Code Busters Resource List

For the Division A Codebusters event, should the code readability level be up to 6th grade instead of 9th grade?

Answer: We will use the codes options listed on the Science Olympiad Codebusters website:

What materials will be given for them during the test. For example, for Cesar, they need a matrix with 26 lines of the alphabet in different offsets. For aristocrat, they need a frequency table of English letters. For pig pen and masonic, they need the letters written out in the pattern needed to decode the cipher. Will they get all this information during the test, or do they need to memorize it and write it down on scratch paper during the test? Separately, when they decode Cesar, they need to know which offset is used. Will they get this information or do they need to figure it out themselves? Also, in Vigenere, do they need to encode/decode with a given key or could the prompt give them the plain and encoded texts and they would need to figure out the key?

Answer: The attached resource list is what is given to the students for this event.

Should the kids print the test questions to work with pencil and eraser to encode or decode the ciphers, or a software is going to be used which will do the substitution of a letter with a click?

Answer: No students should not print the test questions. Students will only have to input their final answer to each question inot their Scilympiad test.

When trying to generate sample questions on, it says that "Only decode is allowed for Division A (Elementary School) Regional/Invitational," however, the event rules description specifies "Teams will cryptanalyze and decode four encrypted messages using cryptanalysis techniques for historical and modern advance ciphers and encrypt one message." Will encrypting a message be part of the event, and if so, which of the cyphers do the children need to be able to encrypt?

Answer: This year students will not need to encode a message.

You have the resource PDF attached to this page the students can use for the event. Can the students print the resource document and have it in hand or can they only view the resource document on the computer screen? Only the Tabula Recta applies to the events in Div A.

Answer: Yes they may print the page.

The code busters pdf has Morse and Bacanonian keys where as the type of ciphers listed in the 2021 VSO manual are Atbash, Cesar, Vigenere, aristocrat, tap code and pigpen. Can you please advise if these are the only types the question will be asked about.

Answer: The only possible codes for Division A will be those listed for Division A on the Science Olympiad Codebusters website: . The resource sheet has two parts that are important for our beginner Codebusters to learn. Those associated with Division B/C will not be used.

Since you confirmed that there would be no encoding this year, are the kids still expected to decode four messages or is this number going to change? The Description still specifies: "Teams will cryptanalyze and decode four encrypted messages using cryptanalysis techniques for historical and modern advance ciphers and encrypt one message."

Answer: The number of codes will not change.