Privateer Press shows off Level 7 [Escape] game contents

By Polar_Bear
In Board Games
Jun 6th, 2012
57 Comments
436 Views

Privateer Press had some demos of Level 7 going on this past weekend at their Lock & Load event in Seattle. Well, now they’ve got the game contents up on their website for all to see.

From the website:

You are a captive of Subterra Bravo, imprisoned in the facility’s deepest laboratory, the hall of nightmares known as LEVEL 7. Your singular goal is to escape, but to do that you will have to evade the human and inhuman denizens of this subterranean labyrinth before the entire base is locked down, sealing you in for the rest of your short, tormented life. Will you work together with your fellow prisoners to endure Subterra Bravo’s endless perils, or will you use them to secure your own escape? Ultimately, your chances of survival will depend on how well you manage your greatest weapon, which is also your greatest threat: fear itself.

LEVEL 7 [ESCAPE] is a semi-cooperative, story-driven survival-horror board game for 1–4 players with nerves of steel and a willingness to confront the impossible.

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  • blkdymnd

    Meh, I’ll pass. Sedition Wars seems to have more for me personally. With the hype they were generating, I was expecting at least mini’s and not card standees

    • bobby.s

      Well to be fair with regards to the way the game is played, miniatures add nothing to the game except cost. And the artwork looks great. So you’re either going to have sub-par minis (when you expected better quality) or you’d have great minis that diminish the rest of the game, or you’d have a game so expensive you’d turn away from it based on that.
      As it stands, it’s an awesome game with great art for $55.

  • tuco

    I’m a huge fan of PP and have spent more time and money than I care to admit on the Iron Kingdoms. I was really looking forward to this with high hopes. Sadly, now that I see what Level 7 is, I’m so very, very meh on it.

    Three months ago if you told me that I’d be more impressed with D&D Next than with Level 7 I probably would have fought you.

    But since PP already has my money, and likely will get more from their games which I already play, perhaps I’m not the target demographic for this game.

    • odinsgrandson

      Exactly. Back when they first started up Monsterpocalypse, Matt Wilson gave us a little speech about how they were trying not to make more games that compete with themselves. So, if this doesn’t appeal to the Warmachine player in you, that’s probably what they were going for.

      As is, it is a co-op board game that might be cool. There are a lot of other board games like it on the market right now. I guess we’ll see if they can do it as well as Fantasy Flight.

      • tuco

        And good for PP for diversifying, to a point* . If they can increase their income stream without decreasing the quality of their products, then that should be good for anyone who enjoys any of their products.

        *I say “to a point” because they’re still in the game industry. It’s not like they took a stab at auto manufacture. Though now that I mention that, I’d actually consider buying a car from the compnay that came up with the Khador Juggernaut.

        • wittdooley

          Their diversifying makes me really nervous. I’d love love love to see some novels in the universe to expand the fluff, but they already have enough production problems keeping anything beyond their “core list” in stock. It seems to be moving in the right direction, as my LGSs seem to be getting product in more consistently, but it still makes me nervous.

  • With no minis, I’ll passing on this as well. Seems odd that they didn’t even do plastics.

    There are enough tile/card based games with minis available that fit the bill much better than this.

    The only thing that could sway me is if the game play is uniquely fun compared to the other similar type games- Sedition Wars, Zombiecide, Earth Reborn, etc.

    • metalsifter

      Who’s to say they won’t make minis for it in the future and sell them separately?

      • Grim6

        I hope they do. If so, I might be interested in it then. With all the good games out there right now with high quality components, this ain’t cuttin’ it.

        • wittdooley

          Agreed.

        • bobby.s

          Which “good game with high quality components” did you have in mind? Just curious, always eager to learn…

          • Grim6

            I’m a Kickstarter backer for Zpocalypse, Zombicide, and Sedition Wars, which all have a high mini count (50+) for $75 – $100. I would highly recommend checking out Sedition Wars. It’s the game I thought Level 7 was going to be when I first heard about it last year.

            Some other good dungeon crawl games with minis are FFG’s Gears of War, the WoTC line of dungeon crawl tile games, and the original Descent. The new Descent is coming out soon (in the next few months?), as well as the Dungeon Command games / WoTC tile game expansions.

