Matt Carlson: Review of Heist: One Team, One Mission

Pass items back and forth as the central safe shouts out instructions in this cooperative real time game of bank robbery. Take on the role of one of four characters and follow the instructions on the battery-powered central cube. Pass items back and forth and then “use” them correctly to advance the timer. Success leads to the big payoff, while mistakes cost you money and perhaps the entire game. Heist: One Team, One Mission is a fast-paced game looks neat, is very family friendly, and plays in just a few minutes.

Heist: One Team, One Mission
Designer: Rob Daviau, Bob Driscoll, Don Ullman
Publisher: University Games
Players: 2-4
Ages: 7+
Time: 5-15 min
(review copy provided by publisher)

One to four players line up around a central box (the electronic Safe) and take on the role of either the Money Man, Explosives Expert, Hacker, or Lookout. The roles don’t matter, other than to differentiate between players during the game. The Safe has a button on each of the four sides. To start the game, turn it on and have every player press their button. (In this way, the game knows how many players are playing and their roles.) Choose a difficulty setting (one to five) and away you go.

The game revolves around the distribution and trading of several small plastic “tools” that start randomly in front of the players. There is a drill, flashlight, map, goggles, gloves, explosives, etc… In general, they’re distinguishable. For a few, like the map, it is distinguishable from the other pieces, but when seen just by itself it doesn’t quite scream out “map” to me. The Safe will give out commands like “Give the drill to the Explosive Expert” or “Pass the Map to the Money Man” and players need to move the designated objects in front of the correct player. Sooner or later, the Safe will say “Use the Map” at which point the player with the map in front of them must quickly push the button on their side of the Safe. Sometimes it requires all the players to press their buttons at the same time. Success is marked with a reward (“You just got a $1,000,00”) or penalty. Around 3 penalties or so, and the game will end in a loss. Play perfectly, and the money you earn will increase over time, so you start at $1,000,000 at a time and end the game earning $5,000,000 a pop. A perfect game results in the players earning $50,000,000. In a nice little touch, if you complete the game (don’t fail out) a little platform inside the Safe pops up and spills little plastic gold bars everywhere. (Which you just put back in and reset for the next game.)

Higher difficulty levels speed up the pace of the game, although it does increase over the course of a single game. It also brings in new challenges, such as trading one item for another. While the game is very approachable, the higher levels are tricky enough for me to recommend groups to start on one of the lower levels until they get the hang of how to play. There’s even a “secret” level 6 that also has players trading places during the game.

This is a great little game. The plastic bits and pieces are simple, but get the job done. I give it props for the way the top of the Safe begins to creep upwards as the game progresses, ending with the pop-up and spillage of all the little plastic gold bars for a win.

Cool neoprene mat not included… :(

The two main issues I have with the game are with the speaker and the stability of the Safe itself. The game speaker only has one setting. In a somewhat quiet environment, it is booming-ly loud. However, in a more noisy room, it is extremely hard to hear. It would have been nice to have a volume setting. I’ve even covered the speaker with a bit of tape to quiet it down some, but then soon tear it off again later when I’m in a loud room. The other problem lies with the stability of the Safe. Players are always frantically trying to press their button as quickly as possible, but even a soft touch has a good chance of knocking around the Safe. Thus, someone needs to keep a finger on the Safe so it doesn’t go flying from players pressing on the sides. As a side note, I also have the excellent neoprene game mat to put around the box, with bright colors identifying who is which role. In the box, there isn’t any such item, even a cardboard or paper playing area to layout. I would suggest for new players to make some sort of memory aid so that it is easier to identify and/or remember who has which role. Some sort of built-in optional identification (layout, cards, whatever) would have been welcome.

Heist: One Team, One mission is a great little game. It is a lot of fun packed into a short time-frame. The central “Safe” is a great visual, creating a great centerpiece that draws players into the game. The difficulty scales nicely, with the easiest level achievable by most players (sometimes with a bit of practice for the more inept) and the higher levels provide a real challenge.

Opinions from other Opinionated Gamers

The Unknown Comic (1 play):  This was pretty interesting and I enjoyed my one play of it.  I’d happily play it again.

Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers
I love it! 
I like it.  Matt Carlson, James Nathan
Not for me…

About Matt J Carlson

Dad, Gamer, Science Teacher, Youth Pastor... oh and I have green hair. To see me "in action" check out Dr. Carlson's Science Theater up on Youtube...
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3 Responses to Matt Carlson: Review of Heist: One Team, One Mission

  1. Pingback: Matt Carlson: Review of Heist: One Team, One Mission – Herman Watts

  2. Sonya says:

    Where can I get the play mat?

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