torsdag 19 mars 2020

Crime Pays, As Long As You Don'T Get Caught

Burgle Bros. is an entertaining and well-designed game about robbing an office building. Players take on the roles of a colorful cast of criminals (I'm sure they're well-meaning) and work together to find a hidden safe on each of three floors of the building, and then escape to the roof. If anyone is caught by a wandering guard, the whole team loses the game.

Each floor of the building is represented by a 4x4 grid of face down tiles. Players reveal them by moving onto them, or they can play it safe by spending extra movement to peek ahead at an adjacent tile before moving. Movement between tiles is somewhat hampered by wall pieces that are placed between certain tiles (depending on the game setup). The tiles represent different locations in the building, some helpful and some not. Alarms can be tripped, computer rooms can be hacked, but the ultimate goal for each floor is to find two tiles: the safe, and the stairs to the next level.

Once the safe is found, the combination needs to be cracked by rolling dice and matching the numbers to those printed on the tiles in the same row an column as the safe (so even if you get lucky and find the safe and the stairs right away, you still need to explore at least some of the other tiles). The player who opens the safe draws a loot card, which will most likely do something to make movement more difficult, and a tool card, which generally gives a helpful ability.

Lest this all seem too easy, each floor has a wandering guard and a deck of cards that randomly determines his destination. The guard takes the shortest path to his destination tile, then draws another destination and continues moving. If a guard moves onto a player's tile (or vice versa), the player has to discard a stealth token or be caught! Players start the game with three tokens, and once they're gone, if the guard catches you again the whole team loses the game.

It's as much a puzzle as it is a game, with the primary strategy being how to move around the tiles without being caught by the guard. Some tiles set off an alarm when you move on to them, which can be used tactically to change the direction the guard is moving (when an alarm goes off, the guard immediately changes his destination to the tile with the alarm). The characters chosen by the players each have a unique ability as well -- some can move through guards or slow them down.

The graphic design and artwork have a refreshing retro 1960s look, and the "crime caper" theme makes for a nice change from fighting orcs or being driven mad by Lovecraftian horrors.

Rating: 4 (out of 5) You know it's a good cooperative game when after you lose you immediately start talking about what you could have done differently, and then set up to play again.

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