Sean Mannion
United States
San Francisco
California
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The Intro
Some time ago, I brought along a co-operative game that I thought would be fun for us to play as a team. Helena was not very fond of us playing on the same team and would rather play against one another but I wanted to give co-operative gaming another try and presented her with three options of which to choose from that I thought she might like and so she chose Escape: The Curse of the Temple.



The Information
In Escape: The Curse of the Temple, players are working together, exploring the various Chamber Tiles that make up the Temple, trying to locate the Exit Tile and roll the correct dice combination to Escape to victory. Each player is assigned 5 dice and 1 Adventurer Meeple. The players place their Meeple on the Starting Chamber and will place two tiles from the draw pile on either side of the openings to the Starting Chamber. The Exit tile is shuffled with the top four tiles from the draw pile and then placed on the bottom of said pile. A Gem Depot is placed next to the game area with a different number of Gems being placed into the Depot depending on number of players and they also add two Magic Gems next to the Depot. When the game soundtrack marks the beginning of the game, players will roll their dice in order to Enter a Chamber by matching the two symbols on the tile they are looking to move onto, or to Discover a New Chamber by rolling Two Adventurer Icons on their dice and then placing it in an appropriate space within the play area, and to Active Magic Gems in which in certain Chamber tiles where player can roll different amounts of Keys or Torches in order to place certain number of Gems, this becomes important when trying to escape the tunnel as players will have to roll a number of keys as there are Gems left in the Depot. The dice also has a Black Mask side and a Gold Mask side. When rolling a Black Mask side of the dice, that dice becomes locked and can only be picked up and rolled again once the player or a player in the same Chamber, rolls a Gold Mask. One Gold Mask allows the players to pick up two Black Masks. If a player has all of their dice locked up as Black Masks, the team can decide to transfer one of the two Gems next to the Depot, into the Depot. Also, twice during the game, there will be a countdown in which all players will have to return to the starting tile, those that do not make it back in time will lose one of their dice for the rest of the game. If at the end of the final countdown, there are any adventurers left in the temple all players have lost but if all players have Escaped, then all players have won the game.

The Feedback
Helena felt that the game looked nice with the tiles that were very clear as to what was on them and how you would be able to interact with the different elements in each. She also liked the dice and felt the icons were easy to make out. We went over the rules very briefly as I didn’t want to take too much away from that first experience and then before we knew it, the soundtrack was beginning and the voice would prompt us to “Escape” and off we went.

The Experience
We rolled dice frantically trying to move to the next tile and then looking to roll the two Adventurers so that we could discover and place a new tile. I followed her and she led us around that first game trying to remember the rules. She yelled out for me to go into a room and discover and place a tile in the open door while we went into another room. She got locked up as all her dice rolled into Black Masks. I came after her and rolled a Gold Mask to help her out and suddenly the music changed and it was a race for us to get back to the starting tile. We barely got there and had a moment to catch our breath before setting out again. We never made it to the exit and the game ended with 5-6 still unexplored tiles and five of the seven starting gems still in the Gem Depot, but we were laughing. We played again and still never made it to the exit but made fun of each other and laughed and had a ball. We got serious and gave it another shot and got very close but couldn’t get the final roll we needed to Escape the temple. We were loud and annoyed her housemate that complained about all the noise. We will try to keep it down next time but no guarantees as Helena doesn’t like when she doesn’t make it back to the start tile in time and loses one of her die for the remainder of the game.

The Reaction
Helena thought this game was thrilling. We played 5 times that first night and never beat the game but the laughs and the excitement we had from the experience was fantastic and something that had us smiling for quite some time afterwards. It’s a few weeks later as I write this and we are still telling stories of that first night when we couldn’t roll that one last key that would have let us both Escape and get the victory.

The Critique
It can feel like a mess with everything that is going on and while for some that will feel wonderful as you try to react to the puzzle in real time, for others the adrenaline rush is more frustrating and uncomfortable than fun.

The Evaluation
Escape: The Curse of the Temple is a fun time. It’s an experience and does what it does very well. Navigating through the halls of the temple, activating gems in the Gem Chamber, searching for the exit as the soundtrack picks up in intensity. It’s an experience that I am glad I had a chance to share with Helena. I look forward to beating the normal game and adding some expansion tiles and see her face when tiles start to disappear after a countdown with Illusion tiles scattered throughout the Temple. That will be a lot of fun. I am not sure that this won her over to co-operative games as of yet, but it did open her mind to trying some others.

The Grades
Helena gives Escape: The Curse of the Temple a B for the thrill ride as she starts using her indoor voice when asking me to come and help her unlock her Black Masks and Sean agrees and also gives the game a B for the adrenaline rush and smiles and laughter that this game continues to produce.



Other adventures can be found: https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/238808/board-gaming-helen...


Escape: The Curse of the Temple is a game by Kristian Amundsen Østby and published by Queen Games in 2012.

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ace hawkster
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Great review of a brilliant game, my kids love this one, my wife refuses to play more than once a night as she finds the adrenaline rush too much , only issue we find is trying to teach visitors as my kids go into overdrive moving people's pieces and shouting blue murder at them if they get it wrong , on a side note they rarely lose though
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Sean Mannion
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acehawkster1973 wrote:
Great review of a brilliant game, my kids love this one, my wife refuses to play more than once a night as she finds the adrenaline rush too much , only issue we find is trying to teach visitors as my kids go into overdrive moving people's pieces and shouting blue murder at them if they get it wrong , on a side note they rarely lose though

Thank you and thank you for sharing. I have played this game with my niece and nephew some years back on a pretty regular basis and they would definitely be the ones being the most vocal of where to go and what to do. Many fun stories from those game sessions such as when my nephew found the Exit and just ran out after rolling the necessary keys and leaving the rest of us inside to get to the Exit and try to Escape which none of us were able to do and so her strutted around the room saying he was the winner with all the treasure while we laughed and laughed. Always a good time with Escape. Glad you enjoyed the review.
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Arianne H
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Connecticut
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What a great review. Super entertaining to ready and gave me a good sense of the game. Looking for a gateway game that can be played by wide range of family members this Christmas and this looks like it will fit the bill!
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Sean Mannion
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ArianneH wrote:
What a great review. Super entertaining to ready and gave me a good sense of the game. Looking for a gateway game that can be played by wide range of family members this Christmas and this looks like it will fit the bill!

Thank you very much for your kind words and I think Escape can make for a very thrilling game that can be played during family gatherings around the holiday.
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