Pandora's Lock Box

about the game | make your own | action photos | game history

A box in a box in a box. It's a simple concept, but one with nearly endless options as far as lockpick contests go. On top of that, it may be the most compact and easily transportable lockpick game i've ever designed. Want to know more? Then read on, because i want to make this entire project open-source and totally free for anyone else to use for any noncommercial purpose they wish.

I created Gringo Warrior as a lockpicking contest that would reward a wide range of skills, offer a genuine challenge to advanced pickers, and allow for fun on the part of both the player and viewing bystanders. It is all of those things, but one thing it's not is easily transported. It completely fills one of the used mortar cases that serve as my luggage, weighs in at 50 lbs in total, and requires a good ten feet of wall space to adequately be set up. On the other hand, Pandora's Lock Box can be compacted down within the confines of a lightweight 10" x 8½" x 3½" metal box. This one box can contain all the equipment necessary to play literally dozens of different lockpicking games.

The base platform of Pandora's Lock Box consists of heavy cardboard boxes outfitted with hasps. These boxes do flex and bend ever so slightly, but are rugged enough to withstand most punishment.
These boxes are capable of supporting nearly all varieties of small and medium sized padlocks on the market today. The presence of a pair of hasps on each box allows for many options...
... a single lock can be placed on a box, making for a relatively easy obstacle, or a pair of locks can test players further. Locks of different styles can be used to reward breadth of skill. Or two of the exact same lock can make for a team game... requiring two people to coordinate their efforts and work on padlocks in close proximity makes for a unique challenge.
The sizing of the boxes couldn't be more perfect... just about any pair of padlocks applied to the "small" box will still allow it to fit within the "medium" box.

Perhaps my favorite element of the Pandora's Lock Box challenge is the feature contained with the innermost box. This lock cylinder is currently operated by the red key. However... there's a unique relationship between the red key and the black key. They share the same bitting depths, just in a different order. At the final stage of the challenge, the player must field strip this lock, and re-pin it so that it operates with the other key. Optional additional challenge element - require the player to pick open the lock as opposed to use a working key.

I'm tempted to say that a game can't officially use the name Pandora's Lock Box unless it includes this last challenge, since almost no one else (except for Schulyer Towne, of course) incorporates re-keying into their lock games. And, as complicated as this stage may be, it often requires no time-consuming resetting... if a player completes the task and the lock is now functional with the black key, the next contestant has to switch it back to red. It's already ready to go. You're free to create your lock hardware any way that you choose, but i find this "top drilled" core to be especially helpful. The screw caps on top can always be removed and the pin stacks fully dumped out if somehow a player jams things up. Contact me if you wish to acquire one.

I am really proud of this setup.

   Copyleft 2009 Deviant Ollam. You are free to study, copy, reuse, and redistribute any or all of this material as long as the freedom for others to do the same is maintained.