Build your own Cold War-era countdown timer prop with John Park’s Mystery Box: Crypto Countdown Case learning guide. This mystery box is a Soviet themed launch-code box complete with missile switch covered toggles, a Feather microcontroller with red 14-segment display, and stress-inducing piezo buzzer. Use it for an escape room, prop, or wedding proposal. Your players, or potential spouse-to-be, will need to enter the correct five-switch sequence to defuse the device before all is lost. (Note: this project is a harmless prop, not an actual bomb.) Customize it with your own secret message.
Picture this: You are a Cold War-era spymaster, stationed in West Germany. One of your operatives has risked life and limb to get her hands on this mysterious case. You inspect and then carefully open it to be greeted by an array of toggle switches, a countdown timer, and a power switch. Disarm it, and you’ll have your hands on the vital launch code for a captured missile. Fail, and, well, it’s best not to consider failure…
Your best cryptographers have intercepted the following transmission:
кра́сный – бе́лый – си́ний – зелёный – жёлтый
Thinking back to your language training at Langley, you translate this to:
RED – WHITE – BLUE – GREEN – YELLOW
That’s it! These colors must be the secret to disarming the case!
You dare to turn on the power, the case arms itself, and a three minute countdown begins. You enter in the toggle switches, hopefully in the correct order.
The timer stops. Whew.
A secret code scrolls onto the display. The launch codes you needed! A job well done.
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