Level 7 Escape: Lockdown Review

New Horror Awaits!

As if Subterra Bravo needed more ways to crush the hopes of its escaped subjects any more than it already did, Privateer Press have spawned yet another act of schadenfreude with this expansion pack for Level 7 Escape, called Lockdown. Lockdown presents a ton of new stuff for the game, including 5 new alien slime-covered scenarios and a ton of new mechanics and double/triple-threat elements to encounter when you and your friends are fighting for your lives to escape the complex!

If you managed to somehow miss my original review of the base game of Level 7 Escape, make sure you go and fix that right now before proceeding. You’ll want the low-down on all the basic levels of awesome Level 7 contains before jumping into this advanced course in terror and masochism. Keep in mind that you can add in all, some, or none of  these components to the original base game scenarios for an extra dose of variety and lethality at your discretion. Think of them as mods you can snap in and out on a per scenario basis. For my group, we just dumped in all of the new components because we’re gluttons for punishment and it turned out to be really fun re-running the first 3 scenarios with them. Quickly let’s jump into the new core features and  scenarios included in the game and then I’ll give my overall opinion of Lockdown as a whole. Read on!

New Features

Guns!There’s a ton of new features that Lockdown brings to the Level 7 experience, chiefly among those are:

  • New Enemies – Blaster Hybrids who have ranged attacks who can shoot you from a far. A ranged attack can still be made at someone on the same tile as you but their real advantage is that they can also be made at someone who is in an adjacent tile, so long as they’re not blocked by a locked door or barricade. There’s also a chart for using the new Warrior Clones in place of regular clones (now referred to as Rogue Clones) in the first 8 scenarios of the game.
  • Supply Caches – These let you perform a repeatable search for items while in a room, you make a 4 INT challenge and success warrants an item, if you fail by 2 or more though, the item cache is depleted and you’re shit out of luck!
  • Terror – A new mechanic that is something given to you once your fear fills all the way up, effectively raising your fear level above 8.  For every one point of fear you would go above 8, you instead gain a terror. For aliens picking targets keep in mind that 1 terror is worth 2 fear and that the only way to reduce it is to discard adrenaline cards (2 cards for every 1 terror you want to lose). If you discard cards while your terror is on the 1, you simply go back down to 8 fear. If for some reason a player’s terror level gets all the way up to 8 as well, their heart explodes and they die instantly,  which of course takes them out of the game. Hard. Core.
  • Clouds – If you move into a tile with a gas or smoke cloud marker you immediately lose one adrenaline, and also anyone who is the target of an attack in one of these spaces gains +1 to their toughness when being attacked. This is a nice touch that adds a nice ‘granular-but-not-too-granular’ element to the combat in L7.
  • Barricades – Barricades bar doorways and require a 3 strength challenge to weaken, on the first success the barricade becomes damaged and on the second success it is removed. Enemies still treat these paths as valid and will try and break them down as they pursue their targets, they also gain a bonus die for each additional type on their tile. Example 3 guards are pursuing a subject, they would roll their usual amount of dice (3), plus an additional die for each other guard (2) for  total of 5 dice rolled to complete the 3 STR challenge – run!
  • Going Prone – Some event cards will make you fall down and you can also voluntarily choose to fall down. If you are lying on the ground you gain a +1 toughness vs ranged attacks and cannot move until spending one move to stand back up. It basically works like the prone condition in most tabletop RPGs.
  • New Tiles – There are new enemy generator tiles that count both as guard posts and clone nests. There’s multi event tiles such as tiles that have security AND fear on them, which are resolved in the order presented on the event cards. There are also “War Zone” tiles which counts as security and fear but only when spawning enemies. During your spawn step if a wars zone tile is the closest security or fear tile to you two the matching enemies are spawned on that tile.

New Scenarios

The game comes with quite a few new scenarios that pick up where the original 7 included with the core game, and the one published in Privateer Press’s No Quarter magazine (Scneario 8) left off, so this one picks up with scenario 9 and goes up to 13 for a total of 5 new scenarios. These new escapes are really interesting and definitely very punishing right out of the gate. Here’s a brief run-down of each one and what horrors they entail and how players will escape, or die trying.

  • clone

    “There Must Be Another Way Out” – In this scenario you’ll be fumbling around in the dark searching to fire up generators so that you can power up the lights and access central command so that you can unlock the doors on the security lift and escape!

  • “Another Way Out” – Destroy lab samples to draw out a ton of clones from the vents so that you can then get into the vents to escape!
  • “Into the Mouth of Hell” – Find an airlock and lure out the aliens guarding it so that you can reide the elevator to a lower level, once there you have to find another elevator for your final escape.
  • “The Noose Tightens” – Get past Dr. Chronos and a horde of aliens and escape
  • “Desperate Times, Desperate Measures” – Dr. Chronos hunts the players and has aliens guarding the only exit. You must lure him into the tank farm and short circuit its systems to blow up and destroy him and escape through the sewers.

Wish List

While my initial review for Level 7 was quite glowing, and my opinion of the game still is, I must say that there are a few little things I’d love to see in the game. First of all, some kind of crib sheet for enemy movement and logic would be nice because there are times when it comes up and you might have a question and must reference the rule book. I found myself doing this quite a bit and wish there was just an at-a-glance piece of reference material like for taking your turn on the back of the book.

Also as a minor production quality gripe is that with so much high quality card stock, I wish the subject character sheets were made of the same material instead of the current ones which don’t really hold up under use. Lastly, and definitely least (and not really a gripe) as I know it’s probably not a realistic request but it would be awesome to see L7 Escape with miniatures instead of standees. I know this would drastically increase the cost of the game but I feel like with a company like Privateer Press behind it and all of their experience with creating amazing miniatures that it would be worth the extra cost for the added atmosphere alone!

Final Thoughts

Level 7 Lockdown is a great addition to the L7 game, I highly recommend playing the base game with all the goodies from Lockdown because it adds a lot more variety, as long as you can take the punishment. I should also add that it’s not really all punishment though because the new items and skills are really nice too so it’s not all detrimental to your survival.

It’s really worth mentioning that all of the L7 scenarios are heavily story driven and that the mechanics within each one really tie into the overall feel. The narrative before each scenario is wholly worth reading aloud to get your players into the mood of the game and should not be skipped. I think long game nights going through each level of the facility and keeping track of who survives the most/least in a campaign/tournament style setup would be an absolute blast.

I’m excited about whatever Level 7 throws our way next, I know I’m pretty pumped about the upcoming Level 7 Omega Protocol which will bring a new style of gameplay and hopefully even more about the Level 7 universe. Hell I’d love to play a Level 7 tabletop RPG someday…only time will tell?

Level 7 Lockdown should be on your local game shop’s shelf very, very soon so keep your eyes open for it. Thanks for reading!

1 Comment

  1. Cool. I’m still on the fence about this one (base game). I love the theme and the idea of it, but something about the components and some other reviews have turned me away. Maybe I’ll get to play someone else’s copy someday. Are there other cool alien/Area 51 type board games?

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