Sunday, 14 May 2017

Second Telling Missions - Rescue the White Rose Review

Hi all

My usual team of 4 adults (along with our apprentice 6 month old daughter) checked out Second Telling Missions’ Rescue the White Rose (RTWR) over the Easter long weekend.

I was contacted by Patrick, the owner of Second Telling Missions some time back when he was in the building phase of his escape room.  My team had all been looking forward to heading to Second Telling Missions since I told them that they were opening up a room with live actors – a kind of hybrid of your typical escape room and a theatrical experience.  To my knowledge, they are the only escape room in Sydney that offers this mix (with the exception of a pop-up escape room that is being run by Jetpack Theatre for a limited time 2 month run – see my note about that one here).  I love the idea of having an actor in the room with you.  

This was our 54th room (and our 42nd room in Sydney so far).  We also beta tested Second Telling Mission’s second room, Sabotage the Enigma.  You can see my separate review on Sabotage the Enigma here.

So, as always I’ll start with what I enjoyed most about RTWR:

  • the theatrical element to this room starts before you even enter the room.  Your mission, as explained to you by a member of the anti-Nazi resistance organisation (and our game master for the room), is to go to the secret headquarters of the White Rose organisation and retrieve a full list of the White Rose members before the police uncover the list.  For half a second, this reminded me of the more modern storyline of trying to find the non-official cover (or “NOC”) list in the first Mission Possible movie (but I digress)…
  • our game master is a professional actor (and playwright) who goes by the stage name Seymour Nixen.  She was fantastic.  The backstory to the room was very logical and well-considered.  And they did something really simple that many escape rooms fail to do, which is to explain why the heck there are so many puzzles within the room.  So often this is not explained in an escape room – it often only takes an extra 2 sentences in the briefing but I think it adds to the immersion;
  • Second Telling Missions have both a café (White Rose Café) and their escape rooms together in the one space.  This was really cool for a number of reasons.  The first was that it acted as the location for our meeting with the member of the White Rose organisation.  It’s really cool that despite who else is in the café, our game master didn’t break character when giving us our briefing.  To my knowledge, other than places like Strike Bowling who provide alcohol sales with their escape rooms, I think Second Telling Missions is the only escape room that is also a café.  I’m also very pleased to report that their coffees, hot chocolates and biscuits were all awesome ;-)
  • RTWR is a challenging room.  There are a lot of puzzles to get through.  I think our team took something like 53 minutes to escape, which puts it at the more difficult end of escape rooms in the market.  I don’t think newer players should be dissuaded by this though – as with all good escape rooms, the dedicated game master will give hints to assist players in working through the puzzles. 
  • there was a really nice mix of low tech and high tech puzzles.  There were also at least 3 puzzles in this room which were of a type that I had never seen before, which was fantastic. 
  • Second Telling Missions has done a great job of theming this room.  Many (if not all) of the puzzles are hand-made.  A really cool aspect of both rooms at Second Telling Missions is that in many ways you are receiving a history lesson while playing – the theming is historically-accurate and really interesting.
  • I’m often asked for room recommendations that are family friendly.  RTWR is not scary or dark so it would certainly be fine for children.  There are even a number of puzzles that younger kids could assist with.
  • I won’t give out any spoilers, but RTWR is one of those rare rooms that has a nice ending to the storyline.  Often in escape rooms you do what you’re supposed to do and then nothing really happens, which can be quite anticlimactic.  I always appreciate a nice ending to a room that wraps everything up.

As for the negative, there really isn’t too much to report here.  I have given Patrick some suggested tweaks on a few things, which he was really receptive to.  They were things like the really tricky art of when and how to give hints (which no doubt will come over time once more teams have been through RTWR), a few theming suggestions and a suggested tweak to the hint method (as it was difficult to understand our game master at times, given she had a heavy German accent which was a little muffled by the walkie talkies).  The interaction with the game master/actor was great too, but she was not inside the room with us (the interaction and theatrical elements were certainly there before and after the escape, but our interaction with the game master during the escape was via walkie talkie only). 
Patrick and our game master walked us through each of the puzzles at the end of the game following our escape, which was great.  He also pointed out the various “easter eggs” hidden throughout the puzzles.

My team really enjoyed Second Telling Missions’ Rescue the White Rose.  We were challenged, we learned something about history and we had a lot of fun!  

Also, Patrick has been kind enough to provide readers of this blog with a special 15% discount for bookings until the end of June.  When making a booking on their website, use the discount code "IREADSCOTT" for the discount!

Where:                   397 King Street, Newtown

Duration:               60 minutes

2 currently

$39.50 each (4 players) (*we played at the kind invitation of the owner)

Overall Rating:      A fun, theatrical trip through history

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