I love a good board game, and I'm so happy that Gabriel is now at an age where we can sit down together and play strategy games. We were really looking forward to trying out How to Rob a Bank by Jumbo Games with him - it's for over tens but at nearly nine he's close enough.
In a nutshell, the game is about a bank heist. One player is the bank's security guards, while the other players (whether one or three) are the bank robbers. As you'd expect, the 'bank' player has to stop his opponent(s) from getting hold of the money bags and escaping in their getaway car. All with the help of some action cards and quick thinking.
It took us a while to get our heads around the instructions (which came in a huge fold-out sheet, not the easiest layout) and understand the rules, but once set up, the game was easy enough to follow. The game is staggered into phases: set up the bank floor plan, then planning (revealing the actions you plan to perform) and then the action phase. There are three rounds representing the levels of the bank.
The players reveal their action cards and take turns to use them. The person playing the criminal gets a free action each turn too - like pass a money bag to another player, put the money in the car, move the getaway card or set off the alarm to lure the guards away from the action, so the robbers can get on with their heist.
If the player playing the robbers manages to get their money bags to the car by the end of the third round, they're the winner. If not, the player playing the bank is the winner.
The layout of the bank changes with each round which is a really fun feature, and each one is quite fast so it kept Gabriel's attention throughout. And everyone can see your action cards too, though obviously they don't know how you'll use them.
Gabriel and his dad played it just the two of them (Gabriel was the bank, his dad the robbers) and they really enjoyed it - lots of exclamation, protests and screeches along the way! It took about an hour to play but it will be a speedier game next time. I'm looking forward to joining in the fun next time - when there are multiple players, they each have their own action cards, but work together to outsmart the guards and escape with their loot. I can imagine that the game really comes into its own with that extra strategic layer.
Gabriel thought the stylised art work was pretty cool, but its old-school look may not appeal to everyone. It's marketed for over tens but older kids might not find the game as visually appealing as other games. However, once playing I'm sure they'll be sold.
It's a really fun concept and the perfect introduction to more serious strategy board games for Gabriel. In fact, he was playing it skilfully and with relish very soon into the game. His dad somehow won, getting away with the loot, so he's determined to beat him next time round.
I'm planning to be one of the robbers next time we play - let Gabriel swap sides and join me in beating his dad and making a few million. See if Gabriel does any better on the other side of the law...
Jumbo Games sent us a free copy of How to Rob a Bank in return for an honest, impartial review. All words, opinions and images are our own.
How to Rob a Bank is available on Amazon. and other toy shops.