20 November 2019
The Roll Player universe has become richer with Lockup’s addition
Set in the universe of Roll Player is Lockup, where the aspiring heroes of the fantasy adventure are replaced with prisoners hoping to escape their confinement in the unbreakable Kulbak Prison. Only the strongest gang, who survives the gladiatorial-like battle in the prison’s coliseum, will earn their freedom.
This theme may have been entirely forgettable, if not for the game’s gorgeous main board that masterfully uses its isometric perspective to fill every room of the dungeon with volume and atmosphere.
Players assign members of their prison gang to these rooms to earn resources or perform actions. In a traditional worker-placement manner, these will become victory points by the end of the game.
Player interaction is the heart and soul of Lockup, elevating it from a by the book worker placement and set collection game. Only the gang with the strongest numbers can perform actions in each room. Players can place as many members as they like in each location, but only once.
However, Lockup is not just a number-counting game. A player can place a limited number of their gang members facedown, therefore hiding their strength from their opponents. This simple addition of uncertainty and bluffing makes all the difference. Did your opponent hide the tile because they really want to win the action spot? Or are they trying to make you overcommit so they can spend their powerful units elsewhere with little competition? What other tiles do they still have left in their hand to play?
Lockup is a clever worker-placement game full of player interaction in a modest package. It is faster to set up and play than most games in the same genre, yet the gameplay has not been sacrificed in any way to achieve this. The Roll Player universe has become richer with Lockup’s addition.
PLAY IT? YES
Designer: Stan Kordonskiy
Artist: Luis Francisco, Lucas Ribeiro
This review originally appeared in the November 2019 issue of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.