Elements

Alex

Presentation

Team sees a magical vortex (poster board with some fabric on it) with a space that they insert things into and get things out. They also receive a document.

Additionally, they receive a small box (labeled with their team name). The box has two tokens inside: 1 water token and 1 lava token

Walkthrough

Teams can exchange tokens with the vortex by putting tokens in the box they received and putting it through the hole in the vortex. A staff member seated on the other side of the vortex will take their box, see what the appropriate thing(s) are to give back, put those in the box, and hand the box back through the vortex. The team's objective is to find the four compounds mentioned in the intro document: brick, metal, sun, and sand.

There are four elements: air, water, earth, and fire, as well as 10 compounds, each of which are composed of two other tokens. The composition of these are given below. You can either submit two tokens, and get the thing that they make back, or submit one token, and get their two components back.

• Air
• Water
• Earth
• Fire

Compounds

• Clay = Water + Earth
• Cloud = Air + Water
• Lava = Earth + Fire
• Wind = Air + Fire
• Stone = Air + Lava
• Sky = Air + Cloud
• Brick = Fire + Clay
• Metal = Fire + Stone
• Sand = Air + Stone
• Sun = Sky + Fire

So, for example, if you submit lava to the device, you get Earth and Fire back. If you submit Earth and Fire to the device, you get lava. If you submit two tokens to the device that don't yield something OR you submit one of the elements (air, water, earth, fire) OR you submit anything else (three tokens, paper clips, other random items, etc.), you get what you submitted back. For example, if a team submits Air + Earth, they get those two tokens back. Similarly, if a team just submits Fire, they get it back.

The exceptions to this rule are brick, metal, sun, and sand, which are the tokens teams are looking for. The puzzle is structured such that teams can only find brick, metal, sun, and sand in that order.

When a team submits brick, they receive a paper which shows a picture of brick and the number 14 on it, as well as 1 fire, 1 lava, and 1 wind token for the next stage.

When a team submits metal, they receive a pack which shows a picture of metal and the number 13 on it, as well as 1 air, 1 water, and 1 wind token for the next stage.

When a team submits sun, they receive a pack which shows a picture of sun and the number the number 21 on it, as well as 2 air and 1 earth token for the next stage.

If a team submits sand, they receive a pack which shows a picture of sand and the number 18 on it, as well as the following letter: [data not available online].

Once the team has the document, they need to realize that:

1. They have been given four numbers associated with four tokens (brick = 14, metal = 13, sun = 21, sand = 18)

2. There are four elements: air, water, earth, and fire.

3. Every token is ultimately composed of some combination of air, water, earth, and fire

Using this information, teams can solve a four-variable system of linear equations:

• Brick = 0 air + 1 water + 1 earth + 1 fire = 14

• Metal = 1 air + 0 water + 1 earth + 2 fire = 13

• Sun = 2 air + 1 water + 0 earth + 1 fire = 21

• Sand = 2 air + 0 water + 1 earth + 1 fire = 18

Solving this equation, they can derive the following values for each token:

Air6
Water8
Earth5
Fire1
Brick14
Clay13
Cloud14
Lava6
Metal13
Sand18
Sky20
Stone12
Sun21
Wind7

By associating these with the five tokens on the letter, teams get:

• STONE = 12 = L

• EARTH = 5 = E

• FIRE = 1 = A

• SAND = 18 = R

• BRICK = 14 = N

Hinting

Teams MUST keep track of the combinations that are valid, or they won't have the data necessary to solve the puzzle. In some cases, it isn't possible to go back and get that data. If a team called GC and said they didn't write a combo down that they have seen, IMPRESS UPON THEM THAT THEY MUST DO THIS.

For example, if a team has already submitted brick, but didn't write down that clay + fire = brick, GC will need to give them that information. The document explicitly has spaces for them to write this down, so I hope that they'll all write down the data.

Otherwise, the only difficult logical leap is the part where they realize that they can construct a system of equations out of the puzzle at the end. If teams have problems with this, encourage them to think about adding values/elements. See if you can clue them towards associating the number on each pack with the token they got it from.

Changes Since Beta/RC:

Beta:

• Answer changed from BROKE to LEARN

• Glass has been removed. It used to be the last token teams had to get, and has been replaced in that capacity by sand

• It should only be possible to obtain brick, metal, sun, and sand in that order.

