By: James Freeman
What is it about Edgar Allen Poe? Despite leaving this world more than 150 years ago, his stories stand the test of time and haunt us to this day. He's inspired and influenced Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells and many others. his likeness in comic books, albums, films, television dramas and even computer games, and yes board games.
You are all nobles at a magnificent masquerade ball, trying to gain popularity and improve your social standing. However, something is amiss. Rumors swirl and, with each chiming of the ebony clock in the abbey, hearts filled with dread and despair. It becomes increasingly clear that, as midnight approaches, something evil awaits.
Based on Edgar Allen Poe's story, Masque of the Red Death pits you and up to six of your friends against each other as you hobnob with the Prince. But disaster strikes at midnight. You must balance your actions carefully between currying the Prince's favor and be discovering which rooms the Red Death will visit. After all, having the highest social standing matters only if you survive...
During the game, you will spend the evening going from room to room gaining popularity, but don’t neglect the latest gossip and rumors you all bring throughout the ball. Before midnight strikes, each noble must plan out six movements to make after midnight. When midnight strikes, the Red Death will appear and move from room to room. You cannot be in a room that the Red Death visits or your game comes to an abrupt end. Between some of the Red Death’s movements, the nobles will move as well, trying to avoid the Red Death’s next destination. If you manage to survive the Red Death, you will win if you have more popularity than any other surviving noble.
This has nothing to do with the game per say, but i like the fact that the put Poe's Masque of the red death story in the rulebook. I think it was a nice touch and tribute.
The game scales well from 4-7 in my opinion, but optimal play os 6-7 for me. The component are very well done. Some people online have had some issues with the clock; I think it's more for appearance and looks great by the board.
You have to find the balance in strategy... well I mean I guess you don't "have to." You could quickly try to rack up a bunch of points in your social status, and probably die. You need to have enough information, so you know when the red death will be in certain rooms. In this regard, it has some push your luck element to it if you consider dying pushing your luck.
Does some deductive smoozing while trying not to die sound like a game that's up your alley? It was for me. The backdrop of Poe fits so well into this game, and was enjoyed by all players within my group. Now grant it, we embelshed in our character roles (Like we do when we play gloom) so feel free to ham it up a bit to enhance your game.
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