Lawyer Up is an asymmetrical two-player courtroom drama card game where one player is the noble prosecution and the other the steadfast defense. Each game begins with the Discovery phase, where players draft vital evidence to support their case and bury evidence that might help their opponent. Next comes the Trial phase, where players call witnesses and play powerful arguments along with the evidence they drafted into their examination pools. To form a coherent line of questioning, players will need to chain together their cards by matching bias symbols. The player who can best examine the Witness by generating the most influence will spend the difference to sway the Jury to their side. Every game is different, but the lawyer with the best case and most convincing arguments will be sure to get the verdict they are after!
The core game includes the base decks for both the prosecution and defense along with all the other components (jurors, bias tokens, etc) you need to play any case of Lawyer Up. The core set also features two unique cases to play: The Art Forgery Case and the Murder Case.
The Art Forgery Case is a shorter case (6 Witnesses instead of 9) that focuses on learning the arguments and procedures in the base Prosecution and Defense decks. It is all about drafting the paintings from famous Dutch painters and using the right evidence to replay them from discard piles.
The Murder Case is your modern Law and Order murder trial. Jessica Fairmount was found standing over her father, covered in his blood, but insists that she was only trying to save him. The wealthy socialite has a lot to gain with her father’s murder, but did she do it? This case features major asymmetry between the Prosecution (who can lock jurors to their side) and the Defense. The Prosecution must get all the Jurors to believe she is guilty while the Defense only needs one Juror to believe in her innocence for reasonable doubt.
Lawyer Up is divided into two phases, the discovery and trial phases. The discovery phase is a drafting phase representing both attorneys working back at their offices going through all the evidence of the case. During this phase, players simultaneously draw 3 cards and add one card to their deck, one card to their opponents deck and bury the last card. This means that every time that you play a case, your deck will be unique.
Players will not only draft unique decks, they will also select their legal strategies and Witnesses. The trial phase of the game is typically made up of 9 rounds of witness examinations. During this phase, players take turns calling witnesses and chaining together legal arguments fighting to win the witness and influence the jury.
You can only play cards from your hand that share at least 1 symbol with the card previously in your Examination. You can’t jump from legal argument to an emotional one, because that would confuse the jury.
As you win witnesses, the jury will be swayed more and more to your side. Each case can have slightly different win conditions, but in general whoever wins the most witnesses will have the jury on their side and win the case.