Decoding the Exile runes

runes on the back of the instruction booklet

I have just about zero knowledge about deciphering encrypted texts, so I thought it would be a nice challenge to decode the runes without playing the game, which I assumed might contain clues. I gave it a go assuming it would be a straight substitution (which would be disappointing) or better, something in the phonetic direction, e.g. 'th' as a single rune, or even completely phonetic (would be cool) or groups of letters represented by a single rune. Any other possibilities seemed very unlikely for a game. After a little bit of work, using my knowledge of English, I got several possible routes and some (probably) decoded words. Checking out all possibilities could mean a lot of work, so I decided to do a frequency analysis of the 2 and 3 letter words. This, in combination with knowledge of English (e.g. 'the' is a very common 3 letter word), filled in most of the question marks and gave more meanings of runes, decoding the actual text then provided confirmation that the decoding/frequency analysis worked and gave me the meaning of the remaining runes.

Here are the 2 sheets of paper I used to decode, might be of interest. It took me about 1 hour total to decode it all. Most of the time was taken up by the actual decoding of the text after I got most of the runes:

decoding sheet 1 decoding sheet 2

I was disappointed how easy it was (no, not trying to brag), something other than letter substitution would have been cool. Even if that would be difficult for the average person, I wonder if many people bothered? I suspect not, so making it harder would have been nice for those who were interested in this sort of thing.

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