Masque of the Red Death is a deduction and movement programming game for 4 -7 players set in the grim world of the short story by Edgar Allan Poe. Players are nobles attending an extravagant masked ball while a plague ravages the country. Players are trying to do what nobles do – feast, dance, celebrate –become as popular as they can. But rumors swirl as the night goes on, and everyone feels oddly nervous each time the clock chimes. The nobles might be wise to spend some time listening to these rumors. It is becoming increasingly clear as midnight approaches that something sinister awaits. At midnight, a horrible figure in the guise of the Red Death appears at the masquerade! It stalks amongst the rooms of the abbey, killing the nobles it comes across. The most popular noble wins… but that only matters if you survive the night.
The game takes place in the peculiar abbey of Prince Prospero. The abbey is divided into 7 rooms; each decorated and lit in a particular color.
Players start with a set of 9 identical action cards and one unique personality card. These action cards include things like: Discuss, Dance, Admire, Mock, Flirt.
Each turn, players will:
1. CHOOSE a card from hand to play (simultaneously)
2. PERFORM THE ACTION one at a time, to gain popularity or rumors
3. MOVE to an adjacent room (after everyone’s actions are complete - optional)
As each turn goes by, the clock gets closer to reaching midnight. As players gather rumors, they begin planning out their movements after midnight to avoid the Red Death. They can make changes to their plan at any time… until 12:00. The Red Death will visit 2 rooms at each time: 12:00, 12:10, 12:20, 12:30, 12:40, 12:50.
Players must plan out movements behind their player screens to avoid being in the rooms that the Red Death visits.
At midnight, the game drastically changes. Players can no longer change their planned movements and they must now hope they gathered enough information to avoid the Red Death! Players enact their planned 12:00 movement, either moving their figure clockwise, counter-clockwise, or staying in place. Then the two 12:00 Red Death cards are revealed (one at a time, for suspense).
The Red Death visits the rooms shown on the cards, killing all nobles in those rooms – removing their figures from the abbey and the popularity track. Surviving nobles enact their planned 12:10 movement, and the 12:10 Red Death cards are revealed once again. This repeats for each time slot until the 12:50 time is resolved. The most popular surviving noble wins! May this victory give you strength as you contemplate the inevitability of death amongst the corpses of your fallen countrymen…
Play Tips from Designer Adam Wyse
Masque of the Red Death is all about the balance between gaining popularity (to win) and gaining information (to survive). You can’t have one without the other. If all you do is Flirt and Laugh and Dance around all night, odds are you’re going to die after midnight. If all you do is Discuss (to take rumors), you should be able to survive but if anyone else survives they will likely be more popular than you. You must strike a good balance of both. Not knowing for sure if you will survive is what makes the game so tense. It is very important to not fall too far behind in popularity.
Players who take advantage of the ability to jump over others on the popularity track will consistently get extra popularity each time they take a popularity action. The unique personality card each player gets at the start of the game can be quite powerful, and no one knows which card other players will have. Time it right to benefit as much as possible from your personality card. Movement over the course of the night can be very important. Prince Prospero will be flitting around the abbey from round to round, but players get to see which room he will be in at each time, from the very start of the game. Try to move in a way that gets you near the prince as much as possible.
You may sometimes want to bunch up with other players so you can play cards on them, or you may want to get away from the pack so that others cannot play cards on you. Some action cards allow you to lower or raise other players’ popularity or even steal or look at their rumor cards. But be careful about making enemies; they may be looking to get you back later. Stealing rumor cards can often be very effective. If you know nothing about 12:30 for example, when you steal a rumor you are allowed to request a particular time. This is obviously more effective than simply playing a Discuss action to draw a random rumor from the deck.
Each player starts with 9 action cards and 1 personality card, but most of these do not come back to your hand after being played. You’ll want to wait for the right moment before you play your more powerful cards!
