40 O.B. (working title)

40 O.B. is based on the legacy of Sir James Alfred Ewing (1855-1935), a pioneering physicist and engineer born in Dundee. Ewing managed the British Admiralty’s cryptanalysis department, Room 40, during the First World War. Active in this role between 1914-1917, Ewing oversaw the decryption of thousands of German communications including the Zimmerman Telegram, a significant achievement which altered the course of the First World War and future cryptanalysis processes.


The Game

40 O.B. is a collaborative codebreaker game for two-or-more players. The game is asymmetrically-designed to divide the information required to decrypt ciphertext using different cryptographic methods. One player (‘Player A’) assumes the agency of a cryptanalyst with a series of graphical symbols, codegroups, and a signal book. Another player or player-group (‘Player B’) takes ownership of various ciphers required to decode messages within the signal book, such as cryptograms and pigpen ciphers. The communication between players represents the ‘key’ to the ciphers.


This game is in an early prototype stage, and further work and collaborations is planned before making it publicly-available.