Design: Thomas Pike, Alex Crispin & James Shelton. Art & Graphic Design: Alex Crispin
Despite what page #5 of the book says. this is an EXPANSION and not a stand-alone game. You require Escape the Dark Castle core box set to be able to play it. You can play using just the components in this box but you still need the base rules or a good knowledge of them, so having the original boxed set (or access to it) is still really a requirement. As long as you have the basic rules (book or in your head) there is a five step alternative here in this expansion booklet that side-steps the first step in the main rulesbook.
CULT of the DEATH KNIGHT is a real B*****D to complete. Three times it took us, getting to the final card each time except for being too weak to take on the DEATH KNIGHT.
This 'end of level' Boss hass a good chance of an added advantage against the heroes. A Chapter Die is rolled at the beginning of each Round and for the remainder of the Round the Death Knight is invincible to attacks of the type shown on the rolled Chapter Die. This means you need to have a well balanced party of heroes.
CULT of the DEATH KNIGHT introduces three new characters, the Mason, Hunter and Bishop, a special 'Cult' die and a small deck of nasty, character affecting CURSE cards.
The characters are illustrated in a similar way to those in the original box, a weird but compelling combination of amateur drawings mixed with professional doodling - the type of strange art folk like Larry Elmore and Brom would 'scribble' in your game book along with their signature when you saw them at GenCon Uk etc. Being Black & White the shadowy parts stand out eerily and the characters look stark, mean and definitely suspicious, and these are the good guys!
ESCAPE the DARK CASTLE is one of the better 'escape room' genre of games currently flooding the market. It is more action packed than the majority of them though not as filled with puzzles and word/picture games as, say Deckscape© (a series of card games from DVGiochi), in fact ESCAPE the DARK CASTLE is a near perfect opposite of Deckscape even though they belong in the same game genre.
If you want to expand your base game rather than play just against the Death Knight and his minions then mix the cards together, you might want to ensure the Death Knight is the Boss card first time of amalgamation and then for games thereafter just include it as one of the Boss cards to be shuffled and randomly selected so that the players never know who they will have to defeat to survive and get out.
ESCAPE the DARK CASTLE also has elements of the Fighting Fantasy© style of book with some of the cards having options and others having directions. It plays well solo or with 2, 3 or 4 players. You could add more players through the expansions but that would make it too easy to get through as most of the combat and puzzle solving depends on having the required number of icons of the correct type. It's really good as a 2-player game and even flying solo it is satisfying, though personally I prefer my solo games to be against the computer.
The base game is in stores and online around £30.00 (should be a little under that) and this expansion is £15.00 - £19.00. Both are very good value as each game is replayable due to the randomness of cards encountered.
Expansion Two: Scourge of the Undead Queen