Escape: Curse of the Temple
- Designer: Kristian Amundsen Østby
- Players: 1-5
- Time: 10 Minutes
When you hear the words ‘board game’, do you think of excitement, adventure and running frantically through a forbidden temple in fear for your life? No… well then, let me introduce you to a friend of mine. Escape: Curse of the Temple, this is my friend, the loyal Board Game Point of View follower. Mmm… yes, I think we have a match. Why don’t you two scoot a little closer together and I’ll tell you how it works.
Escape: Curse of the Temple is a cooperative game where you and up to four of your friends play archaeological adventurers (personified by the awesome Indiana Jones style meeples) who have just plundered a strange and forbidden, ancient temple. The temple, sensing a threat, starts to fight back, and it’s up to your small crew to return what you’ve stolen and exit the temple before the passage is blocked. The board itself is made up of modular tiles, each depicting a different room of the temple. Initially, you will start with three rooms. The others will be placed face down and drawn only when a new area is discovered. Each room tile requires a specific set of equipment to enter and explore. The equipment is depicted on each face of a handful of five dice that players will roll Yahtzee-style until they achieve the result they want. Once used, the equipment dice can be picked back up and rolled again to tackle the next challenge. Ultimately, you are looking for rooms in which you can return some of the precious gems you’ve stolen. Many rooms are empty, but others will contains slots for one, two or three gems. Returning gems will often require teamwork, as a single player will often not have enough dice to do it on their own.
Thus far this game sounds all well and good, but here is what sets it apart from all the other games that have left you unsatisfied and browsing the shelves for something more exciting, adventurous and new. Each player has their own set of five dice, and they all play at the same time! To top it off, you only have 10 minutes to do so before the temple swallows any stragglers whole… never to be seen again! Time is kept via a sound track which you can download to a smart device or play from a CD. The up-tempo drum beat is suited perfectly to the setting. On occasion, the temple will attack and the drum beat will rise. Players must then scurry back to the starting tile or risk losing a die for the remainder of the game.
This is an incredible family game and one that we frequently take to our coffee shop gaming sessions. Seeing five people standing around a table frantically rolling dice like their lives depend on it always gathers a crowd, and there is never a want of players for the next game. We have even been so bold as to introduce a few groups to the small expansion that comes in the base game. This adds cursed rooms to the stack of room tiles that curse the first player to enter them. In keeping with the fun and frantic nature of the game, these are things like rolling with one hand stuck to your head, losing the ability to speak or forfeiting a die to the temple gods.
If you are looking for something different with a low barrier to entry, Escape: Curse of the Temple is worth more than a look. It plays well with almost any age, and it is the perfect filler to kick off an evening of games. On top of that, it is an ingenious marriage of theme and mechanics. So take a chance, step out of your comfort zone and get to know this game. It may be just the game you’ve been searching for.
Pros: Simple, Fun, Fast, Great Family Game, Cooperative, Perfect Theme
Cons: Might Be Too Frantic for Some
Want more insight? Check out Episode 5 – Dilemma in the Depths from our podcast library.