Second Telling Missions – Rescue the White Rose

Room: Rescue the White Rose
Location: Second Telling Missions, 397 King St, Newtown
Date: 15/04/2017
Participants: 3
Cost: $39.50 per player
Escaped: Yes, with some hints
Difficulty: 5

Overall rating: 34/40

If you’re looking for a challenging room with a bit of history thrown into the mix, you won’t do better than this.

18 February, 1943. Hans and Sophie Scholl, members of the anti-Nazi resistance organisation the White Rose, were arrested a few hours ago. A member of the group who has yet to be arrested asks your team, as clean-skins, to go to their basement to retrieve a full list of White Rose members before the police have a chance to search the basement and find it themselves. The group was careful to put some security in place, so your team will have to find ways around it. The fates of the members of the resistance organisation are at stake.

1943 Nazi Germany Second may seem like a strange setting for an escape room, but that’s exactly what Second Telling Missions have done with their two rooms, both centered around the White Rose resistance group. We’d been told that this room had an interactive element, and although there were a few instances of this, I believe their other room involves even more (which I’m excited to try out!). Second Telling Missions has their own café on their premises and the escape room experience begins from the second you walk inside the door. It definitely would have added to the atmosphere if other café patrons had been there when we arrived, but it’s probably a little much to expect a group of strangers to stop for a coffee just to improve my escape room experience!

I found the non-linear style of the room to be a little challenging and there were times we had no idea what to do next. Fortunately, the hint system was well integrated and we were able to request unlimited hints – something we definitely took advantage of. A resistance “team member” was stationed outside the door with a walkie talkie, offering advice and answering questions. This really helped us stay in the zone and tied in nicely with the whole theme of the room. We asked for a lot of hints and they were very well graded from a gentle nudge in the right direction through to outright telling us the answer when we were really stuck.

Theming: 9/10
Creating a room based around real events has its advantages and disadvantages. In some ways you’re creatively limited by the era you’re trying to replicate and people are going to notice if your room isn’t “authentic” enough. With that in mind, I thought the theming for this room was excellent. It really felt like we could be in a basement somewhere and I could absolutely believe that the puzzles were placed there by resistance fighters trying to outsmart the police. There were some really lovely touches both in the room and the café itself that added to the authenticity of the whole theme, but for me the absolute highlight was the small interactive elements. Second Telling Missions shows that it doesn’t take much to turn an escape room into a more immersive experience and I really enjoyed that aspect.

Creativity: 8/10
There were a mixture of low-tech and high-tech puzzles, but all of them really worked with the theme and there were a lot of unique elements I haven’t seen in any other room. This was definitely not a room full of padlocks and nothing else! We found out later that several of the puzzles were actually based on real puzzles used at the time, which might explain why they all fitted the theme so well. They mostly seemed to be handmade, which gave the sense that the puzzles were created to fit the theme, rather than the theme of the room being forced to fit around puzzles as I’ve seen in some other rooms before. There were a lot of puzzles and it could sometimes be difficult to know what to do when, but with some outside guidance we were eventually able to solve everything (although I admit once or twice we had to be told the answers outright). All the puzzles worked as they were supposed to and there were a couple of obvious clues we failed to pick up on. I’d definitely say the puzzles were more on the challenging side and wouldn’t recommend this room for first-timers, but that being said, if you’re up for a challenge it’s definitely worth playing as you can ask for as many hints as you need.

Edit: I was contacted by the team at Second Telling Missions who confirmed that all items in their rooms are either created or modified by them. This explains why all the puzzles fit the theme so well, and again highlights the creativity and effort put into this room.

Fun: 8/10
I really loved playing this room. The immersive nature of the room and the sense that we had an important mission and lives were at stake really heightened the experience for me. Being able to learn a little about the White Rose and all the careful details that had gone into creating the room was also really enjoyable. Our gamemaster did a walkthrough with us after we’d completed the game which I always appreciate. In this case, because of the non-linear aspect of the room and the fact that we’d split up to work on different puzzles, there were times when one of us didn’t know how a particular puzzle had been solved and having the opportunity to debrief afterwards meant we all got to see how everything worked. For me, the only drawback to this room was the difficulty! I was frustrated with how often we needed to ask for assistance, which ultimately left me feeling with less of a sense of achievement.

Atmosphere 9/10:
The staff at Second Telling Missions obviously love what they do. They really went out of their way to make sure we had a good time and their dedication to the story and attention to detail should be commended. From the second we stepped inside their doors I knew we were in for a great experience, and they did not disappoint.

Overall rating: 34/40

If you’re looking for a challenging room with a bit of history thrown into the mix, you won’t do better than this.

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