Jersey War Tunnels: Operation Constellation | Review

Jersey War Tunnels Operation Constellation Review | It is 1943 and Chief of Combined Operations, Vice Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten, has conceived Operation Constellation, a daring offensive against the Channel Islands. A team of elite commandos are to land on Jersey and break into Ho8 (Jersey War Tunnels). Your mission is to access the German Commandant’s Office and find the locations of the newly constructed fortifications. You will have to search, identify clues and decipher puzzles to find the locations and discover the code to unlock the door.

Completion Time: 65 minutes
Date Played: 21st August 2021
Party Size: 4
Difficulty: Hard!

Imagine playing an historical escape room in the physical space it’s set… Such as escaping from a pyramid, except it’s actually in a pyramid… Or escaping a submarine that is actually sinking and- oh no wait, maybe not that one 😱

A slightly safer way to experience a genuine historical adventure is to check out Operation Constellation at the Jersey War Tunnels. During World War II Jersey was occupied by German forces and during this time the war tunnels were dug deep into the hillside in the centre of the island. They were built so that the occupied regime would withstand Allied air raids and are still in perfect condition today!

Deep within the heart of the tunnels is a little space set aside for an escape room: Operation Constellation. Your mission is to break into the occupied tunnels, access the Commandant’s Office, and find the location of the fortifications so you can transmit the information back to the Allies. The room itself behind the site of an actual Commandant’s office is equal parts eerie and unique, and it’s safe to say that this is a one of a kind experience.

But let’s get into the details…

The entrance to the Jersey Wars Tunnels.

About Jersey War Tunnels

According to Jersey War Tunnels website,

Dug deep into the hillside by forced and slave workers from nations across Europe, they now contain an underground collection of thought provoking exhibits that tell the fascinating story of Jersey’s occupation from resistance, through to starvation, then eventual liberation.

We arrived at 2.30pm and booked in for the 3pm slot. Since last entry to the museum is 3.30pm, we opted to purchase our tickets upfront and use half an hour before the room and another half an hour or so after our room to explore the historical side of the site. There’s easily enough to explore in the museum you could spend hours there though – so be sure to factor that into your booking if you’re planning to make a day of it!

One of the narrow passages off the main tunnel.

The World’s Most Authentic Escape Room

Whilst the plot behind Operation Constellation is fiction, the space it’s in is not. From the moment we stepped into the escape room, our whole team was seriously impressed by the attention to detail. It felt like stepping back into history, where every item we picked up was an original authentic object from the time, here used as puzzles and clues.

On the one hand, this was incredible. Everything felt real and tangible in our hands – no plasterboard or out of place wiring to be seen. Even the clue system was delivered via an old timey, 1940s phone perched on the walls. On the other hand, authenticity can sometimes go too far. This is the only escape room I’ve seen use a genuine swastika flag as part of the decorations… A controversial choice!

Controversial decorations aside, the museum has created many different types of exhibitions to tell the story of occupation: from interactive bunkers, to video performance, to an incredibly immersive tunnels sequence (that may have made me jump out of my skin!). Each exhibit is respectful of the victims, and I’ve no doubt that every consideration was made with their escape room too.

Photo (c) Jersey War Tunnels

Puzzles and Panzers

In terms of puzzles, Operation Constellation is absolutely packed. I can completely see why they recommend the room for teams of 4 – 8. You need at least 4 brains working on things simultaneously if you want to escape in time. Your goal, if you choose to accept it, is to track down the locations of newly constructed fortifications across the island. Each location is on a piece of card with a corresponding key, and each is hidden behind walls and walls of puzzles.

Many of the puzzles we encountered in this room were quite meaty, meaning one person could be occupied by a single puzzle for a big portion of the time. This gives a lot of opportunity for specialisation – got someone who is good with words? They’ll quickly find their forte. Numbers? There’s something for everyone. In particular, since no one player could possibly solve everything, I worked on a word-based puzzle, which played to my strengths and meant that each time another player found a clue they could quickly hand it to me and move on with what they were doing. Similarly, another player chose to focus on a numbers puzzle which took at least 15-20 minutes to solve alone.

Along the way, there’s also a lot of searching and finding. Operation Constellation is a deceptively big room with a lot of cupboards, shelves, books and hidden Easter Eggs to be found. With all the items being so authentic, there’s no way to know what is decor and what’s a genuine puzzle – so check everything!

To help you along the way you have access to just 3 clues – these were delivered via the phone on the wall. That said, there’s technically a 3 clue limit but we were offered one additional, bonus one, when the time was really ticking down at the end and it looked like we wouldn’t escape in time! We technically did run out of time at the end, but our GM was kind enough to give us a little extra time.

Based on our team of 4 of wildly differing skill levels (one player had never played any escape rooms before!), I think we didn’t too badly running just a couple of minutes over the time limit. There were so many keys, so many codes, so many awesome things to find – making Operation Constellation a very impressive room!

Photo (c) Jersey Wars Tunnels

Is Operation Constellation Worth It?

To be sure, Operation Constellation is a quite expensive escape room. It costs a flat rate of £150, and the room can take teams of between 4 – 8 people. At the smaller team size this puts the room at £37.50 per player, and £18.75 if you can rustle up 7 other players. Due to the price, the room size and complexity of puzzles, I wouldn’t recommend doing it with any fewer than 4 players, though its technically possible if you get in contact with them in advance.

That said, your booking for Operation Constellation does not include entry to the museum, which is an additional £15 per person. If you don’t purchase museum tickets, you’ll be escorted into and out of the museum quite quickly… But in all honesty, visiting the museum is part of the experience and not to be missed!

Altogether, for a team of 4 including museum tickets you’re looking at £52.50 per player. At 8, it’s £33.75 per player.

Is it worth it? Well, maybe. A few days before our booking we got chatting to a few local folks who had the room booked for a stag party later in the week. They’d booked just the room (and not the museum) and were thrilled to find an activity so unique that could accommodate their team of 8. Fantastic!! It’s a perfect room for a team like this. On the other hand, if you’re a tourist on holiday in Jersey it’s unlikely you’ll be travelling in a big group, but you never know! If you can afford it, have at least 4 players in your party, and you’re visiting the Jersey War Tunnels anyway, then why not?! Operation Constellation is like nothing else in the world so worth a trip.

Operation Constellation: The Verdict

Operation Constellation is a very impressive room located in the heart of Jersey, an amazingly unique way to experience the local history, and packed with fun puzzles to boot. It’s the perfect escape room for a large group, for example for a birthday party, stag or hen night, or even a work team-building event. We had a lot of fun playing it in our little team of 4.

The best part? Jersey Wars Tunnels are hard at work building another escape room, truly solidifying the island as an excellent destination for escape room enthusiasts all over the UK.

To book Operation Constellation at the Jersey War Tunnels you can head to Jersey War Tunnels website here.

Ratings

Jersey War Tunnels: Operation Constellation | Review
  • Theming
  • Decor
  • Puzzles
  • Immersion
  • Innovation
  • Fun Factor
  • Value
3.4

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