The Captain is Dead: Episode III – Lockdown Review



The Captain is Dead: Episode III – Lockdown is an expansion for The Captain is Dead game by Joe Price and JT Smith, published by The Game Crafter, LLC. It is for 2-7 players. This expansion adds new roles, new systems and a completely new scenario to play through.

For more information on the base game and how to play it, please follow the link below.

First off it should be noted that the character and alien pawns, as well as the board are the only components that w be used from the core box. It might also be helpful to have the original rule book handy, just in case. From there, we’ll move on to the changes in setup.

To begin, the board should be placed in the middle of the play area. The 9 system cards are placed on their corresponding location on the board with the “Locked” side face up. External Sensors are replaced by Surveillance Scanners. Torpedo Tube is replaced by Grenade Locker. Grenade cards are place on top of the manufacture 1 torpedo spot. The 5 system upgrade cards are placed near the Science Lab on their inactive side. The 3 Alert decks are shuffled separately before being placed on their appropriate spot on the board with red on the bottom, orange in the middle and yellow on top. The Battle Plans deck is shuffled and placed face down on it’s spot on the board. The Concealment Level and Ship Control cards are placed on their proper places on the board. Concealment Level replaces Shields and Ship Control replaces Jump Core. A yellow status clip is placed on the Concealment Level 100% space. A yellow status clip is placed on the Ship Control at the appropriate space based on the level of difficulty chosen before hand. The scent bombs and honey pot cubes are placed beside the board. The hostile alien pawns are sorted by icon and placed beside the board as well along with the alien reference card. The skill deck is shuffled and each player is dealt 5 cards. 2 cards are then dealt to the cargo pod. The remaining deck is placed on the discarded skills location. Players are dealt a Veteran Ability card. Players choose or are randomly given a colored player pawn. The remaining pawns are placed back in the box, not to be used. Each player is then given the role cards along with the other pawns that match their colored pawn. Players then choose their role and take the matching pawn. The remaining pawns are then returned to the box. Players are then able to discard their Veteran Ability and draw a new one if the ability is not compatible with their chosen character role. The remaining Veteran Ability cards are returned to the box. Players discard 1 of their skill cards to the cargo pod. The tool cards are then placed in there as well. Players place their character pawn in it’s starting position. Most players will begin in the Infirmary. The top 5 Alert cards are resolved. Usually this involves adding and/or moving aliens around on the ship. The first player is chosen based on the character’s ranking. The lowest ranking officer goes first. Once this is established, play now begins.

Now then, let me explain a bit about what this expansion adds in terms of how the game is played. To begin with, as noted above, there are 2 new systems; Ship Control and Concealment Level. These replace the Jump Core and Shields on the board. The Ship Control is much like the Jump Core. If you want to win the game, this system has to be repaired to the “Win” level. The Concealment Level is reduced by 10% any time an alarm sounds. This happens any time an alien is killed, a player is returned to their starting location, when a system is hacked, when an alert is overriden, when repairing a systems affected by a honeypot, or when a system is relocked. If the Concealment Level is ever reduced to “Set to Kill” and a new alarm goes off, the characters are killed and removed from the game.

Another new addition to the game are the Grenades and Scent Bombs. These are cards that count against your hand size, just like tools. They are able to be deployed trough a door into an adjacent space. Grenades will kill any and all aliens in a room, however each alien death will trigger an alarm. Scent bombs will attract the aliens to the room it was deployed into from up to 2 rooms away.

Aliens have been upgraded in this expansion. There are now 5 alien ranks, some of which will require 2 actions to kill instead of just one. At the end of all alerts, the aliens will perform a series of actions. If they find a character in a different location from the one that they started in, Concealment Level drops and an alarm is triggered. Any characters in the room are then returned to the Infirmary by the lowest ranking alien. Some aliens will even injure the characters. Patrol aliens will move around the board looking for characters, which will repeat the process above if any are found. Hacker aliens will lock down systems. If all 4 Commander aliens make it onto the ship, the Concealment Level automatically drops to the Set to Kill level, making for a pretty much no win situation.

