Escape the Erupting Volcano in Cooperative Adventure Red Peak | Casual Game Revolution

Escape the Erupting Volcano in Cooperative Adventure Red Peak

Red Peak

Your expedition on this island may be your last, as the volcano erupts, leaving your team with limited time to cut your way through the jungle and reach the safety of your boat.

Red Peak is a cooperative, real-time game in which during the daylight phase players must race against the timer to play cards and lay tiles, while during the night phase the lava creeps closer and they strategize their game plan for the coming round.


The board is made up of a grid of squares. At one end is the volcano, where the lava tiles start in a shuffled, face-down stack. At the other end is the beach, with five boat tiles (also face down). A tent and adventurer meeple are placed on the starting location near the volcano and twelve tool cards are dealt out between all the players. Players do not look at these until the game begins. Players also start with seven path tiles, face up, in their collective supply.

Each round has two phases, the day phase and the night phase. During the day phase, players start the ninety second timer. They may now look at their tool cards. You are only allowed to look at your tool cards during the day phase. You may discuss the cards you have, but you may not show them to each other. Each tool card shows three different tools. You can use each tool card one time only, having it act as one of the three tools it shows, and then you must discard it.

Players collectively discuss which path tiles to lay on the board. Path tiles are placed next to the previous one played, and must form a single continuous path. Each tile shows a number of tools it needs in order to travel along it, as well as a number of rewards for doing so.

At some point, still during these ninety seconds, players decide when to stop adding tiles. They then move the adventurer meeple along the path they have created, stopping at each tool icon, where a player must discard a tool card that matches this icon. If you have any multi-tool tokens, you can discard one to act as any tool you need. If you are not able to supply the needed tools, the meeple moves back to the previous tile and the all future tiles in the path are returned to the players’ supply. Otherwise, you keep going until the meeple has reached the current end of the path.

After you have finished moving the meeple, you check the timer — if it still running, excellent! Otherwise, you move the timer onto the next tile in the timeline track. If the timer reaches the end of this track, you add another tile to it and must also place a lava tile on the board.

The day phase is now over and the night phase begins. Players put their tool cards down and may not look at them again until the next day phase.

You move the tent along the path the adventurer meeple moved through during the day phase, stopping at each one to resolve the rewards listed on the tile. The rewards include tool cards, adding tiles to the timeline track, adding path tiles to your supply, multi-tool tokens, and drawing a boat tile and placing it on the beach (if you already have a boat tile there, you must choose one and discard the other: each boat tile has its own costs for activating at the end of the game). Most tile rewards will also cause lava tiles to be drawn.

When you draw a lava tile, you add it next to the previous lava tile placed and it follows the path tiles on the board so that you are always trying to outrun the lava. If a lava tile would ever be placed on the path tile that your tent occupies, you lose the game. Some lava tiles cause you to draw a second lava tile, while others cause no lava to be added to the board.

After your tent reaches your adventurer meeple, players can discuss their plans for the next day phase, and can also decide to draw a lava tile in exchange for a bonus such as tool cards or more path tiles. The night phase is now over and the day phase begins again.

If players reach the boat and manage to pay the cost to get out before the lava reaches them, they win the game!

Red Peak Components


Red Peak blends theme and real-time mechanics together nicely, as you race against the lava to reach the beach and make your escape. The game is not only about memory or the frantic pace of the daylight phase — the resource management aspect is also engaging, particularly choosing which path tiles to place, keeping in mind the rewards they give, needing to add to your tile and card pools while also taking into account how many lava tiles these path pieces will force you to draw. This leads to a fun risk/reward mechanism that blends in nicely with the real-time phase of the game.

It is also a good choice that the game allows you to catch your breath and regroup after each day phase, allowing you to strategize and plan, while still ensuring some uncertainty and that you’ll have to make decisions on the fly next round as you can’t consult your tool cards — neither the ones you saw earlier, nor any you might have drawn as rewards. This chance to regroup every ninety seconds makes Red Peak a good introduction for newcomers to the real-time genre of games.

There are a few elements of the game that can feel a little complicated for the first couple of plays, for instance the timeline track or what all the icons mean. This gives the game a bit of a learning curve which isn’t ideal for a real-time game, but at its heart Red Peak is not very complicated, and after a game or two, you’ll be comfortable with all the rules.

Two variants are also included in the game, one of which grants you bonuses for building the path over certain areas of the board and another which requires you to. These add an extra level of difficulty which is welcome, as well as an extra puzzle element as you have to figure out the best way to use your path tiles to reach these specific points.

The creeping lava stream adds plenty of tension to the game and escalation, and there are plenty of opportunities for groans of failure or relief when you draw just exactly what you need. Red Peak is an enjoyable, fun, and challenging competitive experience, with a good theme and playtime that easily allows you to give it ‘one more go’ when you’re met with defeat: and you’ll find it hard to resist doing so!

Pros: Enjoyable blending of theme and mechanics, solid variants, good escalation and tension

Cons: Some of the icons and one or two rules require several rounds to get used to

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.