Ghastly Games with Daphne Strasert: Top 5 Favorite Horror Board Games

There’s almost nothing I love more than a good board game and I’ve reviewed a lot of them here at HorrorAddicts.net. So, you might be wondering, do I have favorites? Of course I do.

Munchkin Bites

The Munchkins franchise is wildly popular and comes in many varieties, but my favorite by far is Munchkin Bites. Perfectly suited for Horror Addicts, Munchkin Bites contains plenty of funny references to your favorite movies and shows, with adorable art as well. This is the perfect way to introduce beginner players to a wide world of games outside of Candyland and Monopoly. Read my review here.

One Night Ultimate Werewolf

One Night Ultimate Werewolf is a fast-paced, raucous party game that’s very easy to learn (there’s even a free app to guide gameplay). Gameplay is much like Mafia (if you’ve played that classic), but more fun because everyone has special powers that let them participate. It can be played with a lot of people and there’s very little time commitment, so it’s ideal for larger groups. Read my review here.

Mysterium

Mysterium is as wonderful to play for its art as for the challenge of winning. Be prepared to bend your mind like an Olympic gymnast, because that’s the kind of skill this game requires. It’s best played with the kind of friends who are so close, they’re nearly telepathic. Of course, it’s just as fun to laugh over the missed connections if you lose. Read my review here.

King of Tokyo

Of all the games on this list, this is the best for the Baby Bats you may be raising. Who doesn’t want to be like Godzilla, after all? Gameplay uses dice to let players attack each other or purchase cards that give them special powers. Rounds move quickly so there’s little downtime to be bored. As an added bonus, the art is amazing. Read my review here.

Betrayal at House on the Hill

This is the game for the truly dedicated. Betrayal at House on the Hill is complicated, but worth is for those who want to put in the time. The thematic elements make it one of my all-time favorite games. There are hundreds of scenarios to play, and each game is different. If you want to make an investment, Betrayal at House on the Hill is well worth it. Read my review here.

I hope you like this list. If you have a favorite game you’d like to add (or maybe one you’d like for me to review!) leave a comment!

Ghastly Games with Daphne Strasert: Adventure Escape Asylum

There is a reason that asylums are featured so heavily in horror. Whether it’s the loss of freedom, loss of control, or the loss of your mind, asylums represent most everyone’s worst fears. In Adventure Escape: Asylum, you wake to find yourself in a locked room with no memory of who you are. Something has gone horribly wrong in the asylum. A patient has escaped and has kidnapped a little girl. You must find him before he hurts anyone.

Adventure Escape: Asylum is a puzzle game app from Haiku Games and is available for free.

Game Play

Adventure Escape: Asylum has the same rules of play as Haunted Hunt (previously reviewed by HorrorAddicts.net)

As the player, you move throughout rooms with locked exits. In each room, you find items and clues to help you escape. Collect objects by tapping on them, then use those objects on other things in the room to find additional keys or puzzles.

Adventure Escape: Asylum also includes a combat feature. This element adds a new dimension to this installment from Haiku Games.

Game Experience

If you enjoy escape rooms, you will like Adventure Escape: Asylum. It contained more spooky elements than Haunted Hunt. The art is outstanding. The storyline is engaging. The puzzles linked multiple elements found in different rooms and were satisfying to complete. There was a strange twist at the ending that didn’t fit with the rest of the story.

The game is short enough that it can be played all in one sitting. Unfortunately, there is no replay value once you have solved the puzzles.

Final Thoughts

I loved this game. I really did. I think the company does a good job of creating complex puzzles of varying styles with satisfying conclusions. They are tied together with coherent storylines.

Ghastly Games with Daphne Strasert: Haunted Hunt

In a world where monsters constantly fight for their lives against hunters, one name stands out: Otto. You (a shapeshifter) wake to find yourself locked in his house as entertainment for his guests. To escape with your life you must gather objects, find clues, and solve puzzles to make your way through the house.

Haunted Hunt is a puzzle game app from Haiku Games and is available for free.

Game Play

Each chapter of Haunted Hunt presents you with a room (or series of rooms) with a locked escape. Hidden throughout the rooms are objects and clues that you can use to escape. Collect objects by tapping on them, then use those objects on other things in the room to find additional keys or puzzles.

Each chapter has one or more complex puzzle that must be solved before you can escape to the next chapter. The game doesn’t allow you to use up objects in ways that don’t help you, so trial and error is allowed while investigating. All the clues you need to escape are there. If you become stuck, you can use stars (which can be earned or purchased) to get further clues.

Game Experience

Haunted Hunt plays very much like an escape room. There are often multiple clues to multiple puzzles hidden and part of the fun in figuring out which clues belong with which puzzle. I don’t find collecting objects horribly fun (lots of tapping all over the screen in the hopes that something is clickable), but I understand why it is part of the gameplay.

