 4 = 356 squares. That leaves a difference of 44 squares that will not be used up. So mathematically there is enough area.

400 squares with 356 tiles

The trouble is that the pieces are all unique and unwieldy shapes so you can’t just stack them all up like the diagram. Still, it turns out the answer is yes, everybody can win.

We didn’t use any mathematical formula to work it out, we simply worked off the idea that building a tessellation would be the easiest way to succeed. It was strategy mixed with intuition, trying to place pieces that allowed for as much useful area as possible in the negative spaces, and mirroring every play with each color. Here’s a photo of our finished cooperative game.

A finished game of Blokus with every single piece used up

It actually doesn’t look like much of a pattern, but upon close scrutiny notice every shape that is played has it’s counterpart in every other color played in exactly the same way, but rotated ninety degrees. eg: The blue 1 × 5 piece placed in the bottom right corner has its mirrors in the other corners— green in the top right, red in the top left, and yellow on the bottom left. The symmetry is most visible in the very center of the board.

Technically this end game wouldn’t exactly be a a tessellation, but the underlying idea of symmetry is how we succeeded. Read more about tessellations on Wikipedia. Or, for fun check out the work of M.C. Escher, a master of the tessellation.

a cartoon dog with a brightly glowing star on its body. The dog is holding what appears to be a coil of glowing white rope.

Thinking About Star Hound

We’ve been thinking about Star Hound a lot lately. In case you’re unfamiliar, Star Hound is an endless runner game, that really never made it past alpha phase. We’ve always wanted to add more to the game, but we’ve had too many other projects going on. Here’s some recent fun concept art.

A stylized, colorful, futuristic skyline

Don’t forget you can download the alpha version for free for iOS or for OS X. It’s a little rough around the edges, but it’s still really fun, and (did we mention?) it’s free. Go download Star Hound now, and let us know what you think.

Free for iOS Free for OS X