I am rating this as a children's game. We play with my 3-year old daughter.
Ghostbusters is a cooperative game for up to 4 people with each player as one of the new Ghostbusters. The goal is to work together to retrieve paranormal energy devices from the building. As you work, small ghosts overwhelm the building and you need to battle them off. Fall too far behind and the ghosts summon a boss ghost to haunt the room. Six haunted rooms and you lose the game.
The original version of this game (Ghost Fightin' Treasure Hunters) won the most prestigious children’s board game award in the world (the 2014 Kinderspiel des Jahres). This is the same game but with the Ghostbusters theme and one extra thematic element (Rowan as a ghost, yay!). At the easiest difficulty, the game is simple (roll, add a ghost, move your piece toward a device or a ghost) but also strategic. Do you take the shortest path to a device or do you choose to stop to battle ghosts on the way? And as you increase the difficulty the game gets more interesting.
My daughter (3 years old) understands the roll, likes drawing and placing the ghosts based on the letter of the room, and loves rolling and yelling "go away ghosts" (which she copied from her Go Away Monster game). She doesn't understand the strategy, but it doesn't matter. She just moves her piece to the nearest device (aka "treasure") and then brings it to the car. She also likes making two small ghosts hug and turn into a "slimy" one (they are clear neon green plastic). She refuses to play with Rowan ("that one is scary"). She understands that she should move through rooms as a shortcut. I expect that the game will only get better as she can plan for more than 1 turn and we can add more difficulty. As is, the game is 5-10 minutes longer than her attention span (it takes us about 30 minutes).
Component wise, the game is adequate. The devices attach to the players’ characters’ proton packs (a nice touch) but the fit isn’t always tight. The board is good but a bit dark (our 3 y-o sometimes has trouble seeing the spaces in the hallways). The cards have mediocre art and are thin but I expected it at this price. They are serviceable now but my daughter has the tendency to bend them and I expect to need to buy sleeves. The small ghosts (~½” tall) are cute and white (is that Casper?). The large ghosts are about double the size and clear neon green. The Rowan is a white version of the green ghosts (but without a base). All plastic pieces in this game except Rowan are above the expected quality at this price. Rowan needs to be larger or sturdier (he and the little ghosts fall over often).
Most strategy in this game is a choice between collecting a device or fighting off ghosts. Ideally, you do both at the same time. Rooms count as single squares and are shortcuts across the board. The most important deviation to the basic strategy is that there is a bonus for the players to work together (extra rolls to battle ghosts). Teamwork is required to banish a boss ghost if a room becomes haunted. A solo player is even trapped in a haunted room if they have a device (making using rooms as shortcuts risky or non-viable in the late game). The first rule to increase difficulty adds the ghost of Rowan (a small ghost that moves around the board that you cannot remove). The other rule to increase difficulty adds cards that lock some rooms' doors or draw more than one ghost at a time. At full difficulty, this is a very difficult game (expect to lose).
Should you buy?
Absolutely. One of my top 5 children's games. Approachable enough for a 3-year-old and entertaining enough for me to enjoy playing with her. If you like cooperative games like Pandemic or Forbidden Island you may end up playing this with your adult friends also. Get it while the IP is fresh and the game is cheap.
- Last edited Mon Mar 26, 2018 6:27 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Sat Mar 17, 2018 5:01 am
At full difficulty, this is a very difficult game (expect to lose).
The first time I played this (The Ghost-Fighting Treasure Hunters version), I'd picked it up from the BGG.Con library. On discovering it was a "kid's game", I was a little let-down, but decided to play it anyway. With four veteran gamers playing a kid's game, we figured we could jump straight to advanced (which, if I understand correctly, is EASIER than the hardest mode in the Ghostbusters version) - and promptly got completely clobbered!
Really fun game. Glad that both you and your kid are enjoying it. I imagine it will be interesting to see what the actual strategy of the game starts clicking with her.
And point of Pedantry note... it isn't "The Rowan". Rowan is just the guy's name.
Nice little review!