I like puzzles. I really, really do. However, I found some of the puzzles to be unsatisfying to solve. There should be tricks and twists in a good puzzle game. However, in Haunted Hunt, some puzzle solutions seemed so far removed from the clues given that it was almost guesswork (I spent many frustrating hints on those).

The best part of Haunted Hunt is the thematic elements. The art is outstanding. The storyline is engaging. The creators included many elements of monster lore throughout that are fun for fanatics like myself. There’s something really fun about getting to destroy a monster hunter at the end of the game.

Final Thoughts

I enjoyed Haunted Hunt, but if you struggle (like I did) with parts, don’t feel too bad. The game seems designed to leave you feeling stupid.

If you like monsters and romance, but don’t care for puzzle elements, check out my review of Enchanted in the Moonlight, a monster dating sim.

Do you have a game you want me to review? Something you think I would like? Leave suggestions in the comments!

 

Ghastly Games with Daphne Strasert: Friday the 13th Killer Puzzle

Sometimes, you just want something mindless and silly, something you can play while waiting in line at the DMV. Sometimes, you just want to mindlessly murder innocent campers with a machete is a free mobile puzzle game starring Jason Voorhees and his many, many victims.

Game Play

The player stars as Jason Voorhees, out for revenge and guided by the decapitated head of his dead mother.

The game is set up on a simple grid, with obstacles and victims spaced throughout. Jason can only move in straight lines and continues moving until he encounters an obstacle or victim. The player guides Jason to his victims by sliding him around the grid.

Once Jason has murdered all the existing victims on the grid, the Final Victim appears. Jason must reach this victim but then faces them in a final battle. The player must tap the screen at the perfect time to complete the level’s last gory murder.

As the player racks up their body count, they progress to more levels and unlock additional weapons and skins.

Game Experience

Friday the 13th: Killer Puzzle is a tongue-in-cheek game that appeals to those who rooted for the killer throughout his slasher movies.

The puzzles start simple but become genuinely challenging as you progress through the levels. The creators included a number of pitfalls that change the nature of the puzzles and keep interest high.

The game features, simple, cartoon graphics. The animation suits the style and serves to make the blood and gore silly rather than horrifying. The brutality of the killings of sharply set off by the South Park style characters.

There are some ads throughout (after passing a few levels or asking for a hint). These can be removed by making an in-app purchase, but aren’t annoying enough to ruin gameplay if you’d rather play for free.

Final Thoughts

Friday the 13th: Killer Puzzle is an excellent thematic game that doesn’t skimp on the puzzle element. The puzzles are genuinely challenging and the gruesome deaths of the victims is a reward all its own while playing. The game is ridiculous and over the top and absolutely worth playing.

Ghastly Games with Daphne Strasert: Remnants

Well, we did it. We finally destroyed the world.

The Apocalypse has come and gone and here you are in charge of your very own survivor compound. You’ll need to brave the Badlands to gather resources, buy equipment for your camp, and fend off attacks from monsters.

Remnants is a game for 2-4 players and takes about an hour to play.

Game Play

In Remnants, players each control a camp of survivors. The goal is to keep as many survivors alive as possible while fending off attacks from monsters and raiders in the Badlands.

Each round has five phases:

  • Scavenge: send survivors from the camp to gather resources. Players face each other in a real-time dice-rolling race to gather available resources.
  • Build: Spend resources to buy weapons and defenses for your camp. You’ll need them to fight the bad guys later on.
  • Fight: Various monsters and raiders come to attack your compound. Players use the items they purchased to fight back. If you defeat the monster, you get points that count toward victory at the end of the game.
  • Heal: You can spend more resources to heal the survivors hurt in the attacks. Only healthy survivors get you points at the end of the game.
  • Clean-up: Reallocate spent resources to the board and start the whole process over again.

There are only 6 rounds in the game, so make the most of every opportunity.

Game Experience

The mechanics of Remnants were familiar (the Build and Fight phases were reminiscent of King of Tokyo), but worked together in unexpected ways. There was the perfect balance of luck and skill to keep gameplay interesting.

Players mostly play on their own compound, facing challenges individually. There aren’t many opportunities to sabotage other players. It’s unfortunate that the game isn’t made to accommodate more players.

One weakness I found while playing was that an early initial round of bad luck can seriously cripple a player for the rest of the game. It would be nice if there were more room to bounce back.

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed Remnants. It was the unexpected breakout hit for my board game night group. The game has high replay value, but would also benefit from manufacturer expansions.

For those who enjoy more complicated games, I would whole-heartedly recommend this.

Ghastly Games with Daphne Strasert: Wizard School

Let’s face it, ever since Harry Potter came out, we’ve all been looking out our windows hoping to see an owl with our letter to Hogwarts. We may just be muggles, but now we can experience the magic (and monsters!) for ourselves.

Wizard School is a cooperative game for 2-5 players that takes 40-90 minutes to play.

Game Play

Wizard School is… complicated. In fact, there is a whole video designed to teach you how to play.

The goal is pretty simple: survive the school.

