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Subject: Welcome Foolish Mortals to the Haunted Mansion game review! rss

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Scott Rogers
United States
Thousand Oaks
California
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Based on the famous Disneyland (and Walt Disney World) attraction of the same name, this game was my holy grail for many years - having first played it at my Grandmother's in Florida one rainy summer in 1981. I couldn't convince Grandma to let me take it back home to California with me and after many fruitless years of scouring toyshows, I discovered ebay... and that the game was going for up to $250! After several sniped auctions, I won one for $70... which got lost in the mail! That's the last time I don't get insurance!

However, as a huge Haunted Mansion fan (I proposed to my wife in the CA park ride) I had to own it. This year, I finally bit the bullet and won one and brought it with me to a friend's for a game night. I was surprised that despite it's simplicity, it was a hit! Well, you aren't reading this for my life story, so on to the review.

The Review

If you buy this on ebay, try to find a complete one. You don't want to be missing any of the ghosts or (if you can help it) the raven.

First off, this game has some of the nicest board art I've seen. An extremely lovely two-sided fascade showing scenes of ghost frolicing in the mansion sits on the "back edge" of the board - which is almost completely useless to gameplay other than helping you get into the mood. I'll explain what I mean about "almost" in a moment.

The downside is this gorgeous backdrop is that it is supported by four plastic pegs that slide (read "are jammed") into slots on the backdrop and then are plugged into slots on the gameboard (which is also the "bottom" of the box) and the weight of the backdrop tends to cause it to lean back - which will bend the cardboard over time. I suggest proping it up when in use. Even worse, the pegs, when connected to the backdrop, tends to push up the backdrop's cardboard which will destroy it over consectutive uses. I suggest reinforcing the backdrop slots with clear tape - if you don't mind defacing your $50 to $250 game! The worst part is, you cannot store the backdrop in the box with the pegs attached. It's just a little too big!

The play is a standard roll and move board game where the player are represented as cute little guests sitting in "doombuggies" (the name for the moving carts from the attraction) Players roll 2 dice to move down a path through the mansion. (If you haven't ridden the ride, this may spoil some of it for you!) Players cannot move backwards but they do get to pick the direction their doombuggy moves at the end of their turn.

There are two twists that make the Haunted Mansion Game different than say, Candyland. One is the Raven which is "perched" on a swinging arm that slots into the backdrop. When a player lands on a spiderweb, the raven swings down, closing off the exit for the players. If the player lands on a spider, the raven is moved back up. The plastic arm also tends to chew up the backdrop, so use care when moving the raven up and down. After some usage, your Raven will have a tendancy to drop back down on it's own - which can lead to some amusing moments. I almost suggest skipping using the arm all together and just sliding the raven over the exit doorway instead. You'll get more life out of your game that way.

The second twist is the six rotating discs that sit in the center of the board. When the player lands on SPIN, the player rotates one of the discs (which in turn rotates all of the discs) to a new position. If someone happens to have their doombuggy on a disc, then they will get spun around to a new direction - which adds a surprising amount of strategy to how and where you move your buggy.

Attached to four of the discs are "spinning spooks" - a pair of dancers, a lantern-wielding Caretaker, Two opera-singing ghosts and two (out of three) of the famous "hitchhiking ghosts" - If these characters are spun into a doombuggy, the player is moved to the "ghoul's graveyard" where they lose a turn.

There are other such locations - such as the dungeon (which if a player lands on another, they are sent there and have to roll a 1 or a 6 to escape), the crypt (another lose a turn) or Madame Leota seance room where the player gets to roll again.

And that's about it. You will find that an average game will last about 15 to 30 minutes though things can slow down if you get spun around alot or get caught in the visious circle of direction arrows (spots on the path that turn your doombuggy around) or trapped by the raven.

We've found that the game is most fun if you use 1 dice instead of two for movement (which keeps you from blasting past the discs) but still use two dice when trying to get out of the dungeon (one to get the neccessary number, the other to move)

In Summary

It's a nice simple roll and move game for young and old that holds up surprising well. This Ghost Host recommends it if you can afford it.
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Martin Villemaire
Canada
Ottawa
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Well, *I* was reading this for your life story

Great review!
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Mark Mokszycki
United States
Snohomish
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Re: Welcome Foolish Mortals to the Haunted Mansion game revi
Haunted Mansion was my very favorite ride as a kid. I even had the book and the record. I had completely forgotten that I used to own the board game too. Thanks for the memories!
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Michael Pennisi
United States
Carpentersville
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I had this game when I was a kid and it was one of my favorties. Thanks for the memories.
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Pete Martin
United States
Fond du Lac
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This also has been one of my "holy grails". It only appears on ebay every so often, and then, most of the time it is missing parts. The few times I have seen whole copies the price has been way out of my range. I'm glad you found yours! For me, the search continues!

Great review.
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Marlin Deckert
United States
San Jose
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Nice review. When my friend brought his copy to my house for the first time, I wasn't expecting much more than a really basic roll-and-move game. While there is a huge luck factor, there actually is a bit of strategy involved besides choosing which path to follow. Deciding which direction to leave your doombuggy facing for the next turn is an interesting twist, especially when combined with the rotating floor discs. Add the effect of the Raven blocking the exit and you have a nice little game that's a step up from Candyland. Too bad it's no longer being made.
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Mark Augustyniak
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New York
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I loved this game as a kid.
When we moved in '86, it was part of a group that was left behind for the kids of the new family moving in.
They got this one, 6 Million Dollar Man, Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, the Blob Game, Scooby Doo, and a few others.

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Sam Tanner
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Nice review. This is my holy grail as well. I want my children to be able to play this some day! The Haunted Mansion is the best!!
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Eric Smith
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Medina
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Thanks for the review... I've been trying to get a copy for many years now. Someday, maybe, someday.
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