#57 – Escape: The Curse of the Temple

Escape

At a Glance: Escape: The Curse of the Temple is a chaotic Indiana Jones-like exploration game set to an intense 10-minute soundtrack!

Escape: The Curse of the Temple is an intense real-time cooperative game for 1-5 players who are exploring a lost temple that could collapse at any moment. Each player starts the game with 5 dice and the temple begins with only three tiles. New tiles are placed as players explore the rooms, so the temple will look different each time. All players roll dice, explore new rooms, and perform actions SIMULTANEOUSLY. The game comes with a CD with a 10-minute soundtrack, which doesn’t just provide an optional atmosphere. There are a couple of moments in the soundtrack where players will have to race back to the starting tile before the gong sounds or they may lose a die. Players must roll the necessary symbols to explore new rooms or activate green gems. But if they roll a black cursed symbol, that die is locked and cannot be rolled unless they roll a golden mask that restores up to 2 cursed dice. It is in all the players’ interest to activate as many gems as possible, because the more gems are activated and moved out of the gem depot, the easier it will be to escape. Once the Exit tile is found, ALL players must exit before the final gong sounds and the temple collapses. Even if only one explorer is left behind and crushed, everyone fails.

Wow, this might be the most stressful game I’ve ever played, but it is so fun. It can certainly be very chaotic, especially with 4 or 5 players, as everyone is rolling and communicating. At least they should be communicating some because there are certain tiles where players can combine their dice rolls in order to activate the highest number of gems. Amidst all this excitement, you may hear a panicked explorer yell out “oh no! I have 4 cursed dice!” or something like that. All of a sudden, you may have to change your focus and rush to save someone. AND as you’re exploring, you start hearing the music pick up and you realize you must ditch what you’re doing and race back to the starting tile. There is so much tension in this game, it feels much longer than 10 minutes. Because of the speed element though, once you learn the game, this can be a quick game to bring out when you don’t have much time.

I ripped the CD so I could have the mp3s, which makes it easier to play the soundtrack wherever. They do have 2 soundtracks to choose from, though I think the overall timing is the same, just a different style. The game also comes with 2 expansions, “Treasures” and “Curses” which adds even more variability to the gameplay. Unfortunately, the game is out of print right now, so the best bet would be to find a good used copy, however, they have now released an Escape: Zombie City version that would be much cheaper, if that interests you as well.

Check it out: https://amzn.to/2Do0yMf

Great Components

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Real-time or speed games are pretty polarizing. Love them or hate them, stress is usually a by-product. The excitement either makes it fun or frustrating depending on who you are. Here are a few good speed games that did not make my Top 100:

UNO Madness – I would rather play this one than regular UNO. You place nice UNO tiles in a row on a raised board that “pops” up (a la Perfection) and throws the tiles everywhere. Fast-paced and tense.

Star Wars: The Interactive Video Board Game – This one is more of a novelty. It was published in 1996 and comes with a VHS where Darth Vader talks to you and you must act quickly to blow up the Death Star. They could re-release and update this one and it would probably be successful.

Channel Surfing – This game from 1994 involves flipping through channels trying to find a set of random items. I no longer own this one because it is hard to make it work when you don’t have cable.

Dutch Blitz – “A Vonderful Goot Game”. This card game from Pennsylvania Dutch heritage is played intensely in families everywhere. Chaotic, simple, and fun. Watch those fingernails though.

Linking – Decent card game of quick word association

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