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JonnyRotten
Icarian Member

 Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 7:32 pm    Post subject: 1 I am currently making my newest child a set of blocks to play with. There will be 7 smaller colored blocks, 6 each a different color, and one of them with each face a color matching those six. Then there will be another set of 6 larger blocks matching the smaller ones, minus the multi-colored block. I have just finished painting them, and now I am ready to begin carving the faces of them. What I would like to do, is use the faces to create some kind of puzzle that will reveal a message, but will be hard to figure out. I want to reveal it to my daughter years from now, so that she will not (unless she figures it out) have known that they were more then random letters she had been playing with. I don't know if things like this are permitted here, but this seems to be a very active forum for puzzle enthusiests, so I thought I would try posting it and see if anyone had any ideas. I hope to become a more active member of the forum after this, as I do enjoy puzzles as well. Anyway, any ideas or suggestions are welcome. thank you for your time!
Zag
Unintentionally offensive old coot

 Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 8:08 pm    Post subject: 2 Oh, you've come to the right place, though one of the mods might move this discussion to the Off-Topic forum. You'll get lots of good ideas, here. What is the purpose of the color scheme? Do you plan to put letters on all six sides of every block? Is your daughter's name six letters long? Better still would be if her first and middle (or first and last) names were six letters long. Then my suggestion would be something like: Put her first name on the six smaller blocks, one on each block. When those are laid out with her name showing forward, then the letters on top spell out SEARCH. Similarly put the middle or last name on the larger set, and when those are laid out with the name showing forward, then the letters on top spell ELZZUP. If, say, there isn't a good second name to use that is six letters, then putting the large blocks so that they say "SEARCH" facing forward, then the tops spell out PUZZLE. (Not reversed, since one new trick per word is plenty.) You might then make it so that other family names (or places, or whatever) make other words. Then you might encode a different word on the bottoms, perhaps using a simple code of some sort. For instance, CAESAR is also, conveniently, six letters long, so one family name leads to that, but then spelling it on the other blocks seems to lead to jibberish, until you realize that it is Caesar-encoded. If she ever notices that (for example), Aunt Marion's name, when put into the smaller blocks, produces CAESAR, but then it doesn't lead anywhere, you just smile knowingly and buy her a beginning book on codes the next day. It wouldn't be too hard to work 8 or so different tricks into your set of blocks, getting progressively harder. Starting at age 4 or 5, you could make it a birthday ritual that you review all the words you've found so far and then help her find the next one. I'll bet that by the time she is 9 or 10, she will think to ask if that is the last one, and you can just smile enigmatically. You have to plan to be done by the time she is 13, though, because I know from experience that this is the age when Dad becomes a complete moron, and he doesn't recover his intelligence until she is 20 or so. If you tell us some relevant starting words, especially those with six letters, then we could start to think about combinations. Make sure you pick things that are enduring -- i.e. the city you live in now is not necessarily useful (if you've moved since she was born), but the city she was born in is. Good luck! This is a great idea -- a future family heirloom. I'm sure you'll get some good ideas here.
LordKinbote
Daedalian Member

 Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 8:41 pm    Post subject: 3 The first thing I thought of might be too easy. Each letter on the multicolored block matches a letter on the corresponding colored block. When those letters are placed on the ground, the letters on top read a message (ordered by the multicolored blocks letters somehow...alphabetically, or by some word that they spell). If you want to make it fairly difficult, then you could repeat with the larger blocks, and then the true message is gotten by finding the letter exactly in between the corresponding big block and little block's letters. Example: The yellow side of the multicolored block has an R. Find the R on the little and big yellow block and place them down on the ground. The little block has a B facing up, and the big block has an L. The letter exactly in the middle of B and L is G, which would be the first letter of your message. Cluing, of course, is hard, but you could always have the letter closer to the front of the alphabet on the little block, and the letter further away on the bigger one, so the solver sees some kind of pattern. I would say the keyword you could use for the multicolored block might be MIDDLE, but the two Ds make it hard to create an ordering scheme.
JonnyRotten
Icarian Member

 Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 9:59 pm    Post subject: 4 Here is a link to a picture of the blocks. I was a bit off about the quantity. There are actually 7 colors, All except for green are represented on the small multicolor block. But my wife wants me to make another small one with all except for Black. So.. Just some more fuel for thought.
LordKinbote
Daedalian Member

Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 10:02 pm    Post subject: 5

 JonnyRotten wrote: Here is a link to a picture of the blocks. I was a bit off about the quantity. There are actually 7 colors, All except for green are represented on the small multicolor block. But my wife wants me to make another small one with all except for Black. So.. Just some more fuel for thought.

