Today I want to tell you about a new game called ESCAPE: The Curse Of The Temple. It’s a game that plays in 10 Minutes. It’s frantic. And I felt that the best way to explain it would be to try to somehow capture the character of the game in text form.
And that’s why this week’s column is one I will write in TEN MINUTES. I am going to start a timer, start writing, and when the timer stops I will take my hands off the keyboard. There’s a lot I want to say, so please forgive any typos or mistakes. I have nothing pre-planned. And I am in a rush.
You ready? Let’s go.
ESCAPE: THE CURSE OF THE TEMPLE
ESCAPE is a “real-time adventure game” for one to five players. Each player is an adventurer inside a temple, attempting to make an escape before the temple collapses. You start from a cnetral tile and explore the tmeple room by room until you can find the exit tile. As you move through the temple you have to activate gems on special tiles that will make your exit easier. As you play, you listen to a soundtrack CD that runs for ten minutes and puts you into a screaming panic.
Okay, hold on – right, I need to explain the dice first I think. Each player has five dice. Every player plays SIMULTANEOUSLY. You’re all rolling your own dice at the same time as each other. The dice have symbols that represent MOVEMENT, KEYS, FIRE TORCHES, CURSES, and GOLDEN MASKS. You need to roll two movement symbols to explore a new room (lay a new tile on the table). And each new room has a prerequisite for entering (for example maybe a movement symbol and a torch) so you need to roll that to be able to move in. Then there might be a gem inside, and maybe you need to roll four keys to activate it, so you try to do that. And you’re just constantly rolling your dice as you move around, looking for the symbols you need.
Move around, activate gems, then find the exit and roll enough keys to beat the total of unactivated gems +1. This will let you escape. So you can see that it’s important to activate as many gems as you can before you try to leave. It makes that final roll much easier. Every player has to escape if everyone is to win.
AH BUT THERE’S MORE
That CD I mentioned earlier. A little way in, a gong will sound, and every player has to get back to the central tile before the door slams shut. Cue everyone trying to desperately roll moevment symbols. If you don;t make it back in time, you lose a die. A little later, a gong will sound for a second time. Everyone has to dash back again or lose dice. The third time the gong sounds, the temple is about to collapse and you must ESCAPE. The CD is fucking great. It keeps you nicely on edge.
The dice. You can roll these black mask symbols, curse symbols, and they LOCK your dice. Any die that comes up black can’t be TOUCHED. You can’t roll them. Only by rolling a golden mask can you unlock them. So this means that it’s possible to completely freeze all of your dice and be trapped in a room. Then someone has to come find you and try to release you by sharing their gold mask rolls. This is AWESOME, and turns the game into this exciting thing that has so many screams of HELP I’M TRAPPED! And loads of heroic escapes. I’m running out of time here.
When you explore tiles, some of them are cursed. This means you draw a curse card – and these are just hilarious. One of them makes you plkay with one hand on your head. One bans you from speaking. One permanently removes any dice that you accidentally roll off the tab;le. So cool. You need to roll dice syumbol, combviunations to break these curses. You need to make some quick decisions about how best to use your rolls. So good.
Treasure – yeah theres treasure too. You can fgind treasure chesta dn you need to roll keys to unlock them and these give you benefits, like golden masks and extra keys and all sorts of good stuff. There’s even an amazing teleport thing that allows you to zap yourself to any othe rplayer’s room which is amazing for rtescues and for the final escape.
I’m, not going to make this.
In summing up, this is one of thye graetest games I’ve p[layed this year. It’s what I would decsribe as a hout. A hooto. A HOOT. Everybodytr rolling at the same time, shoutiong at the same time, dropping dicer,. In our first sedison with it w ep,ayed it about five tiems ain a row. YOU WILL TOTALLY WANT TO DO THAT. It’s quick, eayse, Fats, and so sos so so much funb 3
GONG! QUICK EVERYBODY BACK TO THEMIDDLE!
HELP! MY DICV E ARE LOCKED!
I;’M NOT GONNA MAKE IT!
ANYOIEN NEEDING A GODLEN MASK!
I’MN OT GONNA MEKE IT!
ESCAPE! GO ESCAPE ECSPA!