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Awards

Rating

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

You Might Like

  • Exciting theme well-realised
  • Enjoyable co-op puzzle: thinky but light enough to keep the humour
  • Variety provide by characters, legacy elements and variants

Might Not Like

  • Too much luck for some in the base rules as written
  • Better at lower player counts… in my opinion
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Burgle Bros 2 Review

Burgle Bros 2

I love a good heist film – I remember watching The Sting when I was 8 and still love Oceans 11 as an annual rewatch. I'd played the original Burgle Bros at a mate’s some time ago and enjoyed it so giving Burgle Bros 2 a go seemed like a no brainer – I mean who doesn’t want to pick a team of crack crims and knock off a casino? Am I right?

Casino Royal Production

The first thing that strikes you about Burgle Bros 2 is the outstanding design and production values and how they absolutely sing to the theme of the game. The box is a Vegas casino skyscraper; the two neoprene play mats show heavily patterned ‘pub’ carpet and the colourful cast of crims and security guards are penned in the same stylised cartoon artwork style of the original. Sure, the innovative legs, box, raised platform for the 1st floor doesn’t work, but it’s a noble attempt.

The game is co-op; you are steering your crew around the two floors to find friendly moles who will give you the information to crack the safe. Then you need one of your crew to find and occupy the owner’s office on the ground floor and a second by the safe on the first floor. This will enable an attempt at cracking it though a combination of transferring dice from one location to another and then rolling them to cover certain target numbers on tiles. If you can manage that the safe opens and you are left with managing your escape.

All of this is achieved by moving round the two boards, flipping location tiles as you move and triggering their effects. You’ll also be flipping the chips distributed on these tiles to encounter the different denizens of the casino. All the while you are evading the two bouncers – one on each floor – who if you encounter them will give you heat cubes. These are run buy an AI deck and to begin with will move from randomly determined point to randomly determined point on their floor. But once the deck has run out they will start to chase your characters and the likelihood of evading them gets all the slimmer. This is a dire problem because six heat on any of the crew and you have failed the mission.

However, there is good news – help is at hand. Like any good mob of rogues each of your crew is equipped with some unique gear, which once prepped can be used in any player’s turn. These have very varied effects but each links to the style of character you are playing. So, the Acrobat, dressed as a stage magician, can don a fake moustache to avoid taking heat from a bouncer. Whereas the the Raven, an Audrey Hepburn lookalike in an LBD, can place crow tokens which interfere with the bouncers when they move over them.

And efficient synergy between character abilities at critical moments can be the difference between triumph and disaster, and there’s 9 characters to choose from Nothing better than hoodwinking the bouncers and snatching your loot and victory from the jaws of defeat.

Living The Criminal Dream

This is a slick piece of design which is pacey, fun and leans heavily into the theme. Sneaking your way around the casino in the first part of the game to find the moles, office and safe is really evocative. Managing untoward encounters with locations and unhelpful NPCs and darting under the gaze of casino staff is the stuff all good heist movies are made of. Then the safe cracking mechanics are tense as there is some luck to deal with: rolling dice to match the combination of the safe is nail-biting and poor rolls will mean you have to spend more turns feeding information (dice) from the office to the safe room. And then if you pop the safe and are playing the legacy campaign the finale is rich, varied and sometime genuinely surprising as well as frequently an absolute hoot.

Throughout the AI does a serviceable job of running the casino’s bouncers. Sure, the run of locations they move between is randomly revealed from a deck – unless you cause a commotion. But the route is fathomable so you can plan evasion patterns, and thus while it’s not the most complex of AIs the tension is often palpable. And the use of character gear adds to the satisfaction of successfully besting the casino security, particularly when you can combine effects for some particularly clever synergy. Worth noting too that the diversity of these characters helps prevent quarterbacking, unless someone has played the game so much they know the characters inside out.

Also there are some rules variants included to be tested too, as these change some setup and mechanics for those who want a bit less luck in their game from random flipping of tiles and chits. Having had a go with these I can see they would be an improvement for some... but really it just boils down to personal taste.

I have really enjoyed Burgle Bros 2 – a pleasantly thinky solo/co-op puzzle. I think I like it best for 1 - 3 and that keeps it brisk and light-hearted and avoids too much AP or downtime. It works with a range of audiences and will keep hitting the table when I fancy a humorous co-op of an evening… or when I have just watched a heist movie and fancy re-living the thrills.

Zatu Score

Rating

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

You might like

  • Exciting theme well-realised
  • Enjoyable co-op puzzle: thinky but light enough to keep the humour
  • Variety provide by characters, legacy elements and variants

Might not like

  • Too much luck for some in the base rules as written
  • Better at lower player counts in my opinion

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