Even if you don't know much about math, the wording of the riddle should enable you to conclude (surely?) that the princess is the older of the two, and given this, you can narrow the number of possible answers down to two. Then you can do some elementary fiddling with the numbers and see which one is correct, ages 20 and 30 or ages 30 and 40.

Yes, I have presented this as well in the first post and also like to share what many players could mislead totally as a math problem which is not entirely true. You see the time when the game was released and the situation presented to the players this was more like a funny encounter with a Genie than a strong puzzle. Genie was trying to tease you with such a simple puzzle. If you pick the wrong answer you still have a chance except the spoiler end.

Hah, I remember this infamous riddle. I actually RP'd the answer, since the riddle is devoid of a starting number, a numerical answer would be impossible. So there is only "I don't know" or "the same age" to choose from. Both are of course wrong, but I couldn't bring myself to choose the right answer.

You get a past, present, and future age, so you get 3 separate equations. The princess is as old as the prince will be (X=Y+Future) when the princess is twice as old as the prince was (X+Future = 2*(Y-Past)) when the princess's age was half the sum of their present ages (X-Past = 0.5*(X+Y))

If you combine them together, working it out and simplifying, you can find out her age is 3x/4=y (x for being a girl, y for being a guy). Only one fits that, since her age has to be divisible by 4 and her age is greater than his. x=40 and y=30

I just spent a good 30 minutes on that, because I'm drunk and now that just made me incredibly dizzy... LOL! I hate that genie with a passion....

There's probably a way to turn it into an algebra problem, but I just did trial and error. The hardest part was wrapping my head around how the question was worded.

His second question is a lot easier!

Wasn't his second question paraphrased (ahem) from one of the riddles in "Riddles in the Dark"? I know one of them was. I just cant remember which one.

What I did was narrow it down to where the Princess was older and then plugged the two possible number combinations in. One worked, the other didn't. Actually the one I tried first worked and I assumed the other wouldn't.

I am really only impressed by the ability to solve the problem without reference to the multiple choice answers. Suppose the genie confronted you in the dark tent, asked you the Prince and Princess riddle, and there were NO multiple choice answers forthcoming?

In that case, the riddle is unsolvable, thus it is not a fair riddle. (I define a "fair" riddle as one that is solvable with NO multiple choice answers. You solve it with no help, and give the answer.

My thanks to @Mathsorcerer for teaching me that this "riddle" is not an algebra problem, but rather, a logic problem that must include the multiple choice answers in order to solve it correctly, although, algebraic manipulations of the variables can target the correct multiple choice answer out of the four.

I used to think that this "riddle" was an algebra problem based on a system of equations. Alas, it is not, although ability to manipulate the variables as a system of equations will allow one to zero in on which of the four multiple choice answers is logically correct.

@BelgarathMTH That was the point I was making. One has to assume that the genie is verbally speaking the dialogue options to you as well, to be able to answer the question correctly.

Actually, this can be converted into an algebra problem.

Let current age of Prince be X and current age of princess be X+Y. Y can be positive or negative.

1. Age of princess when her age is half of their combined age

X+Y = 0.5(X+X+Y) = 0.5(2X+Y) = X+0.5Y

2. Age of prince when princess' age is half their combined age = X+0.5Y-Y (since princess is always Y years older than prince) = X-0.5Y

3. Consider twice the age computed in #2, 2(X-0.5Y) = 2X-Y

4. When princess is aged 2X-Y, age of prince is 2X-Y-Y=2X-2Y (since princess is always Y years older than prince)

5. Since princess current age is also X+Y, and it can also be expressed as 2X-2Y (from #4), we have this equation:

X+Y = 2X-2Y X = 3Y

6. Put X = 3Y into current ages of prince and princess,

Current age of prince = X = 3Y Current age of princess = X+Y = 3Y+Y = 4Y

Hence the ratio of princess' age to prince's age must be 4:3. Given the options, only the third option satisfies this criterion.

