“It’s an interactive Nutcracker in swing time.” In REPOD season 6, episode 6, we go behind the scenes with the creators of Club Drosselmeyer, Kellian and Brian Pletcher. Club Drosselmeyer is a World War II-themed mass-puzzling, swing-dancing, and immersive performance event, and it’s one of Room Escape Artist’s favorite holiday events.
Kellian talks to us about what to expect from Club Drosselmeyer, the format of the show, and how the puzzles work. She talks about drawing inspiration from history as well as current events and tells us why it’s important to throw in a dash of whimsy and weirdness (like robots in 1940.) We also chat about how to approach large-scale, open-world immersive events without getting overwhelmed.
If you’re looking for a fabulous holiday event with mysteries to unravel, puzzles to solve, gorgeous outfits, raucous performances, and a lively dance floor, look no further than Club Drosselmeyer. David and Lisa love it so much that they created Operation Nutcracker, a Room Escape Artist event built around this show.
Thank You to Our Sponsors
We are immensely grateful to our sponsors this season: Morty App, Buzzshot, and COGS. We truly appreciate your support of our mission to promote and improve the immersive gaming community.
Morty is a free app for discovering, planning, tracking, and reviewing your escape rooms and other immersive social outings.
- Morty now features haunt attractions!
- Morty for Android is here and in public beta.
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Buzzshot is Escape Room Software, Powering Business Growth, Player Marketing, and improving the Customer Experience. They offer an assortment of pre and post game features including robust waiver management, branded team photos, and streamlined review management for Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google Reviews, and Morty. Buzzshot now has integration with the other REPOD sponsors: Morty and COGS.
Special Offer for REPOD Listeners:
REPOD listeners get an extended 21-day free trial plus 20% off your first 3 months, with no set-up fees or hidden charges. Visit buzzshot.com/repod to learn more about this exclusive offer.
COGS by Clockwork Dog is an easy to use software/ hardware platform for running interactive events, including escape rooms, and other immersive experiences. They have plug & play hardware that seamlessly integrates with their software so you can create a show with lighting and sound cues without having to write a single line of code. Map all kinds of inputs to outputs by building up simple logic steps which determine what you want to happen and when.
Special Offer for REPOD Listeners:
REPOD listeners can get the COGS Starter Set for only $130 + free shipping to the USA. This bundle is usually valued at $257. You can learn more and purchase your Starter Set at cogs.show. Use code REPOD at checkout.
Topics Discussed in this Episode
- [2:52] David talks about Operation Nutcracker, a Room Escape Artist event built around Club Drosselmeyer.
- [3:36] Brian talks about collecting mechanical puzzles and starting Brian’s Damn Puzzle Blog.
- [6:22] Kellian says that in addition to attending puzzle events with Brian, she got her start in immersive as an educator working with museums to create scavenger hunts.
- [9:18] Kellian talks about telling stories rooted in history, but with a whimsical twist.
- [12:27] We discuss how Club Drosselmeyer works. It is an interactive swing party with a puzzle and game layer.
- [16:28] Kellian talks about how she wanted Club Drosselmeyer to appeal to several communities, including swing dancers and puzzlers.
- [18:07] David talks about how he and his wife Lisa got into swing dancing.
- [20:34] Kellian talks about a tradition in the dance community called the snowball dance.
- [22:15] Peih-Gee talks about being a backup dancer for Janet Jackson and Madonna in her twenties.
- [24:27] Kellian and Brian talk about their inspiration for creating Club Drosselmeyer.
- [26:12] Kellian talks about how the storyline of the event changes every year with scenes that reflect relevant modern themes.
- [32:35] Peih-Gee talks about how these open world events can feel overwhelming and offers tips for navigating them.
- [33:36] David offers his advice, including how to dress the part.
- [35:20] Kellian tells us about the types of puzzles and interactions to expect.
- [38:36] Kellian talks about how many people it takes to run Club Drosselmeyer.
- [46:00] Kellian talks about how current events and the state of the world influence her as a creator.
- [50:32] Kellian tells us some important game design lessons that she teaches her students.
- [51:49] Brian tells us about the Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition, an annual award and competition in the engineering and design of mechanical puzzles.
- [54:30] Kellian talks about her Beginner Chinese Lesson video on YouTube that has over 3.3 million views.
- [56:22] We talk about the nuts and bolts for Club Drosselmeyer and Operation Nutcracker, including dates and times and what the ticket includes.
- [1:01:35] Kellian tells us a bonus story about the time the ending for Club Drosselmeyer didn’t go quite as planned.
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Resources Mentioned in this Episode
- Brian’s Damn Puzzle Blog
- Operation Nutcracker
- REA reviews of Club Drosselmeyer:
About Kellian Pletcher
Kellian is the founder of Green Door Labs and also the Director of G.L.A.M. (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums) at Boston’s FableVision Studios.
As a producer, director, writer and game designer, Kellian’s immersive theater productions include Save the Munbax, the American Society for the Protection of Magical Creatures, The Night Cafe and 8 iterations of Club Drosselmeyer.
Kellian has built over 150 games at museums and cultural spaces focusing on physical/ digital interactive experiences in public places. such as Murder at the Met at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Mystery of the Megatherium Club at the Smithsonian or AVATAR at the Peabody Essex Museum. In 2023, she spearheaded a museum-game prototype initiative called Project AMI with a collaboration of museums in Switzerland (www.projectami.com).
Kellian is a former middle school teacher, former adjunct professor at Northeastern and Emerson, a board member of the Playable Theater Project, avid swing dancer and lifelong vegetarian. She likes tater tots and peas.
About Brian Pletcher
Brian Pletcher is a co-producer for Club Drosselmeyer, a yearly immersive 1940’s Nutcracker event in Boston. He has played over 150 escape rooms across 11 countries since 2014, and is a judge for the Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition.
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