Sunday, 14 May 2017

Second Telling Missions - Sabotage the Enigma Review

Hi all

My usual team of 4 adults (along with our apprentice 6 month old daughter) checked out Second Telling Missions’ Sabotage the Enigma 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 55th room (and our 43rd room in Sydney so far).  We also escaped from Second Telling Mission’s first room, Rescue the White Rose, on the same day as trying Sabotage the Enigma.  You can see my separate review on Rescue the White Rose here.

So, as always I’ll start with what I enjoyed most about Sabotage the Enigma:

  • as with Rescue the White Rose, the theatrical element to this room starts before you even enter the room.  Your mission, as explained to you by the game master, is to assist a resistance organisation and break into a top-secret army communications centre and sabotage the Enigma key-distribution mechanism.   
  • Second Telling Missions have both a café (White Rose Café) and their escape rooms together in the one space.  This was really cool as far as atmospheres go for briefing (and debriefing) for an escape room experience.  I’m also very pleased to report that their coffees, hot chocolates and biscuits were all awesome ;-) 
  • our game master is a professional actor (and playwright) who goes by the stage name Seymour Nixen.  She was fantastic (in both this room and in Rescue the White Rose).   I enjoyed Sabotage the Enigma the most out of Second Telling Missions two rooms.  The reason was simple – in Sabotage the Enigma, the game master/actor was inside the room with us, which made for such a unique, funny and fun experience.   
  • The actor plays the role of a security guard at the facility that our team was trying to infiltrate.  The level of interaction was unlike anything I have experienced in an escape room before.  I can’t go into too much here without giving spoilers, but trying to tip toe around a security guard and later interact with him/her was a really fascinating twist on the typical escape room.  At times we were searching the guard for clues (without her knowing).  At other times our actor/game master accidentally spoke in the wrong accent, which had us all laughing (the actor included).  Again, it’s hard to go into any detail on this without giving spoilers, but suffice it to say that it was one of the most fun (and memorable) escape room experiences I have had.

  • I can see this level of interaction being really popular with kids, as they try to sneak by guards or search the guard without them knowing it.  I think of their two rooms, this is the room that is best suited to family teams.  I’m often asked for room recommendations for family teams.  I really think this would be a great room for families – the puzzles are not impossibly difficult and kids would love the interaction element.

  • This room was pretty challenging.  We escaped in around 50 minutes, which puts it at the more difficult end of the market.  However, I wasn’t sweating bullets – we plodded along pretty nicely with this room.

  • 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, although Rescue the White Rose is probably the more historically accurate of the two rooms.  There were a couple of puzzles in this room which were of a type we had never seen before, which was fantastic. 
  • We didn’t have any issues with the hint-delivery system in this room, given that the person giving the hints was inside the room with us.  I can confirm that this system of providing hints is my absolute favourite system – it’s even better than the “voice of God” system where players simply speak and the game master responds over the loud speaker.  The ability for the game master to see exactly what players are doing means that they can provide precise hints, rather than more generic hints.  There are also no problems with voices being muffled or difficult to hear (which is often the case when using walkie talkies) and you have the added benefit of being able to read lips and body language.  I had concerns going in that having a game master in the room might make players more likely to ask the game master for hints (perhaps than players might otherwise do in a more typical escape room where the game master is outside of the room).  I am pleased to report that we didn’t have any issues on this front (but other teams might push this element).

As for the negative, I’m pleased to report that just like their Rescue the White Rose room, there really isn’t too much to report on the negative side for Sabotage the Enigma either.  I have given Patrick some suggested tweaks on a few things, which he was really receptive to.  I should also note again that we were beta testing this room, so it hadn’t yet opened to the public (and I understand that Patrick has acted on some of my suggestions).  My suggestions were things like room flow improvements (to avoid bottleneck puzzles), adding a couple of puzzles or slightly tweaking some existing puzzles to make them a little easier to follow.  My other main suggestion was to turn up the level of interaction even more with the game master/actor, as that is the element that truly sets this room apart from the pack.

Patrick and our game master again 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.

As always the main factor I consider in reviewing rooms is how much fun we had.  I can honestly say that we all had such a fun and memorable time in Sabotage the Enigma.  I can see with a few minor tweaks, this room is going to be a truly unique, must do room in Sydney. 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:      Heaps of fun and the most interactive room we have tried so far

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