P.S. I think solving this problem algebraically is a little too much for the typical player. There must be an easier way out of it rather than applying mathematical brute force ^_^

@jacobtan yeah, that is what happens, no one is going to make that to get the answer. Unless you need to study maths and you want to play BG, so you practice maths with this mathematical problem (which is what happened to me the first time, then, metagame knowledge and maths can get screwed)

@jacobtan yeah, that is what happens, no one is going to make that to get the answer. Unless you need to study maths and you want to play BG, so you practice maths with this mathematical problem (which is what happened to me the first time, then, metagame knowledge and maths can get screwed)

Agreed. I'll also say that there's something about mathematics that warps a person's mind. You start to see things in multiple-dimensions, imaginary numbers, and the like. You can lose some marbles after being subjected to such torture.

If the princess's present age is x, and the prince's present age is y, and a and b are a constant but unknown number of years:

- "A princess is as old as the prince will be"

This means the princess in the present is as old as the prince will be at some point in the future, so this can be represented as:

x = y + a

- "when the princess is twice as old as the prince was"

So this means that the age of the princess at the point in the future mentioned previous (represented in the previous equation as "+ a"), is double the age the prince was at some point in the past. This can therefore be represented as:

x + a = 2(y - b)

- "when the princess's age was half the sum of their present age"

This means that the princess's age at the point of time in the past mentioned previously (represented by "-b") was half the sum of their two present ages combined. This can be represented as:

2(x - b) = x + y

So we have 3 simultaneous equations:

x = y + a

x + a = 2(y - b)

2(x - b) = x + y

So the first thing to do is to express a and b in terms of x and y so we can eliminate these terms from the equation:

If x = y + a, then a = x - y.

If 2x - 2b = x + y, then b can be expressed as 2b = x - y.

Now we can eliminate the constants from the equation. Given the above:

x + a = 2(y - b) can be expressed as:

x + x - y = 2y - (x - y)

Which is the same as:

2x - y = 3y - x

Which is the same as:

3x = 4y or x = 4/3y

Which means that we have the ratio between the age of the princess and the prince. The princess is a third again as old and the prince. And though there are potentially infinite solutions to 3x = 4y, of the 4 options given by the Genie, the only one which fits is:

Nice presentation. The solution I posted earlier is much like yours in that we arrive at the same conclusion where X:Y is 1:3, and only the answer satisfies this ratio

Ah, I hadnt read beyond the first page when I typed that reply, I see at least 2 others have also posted solutions. Taricus posted basically the same solution as me.

Yes, though for the benefit of those who havent read both, the ratio X:Y in your solution is the ratio between the princes age and the difference between the age of the prince and princess, whereas in my solution the ratio X:Y is the ratio between the age of the princess and the prince, hence why the ratios 1:3 in your solution and 4:3 in my solution arrive at the same answer.

I remember the first time that I encountered the genie's riddle, I just randomly guessed and got it wrong. The second time, I got out a pen and paper and eventually solved it.

I can't remember the answer though, so the next time that I encounter it, it will be like encountering it for the first time.

Heh, sure, sure, everyone's wanting out, but does the world really want us out? Maybe it's safer if we all just stay in here, heh... Monster to monster now, murderer to murderer, how many little children passed away at old Neb's hands? Not one, not two, neither four nor seven nor twelve nor twenty but the next one, the next one in the sequence...

Not as difficult as the genie's riddle IMO, but surely a helluva lot more disturbing!

Actually, this can be converted into an algebra problem.

Let current age of Prince be X and current age of princess be X+Y. Y can be positive or negative.

