The Burgle Bros are back for another heist! This time, they’re robbing a string of casinos … in broad daylight.
What Is Burgle Bros 2: The Casino Capers?
Burgle Bros 2: The Casino Capers is a cooperative heist game for 1 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, and takes 45–70 minutes to play. It’s currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, with a pledge level of $49 for a copy of the game. It is a stand-alone game, and does not require the original Burgle Bros to play. It’s generally kid-friendly, though of course the theme is breaking in and stealing things, and there are some references to gambling and drinking (hey, it’s a casino).
Burgle Bros 2 Components
Note: My review is based on a prototype copy, so it is subject to change and may not reflect final component quality. For example, my copy had some substitute wooden cubes for tokens that weren’t available yet, and the artwork on the location tiles is placeholder artwork.
Here’s what will come in the box—some of these items aren’t pictured in my photo above.
- 3 Finale Scenario cards
- 32 Room tiles
- 2 Bouncer meeples
- 16 Lounge Event cards
- 16 Pool Event cards
- 2 Bouncer Patrol decks (16 cards each)
- 24 Gear cards (3 each for 8 characters)
- 17 Walls (black)
- 17 Doors (red/blue)
- 16 Chip tokens
- 4 Safe dice
- 8 Character meeples
- 20 Heat tokens
- 15 Gear Counter tokens
- 6 Safe Crack tokens
- 2 Bouncer Destination tokens
- 2 Neoprene Mats
- Double-Decker box
As usual, Ryan Goldsberry will be illustrating the game, and he’s putting a Las Vegas spin on these familiar characters, dressing them up in costumes so they’ll blend in.
The components will otherwise be similar to the original: custom shaped meeples (I’m guessing with a sticker sheet), sturdy location tiles, square cards, and some small cardboard tokens. One major component change is the 2 neoprene mats (seen on the Kickstarter page, but not included in the prototype), which will look like a red patterned casino carpet. Those will combine with the specially designed box to create a double-decker casino!
How to Play Burgle Bros 2
You can download a draft of the rulebook here. If you’re already familiar with the original game and you just want to know what’s new, skip down to the next section! Otherwise, I’ll walk you through the game here.
The goal of the game is to work together to crack the safe on the second floor, and then fulfill the scenario objective for that casino.
Note: My setup photo above includes the Burgle Bros tower from Daft Concepts (which actually goes up to 3 floors to accommodate the original game), but the Burgle Bros 2 box will actually allow you to create a double-decker casino! (Or, you can lay the two floors next to each other side by side if you prefer.)
First, you’ll need to choose one of the scenarios and set up the two floors based on the maps on the front. Each floor consists of sixteen tiles: you’ll need to make sure the Control Room and Escalator are on the first floor, and the Safe and Staff Elevator are on the second floor, but then the rest of the tiles are randomized between the two floors. The black lines on the setup map represent walls; the red lines represent doors. The black dots are the event chips, which are shuffled face-down and placed onto those spaces.
Shuffle the bouncer decks separately; if you have fewer than 4 players you’ll remove a few cards from each deck. Set each deck next to the corresponding floor, and then reveal the top card of each. That shows the starting locations for the two bouncers, one on each floor. The first time a player enters a floor, you’ll flip another card to show the bouncer’s destination, and mark it with a token.
Each player chooses a character, and takes their three gear cards and meeple. Shuffle your gear cards face-down, and flip one face-up in front of you.
Shuffle the Lounge and Pool decks separately and keep them nearby, along with the various other tokens.
On your first turn, you’ll need to enter the casino as a free action—you simply choose a corner room on the first floor and enter it, flipping over the tile and revealing it (and an event chip, if any). The team may choose two of the four corners as entrances.
On your turn, you get 4 actions, which may be spent to Peek, Move, Open a Door, or Activate.
You may peek at an adjacent face-down tile (not diagonal) as long as there are no walls or closed doors: flip the tile (and event chip, if any) over and place them face-up. Typically, this does not activate the room.
You may move into an adjacent room (but not through walls or closed doors). If the room hasn’t been revealed yet, then you reveal it (and the chip) when you enter, but this may trigger the effect of the room.
To open an adjacent door, you roll a die. 4 or higher opens the door, but if you fail and attempt to open it on the same turn, you add another die for each attempt. (You must get a 4 or higher on a single die, not as a sum.) Flip the door over to the blue side to show that it’s open. If you successfully open a door, you get to peek or move into that room for a free action. Note that you can always close adjacent doors as a free action.
Some rooms have special powers that can be activated—for instance, the revolving door lets you spend 2 actions to move diagonally. The “intel” chip also requires actions to use.
After you’ve taken your 4 actions, you flip over one of your face-down gear cards.
At the end of your turn, the bouncer moves 3 spaces toward their destination following the shortest path. If they reach their destination, flip another bouncer card for their next destination. In addition, if a bouncer moves through an open door, they get suspicious—they’ll close the door, and move one extra space that turn. Any time a bouncer moves into your location, you gain 2 heat. There are some other tiles that may give you heat under particular conditions.
The goal, of course is to crack open the safe on the second floor, but it takes a few steps to do so.
As you explore the casino, you’ll come across “intel” chips. Spend 2 actions to remove the chip and add a die to the Control Room on the first floor (once you’ve found it). A player can spend an action in the control room to send all of the dice to the safe on the second floor.
On the second floor, you’ll need to uncover all of the tiles in the same row and column as the safe. Each tile has a small number in the bottom corner—the combination to the safe includes all of those numbers. If you’re at the safe, you may spend actions to roll all of the available dice. For each number that you roll, you can place the “crack” tokens on all of the matching tiles. (So if there are two 3s showing, you only need to roll one 3 to cover both of them.) You may roll the dice multiple times on a single turn, but at the end of your turn, all the dice are returned to the control room.
