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Three new expansions for Escape the Dark Castle, and a second chance to get the original game.
Three new expansions for Escape the Dark Castle, and a second chance to get the original game.
Three new expansions for Escape the Dark Castle, and a second chance to get the original game.
4,861 backers pledged £375,960 to help bring this project to life.

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Escape the Dark Castle: The Legend Grows...

£375,960

4,861

Welcome to Themeborne’s second Kickstarter campaign: The Legend Grows...

Whether you're a returning backer or just discovering Escape the Dark Castle for the first time - this new campaign is for you. 

If you already own a copy of the game you can skip ahead to the What's New? section, and don't forget to check the add-ons too.

Newcomers, a warm welcome to the community of Escape the Dark Castle players. Allow us to run you through the story so far...

Escape the Dark Castle is a simple, fantasy adventure game with a focus on atmosphere, storytelling and player cooperation – perfect for newcomers to tabletop gaming. It takes 2 minutes to set up, lasts around 30 minutes, and no two games are ever the same.      

Players take the roles of prisoners on a quest to Escape the Dark Castle, and must work together to overcome its many horrors, traps, and challenges - each of which is represented by a large, beautifully illustrated chapter card. 

As these immersive chapter cards are revealed one by one, the game takes on the form of a shared storybook experience, with the players making decisions about what to do each chapter before using a combination of dice and item cards to complete challenges. 

The goal of the game is to complete every chapter in the castle deck, then defeat the final boss. To win, you must keep every member of the team alive - if any player is killed the game ends immediately!

After our first campaign in 2017, we released Escape the Dark Castle along with the first expansion, Adventure Pack 1: Cult of the Death Knight. Now we're back with a selection of new expansions and add-ons to further expand and deepen your adventures. 

This game has simple rules so it’s easy to learn. You’ll be able to get started within 5 minutes. Click here for a quick overview, and you can read the full rules here. You can also watch one of the many gameplay videos in our Reviews section below. 

 READ:

                      
                      

WATCH:

Beasts of War (full playthrough)
Beasts of War (full playthrough)
Paul Darcy (6 short play episodes)
Paul Darcy (6 short play episodes)
For Chits & Giggles (full play & review)
For Chits & Giggles (full play & review)
Unfiltered Gamer (review)
Unfiltered Gamer (review)
User Gameplay (contains strong language)
User Gameplay (contains strong language)
  
Beyond Solitaire (how to play solo)
Beyond Solitaire (how to play solo)
Bestplay (review)
Bestplay (review)
        

LISTEN: 

 
  

So far, the Escape the Dark Castle range includes the following (and both are available as add-ons when you back this campaign):

  • Escape the Dark Castle
  • Adventure Pack 1 - Cult of the Death Knight

This Kickstarter campaign is for three new expansions

  • Adventure Pack 2 - Scourge of the Undead Queen
  • Adventure Pack 3 - Blight of the Plague Lord
  • The Collector's Box

Gorging on the castle’s unending supply of tortured souls, the Undead Queen calls to her service the corpses, skeletons, and spirits of the depths. If a prisoner should fall at the hands of her inexhaustible armies, all that awaits is an eternity of agonising undeath…

Contains:  

1 New Boss: The Undead Queen, a foul necromancer bent on enslaving your soul

15 New Chapters: The Undead Queen’s terrifying forces, and new castle locations 

3 Companion Characters: Vital allies to accompany the prisoners and assist in their escape 

3 Companion Trigger Cards: Event cards which signify the arrival of a Companion

3 Companion Dice: Used to carry out Companion actions and special abilities

2 New Items: Each a powerful relic for the prisoners to discover 

1 New Item Dice: Used to apply the powers of a relic

New Mechanic
This Adventure Pack introduces a new mechanic to the system - Companions. These characters can appear during a quest and join-up with the prisoners to assist in their escape. Fans of roleplaying games will know them by the term NPCs (non-player characters). Players will now encounter event cards in the item deck which trigger the arrival of one of the Companions. Each Companion has a unique mixture of traits and a special ability. They are powerful allies but their presence may be fleeting, so prisoners must choose carefully how and when to call on them. 

In the most confined, twisting passageways; in the vaulted eaves of the highest towers; in the fetid air drawn sharply into your panicked lungs – there will you find his creation. For he is the Plague Lord, emanator of an all-encompassing evil. A monstrous mass of weeping pustules, it would be his most perverse pleasure to watch as you slowly succumb to the agonising torment of the Black Death...

