Escape the Dark Castle is a simple, cooperative game of
Players take on the roles of prisoners, wrongfully incarcerated in the
depths of The Dark Castle. Whether it’s the Abbot, the Tailor or any of
the six playable characters, each prisoner is represented by a character
card and a custom character dice showing that prisoner’s unique
endowment of Might, Cunning and Wisdom – the game’s three traits.
Embarking on a desperate quest to escape, the players must work together
using custom dice and item cards to overcome the castle’s many horrors,
traps, and challenges - each of which is represented by a large,
illustrated chapter card. At the beginning of each game, 15 of these
chapter cards are drawn at random from a larger deck to create a unique
castle every time.
Gameplay involves one player revealing a new chapter card each turn, in
a motion like turning a page of a book. When a card is turned, the next
chamber or passageway into which the prisoners have stumbled is
revealed. There is no turn order. Instead, players decide as a group who
will turn the next chapter card, and there are often grisly consequences
for the one that does!
Once revealed, the chapter card will explain the situation facing the
group and what must be done to get through it. In the style of
choose-your-path adventures, most chapters offer the group a choice
about how to proceed. Bribe the drunken guards or attack them? Charge
the beast or lure it out? Steal from the kitchen stores or keep moving?
Each chapter is a mini-game and a variety of mechanics are required to
complete them, from RPG-style skill tests for an individual character,
to push-your-luck dice rolling as a team, to the playing of item cards
collected along the way to bolster the tactical abilities of the group.
When the players choose to enter (or fail to avoid) combat, all players
roll their unique character dice simultaneously to make an attack
against the enemy. They need to collectively muster the right
combination of Might, Cunning and Wisdom to defeat the foe in question,
or risk taking damage. Blocking, Resting, and the use of Weapons, Relics
and Potions will help to keep the prisoners alive.
The goal of the game is for the group to complete every chapter in the
castle deck, then defeat the final boss. To win, they must keep every
member of the team alive - if any player is killed the game ends