Tuesday, December 09, 2008

#34: Break The Safe

Break the Safe
  • designer: Forrest-Pruzan Creative
  • publisher: Mattel
  • date: 2003
  • BoardGameGeek rank/rating: 1839/6.17
  • age: 8+
  • # of players: 2-4
  • print status: OOP
  • cost: the cheapest copy I found was $125.00, which is ridiculous... keep an open for it in remainder bins & at places like Tuesday Morning (or watch for it on eBay)
This is probably the worst cover art of the entire Kid Games 100 - ugly computer-generated stuff that screams "Hi, we're Mattel & we decided to go cheap on the packaging!" at the top of its lungs. Which is sad, because hidden under the weak packaging is a very good cooperative game that uses an electronic timer to create truckloads of tension.

Players are the good guys, trying to steal the Key To Unbelievable Badness & Evil (well, actually, I don't remember what you're trying to steal - but trust me, it's for the good of mankind.) You set the timer depending on the level of difficulty you want... and away you go.

On your turn, you roll the die, which gives you movement points to run from room to room - but also can trigger the guard or the guard dog to start on a pre-programmed route around the complex. If the guard can see you (straight line of sight) or the dog can smell you (6 spaces but even around corners), your secret agent gets thrown into a holding cell, which means that your team has to break you out, as they can't win & leave you behind.

Meanwhile, the purpose of your visit is to find the four keys that unlock the safe & allow you to steal the WhateverItIs. Each room has a plastic piece (which could be a key, a blank, a secret passage or a trap) and an obstacle on top of it. In order to get the item, you must defeat the obstacle.

You do that by using the right tools - which are distributed (on cards) at the beginning of the game. The majority of the tools work against the traps - there's a mirror contraption, for example, that defuses the laser trap. The other tools help to either evade the guard & dog... or even get them to stop their appointed rounds!

There's a robot (I call him "Fetch") that can be used to send the appropriate tool to the player facing an obstacle - good management of "Fetch" is vital to winning the game. (There's one obstacle - the Ring of Fire - that only the Robot can defeat, but it destroys him.)

There's a little more to it than that, but not much... what makes the game "work" is the tension brought on by the timer, particularly if you have trouble and need to break a couple of people out of the lock-up.

As you can probably guess, the whole Mission Impossible/spy theme is golden with young boys - and kids who can read (the cards have text on them with a small picture) are ready to play.

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