Contains:  

1 New Boss: The Plague Lord, only growing stronger the more infected he becomes  

15 New Chapters: The Plague Lord’s deranged followers, and new castle locations  

3 New Characters: Versatile new prisoners ready to join the quest  

3 Character Dice: Representing the new prisoner’s endowment of skills  

5 New Items: Vital new equipment for prisoners to discover in the depths

1 Plague Dice: Used to control the contraction and spread of this vile disease

New Mechanic
This Adventure Pack introduces a new mechanic to the system - Plague. As if the horrors, traps, and challenges of the Dark Castle were not already enough to haunt the prisoner’s every waking thought, there is now a new kind of threat to contend with. As they explore the labyrinthine castle passages, players can now encounter Carriers, plague-infected lunatics bent on spreading the disease. Certain interactions with Carriers can cause prisoners to contract, spread, and even succumb entirely to this rampant atrocity, adding a new dimension and weight to the game’s risk-reward decisions.

An expansion in its own right, the Collector’s Box contains a wealth of new, fan-driven game content for Escape the Dark Castle while also providing stylish and practical storage for your entire collection.

(not final design, some items shown are sold seperately)
(not final design, some items shown are sold seperately)

Contains:  

6 New Boss Cards: An array of powerful new foes, each with a unique and devious mechanic

12 Special Ability Cards: Unlock the prisoner's talents as they reach new heights of heroism

2 New Start Cards: Now you’ll never know exactly how your adventure will begin

2 Epilogue Cards: Whether you escape or not, get complete narrative closure to every quest

4 Health Trackers with Cubes: An optional alternative to the scorepad & pencil system

1 Dice Bag: Store all the game’s beautiful dice in one satisfying pouch

1 “First Player” Card: Used to help keep track of who is taking the lead each chapter

1 Icon Chart: A handy reference to help new players remember what everything means

(not final design, some items shown are sold seperately)
(not final design, some items shown are sold seperately)

Storage for your entire collection, now and in the future

With it’s sturdy, matt black box and minimal spot UV detailing, the imposing exterior of the Collector’s Box hides an elegant organiser within. Now you can store every item in your Escape the Dark Castle collection in one box with ease.  

The custom insert lets you arrange your cards by set, type, or however you see fit, simply slipping them into the rows of card dividers – sleeved or unsleeved. Not only is this immensely satisfying, it also cuts down on card handling time during setup - just slide out the desired modules and your tailored game can be set up in moments. 

The larger cavity is molded to securely hold all your rulebooks, scorepads, pencils & cubes, with extra space set aside to store all the great products offered in this Kickstarter (see the Add-ons section further down the page). We’ve even included space for several more expansions, so future releases will fit right in.

We have organised our pledge levels and add-ons to allow every possible combination of rewards.

At each pledge level, a shipping charge will apply based on your location, but we've done our best to keep those costs to a minimum. See the Shipping section for details.

LEVEL 1: £12.00

(RRP £14.99)

Includes:

  • Your choice of either Adventure Pack 2: Scourge of the Undead Queen OR Adventure Pack 3: Blight of the Plague Lord

You'll get to make your final selection in Backerkit at the end of the campaign.

LEVEL 2: £16.00

(RRP £19.99)

Includes The Collector's Box only. 

LEVEL 3: £24.00

(RRP £29.98)

Includes: 

  • Adventure Pack 2: Scourge of the Undead Queen
  • Adventure Pack 3: Blight of the Plague Lord

LEVEL 4: £28.00

(RRP £34.98)

 Includes: 

  • The Collector's Box
  • Your choice of either Adventure Pack 2: Scourge of the Undead Queen OR Adventure Pack 3: Blight of the Plague Lord
You'll get to make your final selection in Backerkit at the end of the campaign.

LEVEL 5: £40.00

(RRP £49.97)

Includes: 

  • The Collector's Box
  • Adventure Pack 2: Scourge of the Undead Queen
  • Adventure Pack 3: Blight of the Plague Lord

LEVEL 6: £80.00

(RRP £99.94) 

 All in! Our top level pledge is ideal for newcomers to quickly get their collection up and running. 

