Tabletop game Head-2-Head: Fuse vs. Escape: The Curse of the Temple

Kane Klenko |Renegade Games / Kristian Amundsen by| Queen Games

In this modern age, time is of the essence. Not all eager gamers can easily bring out the “Twilight Imperium” and the “War of the Rings” in order to have an tense, epic, fun afternoon. What if you had 15 minutes to kill before you have to go back to work or you're waiting for the rest of the game group to rock up to your game night. No matter what 10 minutes is valuable time, time that can be spent doing boring things or time that can be filled with amazing fun and excitement. Today, we are comparing two games that make a claim, complete entertainment in 10 minutes or less. Which one is better? Which one should you play? Let's find out as we pit “Fuse” from Renegade Games and “Escape: The Curse of the Temple” from Queen Games, Head-2-Head.

Fuse versus Escape The Curse of the Temple - Gameapalooza Australia board game Head 2 HeadIt’s Fuse from Renegade Games versus Escape The Curse of the Temple from Queen Games – FIGHT!

In “Fuse” your elite Bomb Defusal Team (BDT) are tasked with, well, defusing bombs before time runs out and you all die (the rules just say you lose but c'mon, we all know what happens). Your group will be working together defusing bomb cards in front of them with dice. There are 25 dice, 5 of each colour, which will be rolled (a set amount depending on players) and players will draft the rolled dice and place them on their bomb cards with the aim to defuse them. If not all dice can be taken, each player must pay a penalty, removing one of their dice if the odds aren't in their favour. The dice that are drafted must be placed on a players card, the dice must fit specific requirements: number, colour or both and can be placed or stacked depending on the bomb. The game continues until the bombs explode after 10 minutes or if a player cannot take a card from the centre of the table, in which case the team wins. There are 65 cards for the team to go through, however that number is adjusted depending on player count and difficulty level. When the game is over the team can choose to score their game adding up the bombs that were completed, scoring 1, 2, 3, 4 or 6 (extra difficult) points for each card along with points for fuse cards. Fuse cards force all players to remove dice from their cards of a particular colour or particular number.

Fuse by Renegade Game Studios - Gameapalooza Australia Head 2 Head tabletop game reviewFuse – Can you defuse the bomb before the timer ticks down?

In “Escape: The Curse of the Temple“, you are an adventurer heading deep into a temple. Your team has gone so far that you have lost the exit, it is up to you to work together and get out before being stuck in a collapsed temple for eternity. Each player will have 5 dice and a player in the starting tile as they will discover more as the game goes on, attempting to discover the exit. In “Escape: The Curse of the Temple” there are no turns, players can roll their dice as many times as they want in order to roll what they need (you only have 10 minutes remember, you must move quickly) however, if a die shows a black mask, that die is locked until a gold mask is rolled unlocking two of the locked dice (even other players dice if you are in the same room). Along with the masks on the dice there are also: two adventurers, a torch and a key, these symbols are required to roll in order to discover new tiles, venture into other tiles and place gems on tablets throughout the temple. Whilst exploring, the soundtrack, included with the game, will play a gong, when this happens all players must return to the starting tile before the door slams otherwise those players permanently lose a die (this happens twice with a third time symbolising the temple crumbling to the ground). When the exit tile is discovered, players will need to roll keys equal to the remaining gems plus one when in the exit tile, incentivising players to place as many gems as possible during the game. Once all players escape, your team wins, however if any adventurers remain in the temple after 10 minutes you all lose.

Escape The Curse of the Temple board game head 2 head by Gameapalooza AustraliaCan you Escape the temple?! Roll those dice fast people!

Gameplay Head-2-Head!
Both games provide a tense atmosphere and have excellent gameplay. “Fuse” can be considered a fast brain-burner as it has some mathematics involved, so if you enjoy maths in your games this could win you over. However, “Escape: The Curse of the Temple” is a lot more simple to play and the ability to split up from the group to explore and return to teammates to help edges out the theme along with the gameplay. When it comes to gameplay, “Escape: The Curse of the Temple” wins out.

