House of Danger - Spoiler Free (Patrick Hillier)
In 1979 Edward Packard wrote The Cave of Time and 10 year old Patrick read and was thrilled by the idea of creating his own story. You would read a chapter and a the end you would choose to turn to page 87 or 95 depending on the current action.
This is a spoiler free initial review of The House of Danger - A Choose Your Own Adventure game by Z-man Games. It is described as being co-operative. I supposed you could take turns reading the cards or choosing as a group how to proceed, but really it is a solo game.
To turn it into a game they added a player board with two scales. The reverse is a psychic image, think Mysterium card, that comes into play during the story. You have psychic scale you are trying to raise. There is a danger scale, as you try to overcome obsticles in the adventure you are required to roll higher than or equal to the current danger level. You start with some items that give you a bonus to your die rolls in certain challenges.
The game is organized into 5 chaper decks with matching clue decks orgaized in a servicable insert in a slightly too large box that sort of looks like a book.
The story cards have a parchment tone to them and are have the look of an original choose your own adventure book in the overall art style, type set used, etc. You read a card, perhaps front and back and are given a choice simialr to the books on what card to move to. Some give challenges to overcome through a dice roll that may result in raising or lowering your danger meter or psychic scale.
Each chapter has a specific goal card you are trying to 'reach' and and a specifc end card.
Unlike, say Time Stories or even the original books, when you reach a dead end - you do not need to start over and redo the whole adventure. You were smart enough to keep a finger in that last page and go back to it, you just lose a point on the psychic scale.
The story is text heavy but not terribly complicated and probably would do well for the 10+ age listed on the box. The game play is fairly simple but the choices were not obvious so as an adult gamer I found it enjoyable too.
My only negative is at the end of the chapter it offers an opportunity to go back and visit the card you missed. I guess I don't mind this as an option, but maybe a secret option so that you could play through the chapter again. There were definitely some paths I'd like to have taken just to see where they had lead.
The first chapter took me about 20 minutes and all the stacks are about the same size so I'm guessing I'll be done with this in about 90 minutes - and it will really be a one time use game. It is, so far, been non destructive so could pass it along to someone else to play.