Includes: 

  • Escape the Dark Castle
  • Kickstarter Upgrade Kit
  • Adventure Pack 1: Cult of the Death Knight
  • Adventure Pack 2: Scourge of the Undead Queen
  • Adventure Pack 3: Blight of the Pladgue Lord
  • The Collector's Box
At a huge saving over the retail value, this exclusive Kickstarter price is an offer not to be missed.

 

How does it work? 

To include add-ons in your pledge, simply increase your pledge amount by the total value of all the add-ons you want. At the end of the campaign you'll be given access to our pledge manager, Backerkit, which allows you to select exactly which items you want to put your pledged amount towards. 

Important note:

Ordering add-ons may in some cases increase shipping costs beyond the base level shown on the charts in our Shipping section. We'll calculate your new shipping total in Backerkit at the end of the campaign (based on the total weight of your order). 

Escape the Dark Castle - £29.00

The reason we are all here. The standard edition of the main game in all its glory. For more details check out our original Kickstarter campaign
 

Kickstarter Upgrade Kit - £5.00

With this kit we're giving everyone the chance to get Kickstarter exclusive content from the first campaign that didn't make it into the standard edition of Escape the Dark Castle

Contains:  
2 Boss Cards: The Master of Darkness and The Shapeshifter
8 Chapter Cards: We won't spoil them for you
1 Item Card: The Golden Axe
1 Golden Axe Dice: Used when swinging the almighty relic

Adventure Pack 1: Cult of the Death Knight - £14.00

Welcome prisoner, to a new era of The Dark Castle. The Death Knight himself, legendary swordsman and the one they call ‘Lord of Decay’, has risen to prominence. The weak and the mindless flock to his banner, twisted by his dark influence into powerful, feral fanatics. They say he sends curses to crawl into the souls of the weary. Beware the curses, prisoner. Beware the Death Knight…

Contains: 
1 Boss - The Death Knight himself
15 Chapter Cards - We won't spoil them for you
3 New Characters - Each especially powerful in one trait
3 Character Dice - Representing the skills of each new prisoner
5 Curse Cards - With devious effects to thwart your progress
1 Cult Dice - Pray you won't need to roll it...

Card Sleeves

Clear card sleeves specially produced to protect your Escape the Dark Castle collection.

There are sleeves for both sizes of Escape the Dark Castle cards: A6 (large) and A8 (small). One pack of each is enough to completely sleeve the main game (including the contents of the Kickstarter upgrade kit). To sleeve expansions, you'll need additional packs. 

A6 Clear Sleeves - £5.00

A8 Clear Sleeves - £3.00

Escape the Dark Castle Playmats - £5.00

Take your game to the next level of desirability with our beautifully illustrated neoprene playmats. Each mat serves one player, and is designed to allow different configurations of the game components. 

Escape the Dark Castle Playmats are designed to fit perfectly into the Collector's box.

Tales from the Dark - £10.00

Prepare to immerse yourself even further into the world of The Dark Castle with Tales from the Dark - more than 20 works of short fiction penned by published game-writer and co-designer of Escape the Dark Castle, Thomas Pike.


This is a new and improved version of the edition released as a PDF during the first campaign, including new stories covering the characters subsequently introduced.

Excerpt:
"The Abbot's assailants were mere shadows, beings of darkness with long, strong hands. He felt himself dragged deeper into the cave and stripped of his possessions. Another heavy blow landed. He faded from consciousness..."
This is a printed, perfect bound softback book, and includes a free PDF version.Tales from the Dark is designed to fit perfectly into the Collectors Box.

The Death Book - £8.00

Add a new narrative dimension to your games with The Death Book.
This crumbling old tomb contains a contextual 'death scene' for every chapter card in the game - at least, those which are capable of killing a prisoner, and of the bosses too.

No matter which chapter card finishes you off, you'll be able to flip to the corresponding section of The Death Book and read out all the gory details of your demise. What better way to end a game of Escape the Dark Castle?


Excerpt:
"You fall to the ground exhausted and delirious. There was no heroic battle, no valiant climax - just too much strain on a body and mind not fit to bear it. Eventually you rise, weak and jabbering with madness, destined to wander the castle in a state of physical and mental ruin, unrecognisable to any who once knew you..."

This is a printed, perfect bound softback book, and includes a free PDF version. The Death Book is designed to fit perfectly into the Collectors Box.

Original Soundtrack - £5.00

Whether you prefer your atmospheric dungeon-synth on cassette or MP3, you simply haven't played Escape the Dark Castle until you've played it to this!