Once you open the safe, everyone loses 1 heat. Then you flip over the scenario card, showing your objective. If you complete the objective, you win the game!
The game ends when the players complete the objective and win the game, or if any player gets 6 heat and the team loses.
What’s New in Burgle Bros 2?
So what makes Burgle Bros 2 different from the original? Here are a couple of highlights.
First, the casino is only 2 floors instead of 3—but don’t think that means your job is going to be easier. Cracking the safe becomes a lot harder.
The bouncers usually follow their patrol routes, but they’ll also respond to commotions. The red tiles are all various casino features that can cause commotions under certain circumstances. For instance, the Blackjack table will cause a commotion if you leave on the same turn you enter it, but the Craps table causes a commotion if you end your turn on it. Whenever there’s a commotion, the bouncer for that floor immediately changes their destination to that tile, and also takes one step toward it. This is different from the “alarms” in the first game, where the guard’s speed increased until they reset the alarm. The bouncer always has a speed of 3, but can take extra steps immediately if there’s a commotion or if they walk through an open door.
Also: if the bouncer deck runs out, instead of reshuffling and removing a card, the bouncer goes into “hunt mode” and just moves toward the closest player.
Doors are also new: they require die rolls to open, but you get a free peek/move action if you open a door. Open doors let you get around more quickly, but they make bouncers suspicious, so you have to decide whether to shut them after you’re through.
Gear cards change up the way character abilities work. Instead of an ability that helps you on your turn, each character has three gear cards (which are revealed as you play). Some gear cards have multiple uses, but many of them are single-use and then discarded from the game. What’s notable is that they can be used on any player’s turn, to help that player out.
Another new feature is the event chips found on some location tiles. Some are good, some are bad, and some really just depend on the situation. Most of them trigger if you walk into a room without peeking first, but the Blind Corner makes the bouncer jump to a location if you peek, so it’s always a gamble. You’re looking for the intel chips to get dice for cracking the safe, but you may run into a talkative salesman who traps you with an exciting opportunity to invest in a timeshare … and you’ll need a teammate to help you out of that one.
The Control Room (mentioned above in the How to Play section) is a new feature. Instead of one safe on each floor, there’s a Control Room on the first floor and just one safe on the second floor. When you gain dice through the intel chips, they appear on the Control Room, and it takes an action to send all the dice up to the safe. After somebody attempts to crack the safe, the dice are returned to the Control Room and must be retrieved again.
I’ll also note that the Peterman, the character who was great at cracking safes, is gone—he pulled his one last heist and retired, so maybe that’s why cracking this safe is so tough!
There are lots of new location types, but the Lounge and Pool may be the most disruptive. There are two of each location, and when you enter it, you’ll have to draw an event card from the corresponding deck. Some of these are helpful, and some are harmful, so take your chances with Lady Luck whenever you enter one of these!
Finally, the scenario cards are new. When you finally get that safe open, you’ll have another objective to complete. For instance, the Steinway scenario has you shoving a piano around the casino until you can get it to the staff elevator and escape. Want to make it harder? You’ve got 2 pianos to steal.
Why You Should Play Burgle Bros 2
I got a chance to try out Burgle Bros 2 at Gen Con, and we had a blast sneaking around the casino and outrunning the bouncers. It definitely feels a lot like the original, but the changes add some new twists and some fun variety. I like the three different scenarios, which are wacky and over the top, but I do wonder if I’ll wish there were more scenarios after playing through all of them. In the prototype, each scenario is paired with a particular casino, so once you set up, you know which scenario you’ll be facing—I also wonder if this will change, so that you don’t know for sure which scenario you’ll be up against each time you play, which could add some interesting wrinkles to planning.
The new locations change things up a bit—the red tiles are fairly similar to the alarms from the original in terms of how you deal with them, but there’s a lot of variety in the others. I particularly like the buffet—you add a token each time you pass through it, and eventually the bouncer comes to check it out.
The new gear cards can be quite powerful, but they also make you work as a team. Your gear may help a teammate out of a desperate situation, and it feels cool to be able to do that rather than only using your powers on yourself. We had one character get stuck with a salesman, and the Rook was able to use his “earpiece” gear to call him and move him away. “Hey, sorry, it’s my kids—gotta take care of this.”
The subtle changes between guards and bouncers make you rethink your approach. In the original, you knew you could set off an alarm and the guard would move more quickly, but only until they reached the alarm. Here, the bouncers seem slow and plodding because they don’t increase their speed, but the fact that they can respond immediately to a commotion with one step in that direction can make it risky to attract their attention. Add to that their extra step when they find an open door, and suddenly they’re not so slow and plodding after all!
The original Burgle Bros really did a great job of scratching my itch for heist caper game, and it’s no wonder that it’s become a favorite for fans of cooperative games. It’s not brutally difficult like some cooperative games, but it leads to some great, tense moments that can make for fun stories, whether you win or lose. Burgle Bros 2 carries forward that tradition: it’s a zany casino heist that evokes films like Ocean’s 11, with a little bit of Keystone Cops thrown in for good measure.
If you’re a fan of the original and you’re ready for the next level, you’ll definitely want to take a look at Burgle Bros 2. For those new to the world of cooperative heist games, you’re in for a real treat. Burgle Bros 2: The Casino Capers captures the heist caper genre and rolls it up into a tabletop game that’s challenging and entertaining.
For more information or to make a pledge, visit the Burgle Bros 2 Kickstarter page!
Disclosure: GeekDad received a prototype copy of this game for review purposes.