When comparing Escape: The Curse of the Temple vs Space Alert, the Slant community recommends Space Alert for most people. In the question“What are the best co-op board games?” Space Alert is ranked 3rd while Escape: The Curse of the Temple is ranked 13th. The most important reason people chose Space Alert is:
The combination of several CD tracks along with variant card combos and action options ensures that no two games will be the same, making the game widely replayable. If you run out of the official CD tracks, then you can also download the [Space Alert Mission Generator](https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.boarbeard&hl=en_US) to get some random scenarios, or you can browse the internet for custom missions.
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Since Escape: The Curse of the Temple is played in real-time and the players are taking actions simultaneously, there’s never a dull moment. You’re constantly doing something - rolling dice, moving, placing gems, talking with your teammates, trying to rescue each other, etc.
The game is played while listening to a 10-minute soundtrack that includes atmospheric sound effects for extra immersion. Every three minutes a gong sound plays, which means you have to run for the starting chamber. If you don’t reach it before a door-shutting sound plays, you lose one die for the rest of the game, so this always leads to some gripping moments where players are frantically rolling and re-rolling dice.
Not only does Escape have three purchasable expansions - Illusions, Quests, and Traps, but there are also two expansion modules in the base edition - Treasures and Curses. These expansions make the game more challenging and add to the replayability of it.
If you’re playing with the treasures, then some rooms have treasure in them that you can claim by rolling the correct symbols. For example, a treasure can be a key that lets you teleport to any tile, or a door tile that lets you connect chambers that don’t have direct connections.
If you’re using the curse module, then you must draw a curse card when you enter a chamber with a purple mask. A curse can, for example, make you play the game with one hand on your head, or permit you to speak until you break the curse by rolling the right symbols.
Pro Adjustable difficulty
There are some ways to make the game a little easier or harder, which is great for adjusting Escape for the group you’re playing with. You can add or remove gems - they determine how easy it is to escape the temple from the final chamber, the bigger the gem pool, the more difficult it is.
The content in both the purchasable expansions and the included expansion modules can also be used to make the game more challenging. They add more elements to the game - things you can find in chambers, things you must do, etc. For example, the “Curses” module can lead to you finding a curse that makes you play the game with one hand on your head until you manage to cancel the curse.
Pro Short playtime
Escape is played while listening to a 10-minute soundtrack that marks the beginning and the end of the game. Due to this it’s easy to grab and quickly play through because you can know for sure that it won’t drag on for too long.
Pro Lots of engaging cooperation
The game has a lot of fun, social, and cooperative interactions between players. It can only be won if all players manage to escape, which encourages you to work together and help your fellow adventurers.
The biggest cooperative aspect of Escape is saving “locked out” players. A player can get locked out of actions if they have rolled five black masks. A black mask makes you set the die aside until someone on your tile rolls a golden mask to counteract two black ones. Basically you will be racing against the clock, exploring, and placing gems until someone next to you locks themselves out, which then forces you to go save them.
Pro Not complex
The rules of Escape: The Curse of the Temple are very straightforward - the whole game consists of rolling dice to perform actions, making the game very easy and accessible to people of all ages and gaming backgrounds.
The game takes place in real time, players receive five dice and play while listening to a 10-minute soundtrack. They simultaneously roll dice to move, explore, activate gems, and assist other players. Each action requires rolling specific symbols. You keep exploring tiles until you discover the exit chamber, which requires you to roll a specific amount of keys to exit. The amount of keys required can be reduced by placing gems in “chamber” tiles.
If a player rolls a black mask, then he must set that die aside until he rolls a golden mask that can counteract two black masks. If a player gets in a situation where they have rolled five black masks, then they are “locked out” and must wait for another player to come around to their tile and roll a golden mask to unlock their dice.
Pro Each game is unique
The combination of several CD tracks along with variant card combos and action options ensures that no two games will be the same, making the game widely replayable. If you run out of the official CD tracks, then you can also download the Space Alert Mission Generator to get some random scenarios, or you can browse the internet for custom missions.
Space Alert is a cooperative based game, something that is not always the case for board games and can be a refreshing change.
Pro Varying difficulty
Various options can be selected to alter the difficulty level of the game, such as the power of internal and external common threats and serious threats. This makes, for example, the monsters you encounter much stronger, adding a whole new level of required teamwork.
Pro Strong theme
Space Alert has a sci-fi theme to it, and the game executes it perfectly. From the aesthetic look of the game to the actions you take, there’s plenty of science fiction – aliens, spaceships, robots, etc. The soundtrack playing in the background during the planning phase also adds a lot to the immersion. For those that are into more of a science fiction game, Space Alert could easily fit that bill.
