Lockup: Barouf in Kulbak!

Being in third year observation internship, I was asked to choose a game to write an article on. It was then that the game Lockup caught my eye, with its story and its graphics!

But what is the story of this game? The game tells that after a great battle, your clan is captured and imprisoned in the prison of Kulbak: a prison from which it is impossible to escape. Indeed, the doors are enchanted and terrible guards prevent any escape. The only way to leave this place happens once a year when the king decides to free the strongest clan of prisoners by throwing them into the Royal Coliseum to fight.

You know, by the time you are thrown in prison, that you have only six weeks (six turns) left before the king’s visit… Six weeks to become the most famous prisoner clan to have the chance to fight in the Colosseum and then regain your freedom. But how do you become the best clan? And is the game really worth it? That’s what we’re going to see.

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Lockup is a game for 1 to 5 players over 10 years old counting 25 minutes per player by Stanislav Kordonskiy (Dice Hospital, The Dark Kingdoms of Valeria, Endless Winter) in the world of the very good Roll Player game.

The game takes place on a game board representing the 8 places of the prison. Each in turn, starting with the player with the horn (first player marker), we will place one or more Clan tokens on the different places of the prison. We have six minions each : four with a strength of 2 to 5 and two special minions: A brute (having a strength equal to the number of Strength cubes present on the Clan board) and a lookout (having a strength of zero but not taking a Suspicion cube, see below). It is the clan with the most strength present in the place that wins the first batch… But in return, it also recovers Suspicion cubes… And yes, he drew the Guardians’ attention to himself. Bundles are usually either resources or strength. Those who do not collect anything meet at the library… Certainly to learn how to be smarter the next time. There, they can earn books giving them some special actions.

Tric TracOn the Refectory location, the player can hire brigands to join his clan and thus obtain reputation points (the famous victory points); on the Cells location, the player can “crafting” objects also allowing him to gain reputation points. With certain “Object” and “Brigand” cards, you could also recover some small resources.

Tric TracYou can also earn points by completing objectives, whether it is “leader” (objective changing hands), “immediate” (can be claimed at any time during the game) or “endgame” (claimed at the end of the game… Logic, Eric!). But you can also lose reputation points, especially during raids that will be triggered when there are no more Suspicion cubes in the reserve, as well as at the end of the game.

Finally there is trait cards allowing to play with the advanced set-up and which offers a new way of playing, by offering each clan, among other things, a unique advantage. It is possible to play in single player with the Guard board, the twenty-two Guard cards and the 8 Location cards. But not having played the “solo” and “advanced setup” versions, I wouldn’t allow myself to give my opinion on it.

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For me Lockup is a good game! Not necessarily the game of the year, but a good game nonetheless. I think the small jails to position our tokens are a good idea that makes us quickly dive into this universe full of monsters and robot guards. In addition, its short format (only six rounds) is perfect for playing during family breaks.

Of course, even if it remains a good game, it is not without faults: rules that are sometimes a little messy and not always clear for “casual” players could prevent them from appreciating the game at its fair value; Another detail, the brute is sold to us as an overpowered henchman when in fact, it only happens in the last rounds. Some will say that I quibble on points of detail and they may be right, but for me, it was important to point this out to you. I also wanted to tell you about the raids that we are presented with as being threats when, in the “two player” configuration at least, they do not necessarily represent a great threat and are easily avoidable.

Tric TracBehind this unique bidding game (since you can only bid once on a place) hides a game with a lot of interactions: steal the first places or important resources, make collections of brigands or Objects in the nose and beard of opposing clans… Life in jail is not easy and that’s what’s good. This explains why the best game configuration is rather with 4 players.

Incidentally, even if we keep these few details in mind, Lockup remains a good bidding game to play with the family… And even on your own if you want!

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We wish to thank the writer of this article for this remarkable material

Lockup: Barouf in Kulbak!


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