Every player chooses a student character at the beginning of the game. Each student has special abilities that give them advantages during gameplay.

Players go through all four years of high school, each year increasing in difficulty. Students can fight monsters, pass tests, study, and tutor each other to help survive the school year.

Then there are the monsters. On every turn, the school gets a chance to fight back against the students, revealing monsters and traps of various supernatural means to make graduating all the more difficult. Certain monsters only attack in certain circumstances, so the players are in almost constant danger.

Game Experience

The first game is slow to work through. There are a lot of small rules and caveats that it takes experience to recognize. I really do recommend watching the video.

The characters are loveable and the powers are interesting. The game is challenging, making winning an actual struggle. There is a lot of value in multiple playthroughs.

Final Thoughts

Wizard School is one of my favorite games for a small group. It is complicated, but worth the time investment to learn how to play. Who doesn’t want to be a witch?

Twitter Tech Thursday Scavenger Hunt

Today is Thursday, HorrorAddicts, and you know what that means? It’s time for the Twitter Tech Thursday Scavenger Hunt! We invite all Horror Addicts to join in, PLAY the game, and WIN exciting mystery prizes!

PLEASE READ CAREFULLY. RULES HAVE CHANGED.

HOW TO PLAY:

1.) HorrorAddicts.net will tweet five clues which lead players to a book on Emerian Rich’s Amazon Page each week.

2.) The clues will come in the form of questions. (i.e. I have touched the vein and caused the crimson stain. What am I?)

3.) When a player finds the picture, they will comment on the Tweet with their answer. (i.e. The Vampire lips on the cover of Kill Switch. Kill Switch is the answer.)

4.) Those with correct answers will have their names entered into a drawing at the end of the day.

5.) The player whose name is drawn will be declared the winner.

6.) HorrorAddicts.net employees may participate in this promotion.

PRIZES:

1.) The winner will receive a mystery prize from HorrorAddicts.net.

2.) If no correct answer is given, no prize is awarded. Instead, it is rolled over to the following week.

No one won last week’s hunt and so the prize has rolled over to this one. This is the final week.

It’s easy as that Horror Addicts! Solve the clues, find the book, comment on the Tweet with the correct answer to enter the drawing, and Stay Spooky!

Ghastly Games with Daphne Strasert: Ultimate Werewolf Inquisition

A remote village is infested with werewolves. Unable to solve the problem themselves, the villagers call upon a special inquisitorial team to root out the monsters. There’s only one problem: some of the inquisitors are werewolves in disguise…

Ultimate Werewolf Inquisition was created by Dan Hoffman, the man behind One Night Ultimate Werewolf (which I’ve previously reviewed here on HorrorAddicts.net). It’s a standalone game of treachery, deduction, and deceit.

Ultimate Werewolf Inquisition is a game for 3-12 players and takes 30-60 minutes to play.Ultimate Werewolf Inquisition

Game Play

Players play as the inquisitors called to save the town. Each player is given a secret card that designates them either as a werewolf or a human.

The village consists of twelve villager cards (face down) and twelve hut cards (face up). The huts grant special powers to help the inquisitors identify which of the villager cards represent werewolves. On their turn, each inquisitor chooses a hut card and plays the associated power (see a facedown card, see an inquisitor’s card, gain vote tokens, or cast vote tokens). Then each inquisitor casts a vote on one of the villager cards. The villager card with the most votes is revealed and removed from the game (along with their associated hut).

Then night falls and the werewolves are free to take revenge. The inquisitors pass around a column of cards. Villagers don’t look, but the inquisitorial werewolves do and rearrange the cards to their liking. At the end of the round, the cards are placed back in the village and the last card is revealed and removed from the game (another victim of the werewolves).

The game ends when all the werewolves in the village are dead (the villagers win) or when the werewolves left outnumber the villagers (the werewolves win).

Game Experience

Ultimate Werewolf Inquisition combines the best parts of playing Mafia (the card game) and One Night Ultimate Werewolf. Players have multiple rounds in which to sniff out the traitors, with the game becoming more difficult as play continues. But no players are removed, so everyone remains engaged through the whole play time. Special abilities ensure that gameplay isn’t just guesswork.

Every game that we played ended with a very narrow result. There is no clear advantage or disadvantage to either side, making the competition fierce. The better your friends are at lying, the more dynamic the game will become. Logic gets twisted, relationships are tested, and no one is ever sure who they can trust.

Final Thoughts

The rules don’t take long to learn and aren’t overly complicated (if you’re playing with a crowd that isn’t dedicated to hours of play). I enjoyed Ultimate Werewolf Inquisition very much and I recommend it as a mid-level difficulty game.

#KillSwitch Facebook Party — TONIGHT!

KSssALT

You are cordially invited to attend the Tech Horror Party of the year. In honor of the Kill Switch release, HorrorAddicts.net will hold a gala Facebook Party complete with games, trivia, and prizes of all sizes. Please, RSVP and bring a friend.

Date: June 14th 2019– TONIGHT!

