Ship to Ship Communication





GC Notes:

GC to update day-of-game.


The subjects have a flagpole with 8 nails to hang things but don't have the flags yet and a screen displaying the figure below. There is a desk with a single staff shared between the teams with 5 naval signal flags taped to the front of the desk. The message is "FLAGS". The staff at the desk requires a passcode to interact with the team (explained below).


This is the initial screen shown to subjects. To read the message, consider each cell (2 to 4 rectangles), from top to bottom it is dots and dashes, or morse code. Read the cells from top to bottom and then left to right. (translated message below)


a s

s c o d

e s a v v y

Which reads as "PasscodeSavvy". This is the necessary passcode to interact with the staff at the desk.

The subjects should go to the desk and use the password "Savvy" upon saying the correct passcode the staff will hand the teams a pack of naval semphore flags.

The flags the subjects acquire should be put on the flagpole.

The flagpole has 8 nails for flags. Whe the teams put up a flags they should get a response like the one below (this is for the configuration "A_B_C_D_", '_' == they fly a blank in every other nail)


When you start putting up flags, what you are doing is coloring the individual rectangles inside the cells. The cell groupings are no longer relevant to this process. Each of the eight slots corresponds to five of the rectangles:

Red groups correspond to blank flags. These are never right.

When you put up a flag, you cause that group to be colored. The coloring is based on the 5-bit representation of the letter of the flag you put up; blue bits are 1s, and black bits are 0s (for now, the lengths are irrelevant). In a mean twist, however, each letter has been assigned a different numerical value (basically, a substitution cipher), based on the chart below. As a concrete example, group 1 above is an A, which maps to a 3. The two blue bits on the bottom are 1s, and the three black bits are 0s, which yields 00011, which is 3. Similarly, for group 3, you have 01000, which is 8.

This is the map from letters to the code they should get.

[0,A] 3 intBlack black black blue blue
[1,B] 8 intBlack blue black black black
[2,C] 30 intBlue blue blue blue black
[3,D] 2 intBlack black black blue black
[4,E] 23 intBlue black blue blue blue
[5,F] 16 intBlue black black black black
[6,G] 19 intBlue black black blue blue
[7,H] 5 intBlack black blue black blue
[8,I] 31 intBlue blue blue blue blue
[9,J] 29 intBlue blue blue black blue
[10,K] 10 intBlack blue black blue black
[11,L] 9 intBlack blue black black blue
[12,M] 28 intBlue blue blue black black
[13,N] 26 intBlue blue black blue black
[14,O] 7 intBlack black blue blue blue
[15,P] 25 intBlue blue black black blue
[16,Q] 24 intBlue blue black black black
[17,R] 27 intBlue blue black blue blue
[18,S] 4 intBlack black blue black black
[19,T] 6 intBlack black blue blue black
[20,U] 15 intBlack blue blue blue blue
[21,V] 22 intBlue black blue blue black
[22,W] 21 intBlue black blue black blue
[23,X] 20 intBlue black blue black black
[24,Y] 18 intBlue black black blue black
[25,Z] 17 intBlue black black black blue

If you order this mapping by the numbers, then read the letters, you should get the clue " dashtoblk ufzygxwveqpnrmjci" This clue is meant to tell them the overall goal, which is to make it so that all of the long rectangles are black and the short rectangles are blue. The cell borders help to reinforce intermediate progress - a cell border is red when anything in that cell is wrong, and turns green when that cell is fully correct.

They then have to figure in which letters will cause the desired coloring, which is the answer - "GUNFIRES".

This looks like this:


Once they get the flags, encourage experimentation. If they just put up one set of flags and try to "solve" it, they won't make any progress.

The green border is easy to miss- finding it makes it clear the goal is to make all the boxes green. Ask the teams if any of the boxes look different.


Include links to files on the Sharepoint, and any other intermediate data.

There is a web instance at :, if for some reason you want to see exactly what the teams see, go type in what they have flying on their flag pole at and view their screen at

Staff Guide