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Subject: The 4.1.1. on Lockup: A Roll Player Tale (Solo Review) rss

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Jamie Jamison
United States
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Welcome back to the 4.1.1. where we offer one person’s opinion on a solo game in around 4 minutes. Today, we visit Kulback Prison in Lockup: A Roll Player Tale.

Gameplay Overview: In Lockup, you control a prison gang trying to get the most reputation as the baddest, nastiest prison gang around. This is accomplished through a worker placement mechanic to build up your enforcer’s power, hire goons, and build powerful contraband. Bonus reputation can be earned by accomplishing specific goals.

In the solo game, you are competing against the Automa Prison Guards. The game is played over the course of 6 rounds which has three phases. In the Roll Call phases – you are going to alternate placing your crew tokens (each has a different numerical value representing their power level) into the various prison locations in an attempt to have the most power. The locations in the prison offer different rewards such as resource cubes or the ability to trade resources, hire Goons, or craft contraband from previously gained resources. During the Lights Out Phase, you will resolve each location comparing your total power to the Guards and procuring any rewards you have won. Whomever loses at a location travels to the Library where you can obtain a Tome Card to aid you. Finally, in the Patrol Phase, you setup the game for the next round by replenishing items, goons, and the like.

In solo mode, the Roll Call Phase begins with a face-down guard token at each location. In this phase, on the player turn you will place any number of your crew tokens at a location. During the guard turn, you will flip over a face down token revealing its power level. You will then draw a card from a location deck which instructs you to place another randomly drawn guard token. This results in interesting decisions. How many crew tokens should you place at a location? When should you place theme there? You run the risk of losing a location if you act hastily.

Another interesting mechanic deals in suspicion and prison raids. Small black cubes are added to various locations as goons move about the prison. This represents suspicion. Winning a location and claiming the reward will result in you also taking on more suspicion. This can be negated by placing your Lookout crew member at that location. If ever, a suspicion cube cannot be placed because the pool is empty, a raid is triggered. Whomever has the most suspicion (guards or player) at that time, will lose reputation points.

The game also offers asymmetrical starting powers and abilities through trait cards. The customization of this option really adds to the replayability of the game. Gameplay continues through six rounds. Collecting contraband and goons aid in reputation scoring, so pay attention to set collection mechanics during the game. If you score higher than the guards, you win.

Components: With all Thunderwork Games titles, the art is amazing! If you have played Roll Player, the style will be intimately familiar. The contraband items are quite funny and have interesting drawings. The cards are of good quality with linen finish. Tokens have sufficient thickness. While superfluous, the game comes with little Scrabble like racks to hold your crew tokens with an artistic backing that makes the rack look like a line of prison cells. The ruleset is well organized and easily to follow with good examples of gameplay.

Overall Thoughts: Lockup is a fun worker placement game. If you enjoyed Roll Player, this is a fun diversion into that world with completely different mechanics than the game that kicked off the franchise. The solo mode shines with the hidden guard placement and where the most interesting decisions occur. Should you focus on building contraband or collecting sets of goons? The suspicion mechanic adds in a tough wrinkle because you might have to overcommit at a location to avoid taking suspicion, lest you risk a raid. All in all, who knew prison could be this much fun!

The 4.1.1. Score: 8 out of 10

Game Photos:

Lockup Board Set Up

Insectoid Crew in rack

AI Cards

Selection of Goons in the game

Some of the "Contraband"

Check out more 4.1.1. solo reviews here.
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