6. Homicide: Life on the Farm Nitinol
I don’t have any photos of the finished clue, but here’s GC member Jeff Allen working on the “jigs” we used to hold the pieces of memory wire in place during the baking process. We used an industrial oven to get high enough temperatures to “encode” the shapes we wanted, but we also needed other materials which would stand up to that much heat. I think the final build used steel wire to secure a bundle of Nitinol to each letter-shaped length of copper tubing (shown here being bent into shape by Jeff). (Photo by Curtis C. Chen)
You didn’t actually have to set the wires on fire, and they didn’t actually melt (though the plastic flags attached to the wires did, for at least a few teams). One team laid out their wires on top of their van’s engine block, which generated enough heat to activate the Nitinol’s shape memory.
Overall, we got a lot of great feedback, including one player who thought it was “[u]nbelievable stuff–that was so beyond my comprehension, it was like X-files shit.” Given that this was the first Game we ever ran, and many things didn’t go quite right, it was encouraging that this clue turned out so well.
ObSnoutCast: You can hear a team phone call from HLOTF and Jeff on working with Nitinol, plus a 10-years-later retrospective with GC member Sean Gugler!
For more information about the Homicide Game, check out our GC wrap-up site.
Next: Scary stuff!