Cracking game for fans of Da Vinci Code

Lizzie Murphy A COUPLE have created a new board game based on the best-selling book The Da Vinci Code after they were inspired by making puzzles for their two young sons.

Allison Carmichael and Martin Woods came up with the idea for the Da Vinci Game while renovating their gite, which is close to Rennes-le-Chateau in the south of France, the village that inspired the plot of Dan Brown's thriller.

The couple, who met and married in Leeds, have lived in France for the last three years with their two sons Tormey, six, and Saskian, four.

Mr Woods, 31, who has compiled cryptic crosswords for the Big Issue in the North for the last seven years, said: "I have always loved inventing board games and puzzles.

"We were in the middle of renovating the top floor of our gite and instead of getting on with the work I got bits of paper and invented a Lord of the Rings game for my two sons.

"Allison said to me: 'Why don't you invent a Da Vinci Code game?' I thought there would be hundreds of them but, at that time, there wasn't a single one."

The game is inspired by the codes and symbolism used by Leonardo Da Vinci, the secret society of the Priory de Sion, Dan Brown's novel and other books on the


The couple sent a model of the game to a firm in England in November, 2004, and were contacted immediately by Games Talk, who decided to develop it.

Mrs Carmichael, 42, an artist, has designed the board and playing pieces for the game. The couple both came up with the 800 codes, riddles and logic problems, which took them eight months.

Mrs Carmichael said: "It was quite a challenge to come up with so many clues at first but we soon got into the swing of it."

The couple admit they never intended reading the book when it first came out.

Mrs Carmichael added: "I had heard about it but I didn't want to read it because everybody else was talking about it so much."

For more information about the game and where to buy it, visit www.thedavincigame.