Movement matters during the masquerade for a couple reasons: 1. Many action cards can only be played on nobles who are in the same room as you. 2. Prince Prospero, the lord of this abbey, is here for the masquerade as well. The prince moves through the abbey a lot over the course of the night. It is good to be a part of the prince’s entourage. If a player begins their turn in the same room as the prince, they simply gain 1 popularity. The popularity track that runs around the outside of the abbey board keeps track of the players’ popularity level. It’s important to note that players may never share the same space on this track. When you gain popularity, you move up a number of open spaces on the track, jumping over occupied spaces along the way.
GRIS GRIMLY can be best described as a storyteller. For more almost twenty years, his distinctive style and wide selection of mediums have captivated a variety of loyal fans worldwide. Originally recognized for his dark yet humorous illustrations for young readers, Grimly has transcended the realm of picture books through writing, concept art, fine art, fashion design, and film.
In 2000, Gris received his first children’s book job illustrating Monster Museum for Hyperion. His distinct style earned the attention of fans and clients far and wide. A consistent demand from publishing giants followed and kept him employed doing what he had always wanted to do. Gris has worked with Simon and Schuster, Chronicle, Random House, HarperCollins, and Scholastic. He has illustrated classics by Ray Bradbury, Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm, Mary Shelley, and Edgar Allan Poe. He has written and illustrated his own books like the Wicked Nursery Rhymes trilogy and Little Jordan Ray’s Muddy Spud as well as worked with contemporary authors like Neil Gaiman on the New York Times best selling book The Dangerous Alphabet. He has also collaborated with big studios like Disney, DreamWorks and The Jim Henson Company as a character designer and production designer.
Gris lives in Pasadena with his wife, two children, and a very vile Boston Terrier. He is the one and only Mad Creator.
The designer of Masque of the Red Death, Adam Wyse, is a former software engineer who has been designing games for several years now. As the steward of the Calgary chapter of the Game Artisans of Canada, he is part of the strong and vibrant design community that stretches all across Canada. A lifelong hockey and soccer fan, he used to have many hobbies until board games consumed them all! He lives with his wife Chelsea, dog Scooter, and far too many cats.
Masque of the Red Death started as one of his earliest designs - borne of a love of the old short story. It's important to Adam to do the story justice by staying very close to the wonderful source material. The goal has always been to evoke the same feelings of dread and tension that the story brings out in its readers.
The game has been in development for years, was recognized as a finalist for the 2015 Canadian Game Design Award, and is finally being brought to life by the hardworking team at IDW and the incredible artwork of Gris Grimly.
Masque of the Red Death features NO STRETCH GOALS. We are excited that we can continue another campaign with reveals for the next special item, instead of having to fight to meet the next goal. Instead, with our campaign you are GUARANTEED the pledge that is offered in this campaign. One pledge, all the goodies.
We will reveal a new item for your pledge almost every week day during the campaign. Each week day, starting on January 11th we'll invite you to return to our campaign page to learn what upgrade we're revealing that day!
Masque of the Red Death Deluxe Edition is exclusively available through Kickstarter. Make sure you back today to guarantee your access to all the incredible rewards!
We will be charging shipping through our pledge manager after the Kickstarter campaign has successfully completed. It is our intent to charge backers shipping that is based on the cost to ship from our fulfillment partners' hubs to you. We will ship your rewards at our cost to our fulfillment partners' hubs. From there, our partners will ship the packages out to you as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Please review the shipping chart below for an estimate of what we are currently expecting shipping to cost. PLEASE NOTE: shipping costs may increase due to unforseen circumstances, or if you add on additional copies or optional buys.
USA: approximately $12
Canada: $12 - $15
EU: €7 - €14
Aus & NZ: $22
Risks and challenges
IDW Games has Kickstarted 4 campaigns, fulfilled 3 campaigns and is finishing up fulfillment their 4th campaign, Rayguns and Rocketships and finishing up production for The Legend of Korra: Pro-bending Arena. We've also been publishing games into retail via standard distribution channels for over 4 years.
All of our games are manufactured in China, and as such there are a few issues that could potentially slow the delivery of our campaign. The most common issues are production delays due to plastic quality, shipping delays due to vessel schedules and weather, and customs clearance when the goods come into America.
While we have never had any of the above-mentioned delays vastly affect our delivery of a final product, there is always the potential that one of these things could cause a delay in the delivery of pledges of this campaign to backers.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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