TL;DR

What is it? A game of survival that will often make you die laughing
How many people? 3-6
How long does it take? 15-20 minutes
Who is it for? Good for small groups of friends, maybe with a drink.
Buy it: Pre-order the game here and directly support the creators.

The Gist

Why we recommend it

My wife Jasmine is clinging to me and refusing to let go. Our friend Liz, is no more. Well by that I mean she only answers to Captain Cranberries now. The things I’ve seen, I cannot say, I literally cannot say. This card says I can’t say anything anymore, so I’m just writing all of this down. We’re all mad, but maybe we can still survive.

Ravine starts off as a fairly straightforward game of survival and pushing your luck. You’re all stranded after a plane crash and have to make it through 10 nights until you’re finally saved.

To do this you forage, finding materials to build with or food to eat. Each time you forage though you’re losing life, so that’s where you decide how far you push your luck.

As a group you might decide to get as many resources as possible, using up valuable life, share out the food and try and build that shelter to protect you from the rain. Or you might play it safe, take only the minimum you need hoping for just some wood to keep the fire going, saving your health for when you really need it.

Then the night comes.There is a great tension as you grip the deck and quickly slam over that night card. Everyone huddling around to read what fate awaits you. Sometimes it’s an animal attack, sometimes the rain chills you and extinguishes your fire, other time’s nothing. Maybe tonight is calm and you are safe.

This would still be a fun game of pushing your luck, trying to ration your resources and keep going but there is something that sets it apart. Something that changes the dynamics of this tactical game of being Tom Hanks wannabes.

It all changes when one of your is down to their last bit of life.

Anyone that ends the night on 1 life has to draw a madness card and this is what takes this game from a tense team based game of getting through the night and into a hilarious  comedy game. I don’t want to spoil anymore than I have to, but to give you a flavour, some madness means you can’t talk, some makes you hug people unable to let go until you’re healed, some…well here is what happened to us the first time.

Liz: “What does it say?”

Jasmine: “What does it say?”

Liz looking confused: “Are you…”

Jasmine: “Are you…”

Liz: “…Copying…”

Jasmine: “…Copying…”

Liz and Jasmine: “…Me”

Glenn: “Haha she’s copying us”

Jasmine: “…”

Glenn looking sad: “Oh just you.”

Some games are almost impossible to win, some can seem almost trivial. You never quite know what you’re going to get. That’s what makes those first handful of games a real joy. The constant surprises, because it isn’t just the madness cards. There is more than food and wood in the forage deck, there is more than beasts and weather to worry about in the night. I won’t share anymore than I already have, just know those surprises are what make the game so moreish and it has plenty to give.

If you like the sound of surviving, pushing your luck and descending into comedy madness then we thoroughly recommend you get Ravine.

Pre-order the game here and directly support the creators.