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DreamEscape is like a choose-your-own-adventure Arkham Horror, with thousands of possible story paths

Part RPG, part card game, part choose-your-own-adventure book.

Image credit: BadCatGames

A new card game looks to meld the Lovecraftian horror of the Arkham Horror series with the branching narrative of choose-your-own-adventure books.

DreamEscape is a single-player or two-player co-op card game that throws its player - as one of six possible characters - into a nightmarish dreamworld full of cosmic horrors. As the name suggests, the aim is to find your way out of the dreamlands spawned by Cthulhu and its followers.

To get out, you’ll have to search around the otherworldly plane in search of your shattered mind, retrieving the fragments of your consciousness while being chased by Cthulhu.

Each character has a unique story that plays out across 90-minute sessions of the survival-horror board game, with its Scottish publisher BadCatGames claiming there are more than 8,000 possible outcomes for the diverging story choices - adding up to over 100 hours of gameplay.

Image credit: BadCatGames

Along their adventures through the dreamlands, players will be able to pick up useful items, equipment and treasure, helping to protect them against the threat of monsters and status effects from terror to poison - not to mention their eroding sanity.

The game uses a keycode system to allow players to discover hidden paths and lore during their playthrough, moving between encounter cards that offer up hundreds of potential events and threats to deal with.

In place of dice, tests are resolved by casting triangular ‘elder runes’. Character can also harness powers including deja vu and lucid dreaming to overcome minions, but with the risk of attracting Cthulhu’s attention - represented by tokens that stack up and block the character’s abilities.

DreamEscape is currently crowdfunding a print run on Gamefound, where it has raised over £160,000 on its modest target of £26,000 at the time of writing, with over two weeks left on the clock.

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Matt Jarvis avatar

Matt Jarvis


After starting his career writing about music, films and video games for various places, Matt spent many years as a technology, PC and video game journalist before writing about tabletop games as the editor of Tabletop Gaming magazine. He joined Dicebreaker as editor-in-chief in 2019, and has been trying to convince the rest of the team to play Diplomacy since.