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Escape the Dark Castle Characters: A Closer Inspection

The Dark Castle – home to horrors, monsters, and evil men determined for destruction. Escape the Dark Castle is an exploration game in which players must work their way through a randomly generated dungeon in hope of freedom. Each player plays as a character, a prisoner, who has a been held in the Castle for a long time. Each character has three basic attributes – Strength, Cunning, and Wisdom.

To understand the prisoners in Escape the Dark Castle we must first understand the dice. Each character has a six sided die representing how they approach actions within the game. Each D6 represents the three different attributes, with one being the primary attribute, one being the secondary, and one being the tertiary. Each character has the same distribution of attributes across the dice, with them having 3x their primary, 2x their secondary, and 1x their third attribute on the six sides. The crux is that one of the primary attribute faces, and one of the secondary attribute faces, are doubles.

What this does is give each character three possible scores for Strength, Cunning, and Wisdom. The primary attribute will have a value of 4 – that is 3 sides of the die, but one is a double. The secondary attribute will have a value of 3 – that is 2 sides with one being a double. Finally, the tertiary attribute will only have a value of one.

Interestingly, this means each character has the same number of doubles and singles on their die.

Throughout Escape the Dark Castle, characters will need to take tests against the three attributes and against enemies. A lot of the time, as well as specific tests, chapter dice will be rolled at random, a randomised selection of the attributes to be tested against.

Now, there is a lot of randomness in Escape the Dark Castle. First of all, there are random attributes added on to most encounters. Secondly, there are 45 different chapter cards, with only 15 played with at any number of times. Then, from the base set, one of three bosses is added onto the end of the Castle. Since those 15 cards can be in any order (using various different tools including this fantastic permutations calculator and this numbers to words generator, as well as just Google) I can tell you that there are over one septillion three hundred fifty-two sextillion different combinations of Castle.

Realistically though, out of those 45 cards, at this moment in time we are assuming the odds of the different tests is exactly 1/3. If this is the case then, in theory, the best way to increase your chances of surviving the Castle is with a balanced party. It is with a party who is just as strong as it is cunning as it is wise.  

Characters and Dice

The Characters in Escape the Dark Castle

So, with that in mind, who are the character in Escape the Dark Castle?

There are six different characters in Escape the Dark Castle. Those characters are:

  • Cook
  • Smith
  • Abbot
  • Miller
  • Tailor
  • Tanner

Those characters each have the three attributes of Strength, Wisdom, and Cunning.

Now, when looking at the different Escape the Dark Castle characters, there are a couple of different ways of looking at the data. The first of those ways is by looking at the different stats and the value of those stats. This gives us the total number of Strength, Wisdom, or Cunning any group may have. This can be seen with the below –

This gives an idea of the total stat value of each character. From this we can see that the Cook and the Smith are the strongest characters. The Abbot and the Tanner are the wisest of the characters. Finally, the Miller and the Tailor are the most cunning.

What this doesn’t do is tell us the specific number of sides, and where that can be easily deduced by the aforementioned distribution of sides, we can display it to help show us the odds of each face/attribute being rolled.

The results, at this moment in time, are very similar; however, when we start comparing the different variations of character combinations within the game, it will be more helpful.

Escape the Dark Castle is a 1-4 player game, and so there are different combinations of character that can be in play at any specific time. This includes:

  • 6x variations in a 1 player game (or each individual character)
  • 15x combinations in a 2 player game
  • 18x combinations in a 3 player game
  • 15x combinations in a 4 player game

Let’s take a look.

Escape the Dark Castle Character Combinations in a 2 Player Game

Okay, let’s dive in with this. There are, as explained above, 15 character combinations in Escape the Dark Castle for a two player game. Those combinations are:

  • The Cook and the Smith
  • The Cook and the Abbot
  • The Cook and the Miller
  • The Cook and the Tailor
  • The Cook and the Tanner
  • The Smith and the Abbot
  • The Smith and the Miller
  • The Smith and the Tailor
  • The Smith and the Tanner
  • The Abbot and the Miller
  • The Abbot and the Tailor
  • The Abbot and the Tanner
  • The Miller and the Tailor
  • The Miller and the Tanner
  • The Tailor and the Tanner

Again, we can look at the various different variations of different combinations, looking first at the stats and then the specific number of dice sides, across the different die, showing each face.

