Kids are always getting themselves into trouble. Hopefully not real trouble, just normal kid stuff like not tiding them room, not doing their homework, not eating their dinner etc. – nothing serious that they need to be put in handcuffs. Unless of course they are playing the unique puzzle game Break Free.
Break Free is a tabletop puzzle game for 2-4 players aged 6+. All players start handcuffed together and the idea of the game is to pick your lock, which is actually a challenging maze, and escape or “break free” from your handcuffs. Gameplay is approx. 15 minutes.
In the box:
- Handcuffs with Chains and Hinged Lever (x4)
- Handcuff Maze Covers (x4)
- Lock Picks (x4)
- Victory Tokens: 4x Green, 4x Red and 4x Yellow
- Lock Inserts: 4x Green, 4x Red and 4x Yellow
(3 different difficulty levels: easy, intermediate and difficult)
Break Free isn’t a pick up and play game, there is some very quick and simple setting up to do first, as with most games. This only takes a minute or so to complete.
All the inserts and tokens should be placed logo side up on the table. Each player is given a handcuff, 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 place the handcuff on their wrist and connect their cuff together with the other players and pick up their lock pick. The game is now ready to play and the first to find their way through the handcuff maze and pick their lock, collecting the highest number of points over three rounds using the tokens is the winner.
It sounds really easy and not much of a challenge, doesn’t it? It isn’t so easy, is quite challenging and is plenty of fun.
The lock inserts are essentially a 3D maze and to pick the lock and free the handcuff from your wrist, 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 gain the highest total of points.
Overall, we all enjoyed playing this challenging game. Everybody plays at the same time, and it is a game of thinking and patience (think the tortoise and the hare) rather than frantic playing and rushing about. Slow, steady, methodical thinking and patience are the way to win the race.
There are three difficulty levels players must work through to pick their locks and win the points. There are actually twelve unique locks over the difficulty levels (4 different ones for each level). This 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 skill levels to a level playing field.
I thought that this was an excellent quick and challenging game and something different for our family game nights. We all absolutely loved this game. It was just as challenging for the youngest player as it was for the eldest and one of the few games where it keeps every family member on a relatively even footing.
There are no keys to unlock the handcuffs, but if a player cannot work their way through the maze to unlock their cuff they don’t have to wear it forever. There is an emergency release on the back of each cuff so it can easily be removed at any time (very useful for when an emergency toilet break is needed). And you don’t even need to break into song and sing “I Want to Break Free” by Queen – although how cool would that be?
Break Free is a challenging fun family game that requires logical thinking and patience and will keep the entire family entertained.
Available to buy from Amazon here.