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Escape: The Curse of the Temple» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Escape: Worth the trouble of finding a copy? rss

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Todd Barker
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For a much better layout of this review with better pictures and to read more reviews go to http://toddsboardgames.blogspot.ca

With all the buzz on the internet about this game I decided it would be a great target for my next review. I’ve now had the chance to play both the base game and the expansion several times with all different numbers of players. It doesn’t really matter how many you play it with this game is pure gold. It plays like no other all the hype about it on the internet is not for no reason, and people who say it’s not for them I think need to give it more of a chance

Overview:

My favourite part of this game that makes it pretty unique is the fact that there are no turns. Players will participate in ‘one big turn’ simultaneously and constantly for 10 minutes. Your goal is to escape the cursed temple. To do this you must ALL make your way to the exit tile with all the gems from the “gem depot” placed on their magic altars.

Gameplay:

This is a cooperative game and you either win or fail as a team. Although there are several different strategies to win, it is best and easiest if you stick together and really help each other out. Being a lone wolf is not an option as you will soon find yourself trapped without help and no way back to the safe room when you hear the gong.

The 10 minutes is kept track by a sound track, 2 times during the game a gong will sound, that is your que to get back into the starting ‘safe room’ if you do not make it back by the time the sound of the door slamming shut is played, you will lose a die for the remainder of the game.

Now that those rules are out of the way you’re probably asking ‘how do I play?’ It’s fairly simple; you roll dice. The game comes with some custom dice and each face represents an action you are able to perform or store.




In order to get a magic gem off the depot and onto an altar you must roll the required number of keys or torches. Some rooms have multiple altars with different values, however you may only fill one of them per room. The required number of keys or torches required to unlock the altar is collective, meaning everyone located on that room’s tile can contribute.






In order to place a new tile you must roll 2 green running men.




In order to move into a new room you must roll the matching 2 symbols in that room. For example if the players wanted to move onto the tile before the exit tile it would cost a green running man and a key, if they wanted to move onto the exit tile it would take a running man and a torch.



A black mask represents a cursed die. You leave this die black mask facing up in front of you and cannot roll it again until the curse is lifted. A curse can be lifted by rolling a golden mask or if another player in the same room as you rolls a golden mask. Each gold mask cures TWO black masks and you can split the 2 cures between 2 players.




All the Specialty Dice


Now reading the above this may not sound like the most amazing game, sure it’s different but does it really work? Is it really that great? The brilliance comes from two mechanics that are imbedded brilliantly into the game. You can keep or ‘store’ a die if you like / need the symbol on it. Say you are trying to reach a cursed friend a couple rooms away and you are having trouble rolling the correct symbols to get there, you can keep any gold masks you roll for when you finally reach your friend. Say you are a few tiles away from that big 10 key gem altar, any keys/torches you roll on your way over there you can keep and use to unlock the altar. The trouble is finding the balance between how many dice to keep / which ones to keep and how many you want to roll. The other mechanic is the timed pressure. Not only does the game give you a mere 10 minutes to escape, but twice you must make it back to the safe room or you are now rolling 1 less die for the remainder of the 10minutes, between this pressure and the constant 10minutes of game play creates a very intense cooperative game that leave players shouting in pure excitement.

Once the exit tile is drawn you simply have to get all of your gems into a magic altar, then each player must get onto the exit tile. If you all make it before the final sounds of the temple sealing shut play through your speakers you all escape and win, if even one person is left behind you all fail.







Components:

Okkay the adventurers are not that impressive, they are wooden and serve the purpose for the game quite well although they could be a little bigger / easier to grab so you can move quicker. The tiles are great, good quality they don’t tear easy and you can actually shuffle them perfectly or maybe I’ve just got the perfect size hands, but lots of tile games ask you to shuffle and you can’t really or they give you a bag to draw out of and that would only slow you down in a game like this.

The cd the game comes with not only includes the soundtrack for playing the game but it has a track on it that tells you the object / backstory of the game and then explains in full detail how to play. Alternatively if you cannot play the soundtrack the game comes with an hourglass timer.

As if the game isn’t enough fun already they throw in a full expansion that allows for a lot of replay and defiantly makes the game more interesting for more experienced gamers or people that just know how to work well together. I will do a full review of the expansion later.



Let’s talk about who would enjoy this game and why.



Family Gamers: The rules are simple enough that kids can play although if they have never played a cooperative game before this could take some extra explaining. But it is defiantly a game that mom and dad can enjoy while playing with their kids without feeling ‘dumb’ for lack of a better word. This game has no violence or adult theme and if there are any Indiana Jones fans in your family this is sure to be a big hit!

Casual Gamers: Most of my friends would be considered casual gamers, they have only tried a handful of games but do enjoy trying and learning new ones and I can tell you they loved this one. I had them intrigued right from my words “try this game there are no turns and we work as a team”. There is a lot of table talk in this game I think more then I have seen in any other game even other cooperative games. The game lasts only 10 minutes (maybe 15 if you include setup) so if time is an issue for you it won’t be with this game. You win or lose as a team and either way your group will want to play again and because the game has some elements from more complicated games (tile placement, specialty dice, and cooperative game play) it can work as a bridge to other games, perhaps dungeon crawlers and other team games.

