Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Pentomino Dungeon / One Page Dungeon Contest

Last year my daughter participated in a math competition at school, the Kangaroo Contest, and brought home a colorful Pentomino game and a book with math problems for children.

When I asked Lina (10), Hendrik (8) and Joaquín (6) to draw a dungeon for the One Page Dungeon Contest this year, they made a dungeon out of 12 Pentomino shapes instead, which I turned into a map.

Hendrik had the idea that adventurers entering the dungeon should have to solve math problems, but are distracted all the time. (Maybe he came up with this, because he has a little brother who is full of energy and always wants his attention to play with him.)

Joaquín made several drawings of the big monster in room 4 and described it vividly.

The riddles are from the book Lina got at the Kangaroo Contest. I changed them a bit to avoid copyright issues and to adapt them to the stories, the children came up with.

For a year, Joaquín has been carrying little pieces of paper with German words in his school bag to learn the letters ä, ö and ü. Those are the items in room 5.

Now my introduction to our entry is already as long as the entry itself ...

pentomino dungeon

1 In the first room there is a wizard. He is wearing a colourful crown, blue gloves and only has one tooth. He says: 

"This is what we are going to do. If you make it out of my dungeon, I will grant you a wish. Each room has a riddle written on the floor. You need the solution to unlock the doors. The riddles are not too difficult, but don’t be fooled. There are things in the rooms to distract you from thinking. I will stay here and also start sending things after you. The first problem is easy. I am 80 years old. My brother is 20 years younger than me. My sister, the witch, is 20 years older than me. How old are we all together? Good luck."

random monsters, summoned by the wizard in room 1:

  1. a funny man with an axe and a shield
  2. a very sharp triangle ruler
  3. a man made of fire
  4. a man who looks at you so sweet, it is hypnotizing
  5. a ball with arms and legs that explodes when it gets too loud
2 Five Goblins, three with knives, two with spears.

There is a riddle written on the floor: The goblin king has 5 sons, every son has two sisters. How many children does the goblin king have?

3 A man who says blablabla.

The riddle is: How many numbers, bigger than 10 and smaller than 60, can be built, combining two different digits, using 0, 1, 2, 5 and 7?

4 A naked giant with green skin, wearing a baseball cap, a bow in one hand, an arrow in the other hand. The monster has spiky feet and leaves violet marks on the floor when moving. It can spit poison. Flames come out of his eyes and little creatures crawl out of his hair. It makes a noise like hhhhh …

The riddle is: Which is the biggest?

2+0+1+3 or 2×0×1×3 or 2×0+1×3 or 20+13 or 20×13? 

5 A goose, four hats, nine glasses, sixteen cooks. How many books?


  1. Your children are very creative Herr Zinnling - this is very good!

    1. Thank you! I hope they will stay creative when growing older...

  2. There is nothing cooler than children's imaginations!. Fine work, funny, cleaver and very entertaining!.

    1. I think so too. Thanks for your kind words.

  3. … and the answers are?

    1. I am wonder that as well. I love the idea of a few simple puzzels and can figure them out. But wouldn't want to get into a argument if I made a mistake with the solutions.