            Incursion is another great example, and fits very well here. Incursion is a decent game on it’s own (it comes with cardboard standups in the box), but the minis are what sold me. It’s a little pricier, but if you are on this web site, you probably like minis, and appreciate how they enhance a game. I would not have bought it without the minis. It’s the same here with Level 7. It might be a fine game, but there are plenty of ‘fine game’ out there. At the end of the day, a large part of the mini game hobby is (duh) the minis!

        • metalsifter

          I saw the components at Lock & Load this last weekend, they looked pretty high-quality to me even without having miniatures.

    • bobby.s

      Check out my comment above, regarding the minis. The game itself is fantastic. I don’t know how you feel about Arkham Horror, but the extra miniatures they offer do nothing for the game. I love it just with the cardboard characters.

      This comes down to what you really want. If you want your board games to have a lot of depth and serious replay value WITH great miniatures, then Space Hulk is a great example. And it’s twice the price of Level 7. Between game play, components and price, it all comes down to what you value, what you can live with and what you’re willing to pay.

      • wittdooley

        So what is so “great” about the ruleset makes it so much better than a game like Gears of War that is only $10 more MSRP and comes with an abundance of miniatures?

        • bobby.s

          I’m assuming that you’ve played both and that you’ve already developed an informed opinion. I can’t honestly say that one is better than the other– then again I don’t think that’s the point. But I’d never say a game isn’t good if I haven’t tried it. (My 2-year old swears that she hates carrots, even though she’s never had one).

          However, in my opinion, I think games have added value when they do a couple of things for me: 1. Replay! I like that a game won’t feel old after the first two plays. I like knowing that it’s a “go-to” game in my collection. 2. Social experience. Not all games give me this. But I enjoy a nice evening with 3-5 people engaging in a game that engages us. Conversation, bluffing, back-stabbing, teamwork, cooperation, competition. Doesn’t matter if minis are involved or not. Arkham horror does that for me, and it’s all cardboard. Level 7 does as well.

          If I were a GoW fan and thought those minis were my cup of tea, I’d be all over that game. Just because I don’t get excited about it doesn’t make it less of a product.

        • metalsifter

          I think the problem here is that gamers always make the assumption that a new game must have miniatures in order for it to be good.

          This game was developed with no real need for miniatures.

          • wittdooley

            Meh. Are you sure? I think it’s the whole Privateer Press aspect here that had people expecting miniatures.

  • deedoublejay

    “for 1-4 players”. 1? That sounds like good times.

    • Ever play a board game called The Omega Virus? You could play by yourself in a race against the clock to defeat the computer AI. Those were lonely days indeed…

    • bobby.s

      see Arkham Horror, Castle Ravenloft for starters…

    • odinsgrandson

      That’s a trend in board games right now. A lot of them feature co-operative gameplay (all of the players vs. the board) and a good number of those will let you play the game by yourself.

  • keltheos

    I miss Chainsaw Warrior for my 1 player fix. 😉

    Will have to look for Omega Virus.

  • cybogoblin

    Matt mentioned during the Lock & Load seminar that they’d opted for standees over miniatures to keep the game’s price down. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some miniatures released in the future.

    As for buying it, I’m going to give it a test at GenCon and, if it tickles my fancy, I’ll pick it up.

  • ninja007

    What is with people expecting a board game to be a miniatures game? That’s identical to whining that a PS3 game didn’t have miniatures…they are irrelevant.

    • keltheos

      Not really, not from a company that’s known for producing high-quality miniatures…and has already produced a boardgame with miniatures (Grind).

      (honestly, I’d expect the presentation we’re seeing for L7 from a crowdfunding product, it has that ‘vibe’)

      • bobby.s

        Did Infernal Contraption have miniatures? It was made by a company known for its minis.

        I play all kinds of games. For me, the quality and experience of a board game is never contingent upon the inclusion of miniatures.

        • That’s not really a good comparison since Infernal Contraption did not have pieces, cardboard or otherwise, that represented “you” on the board.

