"One of my favorite gaming moments ever." -Rob Daviau (Pandemic Legacy)
"A masterful storytelling game" -Justin Alexander (The Alexandrian)
- So, so much fun." -Marshall Miller (Fine Mess Games)
"The best RPG I have played in years. YEARS." -Mike Kanarek (Aviary Games)
"I actually jumped." -Kristen D (Gauntlet Podcast)
"Leaves a cold chill down your spine." -Ferrell Riley (Gauntlet Podcast)
"Packed with clever ideas." -Daniel Lewis (Gauntlet Podcast)
"The best horror game since Dread." -Kevin Kulp (TimeWatch)
"Completely amazing." -Seth Zeren (Providence Indie RPGS)
Ten Candles is a zero-prep tabletop storytelling game designed for one-shot 2-4 hour sessions of tragic horror. It was released in December 2015 and is best played with one GM and 3-5 players. It is played by the light of ten tea light candles which provide atmosphere, act as a countdown timer for the game, and allow you to literally burn your character sheet away as you play. Ten Candles is described as a "tragic horror" game rather than survival horror for one main reason: in Ten Candles there are no survivors. In the final scene of the game, when only one candle remains, all of the characters will die. In this, Ten Candles is not a game about "winning" or beating the monsters. Instead, it is a game about what happens in the dark, and about those who try to survive within it. It is a game about being pushed to the brink of madness and despair, searching for hope in a hopeless world, and trying to do something meaningful with your final few hours left.
The setting of Ten Candles will change game to game as the gamemaster selects different "modules" to run for an ever-changing lineup of doomed characters and scenarios for them to play within. The antagonists of the game also change, leaving you to fight nightmares in one session only to fight sentient shadows, bloodthirsty clowns, or the gods themselves in the next. Every session of Ten Candles is unique and will present an entirely new tragic story for you to tell.
These things are true: the world is dark, and you are alive.
"In picking up Ten Candles, you’re acquiring the enchanted key to a vast library of doom and darkness that is somehow paradoxically also filled with hope, laughter, and togetherness. A key that is incredibly well-crafted, easily accessible, accompanied by clear directions, inexpensive, and so very worth it."
-Cynthia Hornbeck (Shut Up & Sit Down)
Check out some of the links below for more information about Ten Candles:
How To Play - A basic overview of the rules by designer Stephen Dewey (from the game's original Kickstarter)
Review: Ten Candles - A "Shut Up & Sit Down Recommends" review from Cynthia Hornbeck on Shut Up & Sit Down
Review: Ten Candles - A 10 out of 10 review from Justin Alexander on The Alexandrian.
Review: Ten Candles - A 4 out of 5 review from Kate Bullock on Bluestocking's Organic Gaming
"The Last Boat" Live Play - Check out the awesome folks over at Nerds and Stuff playing through (and video recording) The Last Boat module. Includes character creation and the entire game's playthrough.
"The Wedding" Live Play - Jimmy and Bea are just plain awesome. For their actual play podcast Have You Roleplayed, they also played Ten Candles! They've got a few episodes devoted to it, including a general discussion, and part 1 and part 2 of their playthrough.
"Dead Radio" Live Play - Listen to Stephen Dewey join the folks at the Startup Gamers Podcast for a full playthrough of Ten Candles. This first installment (click: here) goes through a game overview and character creation. The second installment contains the entire playthrough.
"Dead Radio" Live Play - Here we have the lovely actual play podcast Disgruntled GM. For their first episode, they played Ten Candles and also played through the classic Dead Radio module.