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Subject: Touhou Variant of Ghost Stories rss

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Jonny Voo
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So one day, I was playing my copy of Ghost Stories, when I suddenly came to the realisation that this game reminded me a lot of the Touhou games...immediately, I decided to try and create a re-theme of the game using the Touhou Universe.

For those of you who are unaware of what the Touhou Series is, it is a series of extremely difficult Japanese bullet hell games on the PC. Using an arcade style continue system, Touhou players must attempt to fight through 6 stages of increasingly difficult mobs and bosses. Similar to Ghost Stories, there are 4 levels of difficulties: Easy, Normal, Hard and Lunatic. The challenge is completing all 6 stages in one run, ie. with only one continue.

Uncharacteristic of most bullet hell games, the Touhou Universe is home to a plethora of different characters (all of them drawn in the anime style), allow me to let each and every ghost (or Fairy, in this themed version), have unique abilities and curses. Indeed, there were so many characters, I eventually decided to double the number of playable characters as well.

For the purposes of this variant, these are the terms that I'll be using. Luckily, only a few terms were changed:
Ghosts = Fairies
Monks = Maidens
Villages = Locations
Tao Tokens = Spell Tokens
Qi Tokens = Life Tokens
Yin-Tang tokens = Bomb Tokens

Unfortunately, I am not so well versed in photoshop, leaving me to use a Magic the Gathering Card Maker as well as the works of several artists from all over the Internet in order to create my list of cards.

The boards were created with nothing but Microsoft Word and art from Scarlet Weather Rhapsody, one of the games in the Touhou Series. Boards were printed then laminated for great budgetary needs.

Like the original Ghost Stories, each board has a second side. However, both sides showcase a different character, also with two different abilities. These are the corresponding blue and red boards.

As you might notice, the boards are minimalist and of low-quality, but that's all I could do with my meager skills.

In any case, I had to brainstorm 16 different abilities for the use of my new Maidens (or Monks). Obviously I decided to keep the Blue, Yellow and Green Maiden's abilities, because those are strong and fun to use. Below are the abilities I eventually decided upon:

Izayoi Sakuya
1. Can choose to attack twice or use location twice.
2. Can attack and use a location.
Konpaku Youmu
1. All rolls of Black also count as Wilds.
2. Can attack all Fairies (Ghosts) horizontally and vertically from her, at any range.

Kirisame Marisa
1. Roll 4 Dice and not roll Curses.
2. Re-roll all failed Power Die and Curses.
Alice Margatroid
1. Has 2 Doll tokens. Can drop at the end of her turn - Dolls give all Maidens standing at that Location +1 Dice when attacking.
2. Has 2 Doll tokens. Can drop at the end of her turn - Dolls give all Maidens standing at that Location up to 1 re-roll when attacking.

Kochiya Sanae
1. Gain 1 Spell token at the start of her turn.
2. Can set one of the Power Dice to white at when attacking.
Shameimaru Aya
1. Can spend a turn and unhaunt a Location she is standing on.
2. All Haunters in front of Aya do not move forwards.

Hakurei Reimu
1. Move any Maiden one space or Move any Fairy one space.
2. Gains +1 move. In addition, all Maidens can swap the order of their Move and Action phases.
Patchouli Knowledge
Patchouli has only one ability, that changes depending on who is sharing her Location.
1. If standing alone, Patch's Bombs (Yin-Yang) allow her to move all Maidens 1 space in any direction.
2. If standing with the Green Maiden, Patch's Bombs allow her to distribute 2 Spells to any Maidens
3. If standing with the Yellow Maiden, Patch's Bombs allow her to destroy all Fairies on any other Player's boards.
4. If standing with the Blue Maiden, Patch's Bombs allow her to gain an additional action.
[OPTIONAL] If standing with ALL the Maidens, Patch's Bombs allow her to re-arrange the Location tiles.

Oh, if Patchouli's ability sounds kind of strange to you, it's because if you're playing the Touhou Variant of the game, there are two additional rules to the usage of Bombs.

First, all Bombs and Spells can be traded between players if they are standing on the same space, not just shared. This means that it is possible for a player to throw all his gear onto another player before sacrificing his final Life token to kill a particularly daunting Fairy.

Secondly, in addition to having the option of using a Location you're not standing on and unhaunting a Tile, you can also use Bombs to automatically destroy all Fairies on your board (without getting rewards, of course).

HOLY CRAP, you might say. That's pretty damn imbalanced. If I had that ability, then even the most difficult of my games would have been a walkover! Are you trying to pull my leg?

No, I am most assuredly not trying to pull your leg. And if it is so imbalanced, then why do I have a 2-9 win-rate on the Normal Difficulty, and struggling to maintain my 50% win-rate on easy?

The answer to that is not that I'm a bad player (although I could be, you never know), but because although all the Monks/Maidens have received great bonuses and abilities, the Ghosts have been similarly buffed...sometimes to ridiculous levels.

For example, in Ghost Stories, all Resistance 4 Ghosts were abilityless - it was difficult just beating them in hand to hand combat. In this Touhou Variant, however...

Spoiler (click to reveal)

No, I do not know how to make them all line up across the screen. Maybe someone could tell me how. Perhaps I should put them in a spoiler first.

In any case, you see my predicament. The Resistance and colour of the Fairies can be found on the top right of the cards. These are all Level 4 Fairies. And how about their effects? All adjacent Fairies become Haunters?! Shuffle a Resistance 1 Fairy into the deck every turn?! This not including the enter play effects? Are you sure these aren't Incarnations and just regular old mobs? Well, yes, I'm pretty sure that they are. I've been owned by them so many times, most of the time without even getting to the final boss. Oh, and trust me...all the Level 1, 2 and 3 Fairies got buffs as well.

Also, just ignore that they're designed on MtG cards. I told you my photoshop wasn't good.

Now you might be thinking that the additional powers given to the Maidens weren't so good after all. Well, that's true...but that's all you're going to get in this version of the game. Most of the Location tiles have remained the same, with some abilities shuffled around. For example, the Guardhouse's Tao token ability was taken and planted onto the Watchtower, so that you wouldn't be too screwed if you managed to get that Location.

They are all called by different names, but you can figure out from the effects that some of them are new, and some of them have been slightly modified to make them more playable. Mystia's Bar n Grill still sees few customers though.

Oh, and before I forget, the Incarnations received a little bit of a boost as well.

There are 13 more Incarnations, or Phantasms, as they are called in this game, but I shall spare the resolution on your browsers and not post them all.

And there you have it, a re-theme of Ghost Stories that turns one ridiculously difficult game into something that mankind cannot possibly win. Well, even as I say that, I've managed to beat the game on Hard once. Once. After choosing characters, turn orders, Locations and Location positions. And getting an easy Phantasm.

Oh well, sometimes stuff like that happens.

If there's demand for it, I'll post the Word Documents required to print all parts of the game. Hint: 250gsm paper is perfect card stock for all intents and purposes. Card Sleeves are a must, of course.
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Augusto E. Rodrigues
Sao Paulo
Sao Paulo
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Oh, i´m interested on having the docs. I´ve always have curiosity on trying this game and with a touhou theme is always a thumbs up.
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Paolo Bolzoni
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This is very nice.
I am not usually a great fun of increasing all powers as they do not change the overall difficulty and just make the game more complex. But... what the he! it is touhou

Can we see the work in progress? Can we help?
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