This atmospheric soundtrack was specially composed by Escape the Dark Castle co-designer and illustrator Alex Crispin to perfectly accompany gameplay. 
(not final design)
(not final design)

Contains: 
Over 45 mins of atmospheric music on limited edition Cassette, and the MP3 files to download. 

Become a Prisoner - £65.00

Back by popular demand, our incredible game artist Alex Crispin will hand draw your exclusive prisoner portrait, fully playable using the dice of whichever core game character you choose to become. 

Will you be the Abbot, Tailor, Mason? Choose from any prisoner released to date. Imagine the satisfaction when you Escape the Dark Castle personally!

How it works: 

Pick the character you'd like to become, then send us a photo of yourself which meets our guidelines. You'll get two copies of the card - one to use and one to keep pristine or frame as a rare collectors item. 

Our £25k funding goal will cover the print run and associated logistical costs of this ambitious campaign. But, if we are fortunate enough to exceed that goal we'd like to offer you the following freebies and upgrades: 

(All stretch goal targets are in £ GBP)

At this level of funding, all backers will get the Escape the Dark Castle Original Soundtrack MP3 files to download free of charge. 

At this level of funding, all backers will get the new and improved Tales from the Dark book PDF file to download free of charge. 

At this level of funding, all backers will get The Death Book PDF file to download free of charge.

Naturally, the sleeves will be high quality regardless, but what we’d really love to do is upgrade them from the standard material to a matt finish. 

Our books will be a classy production, but if we reach this level of funding it will open up some more luxurious options and finishes to make the print editions of Both Tales from the Dark and The Death Book that little bit more special. 

 At this level of funding we'd like to replace the Health Tracker cubes in the Collector's Box with something more thematic. Little skulls perhaps...

The Collectors Box includes a 'first player' card we refer to as the 'torch'. Given the chance, we'd like to upgrade this to an object as standard. 

If you thought the Golden Axe was legendary, wait until you see what is perhaps the most influential relic the gaming world has even known - The Living Stone! We'll add this item card and its custom dice to the Collector's Box as standard. 

Escape the Dark Castle lends itself well to a tasteful companion app, to track health and play the soundtrack to augment the play experience. This will be free to all backers if we reach this level of funding, but may not deliver at the same time as the other items in this campaign. 

We can dream. While the best way to experience Escape the Dark Castle will always be on the tabletop, we can't deny the idea of making a digital version has massive appeal. This will be free to all backers if we reach this level of funding, but may not deliver at the same time as the other items in this campaign.

After an impeccable performance handling our first campaign, we'll once again be working with our expert fulfillment partner Gamesquest to make sure your game is delivered promptly and with expert care.  

We are EU, USA, and AU friendly, ensuring backers in these locations will pay no extra customs charges beyond the shipping cost itself.

Please note: For deliveries outside of these locations, check the rules and regulations on importing goods to your region before you pledge.  

The following base level shipping costs will be charged based on your location and pledge level:

Please note: Ordering add-ons may increase your shipping charge above the price shown below. You final shipping total will be calculated in Backerit at the end of the campaign, and any excess must be paid before shipping can take place. 

Are you a journalist or content creator? You should find what you need in our press pack here. And you can contact us for more info at contact@themeborne.com

Themeborne is an independent design studio based in Nottingham, England. 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/themeborne  

Twitter: https://twitter.com/themeborne  

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/themeborne  

Website: https://www.themeborne.com  

BoardGameGeek: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/227456/escape-dark-castle

Risks and challenges

Is it ready to print?

Since this isn't our first campaign, we have that extra bit of insight and experience in taking products from idea to reality. We expect this campaign will run to time.

We don't want to keep anyone waiting, so before we launched the campaign we made sure the artwork, design and development of all the products we are offering here was as far along as possible.

Will the materials be good quality?

Our manufacturing partner Dofine Games did an amazing job producing the Escape the Dark Castle to our demanding standards. We're glad to say we will be working with Dofine again so we can be sure to maintain the Themeborne quality standard - and maybe even push it a little higher,.

Will it ever arrive?

We'll be working with our expert fulfillment partner Gamesquest to make sure your game is delivered promptly and with expert care.

We're ready for this, we've done it before and everything is where it needs to be. All we need now is a cracking campaign to see it through.

We appreciate your support!

