Planning a puzzle house

In another year or so we're hoping to buy an "investment opportunity" house and, as we're fixing it up, I would LOVE to add a house-wide puzzle leading to a final prize.  Ideally the mystery would start with seemingly decorative scrabble tiles in the guest bathroom and take the players all over the house and garden.  I'd love for it to have three or four tracks that all need to be solved to get to the final prize, that way we can do them in installments (get track 1 up and running, then 2, etc) so friends can start playing sooner rather than later.  I'd also love at least two of the tracks to use only stuff that'll go with the house when sold, like the cabinets, garden rocks, etc, so that the next owners can continue the game.

I've started collecting ideas and would love to hear more.  The only limit is to please keep your ideas doable - while it would be fantastic to, say, have a wall slide away to reveal a secret underground cave I'm not so certain we can dig one of those out in our spare time.  

Inspiration for all this comes mainly from the Myst games (ah, Riven, how I loved thee!) and this puzzle apartment in New York.

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skeplin7 years ago
This is a great idea.

One thing to consider is to have some sort of indicator that the puzzle has been tripped. It would drive me mad to know that I've hidden a puzzle in a house and the owners have not even found it.

One of the steps in the puzzle could be to send a letter to a certain address or post an article in the wanted ads in the paper. Imagine receiving a letter 20 years later that someone has found your puzzle.

The final prize could be a safe-deposit box, or jewelry, or a set of coins. Make it worth their while.
lemonie7 years ago
Sounds like fun, but you wouldn't want to be going into the garden, then up to the bathroom and back just to get into the fridge...

L
kitnrose (author)  lemonie7 years ago
While that would be a terribly fun house in it's own way (and terrible to navigate before coffee!  I'd have to put in a little coffee bar in the bedroom just to be awake enough to get out the front door!) I'm thinking puzzle more like a house-wide mystery.  Like a coded note under a kitchen drawer leads you to a key hidden behind a removable lintel that opens a lock in a rock in the garden that ...

Well, so on and so forth.  :)  Those kinda puzzles.  And there HAS to be a more accurate name for what I'm going for.  Or am I the only one who thinks of doing something like this with their house?
Yes I know what you mean. You could mess with the electrics and plumbing, but you maybe would get tired of it.

L
This is not really an idea, exactly... More of a code that could be hidden in any number of ways:
The Celtic Ogham alphabet consists of a vertical base line with other lines intersecting it, i.e. two horizontal lines to the right of the base is an "L", three to the left is a "T", one diagonally across both sides of the base line is an "M", four horizonally across is an "E", etc.
Coded words could be hidden in decorative iron work, differently colored grout between tiles, disguised as children's "growth marks" inside a closet door, in the branches of a tree motif in a painting, or anywhere else you might find a vertical line with horizontal & diagonal lines intersecting it.
As an added bonus, Ogham is read bottom-to-top, which may provide an additional challenge for those trying to decipher it.
This is such a cute idea!  I think your first thing to figure out is what your end goal will be.  Do you want it to be silly?  Do you want to be a constant reminder of something bigger (e.g., goodness in the world)?  This should be more for you than for guests in my opinion because you will be surrounded by it a whole lot more.  Personally I'd pick things that were positive and soothing such as ideas surrounding this quote:
If you seek my monument, look around you.
-J Sterling Morton, Arbor Day Founder

Once you have a guiding idea/outcome, you can start incorporating appropriate elements from around the home.  If you really like Alice in Wonderland, you can add a door that opens up to another door that opens up to another door, etc. between the studs in a wall.

I can't wait for the Instructable!!
 
trialex7 years ago
AWESOME project.

Trying to come up with ideas...

- a balcony railing with the vertical posts spaced to be a barcode
- bathroom tiles that form a QR code
- a doorbell that plays a morse code pattern

Anyways with enough time I'm sure you could come up with some excellent ideas that would be practical to implement.
kitnrose (author)  trialex7 years ago
 Thank you, those are some great ideas that hadn't occurred to me!  Oooh, how about tiles that spell out a message in braille?  I can't be the only one who's stared at a bathroom floor trying to figure out some pattern in those tiny tiles.