Do Puzzles have a place in ACKS-type old school gaming? Do you use them at your table? If so, what kinds do you use? What are your favorites?

I’m partial to the occasional riddle, but every once in awhile I delve into my pile of Sierra adventure games and steal something more interesting. There are some very interesting puzzles in the King’s Quest games, I’ve found.

Recently I exposed my group to a modified version of one, wherein they were confronted with a short poem enscribed on the wall, and to reveal the hidden staircase, they had to press in one letter from each line to spell out the word DESCEND (the letters were also spaced out diagonally, so it made a sorta staircase shape too)

I do use puzzles at my table, yes. My puzzles generally are of a few types:

  1. Obscure hints or cryptic markings which offer ambiguous clues about some unknown which requires a decision.
  2. Complex components that interact together, each of which can individually be understood through game mechanics but the sum of which requires player intelligence to understand.

In both cases I try to make sure that there is an advantage to having a character with the right know-how, but that just having a character with the right know-how isn’t enough.

Put another way, characteristics are a necessary but not sufficient condition, while player intelligence is usually insufficient without characteristics to help get info.