When it comes to replayability, “Fuse” has a lot to deliver. It has multiple difficulty levels along with harder bombs to add into the game, allowing players to continue to enjoy themselves regardless of their skill level. It also has a clear scoring system allowing players to continue to beat previous attempts.

“Escape: The Curse of the Temple” includes two expansions in the box, treasures and curses. Treasures provide an additional layer of difficulty, adding more tiles and having an additional item to roll for but provides the player with a one use bonus to be used at any time. Curses are the opposite, players will receive a curse when they enter a cursed tile, these curses force the player to keep one hand on their head or disallows them to speak (these curses can be removed by rolling a required set of dice). These expansions provides a bit more excitement and tension providing players with variety.

Replay value Head-2-Head!
Replayability is very important in board games (so much so I added the word to my computers dictionary). What will help bring these games back to the table? For “Fuse” it is the multiple difficulties, everyone always wants to go to the next level whereas “Escape: Curse of the Temple” only provides more variety. If you are willing to purchase more expansions “Escape: The Curse of the Temple” wins replayability, however, purely based on what comes in the box, the winner is “Fuse”.

Game Build Quality
“Fuse” has fantastic build quality. The dice are top notch, custom to the game, the numbers are digital adding to the theme. The dice are good quality too, nice and sturdy and the symbology on the cards are very simple to understand. Renegade games also offer a free app which has a tailored clock complete with a computer voice distracting you from the mission, brilliant. Oh, and the dice bag is stellar.

“Escape: The Curse of the Temple” also has great build quality. The tiles are thick and sturdy, the adventurers are cute and they even provided player discs to remind everyone which colour belongs to which player. The dice are also fantastic, the colours are distinct and the symbols are easy to read and the soundtrack provides the cherry on top in regards to creating atmosphere and tension.

Quality Head-2-Head!
For what the games set out to provide, this round is a tie. They both have excellent component quality, however if you want a winner, give it to “Fuse”. It is a lot smaller and you can use any phone for the timer (who doesn’t have one in their pocket these days) and if you really want to you can fit the entire game in the included dice bag.

Gameapalooza House Rules
Great the way they are!

1-5 Players
Ages: 10+
Setup Time: 5 minutes Play Time: 10 minutes

Escape: The Curse of the Temple
1-5 Players
Ages: 8+
Setup Time: 5 minutes
Play Time: 10 minutes

Now I know what you're thinking, which game is more fun. Well that truly depends on what you want from your 10 precious minutes. If you want a bit of a thinker in a small package then “Fuse” is your filler, it is certainly a great game, providing fun and excitement. On the other hand, if you want a highly thematic big-box game, oozing Indiana Jones fedora and whip along with its fair share of curses and treasures adding to the fun and theme then “Escape: The Curse of the Temple” is for you.

Board Game head-2-head review Escape The Curse of the Temple versus Fuse from Renegade Games - Gameapalooza Aussie Tabletop Game reviewsEscape: The Curse of the Temple or Fuse – Never noticed how similar their expressions were! Is that the same dude in two different universes? Seeing your doppelganger is definitely a shock!

Overall Head-2-Head
Despite this indecisiveness , this is called Head-2-Head, there must be a winner, there must be one game to stand tall, one game that deserves a spot on shelves everywhere. “Escape: The Curse of the Temple” edges out “Fuse” on this one, if there were only 10 minutes available we’d rather rush through a temple than defuse bombs, it is just more fun. “Escape: The Curse of the Temple” is just more engaging and brings along with it the desire to play again, add in the different expansions and the soundtrack adds to that excitement. You will not be disappointed with either game, but we do not recommend both unless you really want them. They both scratch the same itch, fill the same niche, choose the one you think is most interesting and add it to your collection. Next time you have a brief window of time, you will not regret the purchase.