The Last of Us: Escape the Dark board game will have players guiding key characters from the video game series through various cities and towns teeming with Infected.
Based on the video game series – more specifically, the first game – the upcoming board game will have players taking control of recognisable characters such as the key characters of the original game, Joel and Ellie, as well as supporting characters like Tess, Joel’s brother Tommy and Firefly member Marlene. Currently featured as part of a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, The Last of Us: Escape the Dark will loosely follow the plot of the first entry in the series, having players making their way towards the safe haven of Jackson.
A co-op board game, The Last of Us: Escape the Dark has players exploring an open world map generated by players creating various decks of cards that they place on different spots on the board. Each location is connected to several others, enabling players to choose a new route to Jackson every time they play. Every location deck will be made up of various chapter cards, camp cards and stashed item cards, with players generating every location deck before they begin the game.
Chapter cards will feature a variety of events that players can encounter, hopefully acquiring them useful information, items or equipment for them to use. However, chapter cards can also contain less desirable outcomes that will make the journey to Jackson harder for the survivors. Players will need to watch out for Infected areas, with threat tokens indicating how overrun each location is. Some locations can become so filled with Infected that the routes into them are blocked and must be circumvented somehow.
How successful players are will overcoming challenges will depend on how well they play to their characters’ strengths, with each playable survivor being better suited to different situations. For example, Joel is physically strong but Ellie is far more agile. Whenever their chosen survivor must perform an action that faces resistance, they will need to roll their character specific die in order to see if they are able to pass. During the video game board game, players will be travelling to various locations using the open connected routes, with access to a horse or truck granting players access to locations that are further away.
When players reach a location, they can choose to explore by taking a chapter card from the deck or can camp at a location – giving them a well-earned chance to rest. Whenever players have taken their day’s action they mark the passage of time and decide what to do on the next day, such as following leads or laying low. Every day that passes, the threat of Infected increases, with Spread cards indicating wherever Infected might appear.
Should players ever encounter Infected, they will need to engage in combat. The difficulty of each combat encounter will depend on the threat level of the enemy card, with players needing to achieve a certain number of successes in order to beat it. Players’ chances of defeating an opponent can be increased through the use of weapons and equipment. However, players will also need to overcome their character’s possible hang-ups in order to survive and potentially become better for it. Rewards for surviving include acquiring crafting materials players can use to make essential items and equipment.
Once the players reach Jackson, they’ll have to overcome one final challenge in order to win or see themselves perish.
The Last of Us: Escape the Dark will be released by Themeborne, a publisher that has previously put out adventure titles such as the horror board game Escape the Dark Castle and Escape the Dark Sector. Naughty Dog is the developer responsible for The Last of Us, with Sony being the publisher behind the video game series.
The Kickstarter campaign for The Last of Us: Escape the Dark is live until December 2nd, with a pledge of £65 ($73) getting backers a copy of the game in December 2023.