Gamer Gamers: Although there are exceptions to every rule or statement I do believe that even most hardcore gamers have not played that many cooperative games. There are less of these games to choose from and they just seem to be catching on. I think that the uniqueness of this game allows it to appeal to gamers, the sheer intensity of the game is eye catching and enough to make even dice haters give this game a try. The ‘sharing’ of dice with players in the same room as you as well as the time limit/pressure of the game does a great job of making people who hate the randomness of rolling dice forget they are rolling dice all together! The game itself is hard enough that without a solid strategy you will fail, and the expansion makes even a solid strategy fall apart! Although the basic game might not keep a ‘gamer’ interested the included expansion sure will.
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Cameron Chien
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Nice review!

Edit: As an avid lover of Space Alert, there are gamers who just loathe the real-time pressure of games like Space Alert and Escape. Other than those players, I think everyone else will enjoy this game.

Plus, even if it isn't exactly your cup of tea, it lasts just ten minutes, far shorter than most filler games.

Cameron
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Brian M
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Great game. And it shouldn't be much trouble to find - copies are showing up at online stores this week.
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Todd Barker
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StormKnight wrote:
Great game. And it shouldn't be much trouble to find - copies are showing up at online stores this week.


I don't usually shop online but I might have to no one in my area can get it yet
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Moe45673
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How does the hourglass timer work, regarding the parts where you have to get back to the saferoom and everything?

I've been on the fence on this game due to the CD aspect, but if it comes with an hourglass that would be awesome.
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Todd Barker
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Moe45673 wrote:
How does the hourglass timer work, regarding the parts where you have to get back to the saferoom and everything?

I've been on the fence on this game due to the CD aspect, but if it comes with an hourglass that would be awesome.


When the sand runs out this is when you have to be back inside the safe room or you lose a die, you don't get the gong sound warning to hurry back that you would with the CD but of course you have the sand timer visual. I've read a fair amount of people having problems with the included sand timer though the sand stops flowing before it empties on one side.

Is it the whole needing a 'cd' that’s the problem? Or do you not like the noise/annoying music that comes with the CD. On the Queen Games website you can download a soundtrack without music and just the gong / door slamming sounds.
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Moe45673
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Well, without giving my life story, as a religious jew I observe the Sabbath weekly. It's a great time for boardgames (how I wish I'd gotten into these babies years ago) but actively manipulating electronics is forbidden (so sitting in a room with the lights on is fine, but turning the lights on or off is not).

You see my problem.

Perhaps I can buy a sand timer online somewhere.
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Lee Fisher
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Moe45673 wrote:
Well, without giving my life story, as a religious jew I observe the Sabbath weekly. It's a great time for boardgames (how I wish I'd gotten into these babies years ago) but actively manipulating electronics is forbidden (so sitting in a room with the lights on is fine, but turning the lights on or off is not).

You see my problem.

Perhaps I can buy a sand timer online somewhere.


The game includes sand timer and rules for it.
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Moe45673
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I got that

But apparently some people are having issues with the sand timer not working as smoothly as it should.
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Matt Smith
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Nice review, and I fully agree it's worth it to track down a copy post haste.

Just a couple of rule corrections:
1. You can't split one gold mask to have it unlock a black mask for two players. I.e. only one player can benefit from each gold mask. The designer clarified this in the Rules forum.

2. To exit the temple, each player must not only be on the exit chamber, but also roll a number of keys >= the number of remaining gems +1. So, even if all gems have been returned to the gems spots, each player must roll one key when on the exit chamber.
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Cameron Chien
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Moe45673 wrote:
I got that

But apparently some people are having issues with the sand timer not working as smoothly as it should.

That's an issue with cheap sand timers in general.

Are mechanical egg timers okay to use on Sabbath?

Cameron
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Moe45673
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Unsure, that gets more complex. Musical instruments are forbidden on Sabbath and bells fall under this category, so one that dings when it hits 0 is problematic. If the egg timer clicks while winding down and then its signal that it's reached 0 is that it just stops clicking...... that's probably ok. I'd have to ask someone more knowledgeable than myself.

Having said that, it looks like quality sand timers are easily bought on the internet and are not too expensive.
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Cameron Chien
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There are some that are buzzers. Are buzzers considered a "musical instrument"?

I applaud you for sticking to your religious beliefs!

What about a watch with a chronograph? A mechanical movement watch would not have any chimes, tones or bells in it, typically.

You'd have to keep an eye on it, but the accuracy would typically be a lot better than an average sand timer.

Cameron
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Todd Barker
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mvettemagred wrote:
Nice review, and I fully agree it's worth it to track down a copy post haste.

Just a couple of rule corrections:
1. You can't split one gold mask to have it unlock a black mask for two players. I.e. only one player can benefit from each gold mask. The designer clarified this in the Rules forum.

2. To exit the temple, each player must not only be on the exit chamber, but also roll a number of keys >= the number of remaining gems +1. So, even if all gems have been returned to the gems spots, each player must roll one key when on the exit chamber.


