Just before lockdown hit us all, BGQ was able to play and review a fun competitive worker placement from Thunderworks Games: Lockup: A Roll Player Tale. Lockup has players controlling a crew of prisoners made up of 1 of 5 unique fantasy races to try to gain the most reputation (VP) in the kingdom’s prison.
It’s been two years since the release of Lockup and Thunderworks has a new expansion for use to check out called Breakout. Let’s dive in and see if this expansion adds to the base game and if it’s worth adding to your gaming collection.
The most significant addition that the Breakout expansion provides players with is a seventh crew token (Seeker) who can explore the new Catacomb board with a corresponding Lantern marker.
Breakout also slightly changes the set-up rules having players place Tunnel markers randomly face down on locations 1–7 on the base game board. These are then flipped to reveal a single or double Tunnel and collapsed Tunnels. The number of markers will vary by player count. The collapsed markers are removed when revealed.
Players may place their seeker during the Roll Call Phase and resolve in Lights Out Phase as per the normal base rules. The only difference is if the Seeker is on a location with a Tunnel marker and wins that location then that player can move their corresponding Lantern token on the catacomb board either 1 or 2 spaces depending on which Tunnel marker their seeker won. Players will also find loot tokens and collect those immediately and gain the Reputation total during final scoring depending on how far they moved in the Catacomb board. The only exception is if a player reaches the Escaped space and they immediately gain 17 reputation and +3 for each round left in the game.
Breakout also changes the placement rules regarding your last crew member during the Roll Call Phase. Instead of placing your last crew on the base board players hold that last crew in their holding cell and pass their turn. Once a player passes their turn they assign that last crew token face down to a facedown Legend card and, like the locations during the Lights Out Phase, the Legend card is resolved by the player with the highest crew strength. The winning player flips the Legend card and resolves the card’s effect.
Lastly, Breakout also adds new Item, Tome, Goal, Goon, and Trait cards to the base decks and has new rules for the guards to explore the catacomb board in Solitary Mode.
Game Experience with the Expansion:
I think most gamers would agree that an expansion should add new content to the base and not create add new complexity where you feel like you’re learning a new game. Well, Breakout definitely fits that philosophy. Breakout’s additions of the catacomb board and new Legend decks add some newness to Lockup and simply make the base game better. I like that it adds more resources and scoring options to players. Breakout also gives you a reason to bring Lockup back to the table and appreciate this fun worker placement game from 2020.
Breakout brings two nice changes to Lockup, the first of which is the new Catacomb board. This gives players a chance to score Reputation in a new way and gather Loot tokens which provide players with resources, Tome cards, valuable icons, and other special effects that can help their crew or hinder another. What is also nice about the Catacomb board is that it’s an optional path to victory especially if other players are battling over it and you can still focus on gathering goons and items as with the base game.
The second is the Legend deck. This is essentially a new location where your last crew member in the holding cell will be placed after all other locations are resolved. Now, depending on the Legend card you reveal this will generally be a boon to the winner of that space but also a bane to the crew that came in last. So, this is another location that you need to plan for or let the cards fall where they may and deal with the consequences.
It’s also worth highlighting that the new Goon cards are a great addition as well. I especially loved the Golem and Shapeshifters. The Golem especially is helpful when you’re trying to collect Ratmen or Dwarves. The Shapeshifter is just great to cycle through the Goon deck and try to find a better Goon card that will help your scoring strategy.
My only complaint is that I do wish you could move the Tunnel markers at the end of each round. It would add more variety if you could move these randomly to different locations instead of them being fixed at the locations during set-up. I mean, sure you could house rule that, but I’d rather have a new Tome card or Trait card that could allow an existing Tunnel to collapse and a new one to be dug.
I think the best way to rate the success of an expansion is if you’d never play the base game without it again. For any fans of Lockup, I think that would be the case for Breakout. The new Tunnel markers, Catacomb board, Seeker crew member, and the Legend deck are excellent additions that are easy to incorporate with the base game and rules. Also, the addition of new Goons and added Item, Tome, Goal, and Trait cards all are additional content that add more fun and variety to the game.
I do wish that there were rules to move the Tunnel markers but all the additions outweigh this negative. Again, I could house rule something or maybe just live with it as is. If you are a fan of Lockup then you’ll want to pick up Breakout.
• Tunnel markers don’t move after setup