Who, watching the various American TV series in which various battles were faced in court, has not dreamed at least once of being there, instead of one of the two lawyers, trying to win the case between overwhelming evidence and unexpected blows of scene? Well, with Lawyer Up, board game which we will talk about in depth in our review, you can step into the shoes of a lawyer during an American trial to accuse – or defend – a suspect and close the trial in your favor.
In court, anything can happen
The idea we got in writing our review is that Lawyer Up is a game with avery simple idea at the base, represent a trial in court, but not as easy in regulation and in the implementation of the various strategies. Your role will be to play one of the two lawyers in the case, playing the prosecution or defense of your choice, and to be able to convince as many jurors as possible, by the end of the game, that the accused is guilty or innocent. To do this you will have your deck of cards that you can use: at the beginning of the game both players take the basic cards of their “faction” and simulate a kind of draft with neutral cards in which, fishing 3 at a time, ne they hold a, neither they give one to the opponent is discard the remainder. This part will serve both to take the best papers that could help you with the case, and to eliminate those that, on the contrary, could damage you and make you lose the consent of the jury. Once prepared, the decks will be shuffled and each one will draw 5 cards – which then at the end of the shift will be “reset”, going to fish out until the hand is filled up again.
At this point the actual game will begin and the player whose turn it is, or who currently has the favor of the judge, will call the first witness talking at the bar. This will have scores and symbols, called slants, on the sides of the card, as well as two effects, one for the call and one for the win. But let’s go in order: the numbers will be used to give points initials to the prosecution or defense, based on color (red for the first and blue for the second), while i symbols instead are used to queue the various cards that you will play “support”; the two effects instead are very trivial to interpret, the first it will activate as soon as the witness is called, while the second, of course, it will be resolved when it is “conquered” on either side. However, keep in mind that not all victory effects will be obtainable from both the prosecution and the defense, as these will often be specific to one of the two factions.
An extremely heated battle
As we found while we were preparing the review, Lawyer Up has very excited game phases. Once the witness is called, prosecution and defense will alternate in turns until one of the two wins the card, and they will have some actions at their disposal:
- play Evidence or Argument cards: You can play any card on your side of the field that has at least one slope symbol in common with the witness card. From the second on, however, they must have a symbol in common with the first Evidence or Argument card that you will have played on the stack.
- play a Procedure card: these are somewhat special and very powerful cards, to use them they must be placed in the appropriate position and activated only at a later time. Otherwise you can also simply use them for the slope symbols and stack them with the others.
- activate a Procedure card: activate one of the cards we talked about before, to do it you absolutely must have the favor of the judge, and you will lose it once the effect of the card is resolved.
- call the bar: you can use (turn down) the bar token, that is the square token, to be able to draw a card and get the favor of the judge. The marker will reset once you lose a Witness.
- to pass: trivially, pass the turn to the other player.
Lawyer Up it’s a game that it does not contain too many disturbing actions against the opponent, usually when a player is completing a turn it cannot be interrupted, unless they are used the Objection tokens. You will have some available 3 each, and, unlike the Bar ones, these will never reset (unless you use specific cards). Of these you can use a maximum of 1 per Witness, and you can play it on the opponent’s turn to counter a card just played: as soon as it is activated, the opposing card will be discarded, and will have to be replaced by a new one from the other player’s hand. But be careful, as you will not be able to counter neither the Procedure cards, nor the Evidence cards.
Final thoughts on Lawyer Up
Lawyer Up, published in Italy by Giochix, as you may have guessed from the rest of the review, it is not a very attractive title for newbies and casual gamers, not because it would not be fun, but because much of the game’s appeal lies in its competitiveness and in being able to use the mechanics and tactics to defeat your opponent in an interesting mental battle. Despite this, the rules are relatively quick to learn and after a game you will have already learned everything you need to know without having to check the booklet with every move. A game lasts on average about 60 minutes, but they manage to pass quite quickly, especially if both players “recite” the various actions a bit and immerse themselves in each other by creating funny skits.
The package contents are good enough: a quality level is excellent both for the cards that are sufficiently rigid, and for the very good and not at all poor wooden tokens. As for the quantity, however, the basic box it contains only two scenarios to be able to play. Despite the great replayability of the various cases, since the cards in play change from time to time, we recommend buying the expansions with the additional cases. In general Lawyer Up is a very good, very fun and competitive game especially appreciated by more experienced players and who likes to explore every applicable mechanic and possible strategy. If, on the other hand, you are looking for a simpler title to play in company, we recommend our review of Blockness, a new and very colorful board game.