Review – Escape: The Curse of the Temple
A real time dice rolling game.
Title: Escape: The Curse of the Temple
Year Published: 2012
Designer: Kristian Amundsen Østby
Publisher: Queen Games
Game Time: 10 Mins
Set-up Time: >5 Mins
Mechanic: Dice Rolling, Real Time
How to win: Everyone must Escape.
Escape: The Curse of the Temple is a cooperative game in which players must escape (yes…) from a temple (yes…) which is cursed (yes…) before the temple collapses and kills one or more explorers, thereby causing everyone to lose.
This set up and game play section will not include any expansions but I will mention some in the round up.
This is easy. Put the starting chamber in the middle of the table and shuffle the other tiles into a draw pile.
Take 4 tiles off the top of this stack, add in the exit tile, shuffle and put at the bottom of the deck.
Take another 2 tiles off the top and put them either side of the starting chamber.
Depending on the number of players you need to put a few gems aside, between 7 and 16. Another 2 gems are place near to but separately from this pool of gems.
Each player takes a player piece and token of that colour as well as 5 dice. Put all the adventures in the starting chamber and start the sound track!
The key (that’s a pun, you’ll get it later :)) to game play is to start at the end, You’re trying to Escape the Temple, to do this you must find the exit and roll keys equal to the number of Gems in that gem pool we put aside earlier, plus one.
So the game revolves around trying to find the exit and reducing that gem pile. So how do you explore? Dice. Let’s look at those now.
The dice have 5 unique sides…
Adventurer – On two sides, mostly used for moving and exploring
You can use two of these to take the top tile of the room stack and put it next to the room your character is in, matching up the stairs on the new tile to the exit of the room you are leaving. You also may need some of this symbol to move into a room.
If the doorway is clear, you can use the symbols in the red box to move into that room.
Key/Torch – Used for moving and activating magic gems.
Like the adventurer symbol, you may need some of this symbol to move into a room.
You can also use them to gem some gems off that gem pile and on to the board. If you roll the symbols. Multiple players in the same room can pool their dice together to achieve these goals.
Black Mask – Locks your dice, you can’t re-roll a black mask until it’s unlocked
Some times MANY players will have a lot of their dice locked this way. Those 2 gems you placed next to the gem pool earlier? You can add one to the gem pile to unlock all players black dice.
Gold Mask – Unlocks 2 Black Dice
You can unlock other players black dice if they are in the same room as you.
One of the best parts of this game is the timed aspect which gives it a great feel. But it’s not just a flat 10 minutes, there are a few events…
After about 3 minutes there is a Gong, then you have abut 30 seconds to get back to the starting chamber or you lose a die! After about 6-7 minutes you get a double gong and again, get back to the starting chamber or lose a die.
Near the end of the 10 minutes there a triple gong and that’s your queue to exit!
Hopefully you already have found the exit tile, if not you need to get there. When you do, you need to roll the number of keys to get out equal to one plus the number of gems left in the gem pile.
If you escape, you can give one of your dice to someone left in the Temple to help them out.
When the timer runs out the game ends.
If all players have made it out, you in.
If even ONE adventurer is left in, all players lose.
Very frantic, easy to teach and simple to play.
The basic game is just that, basic. The game really gets good when you add curses and treasures.
Treasures and in certain rooms and you need to spend 2 keys to unlock them and they give you a bonus such as creating additional start rooms or giving you bonus torches etc you can spend with out having to roll them.
All good, decreases the difficulty of a fairly easy game.
Curses are the opposite. When you explore a good with the curse item you draw a curse tile. They can be as simple as you can’t talk, or you have to play standing up which are fun but do not really hamper the player.
Others are more serious such as not being able to escape at all! or even losing a dice permanently if it falls off the table although many will say that’s your fault 🙂
You can remove curses by rolling the symbols on the tile usually to a great sigh of relief, especially if you’re now allowed to speak again!
Fun with any number of players
I give it 6/10