Time: 6:00-8:00 PM PST

Where: Online at KILL SWITCH RELEASE PARTY

Be there and Be Spooky!!

Sincerely,

HorrorAddicts.net

Twitter Tech Thursday Scavenger Hunt

KSssALT

Today is Thursday, HorrorAddicts, and you know what that means? It’s time for the Twitter Tech Thursday Scavenger Hunt! We invite all Horror Addicts to join in, PLAY the game, and WIN exciting mystery prizes!

PLEASE READ CAREFULLY. RULES HAVE CHANGED.

HOW TO PLAY:

1.) HorrorAddicts.net will tweet five clues which lead players to a book on Emerian Rich’s Amazon Page each week.

2.) The clues will come in the form of questions. (i.e. I have touched the vein and caused the crimson stain. What am I?)

3.) When a player finds the picture, they will comment on the Tweet with their answer. (i.e. The Vampire lips on the cover of Kill Switch. Kill Switch is the answer.)

4.) Those with correct answers will have their names entered into a drawing at the end of the day.

5.) The player whose name is drawn will be declared the winner.

6.) HorrorAddicts.net employees may participate in this promotion.

PRIZES:

1.) The winner will receive a mystery prize from HorrorAddicts.net.

2.) If no correct answer is given, no prize is awarded. Instead, it is rolled over to the following week.

Last week’s winner was Lionel Green. Congratulations, Lionel!

It’s easy as that Horror Addicts! Solve the clues, find the book, comment on the Tweet with the correct answer to enter the drawing, and Stay Spooky!

Twitter Tech Thursday Scavenger Hunt

KSssALT

Today is Thursday, HorrorAddicts, and you know what that means? It’s time for the Twitter Tech Thursday Scavenger Hunt! We invite all Horror Addicts to join in, PLAY the game, and WIN exciting mystery prizes!

HOW TO PLAY:

1.) HorrorAddicts.net will tweet five clues which lead players to a picture on Emerian Rich’s Amazon Page. https://www.amazon.com/Emerian-Rich/e/B0034MMP40 each week.

2.) The clues will come in the form of questions. (i.e. I have touched the vein and caused the crimson stain. What am I?)

3.) When a player finds the correct picture, they will Direct Message https://twitter.com/horroraddicts13 with their answer. (i.e. The Vampire lips on the cover of Kill Switch.)

4.) Those with correct answers will have their names entered into a drawing at the end of the day.

5.) The player whose name is drawn will be declared the winner.

PRIZES:

1.) The winner will receive a mystery prize from HorrorAddicts.net.

2.) If no one gives the correct answer, no prize is given. Instead, it is added to the following week’s prize.

No correct answers were given on Thursday, May 23rd or Thursday, May 30th, so the prizes have rolled over to this week.

It’s easy as that Horror Addicts! Solve the clues, find the picture, DM it to @horroraddicts13 to enter the drawing, and Stay Spooky!

Ghastly Games with Daphne Strasert: Arkham Horror | Call of Cthulhu

Arkham Horror: Call of Cthulhu

Welcome to the town of Arkham where the year is 1926. Something sinister lurks in the shadows behind the speakeasies. Monsters have been popping up all over town and something ancient and evil is waiting to break through to our world. Only a handful of investigators stand in the way. They must risk their sanity and their lives to keep Arkham from falling into devastation.

Arkham Horror: Call of Cthulhu is a cooperative board game for 1-8 players and takes 2-4 hours to play. It’s extremely complex and is recommended that all players be 12+.

Game Play

The game begins with all players choosing a character. These characters come with skills and items that will help them to defeat the horrors that pop up throughout the game.

Each round, the characters move around Arkham, collecting items and clues to help them win. Beware, though, the monsters are also moving and each round brings the Ancient One closer to breaking through the barriers into our world. Characters must defeat the smaller monsters or risk being killed. This is accomplished by rolling dice—the number of dice depending on the character’s abilities and the strength of the monster.

As play progresses, portals to other dimensions open throughout the town of Arkham, allowing monsters to enter and wreak havoc. Players must go through these portals and survive the horrors on the other side in order to close them. If the players close enough portals before the Ancient One crosses into Arkham, they win. If not, they must defeat this monstrous abomination and somehow survive the process.Arkham Horror revised box.jpg

Game Experience

Holy hellspawn, this game is complicated. We spent almost as long reading the rules as we did playing for the first time.

The overall concept is straightforward: kill monsters and close portals before the Ancient One comes through. But how you do that is subject to hundreds of rules and strategies. Once you understand those, however, the game is fast paced and fun. Strategizing with your fellow players forms the main playtime of the game. The game isn’t pure strategy, as the players are subject to the randomness of die rolls and card draws.

The game pieces are well made and admiring the artistry of the cards is valuable all on its own. There are a lot of pieces to track, so be organized.

Arkham is a game with high replay value, making it well worth purchasing. Make sure you have others who are invested in playing as well, because complicated games aren’t for everyone. Take the time to read the rules thoroughly before you play and designate someone as the rule keeper so you can ask questions as they arise (and, boy, do they arise!).

