Players: Brandon, Chris, Ed, Nick
About The Game:
Take some RoboRally, add some Switchboard, add some Munchkin, and then some more random stuff, and you come up with The Haunting House played with The Second Story expansion.
So, with the base game, you make a 6 x 6 grid of tiles, randomly laid out. You also have an entrance tile and an exit tile that you place outside the 6x6 grid on opposing corners. The goal is to be the first to get from the entrance tile to the exit tile.
When you add The Second Story expansion, you get rid of the entrance tile and replace it with a stairway tile. Then, you build a 5 x 5 grid for the second story. But, you mix all the tiles together first because the expansion includes tiles that auto-rotate when you land on them. You also put little discs (face-down) on each of those rotating tiles. These discs can be collected and used at a later time to trade cards with opponents, cancel cards, prevent tile rotation (on auto-rotating tiles), and switch the discs on the board. There are also discs that are ghosts that make certain routes impassible unless you switch discs around.
So, everyone has their own deck of cards that do various instructions (move X spaces, rotate tiles, switch tiles, etc.). Each round consists of two phases. On the first phase, you hand your deck to the person on your right. They lay out 4 random cards in front of you. You all reveal simultaneously, and whoever has the black marker in front of them for the round goes first. Then, everyone reveals the next card and etc.
After you do the random round, you remove the white bordered cards from your deck and choose 4 actions to do. Again, everyone reveals simultaneously, starting with the person who has the black marker. When this chosen card phase is done, the black marker moves to the next person.
For me it was mostly when Brandon, sitting to my left, kept pegging me for what move I was going to do and thwarting me. But then, I had the misfortune to bend one of my cards in half (guess I'm gonna have to buy some card sleeves now). And Brandon said something to the effect of, "you know I'm gonna plan my next move accordingly if I see that card." On the next round, I quickly tossed the instruction booklet over my cards until such time as I had to reveal the cards.
Chris made it to the exit first. No one else was really close. Brandon was still on the second story if I remember correctly. And some of us (especially me) were making stupid moves because we were getting tired for the evening. I like this game and I'll play it again sometime, but the amount of time it takes to play does seem to be pretty random.