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Scribe
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Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 300
Location: Brighton, UK

Number String Analyses

Out of curiosity, I've done a little bit of analysis on them number strings, which you can see here on the Wiki.

I think the most interesting part is the last part, the sideways "plot" of how many of each string length there are in total - i.e. how many strings of length 2 digits, how many of 3, how many of 4, etc.

It seems to follow some vague idea of a "normal" curve, for those with some basic stats. In other words, there are way more medium-length strings than there are short or long ones. Furthermore, the "peak" is right in the middle, at 11-12 digits long (which is half 23, the maximum length). One might expect to get the same kind of curve if, say, rolling more than one dice and adding up the dots.

One oddity, though, is the large dip in the number of 12-digit strings. I find this quite weird, as if something is actively discouraging strings of this length.

What does all this mean, though? It could mean many things, but it may also help to discard some ideas. For one thing, I'm now no longer convinced (was I before?) that these represent paths (although I haven't given up on the idea totally).

Will think about it some more, anyway.

Posted: Thu Nov 16, 2006 8:54 am
Boot

Joined: 31 Aug 2006
Posts: 38

CT showed us how the first one was solved, using the puzzle on the card and the answers to it as a means to hide his own little message. So, we need to do the same with Persian. I put together the full names since CT seems to like completeness.

*warning* If you have not solved "Persian", this will spoil it completely!!!
 Spoiler (Rollover to View): August Dvorak, William Learned Dealey, Christopher Latham Sholes

My google-fu is not the greatest, and it took forever to confirm the middle name of the second guy. I have found nothing that indicates the first man even HAS a middle name.
So, any ideas how to use this?

Posted: Thu Nov 16, 2006 5:41 pm
rose
...and then Magic happens

Joined: 26 Nov 2003
Posts: 4104

number strings and shapes
the strings indicate territories

I have a theory about the number strings and this seems as good a thread as any to post it. (I think we are going to try to reorganize all the META puzzle stuff into a central location, if not another sub-forum.)

Anyway -

I think that each of the number strings refers to a specific territory in Risk. I think the first number is the player who started out with that territory and the final number is the player who ended up with the territory. I think the numbers in between are the players who held it, and the .5 refers to a tie or to the territory being unoccupied? A second theory is that the numbers refers to the number of armies positioned on that territory throughout the game but that doesn't seem as likely, again the .5 would indicate a tie or unoccupied?

Maybe we need to play through the game and figure out which territory each could be?

One more thing - the numbers are essential because a player can only move through territories he or she controls. For example: if a territory goes from 1 to 3 to 3 to 4 -we know that player 1 lost that territory to player 3, player 3 was able to move through that territory until it was taken by player 4.

Just to note two things: I realize that the idea of the first and last number referring to the player that holds the territory isn't an original idea. Second, as a very casual Risk player even I know that this must be an unusual game where each of the four players end up controlling one entire continent (or more than one) It must be extremely rare to have a Risk game end up in the pattern that this one has. I wonder if there are references on Risk like there are in Chess, how does a board start and what moves are required to end up with a Risk board that looks like this one does.

Also-could the shapes on the board indicate risk territories or portions thereof? I looked at them and they didn't seem to match up but I could be wrong.
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Posted: Fri Nov 17, 2006 9:32 am
rose
...and then Magic happens

Joined: 26 Nov 2003
Posts: 4104

I should have added that I am going with the idea proposed in the wiki that the each of continents ends up solely in the control of one player and that the African, South American and Australian continents are all controlled by one player -so

Player 1 = South America, Africa and Australia

Player 2 = North America

Player 3 = Europe

Player 4 = Asia

This makes sense to me as that is a logical point to end the "game."

As my hypothesis is that the middle numbers are the "history" of each territory, showing which player controls them and is able to move through them at a given time, I am working back to the beginning number which shows the player that first held the territory at the beginning of the game. There must be a more efficient way to do this right now I am working with logical guesses, trial and error. I also think the .5 indicates that a player has moved out of the territory or that the territory is not occupied.

This should allow us to identify which territory each number string belongs with. And, that should get is somewhere closer to an answer, who knows maybe the pattern will make a giant X marking the spot on the Risk board.
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Posted: Fri Nov 17, 2006 1:06 pm
Scribe
Unfettered

Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 300
Location: Brighton, UK

IMHO, the linking of Risk to the Numbers isn't conclusive (although I'm not trying to deter anyone from investigating further . My main reasons behind this are:

1. It just seems too .. complicated. "Keep it simple", said CT.
2. After the "five fingers" message, I'm tempted to split all the different puzzles up. I guess, though, that there could be some "lead on" between puzzles, e.g. the numbers identify a realm using some risk-style approach, while the risk battles then narrow it down to a particular region...

But, as with most things, I'll probably be proved wrong..

Posted: Fri Nov 17, 2006 4:03 pm
rose
...and then Magic happens

Joined: 26 Nov 2003
Posts: 4104

I started not linking the numbers to Risk but a few things convinced me to try this:

1. The first card that has the numbers strings has the dice and the image of the risk army right next to the numbers.

2. The few cards that have risk pieces and dice seem to possibly be showing examples of Risk battles to get us on the right path. They don't seem to be leading anywhere, we can guess things about the number of armies involved in the battles but that is about it.

3.(a) The distribution of the final number in the string ( which I think represents which player holds that territory at the end) correlates perfectly with the number of Risk territories in a given continent.

(b) The distribution of the first number in the string (which I think represents which player starts begins the game with that territory) correlates perfectly with the number of Risk territories held by the four players at the beginning of a game.

