Reviewed by Louise Totton
We play a lot of board games and tabletop games in our house – the kids love them, it gives us a chance to spend quality time together as a family and it keeps us all off our screens too. But one thing that most of these games have in common is they are competitive – there is nearly always a winner and a loser. I don’t have an issue with that as such and I think kids need to learn that they won’t always win and to be happy for someone else when they win, sometimes the spirit of cooperation is lost somewhat when they’re just trying to outdo one another! This led me to thinking that there aren’t actually many games at all that encourage the kids to work together and cooperatively.
That was until we were sent Bank Attack, a game for 2-4 players to work together to break into the bank vault and pull off the heist of the century. It is obvious that Bank Attack is something a little different from the moment you open the box – there is no board, no playing pieces and no dice! Just the bank vault, a collection of tools and a pile of money. All that is required for you to win the loot and share out the spoils is to work with your fellow crooks to break into the vault and release the goodies. Contained in the box is:
- The Bank Vault
- 8 vault-cracking tools (goggles, drill, laptop, map, flashlight, headset, explosives and gloves)
- 12 gold bars
- 20 bank notes
- Set of instructions
The first thing to do is to insert 3 AA batteries into the battery compartment. These aren’t included but other than that, it takes minutes to set up and isn’t one of those games that takes longer to set up than it does to play! Once the batteries have been inserted, all you need to do is pop the gold bars into the top of the vault and lay out the vault-cracking tools out on the table so they are within easy reach of all of the players. The game can either be played with two, three or four players, so the next step is to assign each player a role – either Hacker, Money Man, Explosives Expert or Lookout. Each player sits in front of the relevant face of the vault and you’re ready to play. There are five difficulty levels, and I would suggest you start with level 1 just to get used to the way the game is played.
The premise is simple, but the execution isn’t! The Boss (the vault) shouts instructions at the players which need to be followed perfectly in order to get into the vault. There are four different instruction types: Collect (take from the pile on the table), Pass (pass an item you have collected), Grab (take an item another player has collected) and Use (the player who currently has this item presses the button on their side of the safe). The Boss’s instructions get faster and louder as the game moves on, adding to the panic and sense of urgency, and you only have a limited number of lives which are lost when you get an instruction wrong.
As a game for two players on the easier levels, this is reasonably simple and is manageable for kids at the bottom of the 7+ age range, but it really does ramp up on the difficulty scale as you add more players and move up through the levels. A 4-player game on level 5 is exponentially harder and more frantic than a 2-player game on level one or two, but you can really challenge yourselves by playing with two players and allocating each player two roles. Each game lasts under five minutes, so there are more instructions crammed into the higher levels coming at a faster pace the higher up the levels go progress.
We have thoroughly enjoyed playing this game this weekend and it really is something a little bit different. The whole thing feels good quality, and the kids all loved the way that when they completed the game and managed to crack the code, the lid of the vault would pop up, spewing gold bars out at them. Equally, when you lose all of your lives and fail in your task, the alarms will sound and its game over for all of you!
This would be a fantastic game for around the table after Christmas dinner and we think it would make a fantastic Christmas present. The lack of set up time and the way the levels can be set according to the ages of the players make it a superb game for the whole family that can be grabbed from the games cupboard to fill even very short chunks of time.
Available to buy from Amazon here.