My Experience Playing Ten Candles

My Experience Playing Ten Candles

With very little prep-time, a table setting that looks like a séance, and a blunt understanding by all players that their characters will die at the end, Ten Candles is a perfect fit for a one-shot RPG session during Halloween season.

The basic concept is this: the sky went dark, cell phones and GPS went silent, and “they” came.  Throughout the game, players explore both the mysterious new apocalypse, the mysterious beings, and their very nature as they deal with loss, dread, hope, and being pushed to the brink.

Character creation is simple: players choose virtues, vices, hopes, and secret brinks for each other.  This only takes about ten minutes at the start of the session–no homework required.  Despite the simplicity, these traits leave a lot of room for clever role-play.  Also, the simplicity goes hand-in-hand with classic, campy horror tropes.  In our recent playthrough (set on a university campus), it was easy to create the star basketball player, bookish English major, and calculating physics professor.  However, how they interact–especially on the edge of death–is where true creativity comes forth.

As the game goes on, these traits are burned and placed in the center of the table for all players to see, and each of the ten candles goes out as more story is revealed.  This helps the pace of the game move on, and the dimming light creates a palpable feeling of inevitable loss.

I really like Ten Candles. We played it in our coffee roastery at night, which made for a very spooky setting.  You can check out the playthrough here:

If you want to purchase Ten Candles, you can buy it here: This was not a sponsored post, and we don’t get a kickback for sharing that link.  We just think more people should play it!

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