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Featured Game: Escape the Dark Castle

Many years ago you were locked inside the dark castle, wrongfully imprisoned. But tonight is the night, you have two choices: escape, or die trying.

Escape the Dark Castle is a co-operative adventure game for 1-4 players. Take on the role of one of the prisoners and work together to escape, fighting monsters and encountering challenges on the way. The aim of the game is simple, just stay alive until the end, and that will be enough.

Why we love it

The chapter pages you'll play through

With a lovely retro inspired look and feel to it, Escape the Dark Castle takes its influence from a mix of tabletop rpgs and choose own adventure books, then adapts and combines both of these into a board game. Highly atmospheric with an engaging storyline, Escape the Dark Castle challenges players to work through chapters together. If you’re lucky, you’ll find cool items to use or equip. If you’re unlucky, well, then you’re not getting out of there alive.

This one is a great, spooky game that feels almost closer to a co-operative experience than a game. You’ll find yourself sucked into the story, as your character begins to develop in your mind, you’ll realise that you really do care about that abbot, or cook or tailor. The text on the cards makes up only part of the story, the rest is what you tell between yourselves, in whispers, by candlelight (actually don’t do that, you’ll strain your eyes trying to read the cards.)

As you try to make sensible decisions between you, you’ll wonder through chapters where you can’t help but come face to face with horrendous monsters. Here’s where the game’s simple combat system comes into play, giving you a tense battle as you hope for the best luck possible. Or, sit in horror as your health dwindles slowly down to zero.

Who’s it best for

Some of the characters you might become

Play with 1-4 players, with more players there’s chance for more storytelling around the table, which is really what makes this game shine. However, it’s still a lot of fun with just two players.

Escape the Dark Castle is easy to learn, almost everything you need to know is on the cards. The only slightly more complicated rules are around combat, but even that’s easy to learn, it’s a dice based system that can be picked up quickly. Also, as you’re working together, it’s a nice one to introduce to less experienced gamers without putting them at a disadvantage. This is a horror themed game, and whilst there are some scary images within it, there’s nothing very graphic. If you want to try playing with younger children we’d recommend just having a flip through the cards first and removing any you feel might be too much for them.

Loved it? Now try…

  • Escape the Dark Sector, the sequel to Escape the Dark Castle, it’s similar, but with slightly more rules and interesting mechanics. Also, it’s in space.

  • Forbidden Island, work together to steal treasures and escape the island before it sinks

  • Horrified, a little bit more complicated, this one pitches players against Universal Studios monsters

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