Burncycle promises an action-packed robot Oceans 11, but it can also feel like drudgery

Burncycle promises an action-packed robot Oceans 11, but it can also feel like drudgery ...

The clicking actuators of your robotic team of intrusions interrupt the quiet hum of servers and sentry drones. You will avoid detection and sneak into rooms seeking access to the company's secure operations in order to shut them down.

Chip Theory Games' latest release is Burncycle, a small studio well-known for their elaborate designs and robust components that include signature plastic chips and miles of neoprene mats. Its a fully cooperative experience that has up to four players working together in a complex, stealth-based tactical game.

Polygon had the pleasure of having a look at the game prior to this years Gen Con in Indianapolis, and we found it to be a complex game with a great deal of scope. The many different scenarios will require you to complete one to three floors, each one comparable to a small dungeon in breadth.

The ruleset will take several actions and a lot of dedication. Players take turns performing actions which are regulated by the eponymous burncycle. Each chip enhances an action, and certain chips enhance specific actions, such as terminal or move. This approach heavily influences the tactical maneuvers you take each round, and how you deal with the obstacles on your current floor of the building you're trying to infiltrate.

As you pass through hallways, interact with the board, and even tear apart an enemy sentry or two, dice are rolled to perform each of these burncycle actions. Enemies have their own activation phase and priority system, pursuing recently identified infiltrators or following a patrol path.

Were not done. There is a separate minigame for the digital portion of your teams heist. This is done to minimize the AI opponent's detection of your pings, while maintaining a physical playspace that is mocked by players. There are also items to be utilized, as well as personal goals.

It's simply too much. Play can feel more procedural and workmanlike than entertaining or dramatic. I'd liken large stretches of play to the emotional resonance of actually writing software or doing database administration, which is difficult to reconcile with the promise of a robot Oceans 11. Too much time is wasted waiting in rooms to avoid doing side-distractions or making actual, meaningful progress.

Regardless, there is a compelling and satisfying mystery at the core of everything. Its also an extremely flexible game, allowing you to leave the game setup and return to the problem at your own pace. These interlocking options are the games greatest weakness, allowing for extended expansion with additional aftermarket options.

Burncycle is a unique and rich tabletop experience that demands a lot from its players. Its a very appealing game with stunning visuals and a classy table presence, this time on Gamefound, where the boxed game and all of its expansions are available for pre-order. Delivery is expected by March 2023.

  • $150

Prices used at the time of publication.

1-4 players, age 13+

Playtime: 60-240 minutes

Strategy board game, according to the game type.

Cooperative, dungeon crawler category

Assassins Creed: Brotherhood of Venice, Cloudspire are two games that have similar themes.