1. Age of princess when her age is half of their combined age

X+Y = 0.5(X+X+Y) = 0.5(2X+Y) = X+0.5Y

2. Age of prince when princess' age is half their combined age = X+0.5Y-Y (since princess is always Y years older than prince) = X-0.5Y

3. Consider twice the age computed in #2, 2(X-0.5Y) = 2X-Y

4. When princess is aged 2X-Y, age of prince is 2X-Y-Y=2X-2Y (since princess is always Y years older than prince)

5. Since princess current age is also X+Y, and it can also be expressed as 2X-2Y (from #4), we have this equation:

X+Y = 2X-2Y X = 3Y

6. Put X = 3Y into current ages of prince and princess,

Current age of prince = X = 3Y Current age of princess = X+Y = 3Y+Y = 4Y

Hence the ratio of princess' age to prince's age must be 4:3. Given the options, only the third option satisfies this criterion.

P.S. I think solving this problem algebraically is a little too much for the typical player. There must be an easier way out of it rather than applying mathematical brute force ^_^

I actually really like this solution. It's much easier than the method I was using :P

Heh, sure, sure, everyone's wanting out, but does the world really want us out? Maybe it's safer if we all just stay in here, heh... Monster to monster now, murderer to murderer, how many little children passed away at old Neb's hands? Not one, not two, neither four nor seven nor twelve nor twenty but the next one, the next one in the sequence...

Not as difficult as the genie's riddle IMO, but surely a helluva lot more disturbing!

Quite funny I could mentally solve the genie's riddle in 2 minutes while I was completely unable to solve Neb's riddle in any of my playthrought.

This was the only riddle I couldn't figure out on my own in either game. Well, maybe I could have, but I felt irritated by the way it was worded, so gave up. I did figure Neb's in BG1, however.

My thanks to @Mathsorcerer for teaching me that this "riddle" is not an algebra problem, but rather, a logic problem that must include the multiple choice answers in order to solve it correctly, although, algebraic manipulations of the variables can target the correct multiple choice answer out of the four.

You are welcome, @BelgarathMTH. Developers always have to balance these sorts of puzzles when putting them into games. It is too easy to use one which is complicated enough that a majority of gamers (who are typically above average) will have significant difficulty solving them but you also want to avoid making them too simple and thus avoid any challenge. Now...using a logic puzzle which is really complex is just fine *if* you throw a slip of paper into the game somewhere--preferrably somewhere far away from the puzzle itself--which gives an extra clue that makes the problem easier (or even gives you the answer).

Some questions are a little too open-ended without a final piece of limiting information so that there is only one solution. For example, a brother is now four times as old as he was when his sister was three times as old as her brother was when she was twice as old as her brother. There a multiple solutions to this so you have to add something like "neither sibling has seen two score summers" (they are younger than 40, in other words).

The riddle is actually a simple math problem. You pick one answer and if that doesn't work you reload and pick the other answer and have narrowed down your choices by 25%.

## Comments

50You see the time when the game was released and the situation presented to the players this was more like a funny encounter with a Genie than a strong puzzle.

Genie was trying to tease you with such a simple puzzle.

If you pick the wrong answer you still have a chance except the spoiler end.

260But seriously, F that riddle lol

3when the princess's age was half the sum of their present ages (X-Past = 0.5*(X+Y))

If you combine them together, working it out and simplifying, you can find out her age is 3x/4=y (x for being a girl, y for being a guy). Only one fits that, since her age has to be divisible by 4 and her age is greater than his. x=40 and y=30

I just spent a good 30 minutes on that, because I'm drunk and now that just made me incredibly dizzy... LOL! I hate that genie with a passion....

7,1555,018What I did was narrow it down to where the Princess was older and then plugged the two possible number combinations in. One worked, the other didn't. Actually the one I tried first worked and I assumed the other wouldn't.

640Neb's riddle actually gave me more trouble, but I played BG1 younger then I played BG2.

5,653In that case, the riddle is unsolvable, thus it is not a fair riddle. (I define a "fair" riddle as one that is solvable with NO multiple choice answers. You solve it with no help, and give the answer.

