Alternative name: Game Of Riddles
A kind of duel of wits in which two characters have a formal battle that tests the ability to solve riddles
of one or both participants.
There are three ways to play a Game of Riddles:
- The challenger poses riddles to the challenged
- The challenged poses riddles to the challenger
- Challenger and challenged pose riddles to each other alternately
The winner is whoever first asks a riddle the opponent cannot solve. Should somebody run out of riddles who is expected to ask one, the opponent wins. Also, it is usually an implied rule that the asker must know the answer to his own riddle.
While riddles in reality are only a game, Riddle Contests in fiction tend to be played over much higher stakes than is realistic
, which may go up to riddle contests to the death.
Contrast Riddle Me This
, wherein a single riddle is used as a challenge or test to be passed.
- Batman: The Riddler got into a riddle contest with The Question once, and ended up going mad from it. Question let him go free for answering his final philosophical question correctly.
- In The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins defeats Gollum in a riddle contest.
- Maurauders of Gor: During a Fantasy Counterpart Culture version of a Thing Ivar Forkbeard enters a riddle-guessing contest, but loses.
- Larry Niven and Steven Barnes' novel Dream Park. During the South Seas Treasure game the Lore Master, Chester Henderson, is affected by the deadly gaze of a magical snake. Several party members go to the New Guinean heaven to play a riddle game, with Henderson's life as the stakes.
- A variation in the Septimus Heap book Queste. Jenna, Beetle, and Septimus arrive at the House of Foryx and play a riddle contest to be allowed inside.
- The Dark Tower series mentions that riddle contests were a common event in Roland's childhood city of Gilead. In the third book, a riddle contest is held between Roland's ka-tet and Blaine the insane monorail. The "goose", or prize, is their lives.
- In The Saga Of King Heidrek The Wise, Heidrek vows he will parole every offender against him if the latter asks a riddle which Heidrek cannot solve. Gestumblindi, who betrayed Heidrek, but sees no chance to win the riddle contest, sacrifices to Odin so that Odin assumes Gestumblindi's shape and takes on Heidrek's challenge.
- In the musical Floyd Collins, the ending of act I is "Riddle Song", in which Floyd and his brother homer trade riddles. In song.
- In Siegfried by Richard Wagner, the Wanderer (who is actually Wotan in disguise) challenges Mime to a contest in which each stakes his head on answering three questions.
- In Planescape: Torment, the Nameless One can wage a riddle contest against an undead in the Undead Nations.
- In an episode of Arthur, Arthur is going on a TV gameshow called "RiddleQuest", a Jeopardy style show where the hosts asks riddles and the contestent has to buzz in to answer them. Arthur gets concerned that if he's too successful he'll have to stay on the show forever.
- Some renaissance fairs will feature riddle contests where participants try to beat the fair's designated riddler.