Final Thoughts

For a faster, simpler version of Arkham Horror, look for Arkham Horror: The Card Game (which I previously reviewed). There is also an updated version, that I have not yet played.

I loved Arkham Horror. I’ve been wanting to play for a while and finally got the opportunity. I was hooked twenty minutes into play time. I’ll be buying this one for myself.

Twitter Tech Thursday Scavenger Hunt

KSssALT

Today is Thursday, HorrorAddicts, and you know what that means? It’s time for the Twitter Tech Thursday Scavenger Hunt! We invite all Horror Addicts to join in, PLAY the game, and WIN exciting mystery prizes!

HOW TO PLAY:

1.) HorrorAddicts.net will tweet five clues which lead players to a picture on Emerian Rich’s Amazon Page each week.

2.) The clues will come in the form of questions. (i.e. I have touched the vein and caused the crimson stain. What am I?)

3.) When a player finds the picture, they will Direct Message @horroraddicts13 with their answer. (i.e. The Vampire lips on the cover of Kill Switch.)

4.) Those with correct answers will have their names entered into a drawing at the end of the day.

5.) The player whose name is drawn will be declared the winner.

PRIZES:

1.) The winner will receive a mystery prize from HorrorAddicts.net.

2.) If the correct answer is not given, no prize is given. Instead, it is added to the following week’s prize.

No one deciphered the clues last week, Addicts! The prize from the week of May 23, has been combined with this week’s prize!!

It’s easy as that Horror Addicts! Solve the clues, find the picture, DM it to horroraddicts13 to enter the drawing, and Stay Spooky!

Tech Thursday and the Twitter Tech Thursday Scavenger Hunt

KSssALT

In honor of our newest book release, Kill Switch, HorrorAddicts.net is proud to proclaim the next five Thursdays as Tech Thursday! And, during Tech Thursday, we invite all Horror Addicts to join in on our Twitter Tech Thursday Scavenger Hunt! PLAY the game and WIN exciting mystery prizes!

HOW TO PLAY:

1.) HorrorAddicts.net will tweet five clues which lead players to a picture on Emerian Rich’s Amazon Page each week.

2.) The clues will come in the form of questions. (i.e. I have touched the vein and caused the crimson stain. What am I?)

3.) When a player finds the picture, they will Direct Message @horroraddicts13 with their answer. (i.e. The Vampire lips on the cover of Kill Switch.)

4.) Those with correct answers will have their names entered into a drawing at the end of the day.

5.) The player whose name is drawn will be declared the winner.

PRIZES:

The winner will receive a mystery prize from HorrorAddicts.net.

It’s easy as that Horror Addicts! Solve the clues, find the picture, DM it to @horroraddicts13 to enter the drawing, and Stay Spooky!

Ghastly Games with Daphne Strasert: Space Station Zemo

Game Review: Space Station Zemo

Introduction

In the distant future, a group of survivors is stranded on a doomed space station. There’s only one escape pod left. They must compete with each other and the perils of their environment to activate and enter the last remaining escape pod before someone else does.

Space Station Zemo created by InQuest. is a strategy board game for 2-5 players and takes about an hour to play.

Game Play

Before you can play Space Station Zemo, you must first make the game. All the materials are free in PDF form online (you can get them by searching, but Board Game Geek has them collected here). They are designed to be printed on card stock and assembled by you. We were able to put it together in about an hour (depends how much you care about the look of the final product)

Once you have that together, it’s time to play.

Choose a character: Chuckie the Zombie, Floyd the Droid, Mush the Abomination, Pete the Cook, or The Rats (literally just a lot of rats). Each character has a special power that will help you to win the game. You then choose a secret access code for your character (three letters, either A or B, to limit options).

The Space Station is composed of rooms and hallways with the escape pod at the center. The winner of the game is the first person to successfully enter the escape pod OR the last character alive.

Each round consists of a movement phase and an action phase. All players move their characters first, then decide what they want to do (fight, pick up an item, push a button, etc.)

To enter the escape pod you must first set your character’s access code (each character secretly chooses one before the game starts) by visiting each of the three code rooms. You must also have a Pod ATM Card. This can be found by visiting rooms in the station. Each room has a card that you can pick up. Some cards are traps that kill you. Others are items that help you kill others. As you navigate the board, you’ll have to fight the other characters as they try to accomplish the same task.

Game Experience

Space Station Zemo is fun and ridiculous. The characters’ special powers change the strategies of gameplay, making it more fun (some can teleport, others leave explosive polyps, a few change form). We assign characters randomly when we play because certain people are TOO good at playing a particular character.

It’s disappointing that there is no manufactured version of the game available for purchase because I would love to have a real board and game pieces. The quality is the only real drawback that I can see.

Things can get messy quickly in a game where you’re playing against each other and the board itself. Game effects such as an open airlock and a security bot are just as deadly as fighting other characters.

