Hey folks, I’m back today with a game that’s about a house. It’s a game about danger. This game is about a house of danger! This is Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger. It’s made by Z-Man games and is for 1+ players. The game is basically a Choose Your Own Adventure. Remember those books that you read as a child? The ones where you always kept a finger on your last page read in case you chose poorly? That’s what this game is based on!
The game comes in a medium box that looks like one of those old books. The game comes with a rule book, 160 story cards, 129 clue cards, 1 game board, 1 danger die, a danger meter token and a psychic track token. The story cards are the meat of this game. It’s essentially just a book. It’s broken into 5 chapters. To accompany the story cards, clue cards are also broken into 5 chapters. These both correspond with each other. You use chapter 1 clues with chapter 1 story cards.
To set up, place the board in the center of the table. For the psychic track, place the red token on number 3. For the danger meter, place the yellow cube on the lowest 3. Place the clues next to the board, and the story cards on the other side. Take your starting inventory cards and place them below the board. You’ll start with a bottle of water and pocket knife each game. Remember, it’s important to stay hydrated. The knife is important for many knifing reasons. Some you’ll find out soon enough. After that, you’re ready to start the game.
First, you start reading the story cards. You start with Chapter 1, and the cards will tell you what to do. These will have clues, challenges, or story choices on each page. Let’s take a look at challenges. There are two types of challenges. Optional and required. Much like how it sounds, optional are optional. Required, however, are required. Well, now that’s out of the way, how do you make a challenge? You roll your danger die and match or roll higher than the number on the danger meter. I’m not sure if it’s actually called danger die, but for the purpose of this review that’s what I’m calling it. It just amps up the danger of this danger house. Challenges might have a symbol by it. These mean any items you have with the same icon are called challenge boosters. You can select one item to use in a challenge. You add the number of the challenge booster to your danger die roll. Some challenges, once you beat it will give you clues or direct you to a different story card. When you lose a challenge, some might have you lose an item, change story cards, or even move back on the psychic track. Any roll of 1 on the danger die always counts as a loss even with modifiers. If you used an item and roll a 1, you lose the item.
Clues can be items kept, quick challenges, or even an extension of the story cards. I’ve had a clue that was a challenge that took you to another clue that was another challenge and so on. These are all numbered on the front so it’s easy to look what clue to take and read. Clues are also where you get your goal card for the chapter. Your chapter goal is a reminder what you’re working towards so it might help with guiding you in your decisions.
As the game goes on, you’re reading the story cards, preforming the challenges, then continuing with options of what story card to read next. Some are correct choices and move the story on. While others might send you to your death. Don’t worry, if you die you just got back a page and move the danger meter and psychic meter around.
So that’s the game play, now let’s look at the story. I don’t want to give any spoilers away, so I won’t go in depth with events, but I’ll give you the idea behind the story. You’re a psychic police detective that has been having nightmares about a house. One morning you’re awaken from the nightmare by a phone call. You can’t trace it, but you jot the number down on paper. While at work, you tell a coworker about the dream. They say it sounds like a house that has had a lot of reports back in the day. When you look at the file associated with the house, you recognize the number that had called earlier. So you set out at night to go investigate the house of your nightmares. And what a house it is! Expect the weird and paranormal when playing this game.
How does the game play? I found it to play like a book with some rolling built into it. I tried playing this game with my wife. I thought it would be a fun game to play with her. As it could lead to discussions about what choices to make. About three story cards in, my wife asks me “How is this two players?” And know what, she was right. It’s basically reading a book, which isn’t bad. Then it has some discussion on what direction to take. Mix in some danger die rolling, and you’ve got this game. I found it to play better as a solo play than a multiplayer game. Like most books, once I started this game I didn’t want to stop. I wanted to get the goals, advance the story, and figure out what was going on. I like the danger meter and how it makes things easier or harder. If you fail enough challenges, then it restarts. The psychic track also can change the game play. If you’re higher on the track, you might get clues or challenges that were not available without it. The art is set up like one of these old books. I really like it and think it fits the game. The game box doesn’t have an insert, and it has a lot of cards. So it bounces around and is a mess unless you find some organization. I used rubber bands to separate the story cards and clue cards by chapter. This seemed to make it easier to sort and play. The game has some replay to it, as you can start and choose a different path. It was a nice experience, but I wasn’t blown away by the game. It feels like one of those old choose your own adventure books with some game sprinkled in the mix. It adds items in clue cards that can be used as you advance, which the books can’t do. I think this is still a family friendly game, and if your family likes reading books together, then this might be for you. My kids are too young at this point to sit and participate. I might keep this one a bit longer, then when my kids are old enough try it again. Otherwise, I’d say this is a pass unless you’re into the nostalgia or solo games.