Escape: The Curse of the Temple

Escape: The Curse of the Temple – A Guide to Rules, Strategy & Instructions


Escape: The Curse of the Temple is a cooperative tile-based game where players work together to flee an ancient, cursed temple. The game is unique because it’s played in real-time, using a soundtrack to mark the passage of time. Each game lasts exactly ten minutes, so you’ve got to be quick! The game was designed by Kristian Amundsen Østby and first hit the shelves in 2012. It became popular for its fast-paced action and the cooperative aspect, which (in my experience) makes it a great game for friends and family.

In the game, players are explorers who have stumbled upon a cursed temple. To escape, they must find and unlock the exit with magic gems before the temple collapses. Players roll dice to explore the temple, discover gems, and overcome obstacles. The catch is that the game is timed, and players must return to the starting chamber periodically to avoid being trapped by a curse. It’s a race against time with a lot of dice rolling and running around.

Quick Tip for Escape: The Curse of the Temple

Always keep an eye on the clock and listen for the soundtrack cues. Timing is everything in this game!

Rules for playing Escape: The Curse of the Temple

The rules of Escape: The Curse of the Temple are straightforward but require attention to detail. Each player has a set of five dice, which they roll to perform actions like moving, discovering new rooms, and collecting gems. The symbols on the dice determine what actions you can take. If you roll a black mask, that die is locked and can’t be used until you roll a golden mask to unlock it or another player comes to your rescue.

The game is divided into three rounds, each ending with a gong sound from the soundtrack, signaling players to return to the starting chamber. If you don’t make it back in time, you lose one of your dice for the next round. After the third round, players must reach the exit with enough gems collected to unlock it. If all players escape, everyone wins. If even one player is left behind, everyone loses.

There are special chambers that can help or hinder your progress, like the chamber that lets you unlock black-masked dice or the one that requires more players to enter. The game also includes curse cards that make your escape more challenging.

Equipment and Setup for Escape: The Curse of the Temple

To play Escape: The Curse of the Temple, you need the game box, which includes a set of dice for each player, a deck of cards for the temple rooms, a set of magic gem tokens, a CD or digital soundtrack for the timing, and your adventurer pawns. You can also make your own soundtrack with a timer if you don’t have the CD or digital file.

The setup is simple. Place the starting chamber tile in the middle of the table, shuffle the room cards, and create a face-down draw pile. Place a certain number of magic gems in the gem depot, depending on the number of players. Each player gets a set of dice and an adventurer pawn, which starts in the starting chamber.

The types of tiles include the starting chamber, the crystal chambers where you can find gems, and various other chambers with different symbols that affect gameplay. Some tiles have challenges that require a specific combination of dice to enter or activate.

How to Play Escape: The Curse of the Temple and Game Mechanics

  1. Key Game Mechanics: Players roll dice simultaneously to move, explore, and collect gems. They must manage their dice and help each other to overcome curses and locked dice.
  2. Setup: Place the starting chamber, shuffle and place room cards, distribute gems, and give each player their dice and pawn.
  3. Gameplay: Roll dice to perform actions, explore new chambers, and collect gems. Listen to the soundtrack for timing cues.
  4. End of the Game: After the third gong, players must reach the exit with enough gems to escape before the final door slam on the soundtrack.

During gameplay, players can take several actions:

  • Move to an adjacent room by rolling a man symbol.
  • Discover a new room by rolling a torch symbol.
  • Collect gems by rolling key symbols in crystal chambers.
  • Help other players by rolling golden masks to unlock their black-masked dice.

How to Win at Escape: The Curse of the Temple

Winning at Escape: The Curse of the Temple requires teamwork, quick thinking, and efficient use of dice. Beginners should focus on learning the symbols and helping each other. Intermediate players can start strategizing on gem collection and exploring efficiently. Advanced players will optimize their dice rolls, communicate effectively, and make split-second decisions to ensure everyone escapes in time.

Remember to balance the need to explore with the need to return to the starting chamber when the gong sounds. Don’t get too far away, or you might not make it back in time. Also, keep an eye on the number of gems needed to escape and work together to collect them as quickly as possible.

Best Strategies for playing Escape: The Curse of the Temple game

To win at Escape: The Curse of the Temple, you need to have a good strategy. Here are some tips:

  • Communicate with your teammates about where you’re going and what you’re doing.
  • Don’t hoard dice. If you see someone struggling, go help them.
  • Plan your moves. Don’t just wander around. Have a goal in mind.
  • Keep track of time. Don’t get caught out when the gong sounds.
  • Spread out to cover more ground, but not so much that you can’t help each other.

Sneaky tactics might include waiting in a chamber near the starting room before the gong sounds so you can quickly return, or focusing on unlocking cursed dice for teammates so they can keep exploring without interruption.


Good scenarios include finding a room with a lot of gems or successfully helping a teammate in need. Bad scenarios might be getting stuck with locked dice far from others or missing the gong and losing a die. To turn these around, always be ready to change your plan and adapt to the situation. If you’re stuck, call for help. If someone else is in trouble, go assist them.

Frequently Asked Questions about playing Escape: The Curse of the Temple game

Q: What happens if I roll all black masks?
A: You’re stuck until another player comes to your room and rolls a golden mask to help you.

Q: Can I keep rolling if I don’t get the symbols I need?
A: Yes, you can keep rolling your dice as long as they’re not locked by a black mask.

Q: How many gems do we need to escape?
A: It depends on the number of players. Check the rulebook for the exact number.

Q: What if we don’t escape before the soundtrack ends?
A: Unfortunately, that means everyone loses. The temple collapses with you inside!

Q: Can we play without the soundtrack?
A: Yes, you can use a timer set to ten minutes, but the soundtrack adds to the atmosphere and provides clear audio cues.

Additional Tips

Here are some extra tips to keep in mind:

  • Practice makes perfect. The more you play, the better you’ll get at managing your time and dice.
  • Don’t forget about the curse cards. They can really change the game, so be prepared to deal with them.
  • Some rooms have special abilities. Use them to your advantage.

For more information on Escape: The Curse of the Temple, check out the official rulebook and other resources:

Review of Escape: The Curse of the Temple [Video]