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Subject: Giving Ghost Stories a second chance rss

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(ɹnʎʞ)
Germany
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Hi everyone,

here's a bit of background story.

I generally like:

• Co-operative games
• Challenging games
• Fresh/uncommon themes in games
• Great artworks
• Great components
• Streamlined gameplay

So I was immediately drawn to Ghost Stories after I did some research a few years ago. I played it a few times and while I liked seeing the game on the table, there was something which held my enthusiasm back playing it. Back then, I came from other co-operative games like Pandemic or Elder Sign, so I thought about what prevented me from enjoying Ghost Stories in a similar way.

I came up with 3 answers: 1. the insane difficulty (in my opinion the toughest co-op game out there, and I played Robinson Crusoe) 2. the constant pressure (new ghost every turn, no peaks and valleys of tension like in the other 2 mentioned games) and 3. the way luck is implemented in this game (dice).

So I turned my back on Ghost Stories while still recommending it to others in the Recommendations Forum here on BGG, although at the same time giving out fair warnings about said aspects which drove me away from it. And even after all this time, the game never fully left my thoughts. Mind you, I don't think it's a stroke of genius in game design, but I always kind of a bit felt bad for not being able to like it at least a bit more, because I see all the right ingredients right in front of me.


So I want to give it one last chance and hope that the veteran monks among you can provide me with the proper wisdom and training to prepare me for the task ahead to tackle this game (not talking about artifically making me fall in love with this game -- this obviously won't work -- but maybe make me see more what's under the surface in terms of strategy and making it unfold a bit more for me).

Thanks !
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Frank Franco
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I can't beat the base game, but when I added white moon I suddenly found myself winning. Maybe try that?
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Antanas
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Ghost Stories is a different co-op from the ones you're used to. It's more of a puzzle which you can learn. The more you play it, the better you'll get at it as you'll be seeing what moves/actions are the most profitable in each situation.

I have to say that I rarely lose this game anymore. Once was on a 7-win streak if the memory doesn't fail me. But like most, was losing badly until I learned it.

Regarding the luck element, after my first couple games I also was slightly sceptical about the luck element, but now I barely feel there's any luck to it at all.

Definitely give it another go! I appreciate that not everyone might like such type of co-ops, but there's a chance it'll become one of your favorites!
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Alluvian
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Mr Skeletor wrote:
I can't beat the base game, but when I added white moon I suddenly found myself winning. Maybe try that?


I find that amusing as we have about a 25 percent or more win rate with the base game, but have not beaten it with the white moon yet, although I think that is because we don't play it that often anymore. Back when it was new we played ghost stories a lot. I find the expansion gives you a bunch of other stuff to do, but if you focus on the new stuff, you will just lose fast.
 
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Frank Franco
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alluvian wrote:
Mr Skeletor wrote:
I can't beat the base game, but when I added white moon I suddenly found myself winning. Maybe try that?


I find that amusing as we have about a 25 percent or more win rate with the base game, but have not beaten it with the white moon yet, although I think that is because we don't play it that often anymore. Back when it was new we played ghost stories a lot. I find the expansion gives you a bunch of other stuff to do, but if you focus on the new stuff, you will just lose fast.


You're not the first person I have heard say that. It is odd, I think it depends on your playstyle on if it becomes easier or harder with white moon. While these is more to do and stay on top of, there are also more rewards and "get out of jail" events. If your better at micro control base is probably easier, if you are better at risk and big plays white moon is.
 
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Think of Ghost Stories not as a game of going gung-ho against ghosts and chucking dice, but of mitigating risk as much as possible. For example, sacrificing Qi at the Hermit to get rid of problem ghosts before they wreak havoc, being proactive with Buddha placement, and calculating your odds of your dice rolls (a regular monk has below a 26% chance to get 2 results against a given ghost, for example).
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chearns
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Kyur wrote:
the way luck is implemented in this game (dice).

