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The Last of Us board game promises open world, stealth, crafting

Escape the Dark Castle creator Themeborne is partnering with Naughty Dog on The Last of Us: Escape the Dark, an open world co-op board game

The Last of Us board game Escape the Dark kickstarter release date - Naughty Dog photo showing the box art for the game

UK-based board game studio Themeborne – creator of co-op titles Escape the Dark Castle and Escape the Dark Sector – has announced it’s working with videogame studio Naughty Dog on an official The Last of Us board game, set to launch on Kickstarter on Tuesday, November 8. Themeborne says the game features an “open-world map”, crafting, stealth, and more.


Announced via blog posts from Naughty Dog and Themeborne on Tuesday, The Last of Us: Escape the Dark will be a co-operative game for one to five players, who’ll spend their time “attempting to make their way to safety while keeping everybody in the group alive”.

You’ll be playing as characters right out of the original 2013 videogame – including Ellie, Joel, Tess, Bill, Tommy, and Marlene – and visiting locations seen in-game, too: Escape the Dark has ‘chapter cards’ to play through at the Suburbs, Sewers, and University.

And, naturally, the videogame’s trademark fungoid enemies the Infected make an appearance, alongside the opportunistic Hunters.

The Last of Us board game Escape the Dark kickstarter release date - Naughty Dog photo showing the game box, board, card, and dice

It looks to be sticking close to the original’s visual style – excepting, of course, Themeborne’s trademark sharp-edged, black-and-white artworks.

Tuesday’s announcement makes clear the game – which it says is “powered by the latest evolution of the Escape the Dark game engine” – is gunning for a mixture of tactical crunch, RPG elements, and survival thrills.

Gameplay challenges and combat are powered by “a tactical combination of item cards and custom dice”; each character starts with a unique “Hang-up” they’ll be trying to overcome during the game in a “journey of personal growth”; and Themeborne also promises a “simple, satisfying crafting and weapon upgrade system” that ensures stealth, as well as straight combat, is always a viable way to deal with enemies.

The Last of Us board game Escape the Dark kickstarter release date - Naughty Dog photo showing the logo and box art for the game

“Escape the Dark Castle grabbed me with its bold black & white illustrations, compelling RPG mechanics, and interesting narrative choices,” says Naughty Dog Co-President Neil Druckmann in Themeborne’s announcement post.

“Now I couldn’t be happier to see their game design continue to evolve with The Last of Us!” they added.

“We’re excited to see Joel, Ellie, and more of our beloved characters take on new life through stunning artwork and mechanics”.

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If you’re keen, you can follow the The Last of Us: Escape the Dark Kickstarter campaign already, in time for it to go live on November 8.

In the meantime, dig for another tabletop treat to tide you over in our guides to the best board games around – or perhaps the best strategy board games or war board games, if those tickle your fancy.