As it can be seen, there is a lot of variation between what the different combinations; and, following on from this graph we’ll start highlighting specific combinations. Out of the above though, there are three different combos that stand out as the most balanced. Those combinations are the Cook/Tanner, Smith/Tailor, and Abbot/Miller.

This becomes clearer when we look at the number of faces each statistic has present on the dice in each pairing.

Now, there is a really interesting point to be made here, and I am sure it is something all players of Escape the Dark Castle have noticed before – however, it is worth pointing out. The three combos use each of the six characters once – Cook/Tanner, Smith/Tailor, and Abbot/Miller. This means that each character has an equal and opposite/natural pairing in Escape the Dark Castle.

What this means is that each one of those parings have the same secondary attribute; however, their primary and tertiary attributes are inverted.

Escape the Dark Castle Character Combinations in a 3 Player Game

Things change slightly when we look at the three player game. When looking at a three player game, the characters need to be balanced in a slightly different way. Rather than looking at inverse strengths/weaknesses across two characters (with the same middle skill), we actually need to look at balancing three different attributes in their entirety.

This means having all three different attributes in three different positions.

Now, unlike with two players, it is possible to see a perfect balance between three players. For this the primary, secondary, and tertiary attributes need to be completely different between the characters. If one character has a Strength of 4, the next can only have a Strength of 3, and the third a Strength of 1. If one has a Cunning of 4, the next can only have a Cunning of 3, and so on.

Interestingly, this also creates a balanced graph when looking at the faces.

Again, where one of those combinations has the Cook/Abbot/Tailor, the second has the Smith/Miller/Tanner. There is no cross over.

Escape the Dark Castle Character Combinations in a 4 Player Game

Finally, we can look at a four player game.

When looking at a four player game it is possible to see how similar it looks to a two player game. Once again, there are 15 combinations.

Now, not all of those are equal; however, they do present some interesting results. For instance, there are three results (or combinations) that are more balanced than the others. Those are:

  • Cook, Smith, Tailor, Tanner
  • Cook, Tanner, Abbot, Miller
  • Smith, Tailor, Abbot, Miller

Taking into account each one of those combinations, each Escape the Dark Castle character is used twice.

Once again, it is possible to perfectly balance the group, in regards to dice sides, when looking at a four player game.

Escape The Dark Castle Characters: An Exploration

The characters in Escape the Dark Castle are relatively simple, perfectly balanced, and fairly easy to determine which ones should go with which – that being said, it is always good to see the data visualised.

The Characters

One of the great things about Escape the Dark Castle, is that you can play it as you want. That being said, if you are wanting to create a balanced party to have the highest possible odds of surviving the Castle as we know it – there are a few combinations worth looking at. Those combos include:

2 Player Game

  • Cook/Tanner
  • Smith/Tailor
  • Abbot/Miller.

3 Player Game

  • Cook/Abbot/Tailor
  • Smith/Miller/Tanner

4 Player Game

  • Cook, Smith, Tailor, Tanner
  • Cook, Tanner, Abbot, Miller
  • Smith, Tailor, Abbot, Miller

In theory – those should give the best combination of character on average. Of course, that’s not really how the game works, and it is possible (through the law of averages) to seriously need one attribute over another in any one game; however, on paper, these are good combinations.

So, what are your thoughts? When playing Escape the Dark Castle do you like to play a balanced game or just choose your characters based on what you like the look of? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Other Escape the Dark Castle Articles:
Escape the Dark Castle Review

4 Comments »

  1. Great breakdown of the character balance, how does this stack up to the unpredictability of a random dungeon? Given the base cards, is there a tendency to require a party that is balanced? Or is it necessary to bias one of the attributes?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Those are very good questions. I was actually saying to someone earlier that the next step would be to analyse each and every card now to see if there is a bias towards any particular attribute. That would be a much bigger analysis piece, but definitely interesting to do.

      Like

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