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £1 or more About $1.31

    Castle Spirit

    This pledge level is great if you just want to support the project and follow its progress, or if you want access to our add-ons only.

    You won't get any of the pledge-level rewards, but you'll still have the satisfaction of knowing you helped this campaign to fund, and of course you'll have our heartfelt thanks no matter how large or small your contribution.

    We're glad to have you on board.

    If you do order add-ons, shipping will apply and will be calculated in Backerkit at the end of the campaign.

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    Pledge £12 or more About $16

    Level 1

    Your choice of one of the new Adventure Packs, plus access to all add-ons.

    You'll get to confirm your selection in Backerkit at the end of the campaign.

    Shipping will be charged based on your pledge level, location, and any add-ons you include, but we've done our best to keep those costs to a minimum. See the Shipping section for details.

    Includes:
    • Adventure Pack 2 OR Adventure Pack 3
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    Pledge £16 or more About $21

    Level 2

    The Collectors Box (including any applicable stretch goals) plus access to all add-ons.

    Shipping will be charged based on your pledge level, location, and any add-ons you include, but we've done our best to keep those costs to a minimum. See the Shipping section for details.

    Includes:
    • The Collectors Box
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    Pledge £24 or more About $31

    Level 3

    Both of the new Adventure Packs plus access to all add-ons.

    Shipping will be charged based on your pledge level, location, and any add-ons you include, but we've done our best to keep those costs to a minimum. See the Shipping section for details.

    Includes:
    • Adventure Pack 2: Scourge of the Undead Queen
    • Adventure Pack 3: Blight of the Plague Lord
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £28 or more About $36

    Level 4

    The Collector's Box plus your choice of one of the new Adventure Packs, and access to all add-ons.

    You'll get to confirm your selection in Backerkit at the end of the campaign.

    Shipping will be charged based on your pledge level, location, and any add-ons you include, but we've done our best to keep those costs to a minimum. See the Shipping section for details.

    Includes:
    • The Collectors Box
    • Adventure Pack 2 OR Adventure Pack 3
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    Pledge £37 or more About $48

    LEVEL 5 (early bird)

    Special price limited to early birds who back before June 3rd.

    All of new expansions including any applicable stretch goals, plus access to all add-ons.

    Shipping will be charged based on your pledge level, location, and any add-ons you include, but we've done our best to keep those costs to a minimum. See the Shipping section for details.

    Includes:
    • Adventure Pack 2: Scourge of the Undead Queen
    • Adventure Pack 3: Blight of the Plague Lord
    • The Collectors Box
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    Reward no longer available 883 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge £40 or more About $52

    Level 5

    All three new expansions including any applicable stretch goals, and access to all add-ons.

    Shipping will be charged based on your pledge level, location, and any add-ons you include, but we've done our best to keep those costs to a minimum. See the Shipping section for details.

    Includes:
    • Adventure Pack 2: Scourge of the Undead Queen
    • Adventure Pack 3: Blight of the Plague Lord
    • The Collectors Box
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge £80 or more About $104

    Level 6

    The complete Escape the Dark Castle Collection including any applicable stretch goals from this campaign, plus access to all add-ons.

    Shipping will be charged based on your pledge level, location, and any add-ons you include, but we've done our best to keep those costs to a minimum. See the Shipping section for details.

    Includes:
    • Escape the Dark Castle
    • Kickstarter Upgrade Kit
    • Adventure Pack 1: Cult of the Death Knight
    • Adventure Pack 2: Scourge of the Undead Queen
    • Adventure Pack 3: Blight of the Plague Lord
    • The Collectors Box
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge £80 or more About $104

    Level 6 (USA, Canada, Australia ONLY)

    This is identical to the other Level 6 pledge above, but is for backers in the USA, Canada and Australia only, and reflects your reduced shipping cost. Hurrah!

    The complete Escape the Dark Castle Collection including any applicable stretch goals from this campaign, plus access to all add-ons.

    Shipping will be charged based on your pledge level, location, and any add-ons you include, but we've done our best to keep those costs to a minimum. See the Shipping section for details.

    Includes:
    • Escape the Dark Castle
    • Kickstarter Upgrade Kit
    • Adventure Pack 1: Cult of the Death Knight
    • Adventure Pack 2: Scourge of the Undead Queen
    • Adventure Pack 3: Blight of the Plague Lord
    • The Collectors Box
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    1,551 backers
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Funding period

- (30 days)