Venture behind enemy lines for a thrilling hour of subterfuge
It’s 1943 and you’re members of a resistance group called the White Rose seeking to topple the Nazi regime. Posing as technicians, your task is to capture the enigma machine: a cipher mechanism that is the key to understanding and exploiting German communications. This could be the turning point of the war.
It’s also the premise for Newtown’s live action escape room, Second Telling Missions. Owners Patrick Lavery and Paulina Klimek are history buffs who became addicted to escape rooms and decided to open their own, based on historical events.
When Time Out went undercover, we roped together a team of five to crack the codes, but there was still plenty to challenge us. You begin with a quick mission brief, where you’re supplied with false identities, given some wires (that are likely to come in handy), and informed about the drunken security guard that you’ll need to fool while you rush to sabotage the Nazis within an hour.
The first thing you notice when you enter is the snoring guard slumped in a chair – we soon learn his name is Johann – with a hip flask fallen to the ground. The rest of the room is stark bar a communications desk, a few locked containers with military insignia and a couple of pictures of Albert Speer’s illustrious architecture.
Your first move isn’t immediately apparent – is the ringing telephone connected to the map or the locked drawers? – but once you get going you’ll realise it’s heavily based in sequencing and the mechanised jigsaw starts falling into place. You’ll spend most of your time identifying number patterns and word associations to figure out which element is linked to the next. Make sure you leave enough time for last-minute hurdles, as there’s more puzzles behind the locked door where the enigma machine is hidden.
But, if you’re stumped, Johann – who springs to life to interrogate your party – may become intrigued and accidentally spill a few essential beans that’ll help you out of any downward spirals or steer your battleship away from red herrings. Despite being your cold-hearted enemy, he’s peculiarly helpful…
While some may find the addition of an actor in the room mildly awkward, Johann (aka Jon Vontolken) did a swell job of making us comfortable. Plus, the extra immersion increases the sense of urgency and invites you to really dig into the role playing aspect of the game. But if it’s not your cup of East Frisian, there’s another, actorless room to experience. We’re told this one focuses more on the history of the White Rose, so we’ll be sure to hit the books before our next visit.
Creativity of puzzles: ✮✮✮✮
Best quote: “That’s not the way my mother taught me.”
Our tip: Save time for more code breaking behind the locked door.
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