FTW Staff Picks - Escape: The Curse of the Temple
For The Win Board Game Cafe's Staff Picks is a weekly series where we take a quick look at some of the staff's favourite games, old and new.
Escape: The Curse of the Temple
Designer: Kristian Amundsen Østby
Genre: Real-Time Cooperative
Player Size: 1 to 5 Players
Game Length: 10 minutes
For fans of: Castle Panic, Space Alert, Magic Maze
From one escape to another, we're looking at this fast-paced, cooperative dice game from Queen Games. Unlike last week's Survive: Escape from Atlantis!, this game hopes to unite gamers through its desperation. Escape: The Curse of the Temple is played entirely in real-time, which means its listed game length is not only suggested, it's enforced. In just 10 minutes, players will chaotically roll dice in hopes to unlock the exit.
The game comes with a soundtrack CD which accompanies adventurer's on their exasperating quest. Aside from adding to the immersion, there are actually musical cues to signal the beginning and ending of each of the 3 rounds. If you're playing in a louder environment, like a board game cafe, the game also includes a sand timer which replaces the soundtrack.
If you've ever played Pandemic or Ghost Stories, you know that cooperative games can often feel hopeless, and while Escape isn't on the same level of difficulty, it adds a much needed light-heartedness to the experience. Unlike conventional cooperative games, the challenge doesn't come from the game itself. Instead the path to victory is almost entirely dependant on coordination. Not one person can carry the team to the end. Effective communication is required.
The vanilla game itself is good for quick, good laughs. But the included treasures and curses expansion really adds some challenge and hilarity to the mix. Like another Queen Games staple, Alhambra, there's a ton of offerings for expansion to Escape. It's not commonly tread ground, but real-time gaming has delivered some really great experiences lately. Whether its Space Alert or more recently, Captain Sonar, there's more than enough evidence that there's a market for games that challenge players in ways beyond placing wooden meeples and collecting victory points.