Pro Good humor
While slightly morbid, the humor contained in the game and gameplay is quite amusing. The resolution phase is also full of humorous moments as the players watch their actions unfold or fall apart. For example, the tutorial book states that the captain must remember to do the “C” action that represents pressing the spacebar on the ship’s computer to keep the lights on.
Pro 1 - 5 players
Can be played as a single player game, or with up to 4 friends, dividing roles accordingly. If you don’t have a full group of 5 players, then the missing characters are androids, which can be controlled by any player.
Pro Simple rules
The very basics of the game are quite simple. Every player has a role assigned to them – the captain, the communications officer, and the security officer. The players take 12 turns in 10 minutes pre-planning actions while listening to a soundtrack that explains all incoming threats. The action phase is divided into three further parts, each of which has a separate deck of action cards. The soundtrack calls out the threats, the endings of phases, data transfers, and communication disruptions, and you must act accordingly.
After the 10-minute soundtrack is over, all the actions the players planned and coordinated are resolved. If the ship is still alive after that, then the game is won.
Pro Fast gameplay
The game takes around 30 minutes to play through, 10 minutes of which is the intense planning phase with the soundtrack blasting in the background.
Pro No analysis paralysis
Turn speed is dictated by the CD, avoiding some players procrastinating on their turns / keeping the gameplay flowing.
Pro Ranked highly on board game geek
With an average score of 7.5 out of 10 and a rank of 155, Space Alert is a positively reviewed board game.
Pro No alpha-gamer issue
Space Alert effectively evades the popular quarterbacking issue of cooperative board games. There’s simply no way to communicate enough useful information to other players in the 10-minute timeframe, so nobody can control absolutely everything. Everyone must efficiently work together and say what they’ll be doing to take care of the looming threats.
Pro Good components
The components of the game should hold up to multiple plays and regular wear and tear. There are a lot of good quality wooden tokens, and the cards are made of durable cardstock. The gameboard and the tracking boards are also quite thick and should endure well.
The whole game is based around rolling dice, so, obviously, you can simply get unlucky with your rolls and create complicated and annoying situations where your teammates have to come and save you by rolling golden masks.
Con Audio can be misheard
It can sometimes be difficult to discern audio while listening to the soundtrack, which can lead to players missing a gong sound and losing dice because of it. This is because there is a lot of ambient noise that blends in well and players are engaged and focused on the gameplay instead of the audio.
Con Requires something to play audio from
While Escape does come with an hourglass, it loses a lot of its charm and suspense when played this way. The game is supposed to be played with a 10-minute audio track in the background, so you need something to play it from - a CD player, a computer, or a mobile app.
Escape is not cheap, and the price can be quite steep for a 10-minute game. The price of the base game starts at $40 and only goes up from there. The expansions cost around $25 each.
Con Not very deep
Escape: The Curse of the Temple doesn’t really have a lot of strategic depth, so it might not appeal to more experienced gamers. You’re mostly going to be making decisions on the spot, and you usually only have two or three actions to choose from after a dice roll - keep exploring, place gems, or go help a teammate. The expansions help alleviate this issue a little bit by introducing more concepts - treasures, curses, other objectives to work towards, etc.
Con Steep learning curve
Space Alert is not very beginner friendly, and if you don’t properly understand how the game works when you start it up, then you’ll have visible difficulty keeping up with what’s happening in the frantic 10-minute action phase. You’ll also be dragging down the other players because there really isn’t enough time to explain rules when the game is already in progress.
It’s worth reserving an hour to play through the well-designed tutorial book that slowly introduces the complex aspects, so you’ll be ready for the real deal.
Con Requires CD player with speakers
Space Alert is only playable with the included audio CD or downloadable MP3's, without them the game is impossible to play.
Every action you take highly impacts what happens to the rest of the crew, and one tiny misstep can make the whole plan fall apart, which can be frustrating to some. Teamwork and good communication is completely necessary to win.
Con A lot of setup
Space Alert has a lot of pieces to sort through, cards and decks to shuffle and place on the gameboard. It’s not so bad if you decide to play more than one game, but the actual games are very quick in comparison to the amount of setup/takedown time.
Con Can’t be stopped once in progress
Once you press “play” on the 10-minute soundtrack, there’s no interrupting it – no pauses, no rewinds, etc. It’s important to stay focused, not engage in casual banter, and make sure there are no distractions in the background, which can be difficult to manage sometimes.