A pentimento is evidence that an artist painted over part of an artwork, either because they changed their mind about the composition, or to remove an element from the painting. Pentimento — the puzzle — is a multi-stage card puzzle loosely based on this theme.

In the first stage, players solve the four puzzles on their square Pentimento card. There are 40 cards, each with four unique puzzles. Each puzzle contains two definitions, side by side. The player must find a word that fits one definition, and by “painting over” one of the letters with a different one, create a word that fits the second definition. For example, “Cabbage site” / “Fisherman’s success” would yield PATCH and CATCH.

In the second stage, the players have solved their puzzles, and must compare their answers with the other players to identify which of two teams they are on. On every card, there is an answer that relates to the other cards of their team.

In the third stage, the players have found their teams (Team A and Team 1, to avoid any gloating over imagined alphabetic supremacy). They must now assemble their cards so that the keyword on each edge of their card combines with the edge of a neighbor’s card. For example, FIRE joins with ENGINE, PEPPER joins with MINT. When properly assembled, the cards reveal the grand payoff of the puzzle.

Presented at the SoCal puzzle party, May 21, 2011. 20 individual players solved their cards, found their teams, and successfully collaborated to solve the master puzzles.

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