• Once teams have submitted sand (formerly glass), they should have no more tokens in their possession

RC

• During RC, teams submitted loose tokens into the vortex. To help parallelize more quickly for RTM, teams will be given a box to submit tokens in, to help staff not mix teams' tokens up.

Data

A summary of the token exchange part of the puzzle is given below. Remember that teams do not know that they can only get brick, metal, sun, and sand in that order.

The steps given is the shortest possible path from what teams are given to the token they are looking for. Teams could (and almost certainly will) perform operations in a different order.

The tokens the team currently have in their possession is listed after each operation in parentheses.

Start of puzzle

1. Team receives 1 water and 1 lava (1 water, 1 lava)

1. (Team now has equivalent to 1 water, 1 earth, 1 fire)

Finding Brick (Brick = 0 air + 1 water + 1 earth + 1 fire = 14)

1. Lava => Earth, Fire (1 water, 1 earth, 1 fire)

2. Water, Earth => Clay (1 fire, 1 clay)

3. Fire, Clay => Brick (1 brick)

4. Submit clay (Nothing)

5. Team receives a pack (marked with brick and 14).

1. In pack is 1 fire, 1 lava, 1 wind token (1 fire, 1 lava, 1 wind)

2. (Team now has equivalent to 1 air, 1 earth, 3 fire)

Teams are guaranteed to have seen so far: Lava, Clay, Fire, Earth, Water, Brick, Wind

Finding Metal (Metal = 1 air + 0 water + 1 earth + 2 fire = 13)

1. Wind => Air, Fire (1 air, 2 fire, 1 lava)

2. Air, Lava => Stone (2 fire, 1 stone)

3. Fire, Stone => Metal (1 fire, 1 metal)

4. Submit metal (1 fire)

5. Team receives a pack (marked with metal and 13).

1. In pack is 1 air, 1 water, 1 wind token (1 air, 1 water, 1 fire, 1 wind)

2. (Team now has equivalent to 2 air, 1 water, 2 fire)

Teams are guaranteed to have seen so far: Lava, Clay, Fire, Earth, Water, Brick, Wind, Stone, Air, Metal

Finding Sun (Sun = 2 air + 1 water + 0 earth + 1 fire = 21)

1. Air, Water => Cloud (1 fire, 1 cloud, 1 wind)

2. Wind => Air, Fire (1 air, 2 fire, 1 cloud)

3. Air, Cloud => Sky (2 fire, 1 sky)

4. Fire, Sky => Sun (1 fire, 1 sun)

5. Submit sun (1 fire)

6. Team receives a pack (marked with sun and 21)

1. In pack is 2 air, 1 earth

2. (Team now has equivalent to 2 air, 1 earth, 1 fire)

Guaranteed seen so far: Lava, Clay, Fire, Earth, Water, Brick, Wind, Stone, Air, Metal, Cloud, Sky, Sun

Finding Sand (Sand = 2 air + 0 water + 1 earth + 1 fire = 18)

1. Earth, Fire => Lava (2 air, 1 lava)

2. Air, Lava => Stone (1 air, 1 stone)

3. Stone, Air => Sand (1 sand)

4. Submit sand (Nothing)

5. Team receives a pack (marked with sand and 18)

1. In pack is final letter

Guaranteed seen so far: All

There are only certain sets of tokens to have that are valid at any given time. If you have reason to believe that a team has the wrong tokens in hand, the set of valid tokens for a team to have are reproduced below per stage. Let on-site staff know so we can fix.

If the teams have somehow found brick, metal, sun, sand out of that order, things are super messed up. Let Alex (core staff on-site) know and he can reset the teams to an earlier puzzle state.

Finding Brick

• 1 lava, 1 water

• 1 earth, 1 fire, 1 water

• 1 clay, 1 fire

• 1 brick

Finding Metal

• 1 fire, 1 lava, 1 wind

• 1 earth, 2 fire, 1 wind

• 1 air, 1 earth, 3 fire

• 1 air, 2 fire, 1 lava

• 2 fire, 1 stone

• 1 fire, 1 metal

Finding Sun

• 1 air, 1 fire, 1 water, 1 wind

• 2 air, 2 fire, 1 water

• 2 wind, 1 water

• 1 air, 1 cloud, 2 fire

• 1 cloud, 1 fire, 1 wind

• 1 sky, 2 fire

• 1 fire, 1 sun

Finding Sand

• 2 air, 1 earth, 1 fire

• 1 air, 1 earth, 1 wind

• 2 air, 1 lava

• 1 air, 1 stone

• 1 sand