The game also includes 3 new roles; the Hacker, Sympathizer and Spy. The hacker is good with systems. The sympathizer is an alien that is not seen as a threat by the other aliens but he also won’t kill any of his own kind. The spy is able to understand alien languages and has a large hand size to keep up with lots of stuff.

The last new feature is one that’s optional to the game, Contraband. These cards don’t count against the hand limit and are given to a player when they trigger an alarm by performing an action, if they don’t already have one. It gives the player a special ability that they can use outside of their normal turn. If they talk about to any of the other players or reveal it, they lose it. Once it’s used, it’s lost also.


This expansion not only adds a lot of new stuff to the game, but also radically changes the gameplay. I’ll discuss the latter in the gameplay section. Much like the original game, there are lots and lots of cards. There are the battle plans, 3 different alert decks, role cards, veteran cards, contraband cards, system cards, upgrade cards and tool cards. These have the same style design and look as those from the core game. There are also some larger reference cards that explain alien patrol movement as well as the different ranks of aliens. Also the same size are the Ship Control and Concealment Level cards. These replace the previously mentioned systems on the board. Each one also has an explanation of how to use them. There are some plastic status clips that are bright yellow and work nicely with the new system cards, as well as 3 bright yellow honeypot cubes. These are good quality and look nice. The final pieces are the pawns and stickers. There are replacement stickers for games older than the most recent version of the original game. These stickers show the new alien ranks. Overall, I really like the new additions and think they add a new feel to the game without changing things too much.
8 out of 10

Much like the original game the rulebook for this one looks well done. There are plenty of pictures on almost every page. There’s a short example of gameplay as well. There’s a full page picture of all the game’s components as well as a detailed setup for getting started. Each of the new systems and items are covered in great detail. Also included is new information on the alien ranks and how they work in the new game system. The last couple of things that are covered in the rule book is the contraband which I pretty much explained earlier and a new mechanic that I didn’t cover which is player elimination. This just explains what happens when a player dies and how to replace them in the game. Overall the book covers everything you need to know to play the game and it’s simple enough to read. I like the look and think it’s well designed.
8 out of 10

I really enjoyed this game. It’s a great co-op that not only improves on the original game but it offers a completely new challenge as well as new mechanics. Even the thematic feel of the game is different. Instead of trying to deal with a Star Trek style mission, this game feels more stealthy and hide and seek like. It kind of makes me think of the Metal Gear Solid video games. I almost expect to see an exclamation point pop up over their head when an alien walks into the room with my character. Much like the original there’s a good bit of tension, however it feels a bit higher in this scenario. For me, this is more of a gamer’s version of the game, whereas the core game was more of an introductory style game. There’s still only so many actions that you can choose from, so it’s still not a difficult game to understand. That said, fans of the original The Captain is Dead, should really enjoy this one, especially if they like more stealth in their missions. Any players that enjoy a good Sci-Fi theme or that like good co-op games will enjoy this one quite a bit. As it is, this is a great addition to the Captain is Dead and one that I would definitely recommend picking up.
8 out of 10

The Captain is Dead: Episode III Lockdown is an expansion for The Captain is Dead. It adds several new mechanics as well as new roles, new systems and a new scenario. The game is a bit longer with this expansion. Most games sessions last at least an hour and a half, usually longer. The artwork fits in well with the original game and carries over the same theme throughout the new pieces. The game is a bit more tense and feels like a step up from the original game. The new scenario feels more stealthy and less Pandemic like. The addition of this expansion adds a lot more replayability to an already good game. Fans of Sci-Fi themed or co-op games should really enjoy this one. Owners of The Captain is Dead will love adding this to their collection. It’s a great addition to the base game and one that I would definitely recommend. Now somebody come get this stinkin’ alien off my ship.
8 out of 10


For more information about this and other great games, please check out the Gamecrafter at their site.

You can also back it on Kickstarter right now by following the link below to the campaign page.

About Gaming Bits - Jonathan Nelson

I'm a happily married man with 2 wonderful kids. I love my family very much. I'm a big fan of board, card and RPG games and have been playing for over 20 years. As a board and card game reviewer, I'm hoping that this blog will inform, educate and entertain you. If you like it, please tell your friends and have them join in on the conversations. Thanks and GAME ON!!
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