Saturday, November 24, 2018

15) Escape: Curse of the Temple

Welcome to Dice Spotlight! I’m your Gamemaster, Jonathan, here at Connexxions Cafe. This blog highlights different games that we have at the Cafe that you may want to check out. Maybe you’ll discover a new favourite!

As I said in the last blog, I'm revealing what my favourite game is in the cafe! 
"Hmm, Escape: Curse of the Temple", you say. "Where is that?" 
I point to the giant light green box and grin. 
"Looks complicated." You reach down toward Monopoly. OH THERE'S POKEMON MONO--
"WAIT WAIT WAIT, didn't your mother tell you to not judge a board game by its box? No? is awkward...uhhhh..."
You grab Monopoly.
"WAIT, sorry, sorry, let me start over. Yes, Escape may be in a big box, heh it's even written on there" (I quietly giggle to myself). "AHEM, it really just has a lot of extra expansion modules and air. The base game is quite easy to understand and learn! You know what, let me tell you just a little bit about this game and if it doesn't sound cool enough to you, I won't stop you from picking something else. Deal?"
In Escape, you are working together with your fellow adventurers to break the curse that is sealing you in a collapsing temple and get out before you are crushed to death. Through rolling dice, you will discover new chambers to find that exit and also activate gems to make the escape easier. And when I say "rolling dice", I mean it. That's the majority of the game. Why is that fun? Well because you're doing it as quickly as you possibly can. Your adventurer's life is run by a ticking clock, in the form of a CD soundtrack. When you hear the exit slamming shut, you've run out of time and are trapped in the ruined temple, buried under the remains. So you'd better start chucking those dice because there are no turns in Escape and you only have 10 minutes! Oh, and don't stray too far from the starting chamber; twice during the game, a countdown will sound and you have to run back to the start (which means rolling certain symbols on your dice for each chamber you need to enter). If you don't make it, you lose 1 of your precious 5 dice for the rest of the game.

Do you think you can make it? Give it a shot!
This doesn't happen in the game, 
but hey I thought it'd be a cool photo

To me, the idea of a board game with a time limit immediately gave me a sense of excitement that I hadn't really had before playing other tabletop games. You're forced to make quick decisions and react on the fly. And you feel like you're actually risking your life when you rush back to save a friend who's dice are locked out. See, on the dice, there's a golden mask and a black mask face. Black ones have to be set aside when rolled and can only be freed by gold (1 gold=2 black). An adventurer in the same room as you can use a gold mask from their dice pool to recover black masks for you. It's happened that someone is just barely trapped outside the starting chamber and you run back to save them. It's super tense and it fosters that panicked excitement where you literally jump out of your chair and are screaming at those dice to PLEASE WORK FOR ME JUST THIS ONCE!
Treasures (top) & Curses (bottom)

Once you've played the base game a few times, it's time to add some expansions. They really do help in keeping the game fresh and add way more fun too! I'll just talk about the first two that you'll usually play with together, Curses and Treasures. When someone discovers a chamber with a large purple mask, they have to grab a curse token that hinders them in some way. You might be stuck in that room or can't speak until you break it. Or my personal favourite, it forces you to play the game with one hand on your forehead at all times!

Treasures as you can guess, help you in some way. It could let you teleport to a friend, activate a gem for free, or unlock black masks for everybody. They'll be scattered around the temple for lucky adventurers to find.

I know Escape: Curse of the Temple isn't for everybody, but it really is unique and I think most people should experience a "real-time game" to see what it's like. I found out it was my favourite genre and have gone on to buy Space Alert and Space Cadets for my personal collection. I thrive on that stressful environment, which certainly helps when I have to make the decisions when leading newer players through the temple!

Well, there you have it, my top pick in the cafe. Stop by and venture into the temple at 12644 137 Ave, Edmonton. We have tons of games for you to try and I'm there every weekend to help people discover the magic of board games. Adios!

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