          While I definitely agree that an enjoyable board game is not dependent on miniatures, for a miniature game company to release a game that COULD have minis and instead use cardboard is a bit of a head-scratcher.

          Ultimately, I think this game is being marketed more to the BGG crowd, and not so much to minis gamers, as Sedition Wars is. Miniature gamers would happily pay more money for a game with good minis, but then you might lose some of the people who just want a good game.

          I, however, will wait for the minis.

          • bobby.s

            It’s NOT a head-scratcher. Miniatures would not affect the play experience one way or another. And you’re right, this isn’t aimed at tabletop minis players, it’s aimed at board gamers who are used to a lot of cardboard. You might also be right that minis players would happily pay $90 for this game if it had figures, but again, they wanted a board game that packed a lot of value and a great rules set for under $60, and that’s what you have here.

          • wittdooley

            So, bobby.s, since you seem to be such a staunch supporter of this game that SHOULD have minis but does not have minis, why am I buying this over any other game made by a board game company with a better track record with board games?

            Why I am buying this over any FFG offering? One of the selling points SHOULD have been “Privateer Quality Minis.” McVey minis are part of the reason people are buying Sedition Wars. So please, what about this game and it’s lack of minis separates it from every other game just like it out there? You seem to have played it, so I’d love to know what the “wow” factor is.

          • bobby.s

            For that matter, why buy an FFG game when you could buy an Asmodee game? Why did people decide to give Warmachine a try from a new company with no track record, over their long-time 40k habit?
            Minis- like painting or music or any other form of art- are subjective. You either like it, or you don’t. Same with a game experience– it’s either your thing or it isn’t. I’m not a fan of Euro-style board games, but hundreds of thousands of other people are. And to be fair, I buy games from lots of companies, I’m not supporting a company line here.

            Again, PP never said it would have minis, or should have minis– I’m still not sure where people are getting that. I played a demo at Lock N’ Load last weekend. I liked the game because it captured a theme that I love: Horror in Sci-fi. The only reason people play games is because they are fun. Company track record, minis or no minis… none of that enters into the equation for me.

            The wow factors in the game, for me, are: Great artwork, well-executed theme, intense, dramatic play experience, great interaction with other players, replay value, quality components. Is this the best board game ever created? No. But here is why I’ll lay down the $55 to buy it: This will be a top-5 game in my collection. I’ll go to it again and again.

            And believe me, I’ve got a couple of $90 games with gorgeous components, lots of miniatures (you’d like ’em) and I’ve only played them once. They’ve been sitting there for years.

          • wittdooley

            You’ve still yet to answer any of the questions. What about the rules are the selling point to buy it over another game?

            For those of us unable to attend Lock N Load, we’d love to hear those answers. Because there ARE NO MINIS, there’s going to have to be something in the game play that pushes is above the rest. You seem really sold on it, so I’m curious WHAT about the rules is selling you so hard on it.

            For a game like Sedition Wars, people are willing to pay the $40 premium on price BECAUSE of the minis. Because Privateer opted not to go with their (arguably) strong suit–Miniatures– why buy this one over, as I stated before, a game like Gears of War?

          • Bewulf

            I’m sorry, but there is something I do not understand.
            You say that “miniatures would not affect the play experience one way or another”, but “great artwork” tops your wow factor list for the game.

            How can the artwork be that important to you if you consider the miniatures (which I would consider part of the art package) irrelevant?
            Is the artwork not also irrelevant to the play experience? And if not why not and why do these same points not apply to the miniatures?

          • bobby.s

            @Bewulf:
            That’s a very fair point, and although you might not agree, I’ll say this: We know that obviously if minis were included this game would sell for closer to $90, not $55. But let’s both say we have birthday money and we don’t care about the price for a moment. Minis don’t affect the game mechanics in Level 7 like they can in some games. All this game needs is a marker to show what space your guy is on, that’s it. A cardboard standee does the trick. It’s hard to make great looking minis that don’t overshadow the rest of the components, or more commonly, average minis that make people say “the rest of the game is great, and it has minis, but they suck.”

