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I played the $30 tabletop escape game Box One this weekend. It's totally worth it

Created by Neil Patrick Harris (yes, that guy!), it's available exclusively from Target, where there's a buy-two-get-one-free game sale happening right now.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read

Box One is a tabletop escape game that really raises the bar. It's designed for a single player, but don't let that stop you: Two can play as well.


Recently a damn good friend sent me an unexpected gift, noting that I "had to play it" and that he'd driven some 40 minutes in L.A. traffic -- each way -- to find it for me. Why all the effort? Because I'm a one-time escape-room owner and current mobile-escape-game designer, and Box One would be right up my alley.

It absolutely was. And I'm planning to pay it forward, because I know plenty of others who'd enjoy this game as well. It's available exclusively at Target and costs $30, but there's a buy-two-games-get-one-free sale going on right now, meaning you could get three copies of Box One for $60 -- something worth considering if you've got giftable occasions in your future.

Box One is a tabletop escape game that's unlike any other I've played -- and I've played quite a few. For starters, it's designed for just one person, though my friend ignored that recommendation, played it with his girlfriend and found it very enjoyable. I, in turn, invited Mrs. Cheapskate to join me, and I'd definitely agree: Box One works just fine with two players.

There's not much I care to tell you about the game itself because I don't want to give away any surprises. I'll simply say that it offers some genuinely great puzzles with some unusually good twists. There were aspects I wouldn't have expected in a boxed game -- like, say, the involvement of your freezer.

Neil Patrick Harris is involved as well. He not only designed the game, he also plays a role in it. (This is, perhaps, unsurprising given the nature of his autobiography from a few years back.)

If there's a downside, it's that you can play this only once -- and once you've played it, it can't really be reset for another person. So it's kind of a disposable game. (Update: According to game developer Theory11, the game can indeed be reset. You'll receive instructions after completing it.) But it's really fun, really different and definitely worth $30.

Well done, Doogie. (I'm old. NPH will always be Doogie Howser, MD, to me. But I guess I could have said, "Cool box, Barney.")

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