Final Thoughts

I highly recommend Space Station Zemo. The rules aren’t as complicated as those of others that I’ve reviewed here. It still isn’t a children’s game, but it is suitable for younger players and for those who are interesting in getting into more strategy-based games. Since the game is free, the only investment is time—a perfect tradeoff for game players.

Ghastly Games: Gloomhaven

Game Review: Gloomhaven

Beware, casual game player; Gloomhaven is not for the faint of heart.

As a player, you enter the fantasy world of Gloomhaven, where the hallways are dim, the monsters terrifying, and the stakes higher than your life.

Gloomhaven is a roleplaying game for 1-4 players and takes between 1 and 2 hours to play.

Gloomhaven plays very much like a campaign of Dungeons and Dragons. That’s the point, of course.

First, players choose a pre-made character. Choose wisely, because you will be growing with this persona through many encounters to come. As you defeat enemies, your characters gain experience, opening them up to new abilities.

The game’s rules act as the Dungeon Master, guiding your group through an encounter to defeat the enemy and collect the treasure. Attacks do damage, both to you and opponents. Your team will need to survive this in order to get the treasure that is your ultimate reward.

If you’ve ever played Dungeons and Dragons, the play style will feel familiar. All players have hit points that track their health. The characters and antagonists take turns moving and making attacks. Each player has a number of attacks and movements that they can use, represented on cards. Players must rest in order to reuse cards.

Gloomhaven is complicated. I can’t really do it justice in just this article. You’ll have to consult the rule book for that. Those who have played RPGs before will find the process familiar, but it still requires some adjustments. If you’re playing with newbies, just know that the time required to explain rules is nontrivial.

Whether you enjoy this game really depends on what sort of gameplay you enjoy. If you like the combat portion of role playing, then Gloomhaven will be hours of fun for you. If that sort of thing isn’t really your cup of tea, then you’ll likely find the game tedious.

Gloomhaven is complicated. Gloomhaven is intellectually involved. Gloomhaven is… a ton of fun. If you enjoy immersive role-playing games—specifically the combat experience—then Gloomhaven is really the game for you.

Ghastly Games with Daphne Strasert: Mysterium

Introduction

There’s been a murder at Warwick Manor and only one witness can help investigators find the culprit. Unfortunately, that witness is a ghost. A special team of psychic investigators must interpret visions the ghost gives them to solve the mystery before the murderer gets away.

Mysterium is a cooperative murder mystery game for 2-7 players and takes about 45 minutes to play.

Game Play

Players form a team of investigators trying to solve a murder. The goal of the game is to find the perpetrator, location, and murder weapon.

One player has the role of The Ghost. They know which suspects the players must find. They have a deck of Vision Cards that they use to guide the other players.

In each round, the Ghost gives each psychic detective player one or more cards that the player uses to determine which suspect to guess. After each psychic has made a guess about the suspect, the ghost reveals if they were correct. Once a psychic finds their suspect, they then move on to guessing the location, then the weapon used in the murder.

The psychics only have seven rounds to find their group of suspects, locations, and weapons. If they do that successfully, the ghost gives one final set of clues that lead to the ultimate perpetrator.

MysteriumGame Experience

There are two different experiences of play: that of the ghost and that of the investigators.

As the ghost, you have the fun of guiding the other players, but also the responsibility if your clues lead them down the wrong path. Since Mysterium is a cooperative game, you become the most important person to the success of the team.

As an investigator, you are responsible for deciding where the clues point. The ghost can only provide you with an abstract picture clue, they can’t tell you what pieces of that picture apply. The fun for you is to draw commonalities between the clues and see where they lead.

Your game play with Mysterium is only as good as the people you play with. The first few games can be a real struggle as you try to understand how the people you play with think. But it is a lot of fun to discuss with others and play to the way they think.

Mysterium is a visually stunning game. The Gothic theme runs throughout. The art of the clues is magnificent. There are so many details in the cards to keep you interested in the game for many games of play. Each game changes based into the clues and the people playing.

Final Thoughts

If you loved Clue as a child, Mysterium is a great game for you. There isn’t the certainty of Clue, but you don’t have to worry about the monotony either. The hints are more subject to interpretation and knowing the people you play with is essential.

I really like Mysterium for the ability to replay over and over without having the same situation appear twice. I enjoy playing the part of The Ghost, but it’s fun to rotate that responsibility. I highly recommend playing this and think it will make a good inclusion to any game collection.

Ghastly Games with Daphne Strasert: Kittens in a Blender

Why are there kittens? Why are they in a blender? Good questions, but shelve your disbelief for one moment and embrace the fact that you will be putting kittens in a blender and gleefully pressing the big red button.

Kittens in a Blender is a party game for 2-8 players (ages 8+, otherwise there are too many tears) and takes about thirty minutes to play.

Game Play

First, choose a color. The many, many kittens are divided into teams by color. Your objective is to save the kittens of your team and shred everyone else’s.

