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Lockup: Breakout Kickstarter | Escape the Catacombs

Lockup: Breakout Kickstarter | Escape the Catacombs

Publisher: Thunderworks Games |Playtime: 90 mins | Players: 1-5 | Age 10+ | Designer: Stan Kordonskiy |Artists: Luis Francisco, Gong Studios, Lucas Ribeiro, Diego Sá

How do you make a marvelous game better? Create an expansion that ramps up gameplay with shrewd cards and masterful mechanics. Lockup Breakout puts the player back in the Kulbak Prison, where there are enchanted gates and Construct guards making escape all but impossible. Rumors have been heard about the secret passage that runs under the prison. Some say the tunnels lead to the tomb of Khathander, the greatest of all Dragul warriors. Some whisper that it is littered with treasure. One thing is certain- grab a lantern because it is time to explore the catacombs!

In this expansion, players can earn more reputation stars and bonuses in new ways by sending their Seeker beneath the prison. Explore the Catacombs with new lanterns, collect reputation, craft magical Items, recruit Goons, but be careful to avoid the guards' Suspicion. The cleverness of the catacombs is lively but adds the chance of blind bidding to enter the catacombs, vexing. The blind bidding in the base game leads to some spirited competitions; however, vying for the opportunity to search the catacombs was fierce – in a good way. This family-friendly game is reminiscent of our Dungeons&Dragons weekly game by encompassing a tribe of minions and searching for loot and resources. These baddies are depicted delightfully- dare I say- adorable.

Lockup Breakout is a competitive worker placement game where players compete to earn their freedom by gaining control of locations for resources, Goons, and crafting magical items. Reputation is forged with the loot and Goons during the Lights Out phase. When the Suspicion is up –the guards will raid, and the player with the most Suspicion will lose Reputation. Strategy, timing, and gambling are essential for each round to outbid the other factions.

Base Gameplay

Shuffle the decks, pick a faction, set up your cell block, and start the bidding! The game from box to table in minutes, and once you know the rules, you are scheming in no time. The game is played in six rounds, and the faction with the most reputation wins…. Or escapes in the Kickstarter expansion. Brilliant!

Choose a faction; Kobolds, Goblins, Insectoids, Bugbears, and Gnolls. Each player gets two Trait cards and picks one and discards one. Fill your cell block tray with crew tiles. Each has a different numerical value. The Lookout is worth zero; however, it can block Suspicion cubes. The Power tile has no power to start (unless stated by a Trait) but can earn points each round in the Exercise Yard.

Faction Player Boards

A player can place one, two, all crew tiles in turn, but once you have placed a crew tile in allocation, you cannot add or subtract tiles during the remainder of the round. Once all placed, in order, the highest crew tile wins the bonus in that room and any Suspicion cubes (unless the Lookout is there.)

The Exercise Yard yields Power cubes for the first and second highest crew member. The first also get the first player token, which is very useful during ties. The rest move their Crew tile to the Library. Not winning the location bonus is the only way to get to the Library, which awards Tome cards. Tome cards have unique abilities that can be played anytime during play unless stated.

The Sewers, Infirmary, and Smithy locations all have cube resource bonuses for the higher crew tiles.

There are Goons placed guarding these locations that may require a Suspicion cube placed. If you win the location, you gain the Suspicion cube. (Unless a Lookout present)

The Commissary gains a cube resource of the player choice and the only location with Gold cubes. The second and third get to exchange a cube color.

The Chow Hall is the location to gain Goons. The first place can choose one for one cube or two for four cubes. Second place, choose one for one or one for five cubes. The third can choose one for two cubes. The Goons can accrue Stars, give instant bonuses, and opportunities to give away to a player or back to the prison Suspicion cubes.

The Cellblock is the location to craft magical items. These items have Star values and icons that can accrue Stars with Goon cards. You can build an Item card or reserve it to make later.

The Library is the location for Tome cards that are clever and highly worthy of a visit. If you do not use a Tome card during play, they are worth a Star and games end.

Time to refill Item cards and Goon cards. If you run out of Suspicion cubes placing the Goons, a Raid is triggered. The player with the most Suspicion cubes loses EIGHT stars!! The second most loses four stars, and all Suspicion cubes are placed back in prison.

After the last round, there is one more raid.

Three bonus cards were drawn at the beginning that offers Stars for achieving the goal. There is an Instant goal that scores points when completed, a Leader goal acquired, but not scored till the end because other players may steal it away. The End Goal is scored at the end.

Total Goon Stars, Resource Stars, Tome cards get one Star, and the Starter Token is Reputation Stars. The most Reputation wins.

The play takes place over three phases in each round:

ROLL CALL - Players take turns placing their minions in different parts of the dungeon; some face-up, showing a unit's strength, and some face down, hiding the power from the other players.

LIGHTS OUT - Each area with minions is scored based on the strength of each group. Players receive resources and have the opportunity to recruit goons and build contraband.

PATROL PHASE - New resources are placed on the game board, and the guards patrol the dungeon. Players with high Suspicion are raided, and their chambers are searched.

Expansion Set Up.

Shuffle in the new Goals, Goons, Items, Traits, and Tomes to their respective decks. Place Catacomb board below the game. Add Lantern markers of the player's chosen faction color at the entrance to the catacombs. Shuffle and place the Loot tokens face down in stacks on the loot icons equal to the player count.

Shuffle and place face down the indicated amount of Tunnel markers per player count. Revel the Tunnel markers and return collapsed Tunnel marker. These are the entrances to the catacombs for the game.

Shuffle the Legend deck and place it on the right of the catacomb board face down. Reveal the top card. The Legendary cards are the last stop in around. First off, the art is fantastic, and the mechanics are clever.

