Play Time: 2-4 hours
As someone who doesn’t have a long history with tabletop storytelling games (but wishes she did), Ten Candles was a perfect intro to the genre. Playing requires zero prep and consists of one-shot stories, making it perfect for groups of friends with conflicting schedules.
Game Overview: Ten Candles is billed as a ‘Tragic Horror’ game, and I fully endorse that classification. This game is not about winning. It's not about killing all the monsters. There are no survivors in these stories. Your character will die.
Your character has hope. And you hope that somehow, maybe, they will make it out of this alive. In the end, this game is about “what happens in the dark, and about those who try to survive in it.” And about telling a damn good story.
At the end of each scene, the players repeat the same line, "The world is dark. And we are alive." But at the end of the game, the world is only dark.
What's Inside: There are a few ways to get started playing Ten Candles. You can buy the softcover rulebook, a PDF, or a combination of the two. The manual includes 25 modules to choose from. Not all of the stories are supernaturally based, so there are even options for history buffs and teen slasher movie fans.
You will need to provide: a fireproof bowl, 10 tealight candles, index cards & pens, dice.
Who to play with: Ten Candles works best with people who like to tell stories and who think outside of the box. The wonderful thing is that this game is whatever you make it. Surround yourself with friends who aren't afraid to let things go bad in pursuit of a great story line.
We found that, for our group, we had the best flow with one GM (game master) and 4 characters. This keeps the story interesting, but makes managing the story easy for the GM.
Jumping In: Depending on the module you choose, your character can be anyone from a forgetful genetic researcher to a 16 year old kid with a knitting project. You will give them traits (vice, virtue, etc) and these characteristics will shape your actions and ultimately the story. Ten Candles is a master at creating tension. As you play, you will lose resources, time, light, and control over the story's direction. Rolling your last die in the light of your last candle while your character is desperate and dying is stressful as hell.
Value: Just buy it, guys. The PDF is only $10 USD and you are going to surprise yourself with what you create out of the modules.