Doh you seriously can't split the gold masks? Certainly makes the game harder I had someone teach me how to play so I didnt pay too close attention to this part
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Moe45673
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Zeede wrote:
There are some that are buzzers. Are buzzers considered a "musical instrument"?

I applaud you for sticking to your religious beliefs!

What about a watch with a chronograph? A mechanical movement watch would not have any chimes, tones or bells in it, typically.

You'd have to keep an eye on it, but the accuracy would typically be a lot better than an average sand timer.

Cameron


Thanks!

I'm not sure about buzzers either. Definitely an iffy area. I have this impression they're ok and that would be great. A buzzed egg timer would be the best, I'd think.
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Eric Etkin
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Moe45673 wrote:
Zeede wrote:
There are some that are buzzers. Are buzzers considered a "musical instrument"?

I applaud you for sticking to your religious beliefs!

What about a watch with a chronograph? A mechanical movement watch would not have any chimes, tones or bells in it, typically.

You'd have to keep an eye on it, but the accuracy would typically be a lot better than an average sand timer.

Cameron


Thanks!

I'm not sure about buzzers either. Definitely an iffy area. I have this impression they're ok and that would be great. A buzzed egg timer would be the best, I'd think.


What about radios? Are you allowed to listen to music if it's coming through a device? Or is merely the act of turning it on an issue? What about winding a clock?

Seems like a mechanical egg timer would be closer to turning on a radio or winding your watch, rather than playing a trumpet.
 
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Moe45673
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MOTHDevil wrote:


What about radios? Are you allowed to listen to music if it's coming through a device? Or is merely the act of turning it on an issue? What about winding a clock?

Seems like a mechanical egg timer would be closer to turning on a radio or winding your watch, rather than playing a trumpet.


Ok, this gets complicated and I can't explain every exception and loophole but generally:

You're allowed to listen to music.... heck, you can watch tv if you're in a room with the tv on. But it kills the spirit of the day to do so. Radios are electric/electronics and are forbidden to manipulate.

Winding a clock is an issue, though wearing an already wound self-winding watch is not. I'm unsure why. A lot of the stuff forbidden on Sabbath are due to the acts of creation that arises from it. Just like Hashem rested on the 7th day from creating, so are we supposed to (destroying things is also forbidden). Electricity is considered a type of fire and fire is created when it's used, and destroyed when finished. Winding a watch is turning a piece of jewellery into a useful device. In a meta sense, tools are forbidden as they're used to create things and are therefore useless on Sabbath.... useless things in this manner are forbidden to handle as well. So generally, you can use something already created but can't create new things.

There are exceptions, say if you create something temporary (this is how some jews work out that it's permissible to build Lego sets, though stricter ones won't do it either because it's forbidden or it's not keeping with the spirit of the day).

It sounds very solemn and intense but in actuality, it's a wonderful day. A day where I don't worry about work, the internet, my cellphone, the outside world because there's not a thing I can do about it. It's an amazing..... sabbatical from the "always plugged in" mindset of today's world.

Some folks get confused as Sabbath is a day of rest. "Wait, you can spend all day rearranging your furniture but you can't flip a lightswitch, and this is a day of rest? What folly religion is".

Anyhow, like I said, I need to do research into Egg Timers. I understand I may have raised a lot of questions on this topic but I'm not that knowledgeable and am not comfortable answering as I may give incorrect data.

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Cameron Chien
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Unplugging is definitely a good thing in today's age, although I fear we may be getting off-topic a bit too much!

G'luck with your search! My copy of Escape should be shipping tomorrow, so I'm excited

Cameron
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Todd Barker
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Zeede wrote:
Unplugging is definitely a good thing in today's age, although I fear we may be getting off-topic a bit too much!

G'luck with your search! My copy of Escape should be shipping tomorrow, so I'm excited

Cameron


I work on a computer screen all day, and I also play more than a healthy amount of online games so finally getting the chance to sit down and play some board games feels great. I used Escape to try and get some friends into gaming.

let me know what you think of Escape after you actually own a copy, I'm not sure if I am just burning out from playing a lot lately or if it loses some of its 'magic' when its actually on a shelf with the rest of your collection.

Cheers
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Dave Kudzma
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Welcome to BGG Todd. This is a MAGNIFICENT first contribution.
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I got to help teach this at BGG Con, and I can tell you that many hands were literally shaking with adrenaline from the game.

I bought a bunch of copies to give as presents for Christmas.
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Is there a place where I can get this at a good price? MM has it for 32 before shipping. Im thinking of holding off until Amazon has it in stock for the same price. But then again I want it to get here before Christmas so I can play with the family
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Cameron Chien
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Miniature Market has some of the best prices on the web.

Cameron
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Rick Teverbaugh
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martin8me wrote:
Is there a place where I can get this at a good price? MM has it for 32 before shipping. Im thinking of holding off until Amazon has it in stock for the same price. But then again I want it to get here before Christmas so I can play with the family


No. right now, depending on where you live, you can't get it at any price thanks to ACD's terrible reputation and policies.
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Dice Man
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the game comes with a sand timer
 
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