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Subject: A Couple's Perspective on White Moon rss

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Joe Braun
United States
Pawtucket
Rhode Island
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I received a copy of Ghost Stories: White Moon (GSWM) this year for X-mas. I'd like to provide some insight about how it fits with the base GS game from the 2-player perspective. I'm not going to provide a rehash of the rules, but will point out some key features of the game play that I like and dislike.

The WM expansion adds some very nice features that enhance the game. For starters, you have villagers on the board. There are 24 of them and they are in families of 1, 2, or 3 villagers. You are rewarded if you save the whole family and cursed if you let any one of them die. Villagers are saved by bringing them to the portal and shuttling them to safety, which is your action for that turn.

Villagers can die by getting run off the board, entering a haunted tile, entering a tile with 3 villagers on it, or being devoured by one of 10 new nasty ghosts. The curses range from mild-bring out a new ghost to wicked-bring out a new Wu-Feng.

Luckily the game has added some help to fend off the new hordes of ghosts and save the villagers. First, there is Su-Ling (on the box cover), whose figure can be placed on the stone in front of ghost to stop him/her from haunting, devouring villagers, rolling curse die, etc. She can be moved around the board when villagers get killed or tiles haunted. We've actually forgotten to move her around during our first 2 games. I think she could be very helpful in fending off curse die rolls and getting haunted.

Second, there is the white moon crystals, which are basically wild tao tokens, but can also be placed on the 4 receptacles in the corners of the town. Once all 4 receptacles have crystals, the Taoists can carpet bomb individual boards or save villagers. We haven't gotten many moon crystals yet and it is difficult to get the crystals to the corner while you are fighting off the packs of ghosts.

Third, is the artifacts that are awarded for saving villager families. The artifacts let you request extra help from village tiles, get extra Qi, gain Tao tokens in failed exorcisms, etc. In the 2 games we've played, we've only won 2 artifacts. They weren't terribly useful. But I think we'll figure out a way to make them work.

Finally, there is the Kung-Fu School. It is a new village tile that lets you roll dice against your color board or all black ghosts. It is actually very helpful, especially when you have 3 level 1/2 ghosts on 1 board.

We both really like this expansion. The first game we played, we used 3 Wu-Feng like we do in the base game and got our butts handed to us. In the second game, we just used 1 Wu-Feng and barely won. Rescuing and protecting the villagers adds a new element to play that we like. I'm not convinced yet of the usefulness of the villager rewards.

In this new age of expansions, I would highly recommend White Moon. It adds many new elements without being repetitive and will breath new life into your copy of Ghost Stories. My wife and I think this expansion is better than the Pandemic: On the Brink expansion.

The only downside to this game is the terrible rule book. I thought they might improve it after the base game's terribly written rules, but I was wrong.

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John Lopez
United States
Tucson
Arizona
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The rewards for the villagers I think are there to increase the risk/reward spread a bit and not to be powerful upgrades such as you would find in Descent or other pseudo-rpgs. On the other hand Su-Ling and the crystals tip things in favor of the players quite a bit more, especially in the early and mid game.

By the late game having a lot of the rewards can be useful, but the crystals were still the go to item to help restore hope to the board. Your description of "carpet bomb" seems apt.

I would recommend getting the crystals in place as often as possible as they are the only thing in the game that raises a cheer when they are ready. The rest of the game is being pummeled to death and 'winning' is being pummeled slower.
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