We knew that we were going to eventually do a Burgle Bros. review ever since its successful Kickstarter campaign. We were big fans of another Tim Fowers game called Paperback, which has an excellent cooperative variant. Did we like this one, too? Well, let’s see…
What is Burgle Bros.?
Burgle Bros. is an intensely thematic cooperative game where the players are a group of robbers trying to pull off a huge heist. To win, you have to get through three floors, three safes and past all of the guards to get to the escape helicopter on the roof. If even one player is caught by a guard, everyone loses.
Burgle Bros. Gameplay
At the beginning of Burgle Bros., each player selects a random burglar that has a unique ability. The levels of the building are randomly created by placing tiles face down, with wooden logs placed between them to represent walls. Each room can have alarms, obstacles, computers to hack, tools that you’ll need to continue, or the staircase to the next level. Players can also find tools, items, and events that can be either good or bad for the team.
On each turn, players use their four actions to:
- peak into a room by flipping a tile
- reveal a room by entering it
- add a die to the safe room for future cracking attempts
- or attempt to crack the safe
Safes are cracked by rolling a die. With each subsequent action, players can add an additional die to make cracking the safe a bit easier. This also takes longer, though, which makes it more likely that the guard will find you.
After a player is done with his or her actions, the guards take their turn. They move around the current player’s floor at different speeds throughout the game, either towards an active alarm or towards the location marked on the current Patrol card.
If a player is caught on the same tile as a guard, they have to spend a stealth point. If they ever run out of stealth and are on a tile with a guard, they are automatically caught and the game is over. You win if you are able to crack all of the safes and make it up to the roof.
The Burgle Bros. story and gameplay all revolve around the central theme of robbing a building. There is no problem at all getting players into this theme since all of the game’s mechanics are built around it. You may not think that this game is very thematic when you first look at it, but it does an excellent job of simulating a group of robbers attempting a high-stakes heist.
You can get your copy of Burgle Bros. HERE!
- Burgle Bros. is strongly thematic and uses that theme to put pressure on the players. With the continual sense that there always is or could be something around the corner, it builds the tension among the players and gives a real driving force behind the action.
- Speaking of theme, the fact that it actually feels like you are in an Oceans 11 type of environment makes it very easy to teach. We’ve always thought of Forbidden Island as being one of the best gateway co-op board games, but Burgle Bros. might be an even better gateway game since most people will recognize how it works quite quickly.
- The way that the board is initially set up is entirely random, so even the same group of people replaying this game will get entirely new experiences every time. It is also straightforward enough that if you want to bring in new players, the learning curve is very high and nobody will feel left out.
- We should point out that Burgle Bros. can run pretty long if you play the full three-level game. Don’t be surprised – especially in your first three or four playthroughs – if the game ends up lasting longer than you expected.
Burgle Bros. is an excellent game for people who like board games with a lot of tension. If you love heist movies and want to put yourself in the action, you will probably enjoy Burgle Bros. as much as we do. It’s definitely one of the best family co-op games out there right now, and it happens to be in our group’s top 10 co-op board games. There’s no other game like Burgle Bros. on the market right now, so it’ll probably stay in our collection for a long time!