Ghostbusters the Board Game, review

The hugely successful Cryptozoic kickstarter shipped and we got to play it.

Ghostbusters The Board Game, omw to level 2
Ghostbusters The Board Game, omw to level 2

It’s a very ameri-style game, and feels a bit like a very simplified Arkham Horror more than anything else. You get two actions per turn, plus 1 special action. You lose actions by getting slimed, but can’t lose that special action (called a ‘maneuver’, which to paraquote a British philosopher, make it sound a bit like a tank commander game).

The game is very scenario driven and each scenario makes big changes to how the various rules run (goals, penalties for misses, etc). In general though the game is about moving figurines around, avoiding ghosts and avoiding losing actions to them, and shooting the proton guns which involves rolling dice to verify hits. Each character has a few power ups that add a bit more complexity to it, but the game never gets very complex beyond that.

Ghostbusters the Board Game, what happens when you miss a gate too many times
Ghostbusters the Board Game, what happens when you miss a gate too many times

The figurines are very nice and so is all the art. All of it genuinely reminds me of the old cartoons (not familiar with the new one :P) and feels very thematic.

The game is strictly coöp with one major exception: it’s possible through your actions to cause other players to get slimed, and there’s an action to de-slime them. That action though doesn’t grant XPs, unlike busting ghosts. Leads to a slight ‘battletoads’-like mentality of “Well, you slimed me once so I get to slime you back” which inevitably escalates up.

Ghostbusters the Board Game
Ghostbusters the Board Game. We spent most of this scenario around this car. Nice car though.

It’s a solid game if you want a dice heavy miniature game, and especially if you have kids/younger cousins who are into the Ghostbusters. There’s a lot of scenarios that offer a lot of play and the miniatures are really quite nice.

Betrayal at House on the Hill review

We went to a Halloween party where some thematic board games got played including Buffy, Tajemnicze Domostwo, One Night Ultimate Werewolf, and the remake a Halloween party classic: Betrayal at House on the Hill

Betrayal In The House On The Hill
Betrayal At House On The Hill

It’s a very american style game: party explores house one tile at a time, resolve cards as needed, power up as needed. With each explored room the chances of one person becoming a traitor increase until it’s triggered, then everyone reads the new rules and the second half of the game is played. Sometimes aliens show up, sometimes a green ooze starts spreading, this time a group of cannibals burst from the kitchen and their victims started running for it from the attic.

This was my first time playing the remake, and it was a pretty quick game since the betrayal happened in the 3rd omen and 2nd turn. This meant that the final part was very dice driven as there were almost no items in play, though it did end in a dramatic showdown between the last living party member and the traitor.

It’s been a long while since I played the original, but I recall thinking that the components in the original weren’t quite as nice. I also never owned either version of the game so I can’t speak to the quality of the scenarios. Every one I played so far, from either side, seemed a fine luck heavy challange.

Not that there’s anything wrong with relying on dice in a party game. The game is supposed to be a lightweight horror with a fun one-against-all twist and it definitely delivers in that. It’s not something which rewards multiple playthroughs as a means to improve strategically, but it really shouldn’t. No one likes “The guy who brought it wins” type games at a party.

City of Thieves review

We got this one a few years ago as a Christmas present from my parents: FFG’s City Of Thieves.

It’s a pretty simple fun game where you control a group of thieves and are attempting to rob a district, then get out with as much loot as you can.

Emptying streets of City of Thieves' last round
Emptying streets of City of Thieves’ last round

The game looks deceptively complicated for how simple it is. I personally think it could have stood to have a bit more player character differentiation in their stats (they’re all 2 strength, 4 movement, 4 mind. All 16 of them), and maybe a bit more juice to the arcana cards that give one-off bonuses. Then again, I might be trying to make it into something it’s not, which is a pretty easy going, chaotic, dice heavy, mass robbery simulator.

Worth pointing out that FFG also has a sister game in the same setting just called Arcana, where the same characters are fighting for control of the city. I imagine there’s probably a series of novels I’m not familiar with set in the same world.

Btw, visible on the right of that photo are our very cool metal fantasy coins from Rare Elements. Any game is more satisfying when gaining gold makes that sweet tinkling sound.

Arkham Horror vs Eldritch Horror, comparison

Over at Aurelia’s and Mike’s we did a playthrough of Eldritch Horror, just to be able to finally compare it to our Arkham Horror.

Eldritch Horror, almost all of the setup
Eldritch Horror, almost all of the setup visible

Short version before getting into details: Eldritch definitely better in every way, but not enough to buy if you have Arkham already.

The keyword for the changes would be “streamlined”. There’s much less stuff you need to keep track of at any one time, and the game has a convenient symbol that reminds you what to keep track of when time calls for it. So where in Arkham Horror it’s on you to remember the amount of gates open, monsters in city, and monsters in outskirts, in Eldritch Horror you go “We rotated the time counter to red so all the red events go off, let’s look at the board, this, this, and this, ok we’re done”.

Item purchasing is also much easier, and actually worth an action, vs Arkham Horror where the only time you’d use the shops would be if you were stuck there for some reason. The stories and encounters keep the same mood which is still very good. There’s also a nice effect where you don’t know what the side effects of your debts, curses, blessings, or spells will be, until they’re triggered. The possibility of doom is always scarier than the certainty of it.

If you love Arkham Horror, Eldritch is definitely comparable and probably a little better. But if you hate it, Eldritch will not make you love it. The things people hate most about Arkham (slow gameplay and long playtimes where not all that much happens) are still there, but just not as annoying as they used to be.

The shorter rulebook is nice too.

Dead Panic review

Got to play Dead Panic over labor day. It’s definitely more complex than Castle Panic, adding character powers, usable items, and a complicated winning condition involving collecting radio pieces, calling a van, then driving the van to pick up other player characters.

Dead Panic, very early in game
Dead Panic, very early in game

The big change is the winning condition. The zombies come endlessly, and killing them just pushes them back to the edge of the woods. The game is all about getting to the survivors, then collecting the radio pieces.

We played with 5 people which I think makes the game easier than not. We were completely out of items and using our last clubs by the time the van arrived though.

Dead Panic, a rather unfortunate survivor
Dead Panic, a rather unfortunate survivor

Fun game, I’m just surprised it didn’t come with more scenarios. Feels like it would be better if there were other alternate winning conditions, a la Robinson Crusoe.