Over ninety percent of the time when you roll to banish a ghost, the dice should determine how many of your Tao tokens you will lose, not whether or not you banish the ghost. Yes, sometimes you'll be desperate and roll the dice when you don't have enough Tao tokens to banish it straight out, but that should be a rare exception and nowhere near a common action.

The minis, the dice, it looks like Ameritrash, but it is a Euro. You aren't rolling to see if you succeed, you are rolling to see how much it'll cost you to succeed.
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Aaron Chasteen
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The game is easy to adjust the difficulty. I remove 10 random ghosts and play with 3 bosses (10 cards apart). Start with the beginner Qi and Tao tokens and you should be good.

If you are relying on a perfect die roll every battle you will be disappointed. You have a 1/3 chance of rolling the color you want, so you can only rely on rolling 1 color you want each battle. The rest you need to prepare for.

Yellow Powers: Take advantage of his ability to gather elusive black tokens and match colored ghosts around him.

Red Powers: Move ninjas together to share Tao tokens effectively. No ninja goes it alone.

Green Powers: Use the reroll to avoid curse die. He has the best chance of rolling more than 1 color.

Blue Powers: Place ghosts so he can use both tiles and defeat ghosts effectively each turn.

2 village tiles haunted? Stop what you are doing and immediately unhaunt it. The next ghost drawn could be the end! Do not let this end the game.

Do not forget to utilize all the village tiles and understand their powers. Defeating a ghost with a village tile means you ignore the 3rd stone on the ghost. Use that to your advantage.

Know which ghosts can be ignorable, placing them far away. Leave an open convenient spot for the baddies to be easily reached.

If you are about to defeat a ghost that rewards you with yin-yang tokens, make sure to spend your yin-yang token beforehand.

Do not place haunting ghosts in front of your most valuable village tiles (circle of prayer etc) if you have a choice.

These are all the tips I can remember. Its been a while since I played. Good luck!
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littlechandler wrote:
Think of Ghost Stories not as a game of going gung-ho against ghosts and chucking dice, but of mitigating risk as much as possible.

YES!! This absolutely. The real battle is to reduce the luck.

Often you'll need to look at your options for your turn:
Option 1: hey if we pull this off it will be awesome, but if it doesn't happen we will have achieved nothing
Option 2: it's not quite as exciting, but we'll definitely achieve something without needing luck

Remember to build up your buddhas, tao tokens, circle of prayer. They can help you avoid luck.


meeple Also ... make sure you have a pretty recent copy of the rules and helpsheet. They have been improved a lot through the years and can be found here: http://rprod.com/index.php?page=download-9
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I did a write up of all of the Taoists' powers here...
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/759624/which-taoist-pow...


EDIT: typo with "powers"
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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If you need a pep talk before playing again, I think you'd be better off playing something else.
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Daniel Wilmer
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The big surprise for me and ghost stories is how every game can be so different. Due to the variable village tiles position added player powers and position added to the random ghost draw, the 'puzzle' alters course dramatically while your actions (move, activate/attack) remain quite simple (and seem so restrictive at first).

My enjoyment came when I was able to predict/suspect 'the worst case' and mitigate it. Some ghosts can offer natural breaks to do something else than kill ghosts, some ghosts are weak but chain to cause multiple draws. The black ghosts seem designed to mess everything up.

It took several games to feel I got it, and even more to feel I could give a good crack at beating it, but the fun is in there despite the challenge.

The thing that paradoxically reduces my plays is the small number of options per turn, it can also suffer from an alpha gamer.

Great feeling when you win though - getting through the deck is quite a feat of endurance.

(Also, every one could do with a pep talk before facing hoards of ghosts!)
 
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(ɹnʎʞ)
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Sphere wrote:
If you need a pep talk before playing again, I think you'd be better off playing something else.

I was not in need for a pep talk, but looking for advice on how to approach this game for giving it a 2nd chance instead of just dismissing it after only so many games. I like to give games enough time so I can have a solid opinion about them in the end.

Generally speaking, in my experience it can pay off to provide new players with a few hints before they start out in certain games to avoid common rule mistakes, ease the learning process, correct wrong expectations ect.
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