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Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Rules are easy to explain & learn
  • Great for younger or new players
  • Companion app builds suspense and adds to the theme

Might Not Like

  • Entirely luck-based mechanics
  • Artwork is a bit bland
  • Simple game play can get repetitive
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15 Minute Heist Review

15 Minute Heist

Have you ever watched Oceans 11, Heat, or Entrapment and thought “I could do that, and probably quicker”? Well then, 15 Minute Heist is the game for you my criminally-minded friend. 15 Minute Heist is a super-fast-paced action game for four players, working as a team the players will have 15 minutes (clue’s in the name) to clear out a vault full of gold bars and escape. If they fail, their crew is captured and they lose! 15 Minute Heist has a companion app that both pushes the game forward, but also adds a randomising element to the gameplay. Dom & Andy have played a few of the “Escape!” games, which also come with an app, but 15 Minute Heist is designed to be a bit more thematic.

The name of the game in 15 Minute Heist is “Speed.” The app, once started, will automatically count you down and there is no reasoning with it. You may be thinking “15 minutes doesn’t sound like a lot of time to rob a bank vault,” and you’d be right. Every time we have tried to clear the vault, we have either run out of time, or made it with seconds to spare. The first time we won the game, we only had 3 seconds left on the clock. Team work really does make the thieves dream work in this game. 15 Minute Heist has a follow up game called 15 Minutes To Self-Destruct, which is an excellent follow-up game.

The Tidy Crew Strikes Again

When you open the box for 15 Minute Heist, you may feel a bit overwhelmed by the number of parts and the thickness of the instruction booklet. But we promise you two things, if you can play Snakes & Ladders, you can work this out. And the booklet is that thick because it is translated into 5 different languages (English is second to last.)

To start 15 Minute Heist you need to download the companion app. This can be found on both the Apple App Store and Google Play, and is free to download. With this done, the next is to set up the board by attaching the eight turntables, big pins go underneath and the little pins through the top. Once the pins are in, it is time for one of the players to put their phone in the central console for the duration of the game, we suggest the least popular member of the team so that your robbery is not derailed by Tinder notifications.

After the phone, comes the laser fence tokens. These little wooden tokens are colour matched to their respective fences, so pink tokens on pink laser grids, blue on blue, etc... Next you will need to place the vault door tokens on their vault spaces, again, these are numbered so it is clear where each one goes. Make sure the side showing the locked vault door is facing up. The penultimate part of the set up is putting the elevator shaft next to the main board, and placing the suave looking thief at the bottom level, that is Level -4.

Finally for the set-up of the main board, each player places their chosen coloured cart on the rails next to the central console (your phone). To play 15 Minute Heist, you will ideally have four players. There are four characters in the game, and they all need to participate. That said, you can play with 2 or 3 people, with one or more players controlling multiple characters. The characters are all the same, so everyone basically chooses their favourite colour and you are ready to start your life as a master thief.

If this is your first time playing 15 Minute Heist, start the app on “normal” difficulty. You will be greeted with a big blue “BEGIN” button. Press the button and the screen will make a series of loud alarm noises and show numbers which represent vaults that have been opened. The story behind the game is that your team “up-stairs” are hacking the system to open vaults for you, it’s so deliciously ‘90s. We love it. For each vault opened, you will need to flip the matching numbered vault token and place a gold token on it. Normal difficulty will give you four opened vaults before pausing at the start screen. Once your team is ready, press the start button. This is where your 15 Minute Heist begins.

Once you have pressed the start button you will be greeted with tense music and a big countdown clock. It can be paused, but where is the fun in that? As the game goes along, the app will announce new vaults that have been unlocked. Each time, flip the corresponding vault number to open and add a gold token. Starting with the first player, each person rolls the two game dice in turn and the result of each roll depends on the colours shown:

  • Two different colours: Use these to open or close a laser fence that matches the colour or you can raise the lift up, again if the colours match
  • Two matching colours: You can turn any turn table on the board, it does not have to be one that you are on, this is all about team work
  • Two “wild” colours: The “wild” colours on each dice are the sides showing all the colours in a circle. Individual “wild” colours can be used to be any colour. Rolling two wilds allows players to rotate all the turn tables on the board, but they can also be used to open any 2 laser fences or move the lift twice.

Here’s a twist though, if you cannot find a fence you want to open or move the lift up a space, you must close a fence. Each dice colour must be used after each roll. This can be a real pain, so we suggest you try not to trap any of your team mates behind a laser fence.

Moving in 15 Minute Heist is very straight forward, you keep moving your cart until you hit an impassable object, such as a closed laser fence, a turntable that is against you or you reach your chosen destination, usually a vault or the central console. Speaking of open vaults, once your character reaches a vault, you will load the gold from the vault, onto your cart and then you need to get back to the central console. Once you are at the console, you can place the gold token onto the lift and you are free to go back and get another.

Each vault only holds one gold token, each character can only carry one gold token at a time and the lift can have a maximum of three gold tokens at a time. Once you have collected at least 9 gold tokens, you must get your entire crew into the lift and make it to the top to escape. And that’s the basics of how to become an incredibly rich international fugitive.

Checking The Blueprints

Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. The 5 P’s. The best way we have found to play 15 Minute Heist is after having read all the rules as a team first, understanding that your route through the bank vaults will constantly change, and above all, speed is your best weapon. So, roll the dice and use the colours as quickly as you can and pass on to the next player. Over-thinking will eat up your time and there is no time to discuss the plan too much once the timer has started. We cannot tell you enough how quickly those 15 minutes will go by if you are trying to work out which route is best and who should get which bit of gold. Grab whatever gold is closest to you and get it to the lift.

Pay attention to your team mates rolls, maybe they don’t know what to do with that green dice roll, but you might. Quick, easy instructions are your friend here. If a decision is made that you don’t like, don’t worry about it. The rolls should come quick and you will have the chance to get your hands on some gold.

Caught Red Handed

As much fun as we had with 15 Minute Heist, there are of areas where the game can do with some improvements, but nothing that truly impacted on the energy of the gameplay. The addition of an app is a great way to build a sense of tension in a game. However, the theme is let down a little by the artwork on the board, as it is a little dull and not very appealing. The board can feel very busy with the about of markers and tokens and moving pieces, and the artwork does not help with the chaos because no individual sections standout well enough from the rest. Further, the phone holder is a bit clunky and does not fit every phone, but you can just put your phone in the middle of the board without the holder. It is less in keeping with the theme, but it does work better.

Our biggest gripe with 15 Minute Heist is in it’s total reliance on luck for the main mechanic of the game. As you need to match specific colours to progress, it can be frustrating when the team just seem to be unable to find that pink spot. We actually lost one game because we got stuck in the elevator for nearly 4 minutes just trying to roll a blue or wild colour. That said, it is a very straight forward game to learn because the mechanic is as easy as rolling dice. So, this could just as easily be your favourite part of the game, as it is our least.

Getting Away Scot-Free

In summary, 15 Minute Heist is an excellent gateway game to new or younger players, but is also a brilliant little party game for those with more experience. Dom & Andy have played this with a few friends and the most common feedback is “it’s stressful, but in a great way!” And we would agree. The music from the app and the constant timer with alerts really helps keep everyone in the game and builds tension as the time runs out. Dom’s & Andy’s final thoughts are that 15 Minute Heist is best described as frantic fun for four for fifteen fabulous minutes.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Rules are easy to explain & learn
  • Great for younger or new players
  • Companion app builds suspense and adds to the theme

Might not like

  • Entirely luck-based mechanics
  • Artwork is a bit bland
  • Simple game play can get repetitive

Zatu Blog

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