Rules & Regulations

Who can take part?

  1. This competition is open to all, but it is targeted primarily at middle-schoolers and high-schoolers.

  2. You are eligible for prizes if you are UNDER 18 and you are a middle school or high school student in full-time education in the United States of America

Submitting your solutions:

  1. Each challenge will be worth a designated number of points, and you will receive a score out of that number of points based on the accuracy of your submission.

  2. In submitting an entry individuals assert that they did not receive the answer from someone else and that they decoded the message themselves.

  3. There is NO PENALTY for looking at hints; in fact, it is encouraged to look at them.

  4. Only your HIGHEST SCORING SUBMISSION per challenge will be scored, so feel free to submit a second time if you feel that you made an error the first time.

  5. Please note that solutions are scored using our automated points-checking system, so if you believe that it has made an error in scoring your entry, email or post in the forums.

  6. After submitting ANY SOLUTION, you should receive immediate feedback on where (if) you made any errors and how many points you gained. Please contact us if this does not  show up as we would like to ensure all bugs in the program are fixed.

Awarding Points:

  1. Part A and Part B Challenges are worth a fixed number of points each.​

  2. Part C Challenges are assigned point bonuses as follows (all times represent days before the end date of the challenge):​

    1. Solved BEFORE 138 HOURS: Score an additional 30% of the points

    2. Solved BEFORE 114 HOURS: Score an additional 25% of the points​

    3. Solved BEFORE 90 HOURS: Score an additional 20% of the points

    4. Solved BEFORE 66 HOURS: Score an additional 15% of the points

    5. Solved BEFORE 42 HOURS: Score an additional 10% of the points

    6. Solved BEFORE 18 HOURS: Score an additional 5% of the points

    7. Solved ANYTIME AFTER: Score an additional 0% of the points

  3. See the leaderboard to view current total point standings.

  4. All challenges will remain open until the end of the competition, and you may solve them at any time. But note that the later you solve a Part C challenge, the fewer bonus points you will receive.


  1. Prizes will be awarded to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in the points standings

  2. A week before prize winners are announced, a form will go to participants who solved all the Part A Challenges asking them about the methods that they used to tackle certain ciphers. Based on the responses, additional prize-winners may be announced.

A final note on the Challenges:

  1. Beware! They will start out easy, but get progressively harder. But a cipher's difficulty depends on many things. So don't feel discouraged if you are unable to solve one of the Part C Challenges. Chances are, no one else was able to, either. Persistence is critical to success in this competition.

  2. Make sure to make the best use of the resources that we provide; see the first screen cast tutorial to learn more.