Our school district LOVES Breakout EDU and we use lots and lots of the games available from the Breakout Platform. We usually play with a set of 6 boxes which turns into 3 to 5 students per group. Read on for some modifications that we often make so that game-play with 6 groups and 6 boxes goes smoothly.
Issue 1: Many published games hide a clue “behind a poster”, or have an invisible ink clue written on a poster that all teams are to use. This is a big game-breaker: as soon as one group finds the clue, all other groups usually notice it and no longer have to work at solving it
Solutions: Sometimes the fix to this issue is simply to leave a copy of the poster as a clue with each individual group
Issue 2: Too many “poster on the wall” clues. One wall/poster clue is almost too many! Here’s why: the students who are really into the game are off at the posters trying to solve the clue – this results in a student or two who are left at (or choose to stay) at home-base, often aimlessly trying to hack the locks. With the others off trying to solve the poster puzzles, there really is very little team-work or collaboration happening.
Solutions: As above, make a copy of each poster and leave a copy for each group to solve together.
Issue 3: Hiding the key. The keys are little and easily lost.
Solution: Create a game-related image that fits onto a quarter-sized sheet of paper. Tape the key to this laminated, and ultimately, colour-coded sheet of paper and then hide it. Students then realize that they are looking for a paper colour that matches the rest of the clues or the dot on their box; the key is less likely to get lost, and the students are more likely to “find” the correct key for their box.
Issue 4: Hiding anything. In a multi-box game, you have to hide everything x 6. This can quickly become a disaster as clues that you thought were out in the open disappear.
- Solutions: Hide clues in groups. For example, if 3 items need to be found, hide one colour-coded item from each group on a book-shelf; hide the second colour coded item from each group under the teacher’s desk, etc.
- Take a picture of the location where you hid each item or grouping; trust me on this one.
- At the beginning of the game, tell students to “hunt” for any clues with hands behind their back – looking with only their eyes. If they use their hands, they will start moving items around, even though you’ve told them the items are in plain view. Once they start rearranging items in the search process, the items that you hid in plain view are now inadvertently hidden beneath something.