(c) The total number of number strings on all the cards = the number of Risk territories. So that we have one number string per territory.

4. My hypothesis is the only one I can think of that explains the middle of the number strings, why they vary in length (some territories are more contested or traveled through than others) and why the numbers range from .5 and then 1, 2, 3 and 4 - the same as the number of the players.

EDIT TO ADD - I am now almost convinced that the .5 means an attack that was withdrawn by the attacker. If you look at the numbers as the history of the territory an attack that was withdrawn must be accounted for even though the player holding the territory doesn't change.

5. I don't think this is too complicated. It doesn't seem more complicated than a silver card to me. I think that looking at the strings as the "history" of the territories in the game simplifies things enormously. If only I knew how to program this to sort it out, I think it would be possible to get a computer to solve it.

I have resisted linking the numbers to Risk. I have looked at them pretty carefully and nothing else comes to mind.

Against my hypothesis:
1. It doesn't yet explain why the number strings are paired, I am thinking these may be adjoining territories.

2. No proof that these puzzles are linked.

I am definitely splitting up the different puzzles, the playing card symbols seem completely unrelated ( although the crossover of the joker with the card that had the five fingered plan on it is intriguing), as do the letters (the one that we solved), the shapes and the stones too. I think it is possible we are still not seeing some stuff from the cards.
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Posted: Fri Nov 17, 2006 5:26 pm
rose
...and then Magic happens

Joined: 26 Nov 2003
Posts: 4104

As time has elapsed since my last post, I didn't know whether I should edit it or post a new one.

Here is what I have so far:

1. I'm still good with the .5 relating to withdrawn attacks. I have checked all the numbers so far and it is working, also I have asked a number of expert Risk players (funny the people you get to make connections with after you have played ARGS and become acquainted with game designers.) and they can't come up with a better or alternative explanation of the .5 in the context of Risk.

2. It is fairly easy to identify the main territories of conflict, as those are the ones in a typical Risk game. These are the territories that connect the continents and it is necessary for certain players to control them at different points in the game to get the armies to move to their proper locations. It is also easy to see how the #1 player expanded once he captured Australia as that is a fairly routine Risk strategy.

3. If I can't get much farther with this, the Risk players at the local game shop store are willing to play this backwards so yay! Maybe we will have an answer before the group chat.

Also, my son is a great Risk player. We have had a great time working on this puzzle while taking boring train rides to visit a colleges. So even if I am completely wrong, this has still been one of the most fun ARG puzzles I've worked on solving.
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Posted: Sun Nov 19, 2006 11:48 am
Scribe
Unfettered

Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 300
Location: Brighton, UK

 rose wrote: 1. The first card that has the numbers strings has the dice and the image of the risk army right next to the numbers.

According to the wiki page, card 029 (Puzzle Monsters) is the first card with numbers on... Still, I know what you mean about the numbers on 040 being right next to the Risk stuff. It might also be significant that the Risk stuff on this card is the last of the three battles, IMHO.

 rose wrote: 2. The few cards that have risk pieces and dice seem to possibly be showing examples of Risk battles to get us on the right path. They don't seem to be leading anywhere, we can guess things about the number of armies involved in the battles but that is about it.

The problem here, I find, is that CT seems to have only had access to a limited number of cards, and so it's possible that the puzzles "overlap" in terms of which cards they appear on. For instance, most of the numbered cards also have shapes on, but not all. If not, then they generally have Risk stuff, or hidden stuff (as in Going Dotty).

Only 2 cards, AFAIK, only have numbers on - 'Ecliptic' (which has a funny cube on it...?) and 'Swarms'.

Still, will be very interested to see what the Risk experts come up with.

Posted: Mon Nov 20, 2006 10:42 am
rose
...and then Magic happens

Joined: 26 Nov 2003
Posts: 4104

Ah I mispoke - thanks Scribe. I meant the first card in numberical order that had the risk pieces and the numbers together. I also think the only way that series works as a battle is if the dice and pieces on card 040 represent the last battle.

I'm strictly focusing on the number strings to identify which territories they go with. I think there are more steps in solving this, but I think that is the first one to do.

I also am convinced that this is a puzzle to solve because of the way the continents are held at the end of the game. It is as if the puzzle is asking: What starting positions of the four players can result in this final configuration?
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Posted: Mon Nov 20, 2006 2:27 pm
????
Guest

perhaps GPS?

Posted: Mon Nov 20, 2006 5:58 pm
Datango
Decorated

Joined: 30 Jul 2006
Posts: 180

 ???? wrote: perhaps GPS?

Hmm - Unlikely I think

Posted: Tue Nov 21, 2006 4:36 am
echidna
Decorated

Joined: 28 Jan 2006
Posts: 288
Location: Notts, UK

There seem to be numerous problems with the idea of these strings representing an entire game of Risk - how do we work out the starting positions, how do the Risk figures and dice relate, what information will the game give us anyway, etc? So what if, rather than showing the game being played, these numbers give us the initial layout of the board?

There are 42 territories in Risk and we have 42 number strings. We've already established that the first numbers in each string probably relate to Players 1, 2, 3 and 4. What if the middle section gives us the territory (admittedly I don't know how yet - still working on that) and the last number gives us the number of units in that territory?

If this works we would have the initial layout to start the game. We could then take the Risk figures and Dice rolls from cards #040, #058 and #060 as the first moves of the game. From this we might be able to deduce which specific territory is being fought over. Do any seasoned Risk players out there think there's any mileage in this idea?
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Posted: Mon Nov 27, 2006 8:09 pm
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