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BREAK-IN AREA 51
Schmidt Spiel.  €27.49c
From the musings of:Rebecca Bleau, Nicholas Cravotta, David Yakos; With illustrations by: Steve Downer

This is a 1-6 player Paranormal, Supernatural, puzzle adventure game, with a beautifully constructed box. The inners of the box, once the lid has been removed, bloom slowly, like a flower basking in daily sunshine. Opening up like one of those origami puzzles we had at school, one piece at a time being exposed.

Ages 12 & Up Recommended for Adolescents and Adults

Contents: Expanding 3D Game Board, 39 Cards, 8 Solution Sticks, 3-Piece Cow Puzzle, 3-Piece Ship Puzzle, Swiss Army Knife, Instructions.

The puzzles are exceptionally well defined in most places so expect games to be fraught with tension, humour, arguments, discussions and wrong turns.                    

AREA 51 is one of the best known 'Secrets' of the American Military. The game box base serves as the many aspects of this exciting place. With clues, both textual and visual.

Unfortunately for me my copy arrived fully in the German language. Normally this is no problem because Boardgamegeek.com or other sites provide English translations, but because this is a game with cards filled with text, often requiring the use of a red-lens to see past the overlay, translating is out of the question, err literally!

Therefore this is not truly a review. I have watched the videos online and tried to walk through a game following their direction. 

BREAK-IN is an Escape Room style game with the exception that before you can Break Out you must Break-In.

From the Box:
To escape, you must first...break in! Each title in the Break In game line presents a collaborative experience that begins the moment you lift the lid off the game box. Inside, you will see a 3D shape with graphics representing the area you are trying to break into. Your paperwork tells you to STOP and make sure you are all ready before you begin — get your cards laid out, settle in with all the players, read your instructions, then begin looking for clues to solve puzzles! Soon, you will be told to open the game board and unfold the first of three layers, expanding your board and revealing the next layer you have to explore to uncover clues that will lead you further inside!

It's a one-of-a-kind unboxing experience! Along the way, you'll see wonderful things, meet interesting characters, and complete amazing challenges using clever hints and a unique solution system. The final puzzle leads you to your goal — and then you must escape! In Break In: Area 51, you are an alien trying to rescue your ship that was stolen by humans and is being dismantled deep inside the facility.

From the Internet (escape-maniac.com)

Break In's greatest innovation is the box design. There is a quite large hexagonal box on the table, which reveals more and more areas of the game as the game progresses. First you have to get to Alcatraz, then get into the actual prison and then escape again with your spit-buddies. 

For this you have a large deck of cards in addition to the said game box, which is gradually being uncovered. You will also find narrow code strips with symbols and colored strips in the box, which are available for solving or checking.

The use is initially not very intuitive and on the other hand, you can unfortunately find the solution by trying out one or the other puzzle without further ado. To solve the riddle you always need a symbol, a number and a color. With this information you will find a corresponding code strip (symbol), a slot in the box (number) where you put it in and a color with which you can determine how deep this code strip has to be sunk into the slot. As a solution, you will receive a card symbol that continues the story and reveals new clues for further puzzles.

For each task in Break In - Alcatraz , it is indicated which card from the pile serves as a hint card, which can be read using the enclosed red light film in walkie-talkie optics.

The way the game opens its 'petals' leaves players with some 3D images, The problem with this beautiful design is the fact that after you have played it and, presumably, passed it on to friends and players, the bending and back-bending of the cards will, with not too much use, wear and tear.

Not a truly playable more than one time game, unless you give up very early on. The puzzles are not all in the box or even part of the box. Some are on the cards face-up in front of you. 

It is visually superb, I only wish it was in English as I'm sure it would be a success in the UK and USA. Schmidt Spiel are a German company that produces many excellent games, but almost all of the games they publish have only one set/booklet of Rules, and these are always in the German language. Once another publisher becomes involved the games are then sent out with more than one Rules booklet. Let's hope Rio Grande or someone else in the UK/USA takes this game on board and brings it to the English speaking board-game playing countries.

 

 

 

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015