Werner Miller continues with the second volume in his series of self-working and semi-automatic effects all based on mathematical principles. Most of them are card tricks.
Aldo Colombini: "This material is both compelling and provocative. I like it very much. My compliments! My personal favorite so far: A SERIES OF SURPRISES and POLE POSITION. But of course, I am sure I'll find more..."
Peter Duffie (in Magic Magazine, Feb 2010): Enigmaths 1, 2 & 3. Warm up the slide rule; Werner Miller has written three new e-books on math magic.
I first became aware of the work of Werner Miller through his 2006 book Ear Marked, published by Shane of Leaping Lizards. Miller knows how to work with strange and wonderful arithmetical principles, and he come up with some brilliant ideas.
"Enigmaths" is a three-volume e-book series featuring magic with playing cards, ESP cards, astrological designs, people's names, and even dominoes. Each volume contains twenty effects and is fully illustrated. These illustrations are not of hands, because there are no sleights to learn. They are computer-generated graphics of cards and their layouts, etc.
If mathematical magic scares you or you find it dull, "Enigmaths" could well change your mind and pull you over to the dark side. I love playing with mathematical principles, even if the end result is a monstrosity. Miller has the unnerving ability to conceal the math to such a degree that the results are really good tricks that you would want to actually perform. I will not outline all sixty tricks, nor will I list them all here. You can find a table of contents for each volume at the website of the publisher. Nevertheless, I will try to give a brief overview of what to expect from these e-books.
Descriptions of each effect are concise and to the point. You won't get bogged down with complex mathematical formulae, but neither will you be left wondering why something works - and there are a lot of instances when you will be perplexed at the outcome. Where appropriate, Miller explains the math behind the trick in very simple terms.
Among the twenty tricks in the first volume are Triple Speller, in which three selected cards are found by spelling their suits; Snoopy, a card location using a card with a picture of a snooping dog printed on it; and A Puzzling Dozen, in which you discover the name of a selected card by simply spelling the words "Suit," "Value," and "Color." There is also an ESP card handling using the words "Sign," "Value," and "Color." The effect is very simple, yet clever.
In the second volume, we encounter Zig-Zag Four of a Kind, an easy method for producing four of a kind. It is also very puzzling as to why it works! Coxed Two is the revelation of "hypothetical" card randomly created by a spectator. More Lie Speller-Version 2 is an excellent lie detector using differently colored cards with the names of famous couples - for example, Romeo and Juliet.
The third volume includes a matrix force, inspired by an idea of Robbie Dutta's, that uses both the faces and the backs of the cards to allow a two-phase prediction. And there is an intriguing new handling for a Roy Walton effect called Tricky Travis that appeared in "Abracadabra." There are also three lie-detector effects: Pseudo Lie Speller I, II and III, all of which are very intriguing and would play well with an audience.
Most of the effects, including those mentioned above, use less than a full deck of cards. Sleight of hand is practically nonexistent, having been replaced by simple shuffles, such as the Monge Shuffle and reverse faro.
If Werner Miller's brand of mathemagic sounds like your thing - and even if it doesn't - I recommend you buy all three volumes of "Enigmaths." You won't be disappointed.