            Now, artwork: While the quality of art is completely subjective from person to person, it CAN have an impact on the game. Game art communicates theme, mood, and in some cases rules (such as icon artwork– this last example is not a ‘pretty’ factor, more of a clarity factor). This game is supposed to be about Sci-fi Horror. It’s supposed to be filled with tension, paranoia, uncertainty. Wouldn’t you agree that artwork can affect those things? I think it does, because I’ve seen people say about another game “the art was terrible– didn’t capture the flavor at all.” And when that happens, the experience of the game takes a hit. Now that being said, your point is very fair– Minis are part of the ‘art package’ and therefore would fall under what I said about art. But as stated, when mixing 2D and 3D media, things get tricky. It doesn’t always translate. (WH 40k is entirely 3D: the minis, terrain, etc for example)

            Again, this is just my opinion. I would play this game with or without minis simply because it appeals to me and it was fun. The reason PP stated it did not include them was due to production cost– they wanted to keep the game under $60. And as other comments suggested, there might be minis made for it some day. So we’ll see!

  • Wow thats a bit of a disappointment!

    With all the hype I was expecting PP to release a sci-fi wargame especially as it was originally announced when Mantic released Warpath.

    I will be giving it a miss too and cant help but feel Privateer Press has missed an opportunity to come up with a scifi wargame…

    • bobby.s

      They weren’t trying to make a sci-fi wargame. All they did was save you the trouble of typing “Another sci-fi wargame?? Come on PP, we expected something different from you!”

  • Borzag

    It’s not WM40K. Deal with it.

    Personally I’m a fan. It’s playable straight out of the box, and gives me the opportunity to add my own minis if I wish. Win-win IMO.

    • I’m not suggesting it should be 40k but after all the publicity and hype, a boardgame without figures from a company best known for producing original miniatures and games is a bit of a let down.

      I think lots of folks were hoping it would be something that would allow for a change from 40k though…

      • bobby.s

        None of their publicity and hype mentioned miniatures.
        But if you wanted new and original minis, check out the new releases for Warmachine and Hordes that have been announced.
        And if you want something that’s a change from 40k, take a look at Dust Warfare, as that may interest you.

  • jmw23

    It looks intriguing, and while I won’t pre-order, I’ll keep my eyes open for reviews. I can’t understand why some are upset that PP is making a pure boardgame with no minis. Can’t they do both? Don’t we sometimes complain that Games Workshop is so fixated on their minis properties that they ignore some of their classic board games (like Chainsaw Warrior)?

    As for wishing for a change from 40K…take your pick. Infinity, Tomorrow’s War, Gruntz, etc. There are loads of great sci-fi minis games with much better rules than 40K!

    • bobby.s

      ^^

  • bobby.s

    @Wittdooley: While I can’t recite the rulebook, I did answer the question about what the rules did for me: they provided an exciting play experience and gave me plenty of replay value. Miniatures do not come in to play in this game. They do not do anything to enhance or affect this game. I think it’s fair to say that there are plenty of board games without minis that are as good as, or in some cases better, than board games WITH minis.

    You seem to really like Sedition wars, but only based on the minis– you haven’t even tried that game. So I’m only seeing half of your argument.

    For me, the rules in Level 7 were balanced. I never felt like I had NO chance to win, I was always in the running. The rules tied nicely to the theme, for example “fear” is a mechanic that can be adjusted and it affects how you perform in the game. It’s a resource to be managed, in a way.

    Now, if you’re a guy who HAS to have miniatures in a board game, otherwise you’ll dismiss the rest of the ingredients in that game, Level 7 may not be for you. Plus, it’s not a Gears of War theme, which you seem to be really attached to. And that’s fine.

    Also, I’m not hard-selling the game. Everything I’ve stated has been “in my opinion.” I can tell you that I play a LOT of games, board, card, tabletop miniatures.. so I think I have a lot of experience and decent judgement when it comes to this. But the great thing about it is, if YOU like it, then that’s what makes it great!

    • wittdooley

      Hahha. I don’t think you’re actually ready any if what ive typed. This is the first time you explained anything rules wise that helps any of us that haven’t had the chance to play it. Thank you for finally telling us about a mechanic–“fear”–that helps to differentiate the game from others.

