Psst, come ‘ere. Shhh. Don’t draw any attention to yourself, you heard? You looking to get outta this here clink? Well, it’s about that time of year. The king’ll be releasing the toughest gang of prisoners to the Colosseum soon to fight for their freedom. Can you and your crew craft enough contraband and recruit enough goons to build up your reputation, while still keeping the suspicion from the guards off ya backs? Better find out, and you only got 6 days to do it, so hop to, bud!
What Is It?
A worker placement game with area control and resource management where players are assigning crew to various locations in the prison to collect resources, gain power, recruit goons, and craft contraband. The stronger the crew, the more likely you are to reap better rewards, but the more likely you are to also gain suspicion from guards, which won’t be pretty when they raid the cells. In addition to their average crew, players each have an Enforcer, which grows stronger the more power they have, and a Lookout, which allows the player to avoid suspicion. All your nefarious activities will earn you reputation points, and after 6 rounds the player with the most reputation wins!
Who Is It For?
- Ages 12+
- 1-5 Players — I like solo a lot; 2 players is pretty good; 3+ is better than 2 though
- Not for AP-prone players, but good for fans of multiple strategies to winning
Components / Quality
The main board is nice quality, double-sided for different player counts. The spots are distinct and all the iconography for the rewards is clear. Crew tokens are labeled by color and symbol. Average cardboard. Clear symbology. The holding cells are nice quality plastic, and a nice visual touch to the game. The crew boards are average quality cardboard. Standard vs advanced sides and distinct.
Resource cubes are standard wooden cubes in different colors. Power and suspicion cubes are nice translucent plastic cubes. The first player and round marker are nice wooden pieces with cute designs. The cards are pretty average quality. They’re mini sized, which makes sense with the spots on the board, but that’s not my preferred size, personally.
Variants / Expansions
Advanced – Varied player set up (starting points/cards/resources) plus each player has a trait card, with additional starting components. After a handful of plays, and trying out different crews, I feel like you have to play with them a lot to really understand their best strategy based on what you start with – because some seem really difficult to work with (like having only 3 resource spots – crazy!). It’s definitely a neat way to change up the game once you get the hang of it.
Solo – Play directly against the guards! Guard cards start at each location and the player reveals one on each guard turn, while also putting out more cards to increase the guard’s strength. With more Lookouts than the player (avoid suspicion) the guards are a formidable opponent, but it’s a great back and forth experience, and with the right planning, the player can still pull ahead! There are also various difficulties to try to really challenge yourself!
Kulbak Pack – A mini expansion of 4 new tome cards and 3 new goal cards (one of each type). Adds a little bit of variety, but no big game changer here.
- Variability / Good Replay Value
- Playing workers face down is unique and adds to strategy
- Rewards scale appropriately based on player count
- Solo feels distinct / unique from a 2-player game
- Advanced allows for more strategy and unique starting set-up
- Many paths to victory
- Library is a nice compensation to help those who get beat elsewhere
- Runs long for what it is
- Face down workers can contribute to analysis paralysis as players try to evaluate best moves
- Many opportunities for “take-that” which can get frustrating if you’re the one being hit multiple times in a game
I really enjoyed this game! The mechanics are pretty basic (place a worker each turn) but the added elements of needing to control (highest total) a location to get a reward, being able to hide some workers, and not being able to revisit locations (i.e. put more works there once you already have on a previous turn) all really adds to the strategy and it can be hard to decide which path to try. I’ve seen success with going with an all-goon strategy, as well as an all-crafting strategy, and others where you do a bit of everything. I will say that after many plays, the game seems a bit long, but at the same time, I don’t really notice during the game, because it’s enjoyable. I have to pay attention on every player’s turn so I can gauge my best move for my coming turn. A really fun game all around where the theme works well with the mechanics!
My Final Ratings:
Overall Game – 7/10
Aesthetics – 8/10
Replay Value – 7/10
Difficulty – 5/10
Designer – Stan Kordonskiy
Artists – JJ Ariosa, Lucas Ribeiro
Publisher – Thunderworks Games
MSRP – $49.95
*I was provided a copy of this game to do this review*
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