You may remember that waaaay back in April, we played the Ghostbusters board game and were somewhat disappointed by it. (Short version: great pieces, dull game, the six year old kept up with us.)
Well, in the comments to that post, Alan Scott told me:
So the game you’re looking for, the one you wish the Ghostbusters game was? It exists. It’s called Ghost Stories and is published in the US by Asmodee.
Well, I looked Ghost Stories up on Amazon and I picked it up. HOLY COW AM I GLAD I DID.
The game is simple. You are a group of four monks that are taking on the Big Bad Ghost. As ghost busting monks go, you guys are pretty awesome. Each monk has not only a different color but a different power from each other monk. The blue monk, for example, instead of being limited to one action a turn (such as “visit a merchant” or “attack a ghost”) can do that action twice while the yellow monk gets a free reagent (essentially, a token that represents a successful dice roll of a particular color… so a successful blue roll, a successful green roll… but if you needed a successful red roll, you’re out of luck) and the green monk gets to roll 4 die rather than the 3 die that the other monks have to roll. That sort of thing.
It’s good that you guys are such awesome ghost busters because you run around taking out the various shock troops of lesser ghosts as they prepare the way for the big bad and there ain’t no messing around. The ghosts just keep coming, they don’t slow down, and you, as monks, don’t get any better. There’s no levelling up. Co-player looked at us and said “I don’t know how we’re going to turn the corner here” and he was right. There are no corners to turn. You start out awesome and you find out exactly how little that’s going to get you when you go up against This Particular Big Bad.
The ghosts come out every turn (and sometimes two a turn) and they all have a value in the upper left corner. The ghosts come in one of five colors: black, blue, green, red, and yellow. They have a value of somewhere between 1 and 4 and, in you fight the ghosts by rolling 3 die (well, as I said, the green monk rolls 4). The die have those five colors on them plus a “white” side (the white side is “wild” and can be used to represent any of the five colors). And you defeat a ghost by rolling a sufficient number of their colors on the die. Sometimes it’s easy to roll two blues. Sometimes it’s difficult. (The upside is that it’s possible to pick up reagents of whichever color you might need and thus make it easier to fight off the 3s and 4s that keep inexorably showing up.)
We got whupped.
Whupped to the point where I spent the next day or two thinking about what house rules we could possibly come up with that would keep the game fun while tipping it just a hair in our favor because, seriously, we felt like “this is awesome but, man, there’s no way to actually win this.”
My thought is that the various monks would have an automatic success for whichever color they are. So blue monks could defeat a onesy blue automatically, need only one blue success for a twosy blue ghost, so on and so forth. This wouldn’t help you against ghosts that were not your color, of course, but it might give you enough of a leg up to make the game beatable. Or feel beatable, anyway, until the Big Bad shows up.
I am very glad we got this game. It’s a lot of fun, really difficult, and it’s *EXACTLY* the game that I was hoping to play when I was disappointed by Ghostbusters.
Thank you, Alan Scott. You were 100% correct.
So… what are you playing?
(Picture is HG Wells playing a war game from Illustrated London News (25 January 1913[/efn_note]