This is going to be the best summer at Camp Crimson Woods ever...well if we all survive.  

 Crimson Woods Cover

Crimson Woods
Designer(s) Joshua Bryan Artist(s) James Hayball Publisher

Red Clover Games

2-6 14+ 45-120m

All it takes to escape Camp Crimson Woods with your life is some type of transportation, the keys, and the way to power it.  How hard can it be to try to find resources?  Oh did I forget to mention there is a killer on the loose?  Time to play strategically to survive the summer.  Do you have what it takes to take on the killer and escape?  Lets find out!

122886190 1503645143160296 4094985300028975360 nBox and Components

I would like to begin by saying that the box and components are strictly prototypes, so the final product will change before it releases, which is slated for August 2021 if it fully funds on Kickstarter.  My description and review is strictly based on what I received.  However, I can provide input from the designer of what the final items is projected to look like.

I love the concept of the design of the box.  It appears to me like the old VHS tapes from the 80's and early 90's.  The font of the box looks almost like blood, which greatly fits the theme of the game.  The box shows a crescent moon over a forest scene that really sets the mood as well. The back of the box shows an old cabin with some of the resource cards.  

The components of the prototype are sturdy material.  The game comes with:

  • 50 resource cards that has a nice knapsack picture on the backs with the logo of Camp Crimson Woods. This deck of cards consists of 35 resource cards and 15 killer cards.  Depending on the level of intensity you can play with all 15 killer cards or go easy with 7 killer cards shuffled into the deck.  Players can decide on the intensity level they want to play with.  These cards are sturdy and have a nice feel. 
  • 32 search cards that will be one sided in the final game and will provide little bonuses as you explore or could be the killer.  These search cards consist of: draw a card, first aid, boat/car/watchtower keys, and stalker cards. 
  • 36 tiles that will be the "board" of the game.  These are a cardboard material that are sturdy and takes great effort to try to bend them. 
  • 122906678 293132458454757 7559850927681601927 nThere are currently 6 Counselor ID cards, but if it gets funded by Halloween, there is a stretch goal that will allow for 1-7 players. 
  • 6 health trackers, these are wooden pieces shaped as blood.  
  • 6 character meeples that consist of blue, green orange, purple, green, white and black; there is also a killer meeple which is red. 
  • 3 killer red 6-sided dice used for attacking the players. 
  • 2 counselor blue 6-sided dice used for attacking/defending. 
  • 1 black and 1 white 6-sided dice that will be used as coordinates for the killer to appear. 
  • 6-sided die that is used for the killer's movement, which consists of North, South, East, West, 2, and 3.  With the directions the killer moves 1 space; however, if you land on the 2 or 3 the killer moves that many spaces closer to the closest counselor. 

Again, some of these components may change before the physical copies get shipped to backers.  


I love the concept of this game.  I'm a big horror fan, even if I scare easily.  This reminds me of Friday the 13th movies with Jason.  In Crimson Woods, you and the other players are playing as camp counselors at the camp and are trying to escape before the killer gets you.  In order to do this, you must meet certain win conditions; for example, to leave via the boat, you must have a gas resource card, the boat keys, and be on the boat tile and roll a successful based on the breakdown on the boat tile.  In this example, if you are successful in this, then you escape and win. If there are counselors not present on the boat tile when you escape, then they are still trapped and must find another way to escape such as via the car or watchtower to be rescued by police.  However, there are ways to lose as well.  If you are left behind, the killer continues tracking you down to kill you.  There is also a "final showdown" that is triggered once the resource desk is emptied.  One more full round is played, and once that round is completed, anyone left in camp is slowly stalked by the killer and picked off one by one. 

Game Setup

122854779 1532734976912635 8983762001416125119 nTo begin set up, you will pull the starting tiles for Main office, Mess Hall, Boy Bunk and Girl Bunk.  These will be placed in the center of the table face up without a search card underneath.  Set them up by using the numbers in the lower right hand corner as: 3-3 and 3-4 over 4-3 and 4-4.  The game board is set up by shuffling both the tiles and the search cards separately.  You will then draw one search card and place it face down on the table without looking and place a tile on top of it face down as well around the starting tiles.   This will continue around the starting tiles until you set up a 6x6 grid. 

Prior to beginning, players must decide how intense they would like the game to be.  For an easier game, you can shuffle 7 killer cards into the resource deck.  For an average adventure, you would shuffle 10 killer cards in the resource deck.  For a harder game, you would shuffle all 15 killer cards into the resource deck.  Shuffle the resource cards and place them in a location that all players can reach. 

