Petals Around The Rose is the name of a puzzle game which involves five six-sided dice, similar in appearance to yahtzee. Someone who knows the game introduces it to people who do not, by rolling the dice and announcing the number that the dice produce. The person who understands the game is also known as a potentate, and can tell the other players only three things:

  1. the name of the game and that it is significant.
  2. the answer is always going to be an even number.
  3. the answer to any particular roll of the dice.
That's all they can say. They can give no other hints or suggestions or advice. People who figure out the game are sworn to secrecy. Often they're told to stand in the middle of the room, and any potentates present stand in witness as one of the potentates taps the new initiate on the shoulders with a piece of wood. An old adage is the smarter you are, the longer it takes for you to figure it out. Bill Gates is a potentate now, as are many in the computer industry, but it took Bill Gates several hours to figure it out. Others grasp the concept in a handful of dice rolls. Still others don't know the answer after several months of obsessive and hair pulling research. This game has been converted into software for several different computer languages, and is presently online somewhere as a java applet. It's a lot of fun to introduce any time a group of people are together in a boring situation, like at a convention or waiting for a delayed train or plane. I would give the secret away, but I'm sworn to secrecy. Good luck.

Reactions to this wu:


  • 00100 says re Petals around the Rose: Attached to this game, I've usually heard "the smarter you are, the longer it will take to figure out". I must be pretty stupid, since I got it in under 2 minutes.
  • $ SharQ says re Petals around the Rose: I used to play this, and used to play it a lot before i found out. I was only told the answers and the name of the game -not even that the name was important... No point in making it too easy ;)
  • khayos says Thanks much for your Petals writeup! That was a lot of fun, and now I shall allow all my acquaintances to (attempt to) induct themselves into the society.
  • Halcyonide says There's a flash version here: http://personal.baker.edu/web2/cdavis09/roses.html And I must say, it took me way too short a time (a few minutes) for me to be too smart.
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