The number of blocks affects everything. For example, without alterations, my idea won't work.
JonnyRotten
Icarian Member

Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 10:27 pm    Post subject: 6

 LordKinbote wrote: The number of blocks affects everything. For example, without alterations, my idea won't work.

Yeah, that is what I figured, so thats why I updated as soon as I got home and saw I was wrong about the number.
But I can easily not use the green block, or add blocks if someones idea needed more blocks.
LordKinbote
Daedalian Member

Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 11:19 pm    Post subject: 7

JonnyRotten wrote:
 LordKinbote wrote: The number of blocks affects everything. For example, without alterations, my idea won't work.

Yeah, that is what I figured, so thats why I updated as soon as I got home and saw I was wrong about the number.
But I can easily not use the green block, or add blocks if someones idea needed more blocks.

Oh, ok, because I have another idea, but it would require several hundred more blocks, spread across the country.

JonnyRotten
Icarian Member

Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 11:41 pm    Post subject: 8

 LordKinbote wrote: Oh, ok, because I have another idea, but it would require several hundred more blocks, spread across the country.

While I am sure this would be totally awesome, I don't know how will I remember it until she is old enough to do it.. lol
Courk
Daedalian Member

 Posted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 5:43 am    Post subject: 9 I have no real idea, but if each set of block faces was part of a picture with letters over it, that could add another layer.
Jack_Ian
Big Endian

 Posted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 11:12 am    Post subject: 10 I've had many hours of fun playing with such blocks, trying to spell things with limited resources, so I thought the following might help with ideas. Remember that some letters can have more than one function, just by rotating them, e.g. N=Z, H=I, M=W. Also, The writing does not need to appear just on the top, it can snake around the blocks once they are in a certain configuration. The choice of 7 blocks makes things a little more difficult since there is no "obvious" arrangement that springs to mind (other than perhaps a 3D representation of a HyperCube). Is there any chance of adding a violet block? That way the colours of the rainbow can come into play and 8 blocks are easier to arrange. One other question. What are the relative sizes of the blocks? How many smaller blocks would there need to be in a row so that they exactly the length of a row of larger blocks? One of the things I liked to do was find words that could be transformed into other words by transforming the blocks in some way, eg. roll left 1, roll up 2. Perhaps your message could be hidden in this way, where the transformation is performed after getting the blocks in some configuration. Anyway, it's a nice idea do to this, especially for a father/daughter. Daughters tend to grow apart from their fathers as they reach puberty only to return near adulthood. It would be nice to have some message that says you anticipated this and that even though there are now difficulties you still love her and that you are always there for her. It might be a good idea for you to remember that too.
JonnyRotten
Icarian Member

 Posted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 12:40 pm    Post subject: 11 so here is a little more detail that may help, and to answer some of your questions. The smaller blocks are 1inch square. The large ones are 1 1/4th inch square. Currently there are only the blocks in the pictures I linked to. 8 smaller ones (including the one multi-color), and seven larger ones. I would be more then willing to add more if needed. One thought I had was use it as a simple replacement cipher, combined with perhaps a box to hold them. The box would have a message across the top (each letter painted with the color of the matching key block), and if the blocks were placed with the matching colored block letter facing down, the message would be revealed. Another I was thinking, was to use the multi-colored block (may have to make several more) as a key somehow, but I am not sure on that yet. Perhaps carve very small symbols into different sides that would need matched up.
JonnyRotten
Icarian Member

 Posted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 4:11 pm    Post subject: 12 To answer a couple other quick questions. What is the purpose of the color scheme? None really, I was just picking out colors I thought would catch a childs eye. Do you plan to put letters on all six sides of every block? That was my initial plan, but its not necessary if a puzzle design required them to not all have letters on them. Is your daughter's name six letters long? If you tell us some relevant starting words, especially those with six letters, then we could start to think about combinations. Her name is (Kaylee) other relevant names are Jacob Jon Anna Jamie
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