Encrypted message on a Spartan scytale

A secret message is written on a paper strip and it is revealed once it is wrapped around a baton.
Does it require an electronic device? No
  • For this riddle we will need a paper strip and a stick. Wrap the strip around the stck and write the message on it. Once you unwrap it you will see that the letters will change position and will not make sense. Also, if you wrap the strip around a stick of different diameter the letters will not form the desired message. Therefore, you should always use a stick with specific diameter. The stick is called “scytale” and performs a transposition cipher. This method was used to encrypt messages in ancient Sparta from the 5th century B.C.. Only the receiver who had a stick with the same diameter as the sender’s stick could read the message.

For the escape room, one riddle could be to find the paper strip and then to discover the matching stick. To make it even more complicated you could add more sticks in different diameters. The players will try to find out which one is the correct. In that way they will experience the magic of cryptography.

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