In our every-other-Saturday-night gaming group, we have a bunch of games that we all enjoy playing regularly. Descent, D&D, some of the Fate System games, Lords of Waterdeep… but we’re also into the whole “oooh! A new game! Shiny!” thing.
Well, recently, we sat down to play the new Ghostbusters board game.
If you’ve seen the (original) movie (and who hasn’t?), you’re already somewhat familiar with the concept. You’re a ghostbuster. You aren’t afraid of any ghosts. Busting makes you feel good.
Okay, now that I’ve got that out of my system, I’ll try again. If you’ve seen the flick, you already have a general idea of the goal of the game. You are a ghostbuster. There are scenarios in which there are ghosts. Beating the scenario involves catching ghosts with your proton pack.
Now, the nitty gritty of the game involves there being lots and lots of pieces. Map pieces, character pieces, character charts, ghost pieces, little cards that tell you how to level up, all sorts of stuff. In the book with the scenarios, it tells you how to set up the map pieces to make a map, where you need to place your ghostbustermobile, and where to place the ghosts. Then you start a game where you and the ghosts alternate turns (and the actions of the ghosts are determined by the scenario and the dice rolls). So it’s a game for 1-4 players (that’s right, you can play it solitaire).
It’ll take you maybe 5 minutes to set up a scenario the first time, after the first time, it’ll probably take closer to 2-3. So it’s not like Descent where you’ll be taking 10 minutes between maps. The pieces themselves are a bit fragile, but they’re fun to look at and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is cool enough that you might forget to put it back in the box and keep it, instead, on your computer desk. If you’re the type of person to keep something like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man on your computer desk, that is.
As for gameplay? We played two or three games and we played with our host’s 6-year old boy. The kiddo was totally able to keep up with the grownups at the table even though it was his first time playing the game too.
Sadly, he was able to keep up because the game is somewhat overly simple and pretty much an example of a game being too straightforward once you know the mechanic. It makes for a great family game, if you’ve got 6-year-olds who like the idea of ghostbusting… but, if you’re a grownup thinking about a game for your gaming group? I really don’t think you can justify the $50 (ON SALE!!!!) price tag.
Even though the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man figure *IS* pretty sweet. And, yeah, if you’re looking to induct your kids into games that are more fun than Monopoly, and don’t think that Risk or Axis and Allies is the best way to get them to venture out into more interesting games, you could do a lot worse than this one.
So we played that one night… and probably won’t play it again. Maybe if the kid demands it on a night that we aren’t already planning on playing something else.
So… what are you playing?
(Picture is “Untitled” by our very own Will Truman. Used with permission.)