Escape: The Curse of the Temple (game review)
Jon Seagull reviews a board game in which players must team up in a race against time to escape a cursed temple, grabbing as much treasure as they can along the way.
Escape: The Curse of the Temple takes the same hectic dice-rolling at the core of Tenzi (review), but builds a raucous co-operative adventure game around it that plays in just a few minutes more. Players take on the role of a group of explorers looting an ancient temple, Indiana Jones-style. You begin in the inner sanctum, with no idea where the treasures or the exit are, and exactly 10 minutes until the roof caves in (there's a soundtrack that serves as both game timer and atmosphere). Players have to escape as a group -- if anyone gets left behind when the roof caves in, everyone at the table loses.
Each player has five six-sided dice with symbols instead of numbers, and you “spend” various combinations of the symbols you roll to take certain actions -- key symbols let you unlock doors and add new room tiles to the temple from the draw pile, running symbols let you move your pawn around, etc. There are no turns; everyone rolls and re-rolls their dice, takes their actions, and shouts their plans at each other as quickly as they can.
The heart of the game that makes it feel truly co-operative and heroic is that one side of each die has a Curse symbol, and a cursed die can't be re-rolled until either you or a fellow player in the same room unlocks it using a die showing an otherwise-useless Blessing symbol. Furthermore, the biggest treasures require more symbols than any one player can provide, and you need to have a certain number of gems to unlock the exit door once you find it. This means you're all relying on each other in ways that force you to communicate, coordinate, and adapt your plans on the fly; with multiple conflicting priorities and very little time to think.
This leads to tense, time-pressured decision making - “Do I keep pressing on alone with 2 or 3 curses, or rejoin the group to heal?” frantic squabbles -- “Get back here and help me pick up the big treasure !” “No way, we have to find the exit NOW!” and heroic, nick-of-time rescues -- “Help! I'm in the south idol room and all my dice are locked up!”
Escape: The Curse of the Temple: $48
Commodore’s C64 had a famously decisive, if drab set of 16 colors to choose from, a note of artistic intent amid the unthinking mathematical extremities of other 8-bit color palettes. But did you know there were secret colors? Aaron Bell writes up a discovery that blew his mind many years ago and which, 26 years […]
In celebration of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Allen Pan built a wonderful home automation system where the interface is an ocarina as seen in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. (Thanks, Lux!)
The Offworld Collection, presenting the very best features and essays from Offworld, is finally available to buy directly from Campo Santo for $40. I had the pleasure of designing and illustrating this splendid 250-page hardcover volume, but it’s the excellent writing, edited by Leigh Alexander and Laura Hudson, that makes it an essential buy. You […]
When you can’t wait for the world’s longest meeting to end, the mindless leg bouncing makes your boredom obvious and just annoys everybody else. Everyone knows the TPS reports need the damn cover sheet, but some sadistic colleague keeps forgetting, probably on purpose just to eat into your lunch hour. Enough is enough!While serving a […]
What could be more fun than a slingshot that shoots tiny airplanes? A slingshot that shoots tiny glowing airplanes of course! These toy planes are outfitted with ultra-bright LEDs, so you can fly all night without losing them in the trees.Whether you are a regular-sized child, or an overgrown adult one, these light-up flyers offer […]
You know the drill. You go to the dentist and they ask you how often you floss. You lie through your teeth and say, “every day!” (Bonus points if you have some cilantro or chives stuck in your gums from lunch). You don’t want to keep up the charade any longer, but rubbing that tiny strand […]