The Cipher Room: Espionage [Review]

TheCipherRoom_LogoLocation: The Cipher Room, Newtown, Sydney , NSW, Australia

Date completed:  July 2017 (3 players). Succeeded escaping!

Creativity: 8.5; Difficulty: 7; Atmosphere: 9; Fun: 9.

Requirements:

  • Intermediate English
  • 2-8 players

In Cipher Room’s Espionage, it’s late-war in 1945. Players are rookies tasked with conducting a rendezvous with an Agent M, but something is amiss. She sends an urgent message to shift the RV to a safe house where she had been conducting surveillance. Not a good sign. Once you get to the safe house, it doesn’t help that Agent M is missing. However, like any good spy, she had backup plans and hid her communication to the team through a number of puzzles.

Espionage is a room with historical references hidden in every corner. But mission first. Time to get to work. Those enemies aren’t going to defeat themselves.

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The GCHQ Puzzle Book [Review]

logo-4Publisher: Penguin
Genre: Cryptic puzzles, decryption.
Year released: 2016
Difficulty: 7 to 10.

The British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) is UK’s signals intelligence agency. They are also the proud inheritors of a legacy spanning all the way back to World War 2 when their predecessors from the Government Code & Cypher School, then located in Bletchley Park, spearheaded Allied efforts to break German military encryption enabled by Enigma machines.

img_9309The people in this field, as exemplified by those such as Alan Turing, were intelligent, driven, determined and sometimes considered misfits of their time. They certainly provided a juxtaposed archetype of the British Spy, who is normally stereotyped as a suave action hero (martinis shaken not stirred). It should perhaps be no surprise then that GCHQ would launch a puzzle book. Apparently their workforce loves solving puzzles. Who would’ve thought?

Last Christmas, Pa and I bought a copy to try out and see just how the brains of these people tick.

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