I don't play games like this. What I mean with games like this is, light children games. I played Eldritch Horror, which I like very much and I considered the game pretty light rules wise. I love Advanced Squad Leader too, a game which it's fan base merit as a lifestyle. Why? Because the rule book for the game is as thick as a phone book.
Then why oh why I take on this little re-skinned game of Ghost fightin treasure hunter which won the children game in Germany, themed with a not so beloved movie and suspiciously a spur of a moment money grab?
A five year old reason. As most of geek dads here, I'm introducing this wonderful hobby to my little daughter (hoping that when I'm old and out lived my gaming group, my girl would be there to play with me) ..... (yeah, wishful thinking, but still... worth a shot).
She already loved the movie when she saw the trailer and made me go watch it with her. After that, she got into a Ghostbuster hype and I bought her the game for her 5th birthday.
Enough of the background, let's get to the review then...
The outside (packaging & component quality)
This is the thinnest box out of all the games in my collection. It's flimsy, no hardness at all. Didn't expect much from mattel anyway. I think they meant to sell toys not board games in mind when they design the box. A figure of Rowan (the staypuft version of 2016 movie) peeking out of the box.Inside the box you'll find a green insert housing all the game components. Four girl Ghostbusters, Rowan, a handful of little ghosts, six haunting figures, a rule book (maybe I should just call it rule leaflet, it's glossy paper folded three times), eight PED(paranormal energy device) tokens, two dice (movement dice & combat dice), and finally the map.
Now, if you are used to high quality component from FFG, get ready to be underwhelmed. The map is thin and small, the plastic figures are serviceable with good details, and the cardboard tokens are thin too.
Now let's get to the meat of the game, the mechanics and fun factor.
The Ghostbusters job is to cleanse a hotel building from ghost haunting. Rowan has put eight PEDs to increase the paranormal activity on this hotel and the Ghostbusters must get all of them out of the building. The map of the building have hallways and 12 rooms which can be navigated by rolling the move die. On the roll of 1 to 5, you draw a card which mostly have a letter to tell you where to spawn a ghost and after that, you may move up to your roll value. When you roll a six, you don't draw cards.
When the Ghostbusters are in a room containing a PED, she may end her movement to pick it up and get it out of the building. To fight a ghost, stop your movement at a room containing a ghost (you may pass them) and roll the combat dice. When a ghost spawned to three per room, the ghosts are replaced with a haunting figure. The haunting is the main reason you can lose a game, its functions are to make a ghostbuster carrying a PED stuck on the same room with it and if too many room becomes haunted, you lose a game.
So it's very important to manage the population of the harmless little ghosts. You should try to balance out the winning objective (getting all the PEDs out) and the game over timer (spawning of the sixth haunting). A ghost can be easily dispatched by rolling a combat die. The d6 have three sides with the ghost symbol, two sides haunting symbol and a blank. Not only it's harder to remove a haunting chance wise, you must have two Ghostbusters figure to do it.
So, simply put, you win by getting all of the PEDs out of the building and lose when the sixth haunting figure were put on the map or all of the player are stuck with a haunting figure while carrying the PED on separate rooms.
Simple game, until you put all of the advanced rules in play. Like get the PEDs out in order (the tokens have numbers written on it's back), putting the advanced cards on the deck (it have cards that made certain doors to be locked and impassable or spawning two to three ghosts per draw), and the Rowan figure (which you can't fight and tip-toe from room to room and leave a haunting along his path)
The basic rules provides enough enjoyment when you play with kids while the advance rules is entertaining for adults, add in the Rowan rules, it become challenging even for seasoned boardgamers.
A well design versatile game that you can play with both kids and adults.
The rules are light and can be taught in under two minutes but not overly simplistic.
I think the Rowan rules really sets it apart from the original game. Funny how Mattel provide the option on this game aimed for 8 yo+ with the super hard mode while the original game doesn't.
It is cheap, and that's coming from a guy in south east Asia who have to pay the ridiculously expensive shipping rate.
Not for people who hates ameritrash games a or people who hates dice.
The game components can be a little underwhelming for collectors who have gotten used to the quality of top board game company.
Go get it. it's a good gateway game.