Next, shuffle the deck of cards and deal a hand to each player. Kittens in a Blender contains several types of cards for players to use: Kitten cards, Movement cards, and Blend cards. On their turn, each player must play exactly two cards.

There are three play areas: the blender, the counter, and the box. Kitten cards are played in any of these areas and moved using Move cards. If a kitten is in the blender when any player plays a Blend card, that kitten is blended and removed from the game. If a kitten is in the box when a Blend card is played, then the kitten is saved and placed under the box for safe-keeping. When all the Blend cards have been played, the players count the total number of their kittens that were saved and the person with the most wins.

Game Experience

There is a lot of cringing involved in playing Kittens in a Blender. Am I really the type of person who sends adorable kittens to their doom? After a few rounds, you get over that feeling and start murdering cats with no remorse.

The game creators seem to revel in this. Rather than supplying generic kitten cards, each one has an adorable name and picture to match. Over time, players gain attachments to certain kitties (my favorite is a bulldog-faced kitten named Princess), to the point where they will sacrifice others of their own to save a favorite.

The adorable art style underlines the macabre humor of the game. Each kitten is equally loveable and undeserving of its fate. You’re just a monster for playing this game and worse for enjoying it.

Final Thoughts

I know what you’re thinking: is Kittens in a Blender really a horror game? I guess that depends on who answers, but if you were to ask my 9 year-old cousin, my mother-in-law, or several of my more innocent friends, the idea of putting even fake kittens into a blender and hitting the button is plenty horrific. But, if that doesn’t bother you, then maybe you’re the perfect person to play the game.

Ghastly Games with Daphne Strasert: Werebeasts

Game Review: WereBeasts

Introduction

Do you love werewolves? Do you wish you had a game with more than just werewolves? There’s a whole world of crazy beasts out there. Werekittens, wereclowns, werezombies, weresharks, wereghosts, werehouses… Excellent.

Werebeasts is a card collecting party game for 3-10 players and takes about fifteen minutes to play.

Game Play

At the beginning, each player is secretly given two goal cards. These are the werebeasts that they will try to collect throughout the game.

During their turn, a player can accuse another player of having a specific goal card. If they guess correctly, the other is removed from the game and the player get their cards. Guess carefully, however, because if you’re wrong, you are removed from the game and the accused get your cards.

After leveraging their accusations (if any), the player then draws a card face up. Other players bid on the card using the cards in front of them. Players try to collect their assigned goals without giving away what their goals are.

Whoever has the most beasts of their goal type when the game ends wins.

Game Experience

Werebeasts is suited to younger players as a card collection game. It is also good for older audiences who want a simple party game.

You would think that it would be easy to guess what others are trying to collect. Not so. Once players know what to look for, they know how to cover their tracks. The secret to Werebeasts is to know the other players. The dynamic changes over time, making Werebeasts an increasingly difficult game of bluffs.

Werebeasts has a simple set up, with a few sets of cards and pieces. All of these are well made and exceptionally detailed. The cards are sturdy and would stand up well to a lot of play time (including by children). The art style suits the game premise, as a cross between cartoon-cute and mock horror.

Final Thoughts

Werebeasts is a good party game for a large crowd. It is a fast, easy game to learn. I thought that it would be overly simplistic, but it was surprisingly engaging.

Ghastly Games with Daphne Strasert: Arkham Horror: The Card Game

Game Review: Arkham Horror: The Card Game

Introduction

Arkham, Massachusetts: an idyllic New England town complete with mysterious disappearances, mangled bodies, and a suffocating sense of doom that lingers over every home. Strange things have always happened here, but it seems something more malevolent is at work this time. Something that wants to come through…

Arkham Horror: The Card Game hails from the same game universe as Arkham Horror, Elder Sign (previously reviewed for HorrorAddicts.net), and Eldritch Horror. It uses a familiar play style, following a Lovecraftian storyline with the addition of obstacles and monsters drawn at random. Players embody characters who have health and sanity, things they risk in order to investigate and defeat the evil lurking just on the other side of our reality.

Arkham Horror: The Card Game is a narrative game for 1-2 players (expansions allow up to 4 players) and takes 1-2 hours to play.

Game Play

Game play consists of characters exploring their environment (represented by cards) and fighting obstacles that appear there. Finding clues allows the investigators to proceed through the storyline, revealing new locations, items, monsters, and characters. If they advance to the end of the story, they win. But with each round, the horrors advance as well—monsters appear and attack and the situation grows ever grimmer.

Arkham Horror: The Card Game is set up with D&D style campaigns, each containing several scenarios. Characters evolve with experience gained during these scenarios, so as you go further into the campaign, your character has more abilities to help you face challenges that are more difficult. Players can go through an entire campaign at once, or tackle each of the scenarios one at a time. Each scenario takes an hour or two (depending on player experience and the desired difficulty), so if you want to play through an entire campaign, be prepared to stay a while.