      I think you’re completely missing the point about the miniatures. Miniatures can be an aesthetic value add right away having no knowledge of rules. That is why people are buying sedition without seeing the rule book. People here are disappointed because high quality PP minis would have been a way to add that extra value to this product immediately. As it stands, we have very vague information from the PP website and ambiguous milquetoast comments from that say the game is “good”, which really tells us nothing at all.

      That’s why people aren’t excited. If the box was full of privateer minis, the interest for this game would be MUCH higher. Further, PP doesn’t exactly have the best track record with their board ga,e products. Infernak Contraption was OOP forever. Grind, by all accounts, was unsuccessful (and I own and enjoy a copy) which PP practically tries to give away for $25 2-3 times a year.

      And FWIW, I use Gears and Sedition as exemplars because they are good examples of competing products–gears in price point and Sedition in game style and being produced by a reputable miniature producer.

      I realize the fact that you were at LnL indicates that you most probably really enjoy PP products. All were looking for here is a bit more information through slightly less rose-colored glasses.

      • bobby.s

        Well you assume that because I was at L&L that I enjoy playing Privateer games. I don’t actually own or play any. I was there because I work in the gaming industry. That also doesn’t mean i have ‘rose-colored glasses’ any more than you clearly do. You’re just upset that this game doesn’t contain the minis that you expected. Even though I tried to explain that it’s still a good game, and that not all board games are dependent on minis, you can’t accept that. And that’s fine. I have some old GW minis in my closet you can have.

        When you say “people aren’t excited” do you just mean the 10 people on this thread who aren’t excited, or do you have more hard data from research you’ve done that you haven’t divulged yet? What’s your source?

        Sean, they’re not making this game for PP fans like you– They’re making it to appeal to board game players, many of whom can take or leave miniatures, but MOST of whom are price/theme savvy. They’re broadening their audience. Your beloved FFG does the same thing. They make board games with minis, without minis, and games that have nothing to do with boards or minis. Hence, they have a diverse and growing player base, which includes you. Now why would they do that? It’s a business!

        Infernal Contraption was OOP because it sold out, and the second edition is now on sale. And they’ve continued that line through Scrappers and now Heap, so they’ve definitely built an audience for those games. That audience, however, doesn’t seem to include you. Which is fine, because you’re obviously more into minis games.

        So let’s turn the table a bit, since you’re obviously against this game without having played it. You said Sedition Wars is a good example of “game style.” How so?

        • wittdooley

          Game style — a “dungeon crawler” type game. You likened it to Space Hulk earlier. If you can liken it to Space Hulk, then you can liken it to Sedition Wars. They’re similar enough to fall under that umbrella genre.

          You’ve again missed the point about the miniatures. And I completely disagree that board gamers can “take or leave” minis. FFG sells the Arkham Horror minis because people want them. Perhaps someone used to playing Caylus or Puerto Rico could “take or leave” minis, but this game is aimed squarely at the same demographic as most FFG games, and that demographic likes minis.

          I appreciate your failed attempt at condescension, but the fact remains that you’ve A) barely addressed “what” makes the game fun and B) have refused to acknowledge that Privateer, as a company known for their miniatures, is going to leave much of their player base (although you contend that this isn’t aimed at their player base, which I think is absurd) feeling disappointed at first take. If it is a business, as you say, then why wouldn’t they seek to appeal to their very ardent fan base? That doesn’t make any business sense.

          High quality miniature are a selling point for two reasons. They DO enhance gameplay aesthetically. I agree that well done cardboard standees can suffice, but a well done miniature will typically overshadow it every time. Further, high quality minis included in a game appeal to painters and miniatures collectors that may have no interest in the actual game play. As I intimated earlier (and you ignored), that fact is a HUGE sellin point for Sedition Wars.

          You clearly have your mind made up, and that’s fine. I’ve asked for examples of game play and mechanics that make sector 7 stand out and you don’t seem terribly interested in supplying anything beyond, “it’s fun.” Because the rest of us don’t have access to the first hand experience you do, we need that information because right now, without miniatures THAT WOULD HAVE MADE IT STAND OUT IMMEDIATELY, we’re left with a game that, honestly looks and sounds like many other products out there.

