Board game reviews, strategy tips & session reports
No. of players: 1-4
Amount of time to play: 30 – 90 min (depending on the scenario)
Age requirements: 14+
Set-up time: 5-10 minutes
Lockdown is an expansion for Level 7 Escape. It adds new scenarios, aliens and more horror. But should you be scared to pick this up?
Level 7 Escape is a very story-driven series. In the base game you play people trying to escape a top-secret compound full of dangers both human and alien. You must ascend from the bottom of the compound (level 7) to the surface to survive. Speaking of the base game you should read my review of Level 7 just so you have the basics down. This write up will only be about the new things added in the expansion.
In Lockdown, you play the people that did not escape the compound and must find a new way out. In the new scenarios you return to the depths of the compound hoping to find another way out. The new scenarios are harder and more complex then those in the base game. That said anything from the expansion can be added to the original scenarios.
The new elements include, new skills, items, adrenaline cards, events, and new map tiles. The events and tiles are a bit tougher for players, but the new skills, items and adrenaline cards help balance that out. Supply caches allow you to keep searching a tile to find items. And war zone tiles count as a spawn point for both aliens and guards.
There are also new alien enemies. The new aliens are able to make ranged attacks into an adjacent tile. The new aliens come in two flavors, warrior clones and blaster hybrids. They are added to the reserve based on the scenario.
You also have some new options to defend yourself. You can drop prone, hide in gas or fire extinguisher clouds, and barricade doors. These add to your toughness or slow down enemies but some cost you adrenaline cards or movement.
A new concept in the game is terror. You gain terror when your fear would go above eight. This impacts your character in a few ways. First, your fear cannot go below your terror. Second, each point of terror you have counts as one point of fear for alien target selection. And last, if your terror ever reaches eight you instantly die of a heart attack. You can lower your terror by one point if you discard two adrenaline cards.
In the new scenarios Dr. Cronos plays differently too. He cannot be attacked, is immune to guards, and will eliminate guards when they are present on his tile. Each scenario has specific rules for the good doctor too.
Lockdown adds more narrative to the story of the Level 7 Escape series. So while it is too bad you did not escape the first time around at least you get to try to find another way out. Good luck! (you’ll probably need it)
Lockdown continues the strong alien-horror theme from the original Level 7 board game. You should absolutely read the intro for each scenario to set the mood and tone for the game. This expansion builds on the base game’s excellent theme and ratchets up the difficulty, tension, and fun.
The components on the game are similar to the original. Everything looks awesome and is made well. The rules are written better than the first games too. I still wish there were player aids included in the game to help speed up player turns and how the enemies react.
One thing I like about this game is all the new elements. They all fit into the original game mechanics and though they add a few new rules they make sense and are not too hard to pick up. And they really balance each other out. The new things for players are very helpful but the new tiles and events can be tough.
The best thing about the Lockdown expansion is the replay value it brings to the series. Some may say there are only five new scenarios, but you can add any of the new elements to the base game. That means you can replay all the original seven scenarios again.
The next thing I like about the expansion pertains to both my above points. If you are having a tough (or too easy) time completing the original scenarios the new elements are modular. So you can just add things that help you or the game. This can help you set the difficulty at a level you like.
Lockdown adds some fun new elements to the Level 7 Escape series. If you have the original game, I strongly recommend you pick this expansion up. If you have played through all the original scenarios this might be a must buy. This expansion adds elements to the old scenarios and five new scenarios to play. If you don’t own the original game but have it on your buy list, you might want to pick these up in tandem.
Score and synopsis: (Click here for an explanation of these review categories.)
Strategy 4 out of 6
Luck 4 out of 6
Player Interaction 2 out of 6
Replay Value 5 out of 6
Complexity 4 out of 6
Fun 5 out of 6
Overall 5 out of 6