Illumine Game Recap
Clue 3 Solution: Glass Identification
How the Clue Works
The first step was to read across the first two lines of the grid of letters which told teams that they needed to find the Seaform Pavilion. The Seaform Pavilion is an overhead display of hundreds of works of glass art from Dale Chihuly, and resides on the Bridge of Glass near Union Station.
Once there, the fifteen photos could be clearly recognized as a heavily doctored series of photos of the various panels in the Seaform Pavilion. Additionally, the grid of photos of art was a schematic of the entire Pavilion (which could be recognized by the dimensions of the grid, as well as by the single image of one of the panels, used to orient the grid to the Pavilion).
The next step was to identify each of the doctored photos and to map them onto cells on the Pavilion schematic, taking note of the order in which the photos appeared. This gave teams an ordered list of fifteen pieces of art.
While these pieces of art were not found in the Seaform Pavilion, a little exploration of the Bridge of Glass would lead teams to the Venetian Wall, a little ways down from the Seaform Pavilion, on which there were many pieces of glass art of the form of those pictured on the Pavilion schematic. Not coincidentally, the grid of letters matched the layout of the Venetian Wall, which provided a mapping from each of the pieces of art to a letter.
The Venetian Wall and grid of letters allowed for the last stage of translation - each of the fifteen pieces of art that was identified in order in the Seaform Pavilion step needed to be located on the Venetian Wall and translated to a letter.
Once the two different stages of translation were complete, teams were left with the final message, Library Karpeles. This was shorthand for the Karpeles Manuscript Library.
The design of this clue was pretty well cemented right off the bat when we first visited the Bridge of Glass and brainstormed for ideas. The only real design work that needed to be tweaked with was the difficulty of the transformations that were done on the various images. The original set was substantially easier than the set that we ended up using; our assumption was that the identification would prove much harder than it actually was. The set tha teams received was actually created as a backup "hard set" to bring with us when we playtested this puzzle, so that we could consider possibly inserting a handful of them if the task proved too easy. In the end, obviously, the task was far too easy and we ended up using the entire hard set.
The set of transforms performed were as follows:
One other consideration of this early puzzle was that we needed to make sure that a spread between teams could develop. This was accomplished in two ways. One was to leave the photos unfastened, which rewarded teams that were careful enough to preserve or record the ordering. The other was to make the two mappings work out such that aggressive teams could parallelize the two lookup tasks - one group could work on identifying the photos while the other worked on finding the art on the wall and mapping the Pavilion schematic to letters.
In the end, this clue ran fairly smoothly. As expected, some teams preserved the ordering of the pictures and others didn't, which provided a substantial leg up for those that were careful about this. We were extremely careful and checked multiple times that the photos were properly ordered before distribution, so we strongly believe that teams that thought they received the photos out of order instead didn't pay attention until it was too late and the photos had already been shuffled.