        • wittdooley

          Also: http://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/453906.page

          Seems to be mostly disappointment there too…..

  • winter

    Cardboard standups instead of miniatures? Pass.

    • bobby.s

      Awesome.

  • Shades

    bobby.s, FWIW, I appreciate your position, the points you made, the even-handed way you presented them, and your seemingly infinite patience. Kudos. Thank you for your comments. I found them helpful.

  • Lost interest when I heard it was a boardgame…

  • Space Ghost

    Pass. Thing is, with minis, you can always use them in other games. Bobby.s, FWIW, I think you’ve completely missed why people are disappointed with this announcement.

    • bobby.s

      No, I got the point. This site is primarily composed of a minis-gamer audience. One of their high profile companies put out a game without minis, and that causes some grief when expectations weren’t met. I remember when the Warmachine crowd was disappointed with the announcement of HORDES. Everyone come to peace with that now?

      MY point was that not all board games have minis, and this happens to be a great game which doesn’t need minis. I’m just seeing a lot of push-back and “Pass” from people who haven’t even given it a fair shot.

      Speaking of diversifying, this is a minis-game site that has also diversified to cover news about board games, RPGs, etc. I think it’s for the better, as is PP’s board game that isn’t a miniatures game.

  • Borzag

    Ok as much fun as it is to watch everyone pick on Bobby, I may as well join in…

    As stated earlier, I’ll probably be buying this. And here are my thoughts as to why:

    It’s playable straight out of the box. My group tends to play a lot of board games, and there are some that we can’t or won’t play due to incomplete components (Super Dungeon Explore, Puppet Wars etc). Minis would have been nice, but that pales in comparison to being able to just rock up and PLAY. You know, that thing that gamers do.
    Contrary to popular opinion, PP are NOT a mini company. They’re a game company. There’s a HUGE difference. Hell, their first system was a D20-based Iron Kingdoms RPG, which can also be played without minis. Based on that, I trust that they’ve done this with the same amount of forethought. Yes they’re best known for their minis now, but (in Aus at least) they’re accepted as having made a tight tournament game.
    Complete creative freedom. If I want to use grey aliens in this game, I’ll hit up Reaper. If I want to use mutant aliens, I’ll get the separate Sedition Wars minis from McVey. If I want specific alien types, I’ll trawl Heresy, Eureka, and so on. I’m not locked into using just the minis that came with the game, which can also be a draw to some.

    Anyway that’s my $2 (a bit more than 2c obviously).

  • Borzag

    Hmmm…. how does one edit their posts? That looks like a god-awful wall of text.

  • Veritas

    I’ll be passing as well. The minis are part of it for me, but I’ve just never been a fan of PP’s side projects. I bought into both MonPoc and Grind and thought they were both far inferior to the PP core games. I will be backing Sedition Wars though as even if the game were to totally suck, (which I don’t think it will if it’s got a Space Hulk vibe to it,) at least I still have the gorgeous Studio McVey minis.

  • Blitz R

    I find it interesting that some people are writing it off as soon as the ‘lack’ of models is known.

    I am a wargamer primarily. I do enjoy a good board game, but would hardly be a coniessure of such things. I recently pledged on the new game from Guillotine Games: Zombiecide and on Studio McVey’s Sedition Wars. Both offered interesting game play mechanics that interested me. Sure the models were quite nice and that helped…I would be lying if I said it did not.

    Level 7 sounds intriguing. I just wished that PP would put up some vids on You Tube giving more details on how the game plays out. I think that would help sway some people. But reading some of the comments here, if there are no models, they are not interested. These comments make me feel like the people in question have no intention of actually buying the ‘game’, but were hoping to get a box set of models that just happend to come with some rules and stuff they would never use. I could be totally wrong there (and it would be the first/last time either).

    For me, I need more details before I would commit to a purchase and this is from a HUGE fan of PP’s previous work.

    • bobby.s

      @Blitz: a lot more information is on the way, to alleviate the premature “meh” 🙂