EXODUS is a multi-player game from the now, sadly defunct Australian games company 'Half Monster Games'. The box states 1-5 players, but we believe it to be better with just one player, two at the most. The game consists of over 130 large, glossy cards, which in the main are elegantly illustrated with visions of astronomical bodies - planets, open space etc.
Designed and (possibly illustrated) by Jack Ford Morgan, and created to be part of the Dark Frontier region of the Half-Monster Universe which is within the XENOHUNTERS Universe.
EXODUS is easily explained as a Choose Your Own Adventure in the same way a Fighting Fantasy™ game book is. You read the 'How To Play' card - there is no rules booklet, everything is done by card - and then set up the 2 decks as required. The Exodus deck is placed in the centre of the table with all cards in numerical order so that #1 'Gallery' is the first card you read. There are 121 cards in this deck. After reading the entry on the card #1 you get to choose to read one of the cards #2, #3 or #4.
From there on, you read the chosen card and select one of the options (there aren't always 3 choices) and you continue until you (your avatar) die, get stuck, or gain the success of finding your way home.
If you are playing with more than one player you can set off in different directions but as part of the same exploratory team. Or you can run more than one adventure at the same time. When a party splits (or several parties take off at the same time) it is quite possible that, because of their choices - which must be made secretly per group/party - no talking between parties although players in the same party can discuss options between them - separate groups may cross paths without planning it.
On occasion the card may tell you to draw an item. If this is the case then search the Inventory deck for the noted item. You may use this when/if necessary and similarly you may be instructed to discard it. To play the game and truly enjoy it you have to accept the actions you are told you 'must' take. Sometimes you might feel that you have got so far that your last choice ruined it.
You can backwind and pretend you never made that choice and then play on from there making different choices - the rule card says this is okay, but if you do you are only really cheating yourself. Start again and try to remember the good choices and not take the bad options.
As this is, in my opinion, best as a one player game, the fun and satisfaction come from understanding the options afforded you and working out, from the text on each and previous cards, what is your best option. For example (and this is off the top of my head and is not part of this game - as far as I have experienced to date); two or three cards back you are told that there is a disaster waiting to happen (a fire, avalanche etc) to the West. The card you are now on offers you the option of going East (go to page #X) or West (go to page #Y). Remembering that there is a possible disaster to the West you have the option of maybe going to see what's going on and hopefully helping out (or dying) or heading away (East) and worrying only about your own problems.
I found this online with a price of $25.00 - $35.00 with a $30.00 Walmart cost averaging out the retail price. In the UK I found it at £29.00 according to Tabletop Games magazine but without the name of a retail outlet. The cards are durable, visually beautiful and weigh (?) in at a size of 14½ cm x 8½ cm making them large enough for all necessary text and artwork to be clearly visible. The fairly small, 19½ cm x 16cm box, may give the impression that £29.00/$30.00 is expensive, but as my Mum always said "Good things come in little packages" (My Mum was about 5ft tall so she would know).
If you are careful with the way you handle your games, especially not lipping, licking, bending, continually holding etc your cards, then this is an ideal game to play several times - there are oodles of possibile solutions/ending - and then pass it on or even gift it to a friend. A super way to while away an hour if you are waiting for someone or something. A very entertaining exercise in thought.