How to use the Enigma II Machine for Escape Rooms
Posted by PHIL JANELLE
It is important to understand each of the props and puzzles in your Escape Room to ensure you can utilize them to their full potential. With this in mind I have created an instructional series to help familiarize yourself with our Cipher Wheels and Encryption Machines.
Here we have Step by Step instructions for the Enigma II:
Both the Small and Large Sizes work the same way.
To encode a message:
1. Define the gear order such as 7 (spokes) - 6 - 5 as shown above
2. Create a 3 letter key word and put gears on pins with letters of keyword at each respective arrow. In the example above the keyword would be ZCK.
3. The 3rd gear (right side) is the Output Wheel, or the gear that defines the non encoded letter. Turn this gear such that the first letter to be encoded is at the arrow.
4. Record the encoded letter on the 1st gear at the top arrow. In the example above the letter “K” would encode to “Z”
5. Turn the Output Wheel to the next letter to be encoded.
6. Record the encoded letter on the 2nd gear (middle gear) at the top arrow.
7. Repeat this process going back and forth between the 1st and 2nd gears.
Note that encoded messages are commonly grouped in blocks of 4 letter with no regard for word spacing or punctuation. Once the letters are decoded it is relatively easy to see the words.
8. OPTIONAL: you can make your message even more secure if you change your Key code during the course of the message. There are many ways to do this. For example you might have a key phrase that contains 3 key words. (such as “Pet the Dog”)
Then after every 12th letter you change the wheels to match the next key word. The first key setting would be PET, then THE, then DOG. Repeat this process moving through the key words and then starting over. It greatly increases the security of the message.
To decode a message you must know the wheel order and keyword and arrange the gears accordingly.
1. Take the first encoded letter and align it with the 1st gear’s top arrow. Read the unencoded letter on the Output Wheel.
2. Take the second encoded letter and align it with the 2nd (middle) gears arrow. Read the unencoded letter on the Output Wheel.
3. Repeat this process for each encoded letter in the message.
To encode a number:
You can either spell out the number (ie, 5 = FIVE) or you can assign a letter to each number: 1=A 2=B 3=C 4=D 5=E 6=F 7=G 8=H 9=I 0=J
1. Insert a # symbol (or any non character symbol) into your encoded message. This indicates a number follows immediately
2. Encode the letter(s) associated with your number(s)
Lets encode the message: “Come back soon””
1. We need a wheel order, so lets pick 6-7-5. Pput the 6 spoke wheel on the first pin, the 7 spoke wheel on the second pin, and the 5 spoke wheel on the 3rd pin.
2. We need a 3 letter key word. Lets use “HOT” . Set the first wheel such that the H on that wheel is positioned at the arrow. Set the second wheel such that the O is at the arrow. Set the 3rd wheel such that the T is at the arrow.
3. We are now ready to encode the message.
To encode the first letter of our message “C”, set the Output wheel (3rd wheel) on C. Read the Letter on the first wheel - which is Q. Record Q as the first coded letter.
Now rotate the Output wheel to the letter “O”. Read the letter on the 2nd wheel - which is “J”. Record J as the second coded letter.
Next rotate the output wheel to letter “M” and read the letter on the first wheel which is “Y”. Record Y as the 3rd encoded letter.
Next rotate the output wheel to letter E and read the letter on the 2nd wheel which is Z.
Thus the word “Come” is encoded as QJYZ
4. Repeat this process for the rest of the message, moving back and forth between wheels 1 and 2 to get the encoded letter.
The complete encoded message becomes:
QJYZ OVQF FJAI
To decode the same message, you would reverse the process. You need to set the wheels in the correct order and per the keyword. Then dial wheel 1 to the first letter Q and read the output on the 3rd wheel - “C”. Then move the 2nd wheel to the letter J and read the output letter on wheel 3 as “O”. Move back and forth between wheels 1 and 2, always reading the output on wheel 3.
William Memmen On
These online instructions are a good backup for the paper copy that is included with the Enigma machine.
The craftsmanship of the Enigma II Machine is excellent. I am going to enjoy sending messages to my grandchildren.