Scooby-Doo! Fright At The Fun Park Game
Overall Rating: 9/10
GLAM Age Range: 4-8
Number of Players: 2-4
Playing Time: 15 min
Publisher: Buffalo Games
Available At: Amazon.com
Quick Take: It's a miracle - all three of my kids (ages 6, 5, & 3) are really excited to play the same game. Kids love mysteries and decoders and this game serves up a simplified version of Clue in a manner that we can't seem to get enough of. I like that there are dry erase boards, the kids really enjoy the aspect of crossing out and circling clues, but there are only two dry erase pens that come with the game so some sharing is involved and that is not always our forte. And in theory you're supposed to keep your clues secret but we tried this on repeat with zero success so we gave up and share all of our clues (perk, this makes the game go faster). This is also very much not a cooperative game and you are trying to beat each other to find the ghoul first. There are some cards that allow you to steal from or trap your opponents and those cause great angst in my house. You can turn it into a cooperative game if you like, we just happen to be trying to teach good sportsmanship in our house right now. It's going super awesome, crying fits are down 50% at least. And that's just me, soon the kids will be better behaved as well.
How to Play: Your goal is to be the first player to determine the location of the ghoul and catch them. The ghoul is drawn at random at the beginning of a game and placed in the mystery decoder. There is a picture of the ghoul you're looking for at the top of the decoder. you just have to figure out its location on the game board (combination of type of spot like a ride or arcade and a color). Each turn a player rolls a die which determines both how far they get to move and how many tickets they get to draw. The tickets allow a player to check specific colors or types of spots against the decoder. This is secret, individual information that is marked on a player's board that is a small, basic replica of the game board. There are specialty ticket cards that can be quite useful as well - discard your hand and draw 3 new cards, steal a ticket card from an opponent, or freeze an opponent so they can't move on their next turn. Once a player thinks they know the location of the ghoul they must travel to that spot and say they are catching the ghoul. They open the middle door of the secret decoder without showing their opponents. If they are correct, they win the game! If they are wrong, they are out of the game which then continues until someone correctly locates and catches the ghoul.
Variations: You can take out the cards that cause the most angst (steal and trap cards) or you can just make it into a cooperative game and you win whenever someone traps the ghoul. This makes the game a lot faster because you share information as you go so it doesn't take very long at all to deduce the ghoul's location. There's also a version for younger kids where you don't even bother with the ticket cards and you move based on the number you roll on the die. When you land on a spot you can choose either the color or type of spot to check on the decoder device. It makes the game a little speedier and more simple to play.