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Stewart Tame
United States
Ypsilanti
Michigan
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The box touts this as "The Boardgame Based on the Hit Paramount Movie." So was the movie all that much of a hit? It seems odd that they wouldn't have made a sequel if it were really that successful. Of course I was only fifteen at the time so I wouldn't have notice. After all these years I still haven't seen the movie, but I heartily recommend the book it was based on (The Keep by F. Paul Wilson.)

Anyway, on to the game: the board is puzzle cut--in fact I believe this was the first game I ever purchased that used this system. On the board is a map of the Keep, with starting locations for all of the players as well as for the SS guards. Players are dealt ID cards depicting six characters from the movie. Molasar, the bad guy, controls the SS guards as well as his own pawn. Player order is determined by the numbers on the ID cards, with Molasar going last. At the start of the game, the Molasar player writes down the name of one of the rooms in the cellar on piece of paper. This room contains the Hilt--the one artifact that can destroy him. If one of the Searchers ends their turn in the room containing the Hilt, the Molasar player must announce this fact and that Searcher wins. If twelve turns pass with no one finding the Hilt, the Molasar player wins. Further, the Molasar player's pawn may not enter the room containing the Hilt.

Turns consist of a die roll, movement, and possibly conflict. Players roll one die and move the appropriate number of spaces. Molasar rolls two dice for his own movement, and then two dice for the SS guards' movement, which may be used only for one guard or split among two or more as desired. Conflict is resolved by playing cards. Each card has a white side, which is used by the Searchers, and a red side, used by Molasar and the SS. Each side also features two values, one for conflicts with the SS Guards, and the other for conflicts with Molasar. Whoever plays the card with the greater value wins the conflict, and the loser must retreat as many spaces as the difference between the two cards played. The winner chooses where the retreating player must move. Ties are replayed immediately with new cards. New conflict cards are drawn after each conflict to replace the ones used.

At the beginning of their turn, the Molasar player, before rolling any dice, moves their pawn to any room on the board containing an SS guard and removes that guard from play. Since there are twelve guards, their removal serves as a time-keeping device for the length of the game. The Molasar player also receives six Hazard cards at the beginning of the game, which may be played to hinder the Searchers in their quest. The Searchers each receive three Bonus cards at the beginning of the game, and may draw another after each conflict that ends in their favor. These Bonus cards can be used to aid them in their search.

Lastly, there are secret doors within the Keep. Molasar knows where all of them are, and moves through them without stopping. Searchers must stop in a room containing a secret door, and roll a 1-3 on their next turn in order to find it. Once found, the Searcher treats this secret door as a regular door on all subsequent turns. The SS Guards must also search for secret doors, but once one of them finds a secret door, all of them are considered to know where it is.

All in all, this is not a bad game, especially considering that it's a movie tie-in. At first glance, the game may seem stacked in favor of Molasar, but twelve turns turns out to be quite a long time, especially considering that no players are ever eliminated from the game--just SS guards. As the number of guards dwindles it gets harder and harder for Molasar to successfully keep the Searchers out of the Cellar. The Conflict cards seem a rather clumsy way of resolving combat by today's standards, but I rather like the mechanic of the dwindling SS guards, and the map is gorgeous. I wouldn't consider this an essential game by any means, but it's definitely got its interesting points and I'm glad to have it in my collection.
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Darrell Pavitt
United Kingdom
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Here's the film. http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0085780/

It's pretty dire, with only a few good visuals to recommend it.

The novel's Ok, Wilson's later books are better.
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If Actions Speak Louder Than Words, Then Actions x2 Speak Louder Than Actions
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The film "The Keep" rocks! Much in the same vein that "Rocky III" rocks.
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