Ghost Fightin' Treasure Hunters
Overall Rating: 10/10
GLAM Age Range: 6-16
Number of Players: 2-4
Playing Time: 20-30 min
Available At: Amazon.com
Quick Take: Work as a team to battle ghosts and get the treasure! Strategic, fun, feels like navigating through the game of Clue while battling ghosts as opposed to solving a murder mystery. This is such a great game for kids who are at different skill levels yet want to play a game together. And it ages well, we played it with a group of boys ranging from 1st to 7th grade and they all loved it. My 5 year old daughter was even willing to play and she doesn't like scary games. If a 5 year old girl and a 13 year old boy both really like a game I call that a big win. The game employs some low level assessment of probability and risk and develops some good strategic thinking and game play for more advance games as kids get older. And cooperative games are absolutely amazing for siblings.
How to Play: Your goal is to remove all 8 of the treasure jewels out of the house before 6 rooms become occupied by Hauntings (the big red ghosts). You start out with just four ghosts on the board and the 8 treasure jewels are placed in designated rooms. The treasure hunters start out right outside of the house and take turns rolling the movement die, revealing a ghost card which generally adds an additional ghost to the game board, then moving their piece, and either picking up a treasure jewel and/or fighting a ghost if you have successfully made your way to a room with a ghost in it. To fight a ghost, you roll a special battle die, if it lands on a ghost icon when you're in a room with a ghost you defeat the ghost and they leave the room. You are not allowed to leave a room that has a ghost in it. As you move and play, you continue to turn over additional ghost cards that have letters on them for which room you are required to add an additional ghost. Once a room has three ghosts, you switch out the 3 ghosts for one red Haunting (the big red guys). Those require two treasure hunters to be in the room at the same time in order to defeat them. You get to roll both of the battle die and if either die comes up with a Haunting icon then you have defeated the Haunting and it leaves the board. And if a room already has a Haunting and you're supposed to add a ghost to it, the ghost moves to the next letter of the alphabet and is placed in that room instead. So if a card for Room C is drawn but Room C already has a Haunting, the ghost would be placed in Room D. It gets tricky as the Hauntings start to spread later in the game, working as a team really matters in order to get all of the treasure jewels out before too many Hauntings occupy the house.
Variations: The most important variation are challenge cards that you can add into game play that make the game much more difficult. I would say these are essential for a 4 player game with experienced players, otherwise the game would get rather boring because your odds of victory are too high. It adds in a few cards that lock certain colors of doors and a couple truly evil cards that make you draw extra cards from the stack on your turn, increasing the number of ghosts coming onto the board at once dramatically.