Each player receives a Seeker crew tile to match their faction and adds it to their holding cell. It has a Lantern icon and the only crew tile that can enter the Catacombs.

Expansion Game Play

ROLL CALL – Each player now has a seventh token, the Seeker. They are placed like the other crew tiles. They have a strength of one and can earn rewards from locations. Players take turns placing their minions in different parts of the dungeon; some face-up, showing a unit's strength, and some face down, hiding the power from the other players. A player can place six of their seven crew tiles on the mainboard. They must keep the seventh in their holding cell. When a player has one crew tile left, it is placed on the Legend card face down. This does not affect the mainboard face down count.

LIGHTS OUT - Each area with minions is scored based on the strength of each group. Players receive resources and have the opportunity to recruit goons and build contraband.

Resolving Tunnels

If there is only one Seeker at the location, they advance their Lantern in the Catacombs. If there are multiple Seekers at the location, the higher strength crew head to the Catacombs first. Like the base game, ties are solved by the seating order of the First Player token. If there is a double tunnel, the player advances two spaces.

The players must follow the path, pay the cost to advance on the track, and reach the Loot tokens first, look at the tokens and choose their bonus, leaving the rest face down.

When a player reaches Khathander's Tomb, they gain the loot token; however, they can advance any further, and they will score fifteen Reputation stars at the end of the game.

Prison Breakout

Once a player reaches the Escaped space, they instantly score seventeen Reputation stars plus three more stars for each round left in the game.

Once through the Catacombs, the Seeker can still be placed as normal at a location to gain rewards or block players from advancing in the Catacombs.

PATROL PHASE - New resources are placed on the game board, and the guards patrol the dungeon. Players with high Suspicion are raided, and their chambers are searched.

Resolving Legend Cards

Reveal the crew tiles and determine the highest strength. Ties are resolved by the seating order by who has the First Player token.

Resolve the Legend card effect, which can be a reward, or a penalty based on the strength of the crew!!

Tome cards cannot be utilized when resolving the Legend cards. Place the played Legend on the bottom of the deck and reveal the next card.

Return crew tiles back to the holding cell.

Game End

As in the base game, after six rounds, the final raid is triggered. Catacomb final scoring, if players did not escape, they score Reputation stars indicated by the ending spot of their Lantern token.

New Goon Cards

The new Goon cards add just enough twist to keep us all trying to outbid each other. I asked the gang which favorite of the new cards was the Shapeshifter because you can draw three keeps one. However, it does go through the deck faster.

The Goons

Dryads accrue more Reputation stars the more barrel icons the player has. This includes a barrel icon on player boards.

Fungoids accrue more Reputation stars the more Loot tokens they acquire from the Catacombs. Each is worth two stars per Loot token! It is only able to recruit during one round then is discarded.

Golems count as Dwarf or Ratman when scoring, which is clever because, with higher player counts, it becomes arduous to accrue Dwarf and Ratman with players blocking.

Shape shifters are discarded instantly once recruited, then the player draws three cards from the top of the Goon deck, chooses one, and discards the remainder. If a Shape shifter is drawn and chosen, the effect is repeated.

Mechanics That Worked for Us

There are many paths to score Reputation Stars in the base game, which can be problematic if you follow just one approach. Divide and conquer was the main path to a higher reputation.

We have played the expansion a dozen times and found that you can score the win by collecting Magical Items or just Goon cards.

Searching the catacombs is vital, and why would you pass on the extra points and loot? Sometimes having the first player marker is excellent in breaking ties, but we found that there were not as many ties in the expansion. It was much for fortuitous being the latter in the bidding process and snagging the higher bid in the end. Which my Hubby did over and over....

Sometimes blocking a player is the best route and Tome cards are the Key. We have found zero negatives to collecting the Tome cards. They are worth a point at the end game if they are used.

Trying to win each round in the Exercise Yard builds the Power Crew tile, raises a bidding score on a crew tile. Having the highest power tile while snagging the win at the Legendary cards every time.

Mind games!! Placing the Crew tiles upside down in the beginning, has the other players guessing.

Bits and Bobs

5 Seeker Tokens

1 Catacomb Board

5 Lantern Markers

22 Loot Tokens

9 Tunnel Markers

8 Items Cards

7 Tome Cards

10 Trait Cards

11 Goon Cards

4 Guard Cards

11 Location Cards

6 Goal Cards

18 Legend Cards

5 Reference cards

The Last Word

We are having a blast playing Lockup Breakout! Its ingenious new mechanics give the core game a deeper level of strategy and good-natured fun.

The Legendary cards are just that- Le-gen-dar-y!

There is plenty of combinations to bolsters the Replayability.

The level of interaction is huge and lively.

The setup is swift, and the asymmetry of play (advanced play) makes for enterprising gameplay.

The theme could have gone a dark path with prisons and bad guys; however, it is light, and the baddies are delightful.

Worker placement with a clever and fresh mechanism that the workers have different values and have some secret deployment is where the planning and scheming commence.

This is one of those rare games that all the Nerdz at the Garage found the fun factor high.


The Nerdz Garage highly agrees that Lockup Breakout is a Kickstarter must!

Lockup: Breakout Kickstarter

Game Design: Stanislav Kordonskiy

Artist: Lucas Ribeiro

Graphic Design: Luis Francisco

Artists: Luis Francisco, Gong Studios, Lucas Ribeiro, Diego Sá

Publisher: Thunderworks Games

Playtime: 90 mins

Players: 1-5

Age 10+

Mechanism(s): Area Majority / Influence, Secret Unit Deployment, Set Collection, Worker Placement

* Review copy kindly provided by Thunderworks games. Thoughts and opinions are my own.


Let us be honest; there is still a bit of drama when we play.

Sit Down. Grab a Drink. Join the Game

Suzzan Smith


We play. We invent. We review.


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