Game Review: Room-25
You stare at your fellow contestants, knowing that you must work as a team to survive and win the most lethal reality show ever devised. But who is really on your side and who is a Guard, working for the show, trying to kill you before you win? Welcome to Room 25.
Room 25 places you in the middle of a 25 chamber complex fighting for your life on live TV. Many of the rooms are safe or helpful, while others will slow you down or outright kill you. The game has three different modes: Co-operative, Competitive, and Suspicion. In co-op, all the players work together and cannot escape the complex until all the living contestants are in the titular Room 25. Competitive mode is an every-man-for-himself death match where only the first person to escape will win. Suspicion mode is where the game really shines. The goal is the same as the co-op but one or more players might be a guard, working against the group, trying to kill them before they reach the exit.
The board is made of 25 different tiles, all but the centre start tile are placed face down initially, only being revealed when someone enters the room...suffering whatever fate the room bestows.
There are six characters to choose from, but their diferences are purely cosmetic. Each character comes with a pawn, a turn order token, a reference board and four action tokens. The action tokens are the meat of the game.
Each round players will program and perform two of the four possible actions (Look, Move, Control, and Push). Programming is done in secret, then players take their first actions in player order, then their second actions. The Look action allows you to look at a facedown tile next to the room you are currently in. The Move action causes you to move into an adjacent room, revealing it to everyone if it wasn't already face up. The Control action allows you to pick a direction and slide the column or row your room is in, Labyrinth-style, one position over. This will cause one tile to leave the edge of the board. That tile is placed in the empty space at the other end of the row. Finally there's the Push action which allows you to shove another character in your room into an adjacent room, revealing the room and causing the shoved character to suffer the consequences.
Contestants must get to the Exit room and use the Control action to get the Exit out of the complex. They are not allowed to leave the complex unless all the contestants are in the Exit room (unless you are playing the competition mode).
The game comes with more than 25 different rooms so you can set the difficulty of the game by choosing diferent rooms to include in the complex. There are several empty rooms that are harmless, there's even a helpful room that allows you to look at any room in the complex. Most of the rooms, however, have a detrimental effect on people who go in them, including the Mortal room which kills you instantly upon entering.
This game will be a hit with anyone who likes the action programming of Robo Rally, the board movement of the Labyrinth series, the traitor mechanic of games like the Resistance or Saboteur, or is a fan of movies like the Running Man and Cube. Room 25 supports 2-6 Contestants and plays in about 30 minutes.
In addition to being a Game Guru at Snakes & Lattes, Steve Tassie is an actor, comedian, certified English & drama teacher, writer and game designer. Follow him on Twitter @RealSteveTassie or read the blog he shares with his wife, novelist Christina Upton onesfunnytheothersinsane.wordpress.com.