My thanks to @Mathsorcerer for teaching me that this "riddle" is not an algebra problem, but rather, a logic problem that must include the multiple choice answers in order to solve it correctly, although, algebraic manipulations of the variables can target the correct multiple choice answer out of the four.

I used to think that this "riddle" was an algebra problem based on a system of equations. Alas, it is not, although ability to manipulate the variables as a system of equations will allow one to zero in on which of the four multiple choice answers is logically correct.

260655Let current age of Prince be X and current age of princess be X+Y. Y can be positive or negative.

1. Age of princess when her age is half of their combined age

X+Y = 0.5(X+X+Y) = 0.5(2X+Y) = X+0.5Y

2. Age of prince when princess' age is half their combined age = X+0.5Y-Y (since princess is always Y years older than prince) = X-0.5Y

3. Consider twice the age computed in #2, 2(X-0.5Y) = 2X-Y

4. When princess is aged 2X-Y, age of prince is 2X-Y-Y=2X-2Y (since princess is always Y years older than prince)

5. Since princess current age is also X+Y, and it can also be expressed as 2X-2Y (from #4), we have this equation:

X+Y = 2X-2Y

X = 3Y

6. Put X = 3Y into current ages of prince and princess,

Current age of prince = X = 3Y

Current age of princess = X+Y = 3Y+Y = 4Y

Hence the ratio of princess' age to prince's age must be 4:3. Given the options, only the third option satisfies this criterion.

P.S. I think solving this problem algebraically is a little too much for the typical player. There must be an easier way out of it rather than applying mathematical brute force ^_^

7,155(which is what happened to me the first time, then, metagame knowledge and maths can get screwed)

65571If the princess's present age is x, and the prince's present age is y, and a and b are a constant but unknown number of years:

- "A princess is as old as the prince will be"

This means the princess in the present is as old as the prince will be at some point in the future, so this can be represented as:

x = y + a

- "when the princess is twice as old as the prince was"

So this means that the age of the princess at the point in the future mentioned previous (represented in the previous equation as "+ a"), is double the age the prince was at some point in the past. This can therefore be represented as:

x + a = 2(y - b)

- "when the princess's age was half the sum of their present age"

This means that the princess's age at the point of time in the past mentioned previously (represented by "-b") was half the sum of their two present ages combined. This can be represented as:

2(x - b) = x + y

So we have 3 simultaneous equations:

x = y + a

x + a = 2(y - b)

2(x - b) = x + y

So the first thing to do is to express a and b in terms of x and y so we can eliminate these terms from the equation:

If x = y + a, then a = x - y.

If 2x - 2b = x + y, then b can be expressed as 2b = x - y.

Now we can eliminate the constants from the equation. Given the above:

x + a = 2(y - b) can be expressed as:

x + x - y = 2y - (x - y)

Which is the same as:

2x - y = 3y - x

Which is the same as:

3x = 4y or x = 4/3y

Which means that we have the ratio between the age of the princess and the prince. The princess is a third again as old and the prince. And though there are potentially infinite solutions to 3x = 4y, of the 4 options given by the Genie, the only one which fits is:

C) The prince is 30 and the princess is 40

So thats the answer.

655Nice presentation. The solution I posted earlier is much like yours in that we arrive at the same conclusion where X:Y is 1:3, and only the answer satisfies this ratio

71716558126882,559I can't remember the answer though, so the next time that I encounter it, it will be like encountering it for the first time.

16,3052,55931,229The brain is complicated haha !

1,0423,020Some questions are a little too open-ended without a final piece of limiting information so that there is only one solution. For example, a brother is now four times as old as he was when his sister was three times as old as her brother was when she was twice as old as her brother. There a multiple solutions to this so you have to add something like "neither sibling has seen two score summers" (they are younger than 40, in other words).

7,96322,140If you answer "I don't know" and then "Nothing", you get 14 500 xp, that is 5k xp less.

3038127,963