Burgle Bros review
Score : 10
Possibly the most thematic game we have played.
Tough game to beat
Real sense of panic when a guard approaches
None (it did get a 10 score!)
Finally I had found the last safe and was working on cracking the combination. My partner in crime, rushing to escape the guard had unwittingly discovered the walkway by falling down it, and was therefore sneaking back up to the top floor. I rolled the five dice we had placed on the safe. Just a 2 and a 5 needed. Success!! Inside the safe was a rare painting. Perfect, now all we had to do was get to the stairs up to the roof and we could escape in our waiting helicopter. The guard finished his current patrol and we pulled his next patrol card. A groan escaped us. What were the chances of him deciding to go and take a rest on the stairs! My partner would have to continue hiding out downstairs, standing on a toilet to avoid the increasingly attentive guard, now aware another safe had been cracked.
Burgle Bros is a co-operative game where the players adopt the role of crooks trying to steal treasure and escape the building. Each of the three floors (two in easy mode) is made up of 16 rooms, randomly assigned, divided by walls into narrow corridors or other configurations and only revealed when entered or peeked at.
The rooms are all interesting, potentially containing dead-bolted doors or keypads, delaying entry or security cameras or motion detectors, potentially setting off alarms. There are some helpful rooms as well, such as the aforementioned lavatory to hide in or secret doors to take short-cuts. The essential rooms to find are the stairs up to the next floor, and the safe which is hidden on each floor.
Each turn comprises of up to four actions which include looking into the next room to reveal it safely, moving or attempting to open a safe. Each safe has a combination lock, made up of small numbers located on the tiles in the same row and column. You can use two actions to place a die on the safe, and one action to roll all these dice. Once all numbers in the combination are rolled (this can be across multiple rolls) then the safe is open! Great news, except some of the treasures are bulky, or set off certain traps and can make it even more difficult to escape!
Of course, any building with such wonderful treasures wouldn't be protected with just the security features mentioned above, and each floor also contains a guard. These move a set number of spaces, depending on which floor they are on. If alarms are set-off then they move faster (temporarily) and also speed up when safes are cracked, or if too much time is taken. They will move based on patrol cards, so you always know the current route of the guard. However, when they reach their destination, they draw a new route so there is always an element of uncertainty.
Guards will also immediately investigate alarms, which can be hugely unfortunate as usually it will be exactly where you have just set one off. However, a timely deliberate alarm activation can distract a guard from discovering one of your colleagues! Should a guard discover you, you can hide but you lose one of your three stealth tokens. Lose them all and the guard finds you, where you instantly rat out your friends, losing the game and your freedom. As guards only move when they are on your floor, where you move around is hugely important, adding a level of strategy beyond just all running to the nearest safe and then stairs.
Each player will be randomly assigned a role at the start of the game with special powers available, such as the acrobat who can move through the guard's location without being spotted, or the hacker who can avoid some of the traps. Random event cards can help or hinder the mission and are drawn if you take two or less actions, and there are also tools which can further help, such as dynamite which can allow you to remove a wall.
The game suggests three layouts of walls with an easy, standard and fort-knox mode, but the fact you can also do this randomly, the layouts of the tiles, numerous characters included and events, tools and loot drawn mean that no two games are ever the same, leading to huge replayability.
This is one of the most thematic games we have ever played and really replicates breaking into a bank (we would guess!). Turns are quick and simple with limited actions but working out the best way to avoid those guards, or simply crossing your fingers and hoping they go left and not right on their next patrol is a thrilling experience.
Publisher: Fowers Games
By: Tim Fowers
Number of players: 1-4
Play Time: 45-90 mins
RRP: $46.82 from publisher only