This October half-term has literally been a wash-out – it just hasn’t stopped raining, at least here in West Yorkshire anyway. So with having to stay at home to entertain the kids we have gone back to our trusty board game shelves. We have a lot of board and tabletop games, we find them great fun and entertaining (yes, even the eldest child that doesn’t like to lose) and the game we chose to play was Break Free from Ravensburger as it is a game of skill that appealed to both the 8 and year old and 11 year old as well as us adults.
Break Free is a tabletop game rather than a board game, there is no playing board. It is a game with a very completely different playing style than other board and tabletop games – you start with all the players handcuffed together! The idea of the game is to to pick your lock and escape or “break free” from your handcuffs. This game is suitable for ages 6 years old and upwards and 2 to 4 players. Gameplay is approx. 15 minutes.
- 4x handcuffs with chains and hinged lever
- 4x covers
- 4x lock picks
- 12x victory tokens: 4x green, 4x red and 4x yellow
- 12x lock inserts: 4x green, 4x red and 4x yellow
(3 different difficulty levels: easy, intermediate and difficult)
As with most games there is some setup required and Break Free is simple to get ready for playing. All the inserts and tokens should be placed logo up on the table. Each player is given a set of handcuffs, a cover and a lock pick. A lock insert (there are different difficulty levels so make sure you start with the correct one) is placed into each cuff with the lock placed on top. All the players then put one cuff on a wrist, connect their other cuff together with the other players and pick up their lock pick. The game is now ready to play and the first to pick their lock and collect the highest number of points from using the tokens is the winner.
It sounds really easy and not much of a challenge doesn’t it? It isn’t and is lots of fun.
The lock inserts are basically a 3D maze that each player has to negotiate their way around with the lock pick (key) just by feel as you are unable to see the route through. To win the game a player must successfully pick a lock of all difficulties and have the highest total of points.
We have all enjoyed playing this game, it really does make a change from the standard board game and tabletop games that we usually play. There are no arguments about who goes first (the eldest seems to have a thing about being the first player on everything for some reason) as everybody starts at the same time. And it is more a game of thinking and patience (think the hare and the tortoise) rather than frantic playing and rushing about, which as adults we really liked, especially as kids are too used to a world that delivers instant gratification these days. Slow, steady, methodical thinking and patience are definitely the way to win the race.
Whilst there are only three levels, there are actually twelve unique locks as within each difficulty level, all four of the locks are different. This massively increases the playability and longevity of the game as it reduces the ability of the kids to just remember the path through the maze. You can even level the playing field if some players find it much easier or more difficult than their playing companions (great for adults playing with younger kids or kids with big age differences) – placing the cuff on their dominant hand and unpicking with their less dominant one makes it more difficult and helps bring in line skill levels.
We absolutely loved this game. If is different from other games, definitely not like anything we have played before. It was just as challenging for the youngest child as it was for the eldest adult and one of the few games where it keeps every family member on a relatively even footing.
And just is case anyone is wondering what happens if a player just cannot find their way through the maze to release their handcuff (or if they have to quickly rush off to the toilet as kids need to do), there is an emergency release on the back of each cuff.
Whilst we can’t “break free” from the poor weather at the minute and with a national lockdown being imposed again, Break Free is a fun, family game that will keep the entire family entertained at home this winter and beyond.
Break Free is a fun puzzle game with a unique twist that will require logical thinking and patience.
Available to buy from Amazon here.