All players will select a Counselor ID and place a health tracker on the 3 space, and they place their meeple in one of the four center starting spaces.  Place the player dice, killer dice, killer meeple, and killer movement die within reach of all players.

Player Turns

To play the game, on your turn you have 5 phases on your turn to possibly complete. 

  • In Phase 0 (not mentioned on the card, but essentially an unlisted phase), if the counselor is on a face down tile, they flip the tile, collect the search card (if still there), and resolve the effects of the tile as described in Phase 3 below. The player may continue their turn as normal. 
  • In Phase 1, roll the killer dice, which are the white and black dice.  The white die sets the vertical coordinate (or column) and the black die sets the horizontal coordinate (or row), unless there is a face up tile that gives you those coordinates.  If that happens the killer spawns on that tile.  Otherwise, he spawns on the back of the card and awaits his kill. If the killer appears where a counselor is, they fight (explained later).
  • In Phase 2, the camp counselor can move up to their movement speed (which can be found on their Counselor ID with the shoe silhouette) and or play cards.  The cards could be additional movements or to draw more cards. 
  • In Phase 3,  resolve the tile you landed on.  If the tile is face down, you will flip up the tile.  If no one has landed on this tile before, there will be a search card underneath; you will take the search card and place it in front of you, which can be used anytime on your turns.  If the tile you landed on and flipped up has actions on it, you must complete them by rolling one of the player die.  The tile may have a breakdown of what you need to roll to succeed or perhaps gives a reward to draw a card or could spawn the killer on your tile.  If the killer appears, resolve the fight (explained below). If you do not encounter the killer, you continue to phase 4. 
  • 122880337 684167972210293 8644844593162536879 nIn Phase 4, you may to draw a resource card; this is an optional step. You may not always want to draw a resource since there is a chance it could be the killer. 
  • In Phase 5, roll the killer movement die to see which direction he moves.  If the die lands on 2 or 3, he will move in the direction to the closest counselor.  If the killer lands on a tile with a counselor, they must fight (explained below).   

Play continues around the table to the next camp counselor.  

Moving off of tiles: When a counselor leaves a tile that isn't 1 of the 4 starting tiles, the previous tile is flipped back over.  You have to use your memory to try and remember where different locations were, but watch out some tiles may have you shuffle an entire column and redistribute them that can mess up where certain tiles are.  I like this concept in the game cause it adds more to the searching but adds in the memory aspect.  It adds more difficulty to the game.

Fighting the Killer: When the killer appears/moves onto a space with the counselor, they fight. The player with roll the 2 blue dice while another player will roll the 3 red killer dice; players may use weapons/items that add to their attack value. Once all modifiers have been applied, whoever has the most wins the fight. If the counselor wins, they continue with their turn.  If they fail, they must flee two tiles away, and their turn is over (do not resolve the effects of the new tile). 

There are some additional rules in the game, but the rest are pretty straight forward and explain situations that happen occasionally. 

End Game

The game will end if one of the following conditions are triggered:

  • All of the counselors successfully escape using the escape tiles; the players win.
  • All of the counselors are killed; the players lose. 
  • If the resource deck runs out of cards, the players get one more turn to try to escape before they are all tracked down by the killer and killed. All player who escaped win while the player stuck at the camp are killed by the killer and lose.

Final Thoughts

This game has a great concept.  I love the idea behind the game and the different concepts it incorporates into it.  The artwork is awesome and sets the creepy mood Crimson Woods is trying to portray.  The Counselor ID cards provide different abilities with the different counselors that can benefit you throughout the game.  Since there is Kickstarter rewards for designing the counselors, these are still being revised with pictures, basic information, and how long they've worked at the camp.  I can't wait to see what the final ones will look like. 

The rules still need to be cleaned up as there are a number of rules that are not clear. After talking with the designer, he admitted this is still something that he is flushing out. He has the rules in his head and has tested them in playtests, but he is still trying to articulate the rules the way he envisions them. Again, the version we have is a prototype, and we expect the final version will have this all addressed.  

If you enjoy horror games and love 80 slasher movies than this game will be worth checking out.  The game is currently on Kickstarter until November 26th
Crimson Woods Portrait

Here is a video of us unboxing of the prototype of the game, a preview of the gameplay, and give our thoughts on the game. 


Crimson Woods Kickstarter Page

Publisher Product Page

 Crimson Woods Board Game Geek Page


We received the prototype in order to write an honest review; all reviews reflect the honest opinions of the writer.