What is ‘Ghostbusters: the board game’?

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Who you gonna call when you want a co-operative, kid friendly dice chucking game…………..

This game is “based” on the IDW comic series that follows on from the two hit movies of the eighties along with a few other bits and pieces, though if your coming fresh from the two comedies by Dan Akroyd et al then you should be fine. If you’re coming from the 2016 movie then you might be a little lost. For those who aren’t even coming in with that much of a background then you are playing a team of four paranormal exterminators or “Ghost Busters” if you’d prefer. Each game relies on a series of boards set up to make a map based upon the scenario card. The card will tell you which way round the bases go along with what’s on it like ghosts or worse; spirit gates. Ghosts come in your standard class one, two and three with a few extra nasties saved for special occasions. Each of these come with a card that tells you how many hits they take to catch, what they do when hit and what they do when you miss ’em. The gates on the other hand get a go on the roll of a dice at the end of each turn. When they do they spew forth more ghosts from the spirit world it’s more trouble for you and when they can’t then it’s game over. The first point in the games favour probably goes here. When a lot of people do Ghostbusters they go for run and gun and this could have easily been a fairly standard dungeon crawler with a theme slapped on top but instead I felt like an exterminator catching uglies and clearing out nests.

However while most of the scenarios and campaigns try to mix things up a little, with one in paticular turning the game in a race to the car, it will inevitable come down to shooting ghosts and closing gates. Sometimes you will want to round up the ghosts first and other times you will want to shut the gates down as quickly as possible. Each game it will be up to your four ghost busters to accomplish this meaning it doesn’t matter whether your playing with three friends or by yourself. They’ll be using tactics, communication and special abilities that will level up with each ghost caught and other unique skills that aren’t maybe quite as fair and balanced as they should be. In our games Peter and Ray will often go racing ahead in points/ exp/ levels while Winston can and often will lag behind, these points will carry over over a single campaign of three or four games before being reset for the next though I’m not sure many will want to play more than one campaign in a go. These campaigns will build up to boss ghosts like Slimer, the Stay Puft Marshmellow man or Gozer’s previously un-mentioned twin brother “Bozer” which is the games only real connection to the comics other than the art work on display.

Unlike other dungeon crawling, action rpg’s the game doesn’t give you a choice of weapons or attacks and if you don’t fancy the roll of the dice for your basic proton stream then you’re stuck scrubbing down your team mates or bringing the car around and if you want anything more exciting then it’s back to the randomness of the dice roll and that is one word that works quite well for Ghostbusters. Miss a ghost and it goes off in a random direction going off a dice roll and nicely printed grid. This evens out later on when you’ve levelled up a bit and you’ve got extra actions, extra shots, re-rolls and the ability to throw two dice at once; depending on your ghostbuster of course but the problem is that when you gain all these abilities you’re left with the realisation that there isn’t much to the game at all. Move up the pitch, shoot and hope for the best. Make sure you have a few spare ghosts in the spirit world but other wise just keep blasting. Now I know the comic might not have gone in for the new movies exuberance with many different ways to catch/ kill the ghosts but the video game did and that’s supposed to be in continuity with the comic so where were they. Pistols that only count as half a steam but are more likely to hit, grenades which stun ghosts in an area and the like could have given the player a bit more choice and mitigated the luck the dice rolls a little

This repetition and random nature aren’t the only thing pulling the game down. The models look nice and all but too often the ghosts are too similar when looking from the top down. Something that could have been solved by casting in a different coloured plastic every class level or so. I got the game for half price brand new and I think it was a sound choice though even then I’m not sure how many times it’s going to hit the table now that I’ve played all the games on offer. Had I paid full price I would probably be far less complimentary of the game right now. The expansions that might help the game are all locked behind the kickstarter or high price points from people who did back the kickstarter. Though the game does remind you of their presence by including the “party rings” for the other ghostbusters in the box. The second game has been and gone since this one of course and while it’s better than this one it’s not by much. If you can only afford or fit one on your shelf get that one but make sure either is on sale first.

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