Escape the Dark Castle is a simple, cooperative game of retro-atmospheric adventure.
Players take on the roles of prisoners, wrongfully incarcerated in the depths of The Dark Castle. Whether it’s the Abbot, the Tailor or any of the six playable characters, each prisoner is represented by a character card and a custom character dice showing that prisoner’s unique endowment of Might, Cunning and Wisdom – the game’s three traits.
Embarking on a desperate quest to escape, the players must work together using custom dice and item cards to overcome the castle’s many horrors, traps, and challenges - each of which is represented by a large, illustrated chapter card. At the beginning of each game, 15 of these chapter cards are drawn at random from a larger deck to create a unique castle every time.
Gameplay involves one player revealing a new chapter card each turn, in a motion like turning a page of a book. When a card is turned, the next chamber or passageway into which the prisoners have stumbled is revealed. There is no turn order. Instead, players decide as a group who will turn the next chapter card, and there are often grisly consequences for the one that does!
Once revealed, the chapter card will explain the situation facing the group and what must be done to get through it. In the style of choose-your-path adventures, most chapters offer the group a choice about how to proceed. Bribe the drunken guards or attack them? Charge the beast or lure it out? Steal from the kitchen stores or keep moving?
Each chapter is a mini-game and a variety of mechanics are required to complete them, from RPG-style skill tests for an individual character, to push-your-luck dice rolling as a team, to the playing of item cards collected along the way to bolster the tactical abilities of the group.
When the players choose to enter (or fail to avoid) combat, all players roll their unique character dice simultaneously to make an attack against the enemy. They need to collectively muster the right combination of Might, Cunning and Wisdom to defeat the foe in question, or risk taking damage. Blocking, Resting, and the use of Weapons, Relics and Potions will help to keep the prisoners alive.
The goal of the game is for the group to complete every chapter in the castle deck, then defeat the final boss. To win, they must keep every member of the team alive - if any player is killed the game ends immediately.
1-4 PLAYERS | 20-45 MINS | AGES 14+
PLEASE NOTE: ROYAL MAIL ARE EXPERIENCING DELAYS IN SOME AREAS, PLEASE ALLOW EXTRA TIME FOR DELIVERIES TO ARRIVE.
All online orders are picked from our separate warehouse. We always ensure that your games are well packed before leaving. Wherever possible we'll re-use a cardboard box that we received games in from one of our suppliers. We figure it's better that way for our planet. But we do also use new boxes and wraps. If you have a strong preference either way please let us know in your Order Comments.
Our warehouse operates Monday to Friday, except bank holidays. Orders placed on a working day before 1:30pm will be packed and despatched that same day. All order are sent tracked via the Royal Mail. You will be able to follow your order from our warehouse to your delivery destination once your order has been fulfilled.
Postage is worked out by spend and delivery type. These options are listed below. There is also the option to collect your online order at our café, no delivery charge is made.
Important note on shipping times: none of the below shipping times are guaranteed. From time to time unforeseen problems that are outside of our control can lead to postal delays. We do not accept responsibility for this these and will not refund shipping fees in these circumstance. If it is imperative that your order must reach reach you the next working day please contact us so that we can quote for a guaranteed next day postal service.
FREE SHIPPING: ROYAL MAIL TRACKED 48 - UNITED KINGDOM
Spend over £50 and automatically receive free Royal Mail Tracked 48 UK shipping. You will have the option to upgrade your shipping method should you need a speedier service.
EXPRESS SHIPPING: ROYAL MAIL TRACKED 24 - UNITED KINGDOM
This is a tracked service so you can check your delivery is on the way. Your order should arrive within 1-2 working days from day of despatch. Deliveries are made on Saturdays. You will be sent an email or SMS message to confirm delivery. We charge a flat-rate of £5 for Tracked 24 orders, meaning you can order multiple items with no increase in shipping costs.
STANDARD SHIPPING: ROYAL MAIL TRACKED 48 - UNITED KINGDOM
This is a tracked service so you can check your delivery is on the way. Your order should arrive 2-3 working days from day of despatch. Deliveries are made on Saturdays. You will be sent an email or SMS message to confirm delivery. We charge a flat-rate of £4.00 for Tracked 48 orders, meaning you can order multiple items with no increase in shipping costs.
COLLECT AT THE CAFÉ (SUSPENDED DURING LOCKDOWN 2.0)
At check-out you will to have the option to collect your order from our cafés in either Oxford or Bath and avoid the shipping charge. We will notify you by email as soon as your order is ready to collect. Allow up to 3 days for Oxford collection orders and 7 days for Bath collection orders. Orders will be held for a maximum of 21 days before being returned to our warehouse.
- All delivery costs are present at the 'My Basket' screen once the shipping destination is chosen, before any money is taken.
- Please note working day delivery does not include Sunday, Bank Holidays, Public Holidays and substitute days (see the GOV UK website for clarification).
- If you request that the package is left in a safe place, this will only be done at the discretion of the delivery driver.
- Can't be home for delivery? Don't worry - Thirsty Meeples can ship to any UK address so you can have your order delivered to your place of work, to a friend, a relative or neighbour. Simply enter your preferred delivery address when checking out.