Game: B+
From 130 reviews

Ten Candles

First Edition


Publisher Description

Ten Candles is a zero-prep tabletop storytelling game designed for one-shot 2-4 hour sessions of tragic horror. It is best played with one GM and 3-5 players, 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 monsters you're facing will change every time you play as well, allowing every session of Ten Candles you play to be unique and to present an entirely new tragic story for you to tell.


An RPG Where Death Isn't Just Likely, It's Guaranteed [ edit ]

Ten Candles, and independent RPG from independent developer Stephen Dewey, has a simple premise at its core: you play with ten tea candles lit at the start of the game, and when only one candle remains every remaining character will die.  The point of the game is to tell the stories of those characters, who struggle to have hope even as their players know there is none.

Darkness is more than just a gimmick for the players however, as the game itself revolves a sudden and oppressive darkness falling over the planet, followed shortly by ... something else.  The exact nature of the threat in the game varies, which is designed to add replay value to it.

Ten Candles, First Edition - Rules SummaryCollapse

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An Independent Darling [ edit ]

While Ten Candles may not rank as highly as some more established RPGs, it's not exactly the new kid on the block, having first launched its Kickstarter in 2014.  In that time it's picked up the Silver Indie RPG Award for Most Innovative Game, as well as a host of favorable reviews (so many that the game's official website has them rotating through).

The game also scored a very high 8.31/10 (from 13 reviews) on RPG Geek, so you can be confident that a lot of gamers are having a lot of fun with this unique game.  While it's certainly not the RPG you'd want to pick to bring your next horror campaign to life (as an inherently one-shot-only RPG it's not good for any campaign), if you want to try something different and, quite literally, darker, check out Ten Candles.