No matter how I old I get, there will always be a little rush of nostalgia any time I see a Choose Your Adventure (CYOA) cover. So when Z-Man Games put out a CYOA game, there was no question that I'd be checking it out.
As you can see, they didn't mess with success and stuck with the iconic cover design. The box comes packed with a lot of cards which I'll discuss as I explain the game part. The worst thing about the game is the box insert that's supposed to keep everything organized. If I weren't a collector minded person, I would just toss it out and put everything in Ziploc bags.
I should note that although this is billed as a "cooperative adventure game" adaptation of a CYOA book, it plays the same solo or with a group.
The basic story is that you are detective and psychic investigator that has been having recurring nightmares that lead you to said house. Your mission is to get to the bottom of these visions!
Playing the game is like reading the book. You start with the chapter one card and then follow your choice to the indicated number card. The story is broken down into five chapters which provides good places to stop if you don't have time to do it all in one sitting. Each chapter has it's own deck of story and clue cards to go with it.
Your psychic level can help you out during the story by allowing you to discover things, giving you additional story choices, or even premonitions!
If you remember anything about CYOA books, it's probably that you died (or failed) a lot. I know when I used to read these I always kept one finger on the page before turning to the next section in case I made a bad choice. Here, a premature ending will reduce your psychic score and let you pick up at the previous story. Death is only a minor setback.
I played through the first chapter on my own and had a pretty good time with the additional mechanics. I especially liked the clue cards which give you a physical representation of your item inventory. The danger meter can make you feel like the game is stacked against you as it creeps higher but it eventually resets itself.
This is made as a party game and I could see it being fun with a few more people to share the experience. If you grew up with CYOA, I'd say it's definitely worth checking out. It will hit all the nostalgia buttons for you from the box cover to the card art on down to the font used on the cards, this is CYOA. The only "downside" for me is that it is more of a game because you have to have a play area so it's not something you can pick up off the nightstand for a quick adventure before bed. But I could always just pick up a book or two for that.
You could just as easily get a couple CYOA books and read them aloud as a party game. The extra game elements do make this something different and give you more options but I don't see it as something I'd return to once I finish it. More than likely, I'd skip the game parts and just read through the cards like I was reading a CYOA book to explore the possible choices.
House of Danger retails for $25. In stores so far I've only found it at Target. It's also available online at retailers like Amazon.