With the Mission: Unlock Enoch World Finals having concluded, we wanted to share a little bit of information on how the DxM Wildcard puzzles were constructed.
This post will give you some insight into how these puzzles work, and into puzzle design more generally.
Even though the World Finals are over, the puzzles are still active, and so if you want to give them a shot please do so before continuing reading, otherwise the puzzles will be spoiled!
We wanted the initial puzzle to be a soft and not too hard start, to capture player’s attention and encourage them to continue on in the challenges. Frustrating players early is a great way to lose a large part of your potential audience, leaving behind only the most dedicated of puzzlers.
To solve the first puzzle, players only have to decode the message at the end of the trailer. It is a simple substitution, with symbols standing-in for letters.
After the first puzzle, the difficulty increases steadily. This puzzle is in two parts, as the player has to find the encrypted message at the bottom of the letter, and then decode it using the answers from the previous puzzle.
The best way to decrypt the puzzle is to start by inserting the known letters into the message, and focus on the short words first. There are fewer potential answers for shorter words, which makes finding the correct word easier.
This puzzle in particular was made easier by giving vowels as the known letters. The puzzle would be much harder if the known letters were common consonants.
This puzzle breaks from the previous two by not relying on any previous information. Deviating from your player’s expectations is a reliable way to make puzzles slightly harder. There are two steps to solving this puzzle. First, players must find the missing numbers, and then they must figure-out the proper sequence for the missing numbers.
Each grid follows a different rule for generating its numerical sequences. In two grids the sequences are across the rows, and in the other two the sequences go down the columns.
Grid 1: Go down each column. First subtract 2, and then 3, and then 4.
Grid 2: Go across each row. First multiply by 2, then subtract 2, and then multiply by 2.
Grid 3: Go across each row. First add 3, then divide by 2, and then add 7.
Grid 4: Go down each column. First divide by 2, then add 3, and then add 4.
Once the player has found the four missing numbers, they then have to place them in the proper order. Each background image is taken from the movie poster, which is available at the website located in the hint. Moving from left-to-right and top-to-bottom the player must figure-out the order in which the images were taken from the poster.
It is possible to skip the second step by brute-forcing it. Once the player has found the four numbers they could simply enter them in every possible sequence—there are 24 in total, which is not unreasonable. But it is still time consuming and most players will prefer to find the correct solution, because the search for the solution is a big part of the fun.
Puzzle 4 is a series of anagrams based on the subtitles in the video. There are five different anagrams, each comprised of letters of a different color. The player must write down all the colored letters and then group them by color to solve it. Part of the challenge in this puzzle is realizing just what the puzzle is.
This last puzzle is also in two steps. The first step challenges player’s visual thinking and pattern recognition skills. In this step, players must figure out the logic of the grid and determine which of the six Greek letters goes in each of the empty spaces. There are several patterns repeated throughout the grid. Every letter but one has a definite relation to one or two other letters, and those patterns repeat. For example, every Omega ? has a Sigma ? one square to the left and a Beta ? one square below. Mu µ is a generic symbol that fills in all of the other squares.
The second half of the puzzle uses the embedded song. Each of the numbers below the grid refer to a number of seconds into the song. At each of these times a word is sung. The player must put these words in order, based on the order in which the symbols go into the grid.
This puzzle was supported by MindGamers Movie. Get your hands on it here!