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Codes

Turning Grille 

This edition we are looking at another type of grille, following on from our earlier article on the grilles developed by Richelieu and Cardano. Our variant this time was made by an Austrian cavalry officer back in 1880: Edouard Fleissner von Wostrowitz. Fortunately for us, this one has become known more simply as the 'turning grille'. Why? Get your paper…
Catherine Salatandol
15 November 2023
Codes

Rail Cipher

At first this might seem a simple cipher, but taramnntigsiteogetidohniltl (14/13). Our rail fence system is one of the earliest methods of transposition, based on placing letters in a series of levels, or, imagining that they have been written up and down the rails on a fence. Let's have a look at a few quotes from this guy as examples…
Catherine Salatandol
1 November 2023
Codes

Polybius Square

Who's This Square? Old mate Polybius was a Greek born about 200BC, but the method he made famous has influenced more sophisticated systems to this day. Originally, old mate Polybius had intended this code to be used in conveying messages long distance by moving a flaming torch up and down in sequence, with the message passed from tower to distant…
Catherine Salatandol
15 October 2023
Codes

Bacon Code

Our next project is the Bacon Code. It's an older code, but it definitely still checks out. This episode's man with the plan is philosopher, statesman and "father of empiricism", Sir Francis Bacon. While most of our ciphers and codes (Morse, Pigpen, etc) are fairly secure, they are pretty obvious as being secret messages. Steganography seeks to hide the fact…
Catherine Salatandol
1 October 2023
Mary Queen Of ScotsCodes

Mary Queen of Scots Cipher

We're back to a substitution cipher in this edition, but one with a special twist. All my 1990s Microsoft Word users might see echoes of the Wingdings font (which isn't a bad place to start if you want inspiration for your own symbol creation), but this one goes back a lot further than that. The cipher system we are looking…
Grille CipherCodes

Grille Ciphers

Grille A grille, also known as a cutout, is a great way to hide your message away in text that you know will be seen no matter what. We aren't going to try and hide this text, only our intended message. Prepare for arts and crafty codes! Our old French mate Cardinal Richelieu, is credited with coming up with method…
Codes

Dot Ciphers

Here's a code that will put a spot of colour into your Escape Room experience! The Colour Dot cipher is a way to substitute letters of the alphabet for splashes of colour, via numbers used in easy sums that are then swapped out. It might not be a code that you have encountered before, but it is definitely one that…
Semaphore CipherCodes

Semaphore Cipher

You may not have heard of a semaphore before, but it is most often recognised in fields where technicians and workers communicate with flags (such as in the navy). Now, you might be wondering, how can this type of system make its way into games, puzzles and escape rooms? Well here’s a surprise: It’s not limited to flags! Everything from…
Julia Billyard
1 May 2021
Combination CiphersCodes

Combination Ciphers

For code makers and puzzle designers, sometimes it is not enough to use a single cipher. This isn’t even because today’s technologies can easily spot what kind of cipher is being used at any given time. It is also because many individual ciphers are so well-known and recognisable that even the average escape room player can instantly identify them. (You…
Julia Billyard
18 February 2021
CiphersCodes

Symbol-Based Ciphers

For a lot of casual code breaking enthusiasts, most ciphers are pretty recognisable. They often still use letters and a particular format (such as letter substitution). In fact, even something like a pigpen cipher can be easily identified once you know how the basic corners, squares and dots of its messages are actually made. But today, there are plenty of…
Julia Billyard
12 November 2020
Caeser CipherCodes

Caesar Ciphers

Last time, we discussed one of the most classic ciphers that are found in many escape room games. But in this month’s installment, we’ll be covering a cipher that has literally been with us since ancient times. The Caesar Cipher The Emperor’s Biggest Secret As the name implies, the Caesar cipher was famously used by Julius Caesar during his military…
Julia Billyard
7 September 2020
Book CipherCodes

Book Ciphers

One of the most exciting elements about an escape room experience is that it introduces people to the world of cryptography. After all, solving an escape room challenge is more than just about finding clues and hidden switches. Ciphers and secret codes also play major, if not pivotal, roles! In fact, whether you’ve encountered them in live escape rooms or…
Julia Billyard
9 August 2020
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