Hello and welcome to another Mile High Reviews. Today we will be looking at a new game from Queen Games, called Escape from the Temple Curse.
This is a cooperative dice rolling game that has a mechanic that is not seen a lot in games. That is the idea of a timed game. This game uses either a soundtrack that comes on a CD or you can get online or a sand timer. You have 10 minutes to play this game, so you are literally racing against the clock to complete your tasks. This game was originally on Kickstarter, but is now available for normal purchase. We will get to what I think later, but now we can talk about what in the box and how to play.
Within the box you get 19 tiles that you will use for the base game.
These tiles represent the different rooms that you will be searching through to find the exit and other tasks that you have to find inside the temple. You get 25 plastic gems that you use to show how of the temple you've explored. You also get 25 custom dice that players will use to try and move and use for tasks.
You get 5 different colored meeples to represent which tile you are on. Also included in the box is the first 2 expansion modules. This has an additional 13 tiles, 14 cards and 13 small tiles used to indicate what treasures you get. You get a CD that has instructions in several languages and 2 different 10 minute sound tracks. You can also download or stream these from the games website. Lastly, there is a sand timer so that you can play this game without needing sound. All of these components are of a high quality. The tiles feel thick enough without being too thick as to be unwieldy. The dice are well made and the symbols on them are clear and easy to see. The graphic design of the tiles is good and easy to understand. This is important as you need to be playing fast.
Players all start out with their meeples on the starting space. Two tiles are drawn at random and placed to the right and left of the starting tile. Then the exit tile is randomly placed in the last 5 tiles in the stack. Players will start rolling dice when the CD tell you to start. Each of the dice has 5 symbols on them.
Each of these are used for different things. The important ones are the black mask and the golden mask. Players get to keep rerolling their dice to do different tasks, but if you roll a black mask that die is locked and cannot be used again. To help this if you roll a golden mask you can unlock up to 2 black masks from you or another player on the same tile as you. To move to a new tile you have to roll the two symbols that are on it.
If you want to place a new tile you have to roll 2 adventures; you then draw a tile from the stack and place it at a door from the room you are in. Certain tiles will have tasks that players most complete, rolling a certain number of a symbol, to remove gems and place them on the board. Some of these require more then one player to do. (Escape 6). Once the players find the exit, they have to roll a number of keys equal to the number of gems left, plus 1 to escape. At the start you have between 7-16 gems, depending on the number of players. So as you can see you have to remove several before you even have a hope of escaping. Once a player does escape, they can give a single die to a player still in the temple. If all the players are able to escape they all win, if not, then no one wins. To make matters harder, after 3 minutes a gong sounds and then players have 30 seconds to return to the starting tile or lose a die. After they get back there they can keep exploring but have to be careful as it will happen again 3 minutes later.
The included expansions don't change the game too much, but do make the game harder. You replace the standard tiles with ones that have curses and treasures on them. The first time a player enters a tile that has a curse they have to draw a curse card. These can be anything from you losing a die to having to keep one hand on your forehead while playing. These are a fun inclusion that makes the game harder and players have to think more about how they will get around the temple.
As you can tell from the explanation this game does not have a lot of strategy. It is a frantic and has a lot of luck as you are rolling dice. You do not have time to think, you just have to act. Because of this fact, I am sure there will be more hard core gamers who will dislike this game. But if you are up for a quick fun frantic game, I would recommend this one. I am not sure how long this game can hold up for as there is not that much variety. Expansions might help this. But as it is the game is fun and I would recommend people check it out.
The included expansions don't change the game too much, but do make the game harder. You replace the standard tiles with ones that have curses and treasures on them.
For us, the difference between the standard tiles and the cursed/treasure tiles is significant. More interaction, more decisions, and more laugh out loud moments. We only play the standard tile set with first timers.
Very nice review!
I would estimate that I have played 'Escape: the Curse of the Temple' more than 50 times, with lots of solo play too - and I STILL haven't used any Curse and Treasure Expansion!!
I simply find that I get so much variation just from playing with different people, and with different numbers of players, that I haven't felt the need to add the extra diversity yet.
However, I hope to do so soon, not because I feel that the game needs it at all, but merely to see how the gameplay changes!!
Such a clever, simple game... I love it!