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Raine's been gaming for as long as he can remember. It all started back with his video gaming roots, and as he got older he transitioned into tabletop. A lover of all games, some of his favorites include Pathfinder, Battlestar Galactica, Magic: the Gathering, D&D Attack Wing, Regnum Angelica, and Warmachine/Hordes. Raine's been writing for many years, and loves being a part of the gaming industry.

Written Review – LEVEL 7 [ESCAPE] LOCKDOWN

LEVEL 7 LOCKDOWN cover

You didn’t make it out. After all of the fighting, running, hiding, and brilliance you put forth you are still stuck within the walls of Subterra Bravo. The silver lining to this could be that you survived the terrible encounter with Dr. Cronos, though at this point you feel it’s more like a burden. Still desperate to make it out of this horrific facility alive, your mind scrambles to think of another way out. Cronos is still hunting you. Your escape has eluded you, but maybe there’s another way out? In LEVEL 7 [ESCAPE] LOCKDOWN, you must fight together with your fellow survivors – or use them as tools – to find another way out of the treacherous Subterra Bravo facility before the inhumane clones and Dr. Cronos strip the life from your very frame.

Level 7 Lockdown Stats

Components

LEVEL 7 [ESCAPE] LOCKDOWN adds a bunch of new things to the original game. Inside the box you’ll find:

  • 14 map tiles
  • 16 Adrenaline cards
  • 6 Skill cards
  • 12 Event cards
  • 12 Item cards
  • 8 Warrior Clones
  • 2 Blaster Hybrids
  • 30 Tokens and Markers
  • Rulebook/Scenario Guide
All the new little toys added to the game.

All the new little toys added to the game.

What Has Changed From LEVEL 7 [ESCAPE]

Fans of the original LEVEL 7 [ESCAPE] game won’t find many changes in the way of the rules, which can be a good thing.The expansion, well, expands upon what we’ve already got: players create a board by adding tiles through exploration, and they must fight against clones and guards while locked within Subterra Bravo. The game is played through scenarios that players can choose at-will, and each scenario is set up differently as well as it has its own objectives. LOCKDOWN adds 5 new scenarios to the game at large.

LEVEL 7 [ESCAPE] LOCKDOWN adds a lot of fresh content to the game to make it even more terrifying than before. First, LOCKDOWN adds new enemies that come in two forms: Blaster Hybrids and Warrior Clones. These enemies are much more tough than those seen in the original game, and they can make long-range attacks through adjacent tiles. The Blaster Hybrids gain power from tokens placed in the scenario’s threat pool. They activate at the end of each player’s turn, and they have the ability to completely wipe a player out if they get off a successful attack. Warrior Clones are a bit tougher than the previous clones from the original game (which are now referred to as Rogue Clones), and accompany the previous enemies into the new scenarios.

Here are the new tokens for fire extinguisher clouds, poisonous clouds, supply caches, and door barricades.

Here are the new tokens for fire extinguisher clouds, poisonous clouds, supply caches, and door barricades.

Though the old rules haven’t changed, some new ones make an appearance with the expansion. LOCKDOWN adds new rules for putting barricades on doors, dropping cloud effects, allowing the player to take a dive to avoid ranged attacks (AKA falling down), and even adds a new resource: terror. Terror is a scary thing to have in LOCKDOWN. Whenever you gain fear that forces you to go above 8, you gain 1 terror point for each point of fear you exceeded the limit. When you gain your first point of terror you place a terror token on your character card on the bottom of your fear track. Every point of fear you gain afterwards raises your terror token by 1, but you can still gain and lose fear normally. No matter what, however, your fear token can never go below the terror token. The only way to get rid of terror is to discard two adrenaline cards per 1 terror point you want to drop. This is important for two reasons: first, enemies treat every 1 point of terror as 2 points of fear, and second, if you ever manage to go above 8 terror you have a heart attack and die instantly, removing yourself from the game.

These new Warrior Clones are nothing to scoff at.

These new Warrior Clones are nothing to scoff at.

Something else that’s new to LEVEL 7 [ESCAPE] is the addition of War Zones. Some tiles in the game will have double events printed on them. This means that you’ll need to resolve the first printed event fully and then resolve the next one immediately after. When it comes to spawning enemies, you follow the same rules as the original game unless there is a War Zone symbol on the tile. War Zone tiles count as both a security and a fear icon when spawning enemies. During the spawn enemies step, if a War Zone tile is the closest security or fear tile to you, you spawn two of the matching enemy instead of normal on that tile.

Here's an example of the new War Zone tile and some of the double event tiles.

Here’s an example of the new War Zone tile and some of the double event tiles.

Unlike with the original LEVEL 7 game, Dr. Cronos appears in every scenario with LOCKDOWN. Most of Cronos’ rules stay the same, but some scenarios will have him behaving differently than before, taking into account the new additions to the game.

Back Into the Depths – Was it Worth it?

One thing about LEVEL 7 that’s been constant is that it is a heart-pounding game. It does really well with keeping you on your toes throughout every scenario you play. LEVEL 7 [ESCAPE] LOCKDOWN adds even more terror to an already great game to keep you on edge for even longer. The scenarios are full of threat that show you just how much pressure this game can put on. The idea of being trapped within Subterra Bravo really puts a tingle up your spine, and with the new enemies you’ll face it will take everything you have to escape alive.

The addition of the Blaster Hybrids really does a number on player strategy. LOCKDOWN puts a lot of emphasis on working together, whereas I feel the original game allowed for more of a stab-you-in-the-back sort of play style. The stakes are higher, the enemies are tougher, and the halls of Subterra Bravo are more dangerous than ever before. New items will help you to survive in your captivity, but if you don’t put them to use in a well-thought-out strategy, you’ll only become a stain on the laboratory floor.

The one issue I have with LOCKDOWN, and with LEVEL 7 [ESCAPE] in general is that I would have really liked to have seen plastic models for the characters in this expansion. The standees work well enough, but I feel that a board game coming from Privateer Press should have some sweet models to paint to help bring the game to life. Maybe they’ll release some sort of pack that contains them in the future? I can only hope.

LEVEL 7 [ESCAPE] LOCKDOWN is exactly what an expansion should be: a supplement to a game that adds more replayability and extends the life of an already fun game. With four players the game really shines as you can cover more ground and experience a story within the game that makes for some real terrifying events. If you are a fan of LEVEL 7 at all, this is something that you need to have on your shelf if you own the game. With Dr. Cronos around every corner, new enemies waiting to feed off my fear (and now terror), and more dangers than ever before, LOCKDOWN cranks it up to eleven and does a great job doing it.

Buy This Game IT Button

Thanks to Privateer Press for providing a review copy of LEVEL 7 [ESCAPE] LOCKDOWN for review!

This is definitely worth picking up!

This is definitely worth picking up!

Pros

  • new mechanics are fun and engaging
  • scenarios are tough, yet enjoyable and offer much replayability
  • encourages more cooperation than the original game
  • new components fit really well into the original game and can be combined for one large game
  • can still be played as a single-player experience

Cons

  • the addition of terror can make the game much more difficult
  • scenarios are significantly tougher than the original game
  • would love to have seen plastic models/pawns this time around

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  1. Today in Board Games Issue #122 - Tiny Epic Kingdoms - Today in Board Games - May 29, 2014

    […] LEVEL 7 [ESCAPE] LOCKDOWN – Initiative: Tabletop […]

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