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Forbidden Stars and Set a Watch creators’ next board game Lawyer Up brings courtroom drama to the tabletop

A take-that game.

Recreate the tension and excitement of a legal trial on the tabletop in Lawyer Up, the next release from the makers of co-op board game Set a Watch and the co-designer of Forbidden Stars.

A two-player board game, Lawyer Up pits one player against another in a courtroom drama where they must present their case whilst ensuring that the other side doesn’t get their hands on any evidence that might sway the jury.

The upcoming board game is asymmetric - meaning that each player will have separate goals and ways of playing - and has one player assuming the role of prosecutor and the other as the defence in two unique types of cases: art forgery and murder.

Lawyer Up’s art forgery case is a shorter introduction to the game that enables newer players to learn the ropes. Meanwhile, the murder case forces players to summon all their wits in a trial about the brutal killing of a wealthy socialite’s father and sees most of the asymmetric elements of the game really come into play, as the prosecutor must convince the jury that the accused is guilty and the defence must prove her innocence.

Regardless of which case the players decide to take, the flow of the game remains the same. Lawyer Up is divided into two phases: discovery and the trial itself. The discovery phase sees players drafting three cards and adding one to their deck, another to their opponent’s deck and discarding the third. Once players have drafted their cards the trial phase begins, with nine rounds of witness examinations wherein each of the cards played must have matching symbols.

Lawyer Up board game card fan

The symbols represent the different influences that have the potential to sway the jury, such as evidence, logical thinking and emotional pressure. The more icons the players match, the greater the effect on the jury. If one of the players begins convincing more witnesses the jury will start to come around to their side of the argument, eventually giving their verdict depending on how many witnesses each of the players have won.

By combining powerful symbol combinations and selecting the right strategy, players can overwhelm their opponent to win the game.

The designers behind Lawyer Up are Samuel Bailey - co-creator of Warhammer 40,000 board game Forbidden Stars - and Set a Watch co-creator Mike Gnade.

Lawyer Up is being published by Rock Manor Games, the company responsible for releasing Set a Watch, co-op board game Maximum Apocalypse and The Few and the Cursed, a deckbuilding board game based on the comic series of the same name.

The Kickstarter campaign for Lawyer Up is currently live until April 9th 2020. A pledge of $29 (£26) gets backers a copy of the core board game, estimated to ship sometime in March 2021.

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Alex Meehan avatar
Alex Meehan: After writing for Kotaku UK, Waypoint and Official Xbox Magazine, Alex became a member of the Dicebreaker editorial family. Having been producing news, features, previews and opinion pieces for Dicebreaker for the past three years, Alex has had plenty of opportunity to indulge in her love of meaty strategy board games and gothic RPGS. Besides writing, Alex appears in Dicebreaker’s D&D actual play series Storybreakers and haunts the occasional stream on the Dicebreaker YouTube channel.
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