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Subject: First impressions rss

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Jeff Pearce
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BOO is a tiny game in a tiny package. I got this game as a backer for kickstarter - which delivered 10 tiny games, each the size of a gum package, to my door.

BOO is a 2 player only game of 30 cards. 6 are used to set up the gate, and players are each given their deck of 12 cards. Each deck has lines on it, with white for the white player, black for the black player, and green for the starting cards.

The cards are double-sided, which is crucial, as the game is all about using your cards to change the side of the other player's cards.

The art is simple and very effective. The small card size (1 inch by 3 inch) help illustrate the effectiveness very well. The different types of ghosts is a nice touch, as well as the different kinds of tombstones.

The gameplay requires that players place cards vertically or horizontally with cards already in play. The three small spaces on your card may feature a tombstone, an empty space, or a ghost. If it is a ghost, it could be facing up, left, right or down. Depending on its facing, a number of things happen.

I didn't realise that ghosts scared other ghosts until BOO. But apparently it is is, and in placement, a ghosts line of sight will be followed. If it sees a ghost of its own colour, it continues. If it hits a gap in the cards, it continues (it skips over voids). If it hits a tombtone, it stops, as ghosts cannot see through them (another fact I didn't know prior to BOO). But if it hits another ghost, as long as they are facing another way except directly at them, that card is flipped over.

Whats interesting is that the cards are duplicated in reverse. So if you have three black ghosts facing left on one card, on the opposite side will be three white ghosts facing right.

Placement is crucial then - in placing cards which maximise the chance in turning over other cards and multiplying your colour on the field. You want to use your ghosts to scare other ghosts and turn over the cards, attempting to monopolise your colour available.

It's a simple and elegent play mechanic and the small size of the game works in its favour. It reminded me a little of London/Portobello Markets with their crates mechanic, though this title doesn't allow you to place cards atop one another.

My first game took less than 20 minutes, and I daresay it will go faster the next time. I ended up winning actually, with a score of 39-33.

As the game wore on I could see more scoring opportunities and you actually have more to factor as more cards are placed.

My only major complaint is the fiddly nature of the cards - the small factor means that turning over cards, especially if they are in the middle of a number of other cards, can be a little challenging. It's a small complaint, but one that I can see creeping into every game. But this would have been the case regardless of the card size or even the material used.

Overall BOO gave a strong first impression for the PACK O GAME series 2. There is a fair amount of strategy here for such a small form factor and it's a fun little filler for 2 players that I'm sure I'll continue to enjoy.

6.5/10
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Alex P
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Rockville
Maryland
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I've played it once so far as well, with my five year old. So I'm not as focused on optimal placement, but as the game goes on -- after about half the cards are placed -- I agree that the puzzle does become surprisingly intricate, such as when you have an opportunity to give your opponent one ghost in exchange for taking two of his. And the blocking with the tombstones is going to take me more than one play to optimize. So far this set is shaping up even better than the first.
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