Game Experience

Often, I review games for a larger group of people (around 5), so this is a refreshing change of pace. Arkham Horror: The Card Game can be played solo or with a partner. You can combine two core games to be able to play with up to four players. I actually played this one by myself, which was an interesting experience, for sure. The game loses something when you don’t talk strategy with others around you. I would recommend playing with the recommended two players or expanding the game to four.

Arkham Horror: The Card Game is a faster, more compact version of the infamous original Arkham Horror and retains most of those features.

The real draw of Arkham Horror: The Card Game is the Lovecraft aesthetic throughout. The game contains quotes from actual Lovecraft stories, which are just as spine tingling as you would expect. The art has a detective noir theme, albeit with a dark twist (is that blood on the cards?). It’s a gruesome, horrifying good time and is best suited for late nights and dim lights.

Final Thoughts

As with other narrative style games, replay may become an issue. So much of the play hinges on the story, so once that is played out, replay holds fewer mysteries. There are expansions for Arkham, which helps, and different monsters and difficulty values can make replaying more challenging. However, if you are mainly interested in the story, you may want to try this game out at a board game café first.

I enjoyed Arkham Horror: The Card Game, and I highly recommend it if you are a fan of narrative games. The additional character building elements that allow the game to change with time are a great asset, as well.

I’ve been reviewing an awful lot of Lovecraft themed games, lately. I can’t help it; I love them so much. The dark mythos, the mystery, the monsters… isn’t that every Horror Addict’s dream?

 

Ghastly Games by Daphne Strasert: Elder Sign

Game Review: Elder Sign

The artifacts in the museum are more than they seem. The collection is opening barriers between our world and other dimensions where an ancient evil lurks, waiting to cross over.

Elder Sign uses the universe of H.P. Lovecraft to create a brilliant atmosphere of supernatural suspense and adventure. Players form a team of investigators trying to prevent an Ancient One from crossing into our world. They do this by collecting Elder Signs and defeating smaller monsters throughout the museum. Players can gain items and powers that aid in this and work together toward success. Failure brings the Ancient One closer to unleashing its wrath on humanity.

Elder Sign is a cooperative dice game for 1-8 players and takes about 90 minutes to play.

Game Play

Before play starts, the players choose an Ancient One to battle in the coming game. Each has a different power that makes gameplay more interesting. Some are more difficult to defeat than others. Players also choose characters. These also have special abilities that give them an advantage in certain encounters.

Throughout the game, characters attempt tasks to succeed in Adventures and gain rewards. Some of these rewards are Elder Signs, which are used to seal away the Ancient One before it can cross over into our world. But beware, failure has dire consequences and can bring the monster even closer.

All the while, time ticks forward, bringing the Ancient One closer to our world. Strange events happen every midnight that make gameplay harder. If players fail to seal the Ancient One, they must fight it in a nearly impossible, last-ditch battle for humanity.

Game Experience

Elder Sign is beautiful. The art is in a lovely dark fantasy style that is perfect for the Lovecraft mythos that it represents. Symbols use are straightforward and easily identified, which is a benefit in complicated gameplay. Each Adventure card has a snippet of a story on it, giving insight into the perilous world of the museum. Reading these bits was an enchanting part of the game.

Despite appearing extremely complicated, Elder Sign is actually straightforward. There is some work in learning the game mechanics, but once you have a handle on that, play runs smoothly. I recommend taking the time to familiarize yourself with the manual before starting and allocate extra time for your first playthrough. Once you have the hang of it, though, you will be able to play many more times.

A benefit of Elder Sign is that the game is actually winnable. Some cooperative games (like Dead Men Tell No Tales, which we also reviewed here at Horror Addicts) are nearly impossible to defeat. Players can succeed in Elder Sign, provided they put thought and strategy into their gameplay and have reasonable luck with dice. It isn’t a guaranteed win, by any means, but players can expect a reasonable return for their effort.

Final Thoughts

What I liked best about Elder Sign (and I liked a lot of things about Elder Sign) was how re-playable it was. There are a variety of Ancient Ones to fight against, but even without that, the different adventures, characters, and items change gameplay significantly. Each game experience is unique. This is a game that I would consider well worth the money to add to my own collection.

Ghastly Games by Daphne Strasert: T.I.M.E. Stories

Game Review: T.I.M.E. Stories

Something awful is happening at the asylum. Patients disappear and frightening creatures appear on the grounds. You and your team are time travelers sent to investigate the cause of the strange events.

T.I.M.E. Stories sits at the intersection of science fiction and fantasy, but it’s no kids’ game. Violence and horror lurk behind every decision. At the core of the game is a mystery that must be solved in order to win and save yourselves.

T.I.M.E. Stories is a cooperative narrative board game for 2-4 players and takes between two and four hours to play.

Game Play

T.I.M.E. Stories works much like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book (or, more appropriately, for Horror Addicts, the “Give Yourself Goosebumps” books by R.L. Stine).

Players begin by choosing their characters. Each has strengths and weaknesses which will affect how you play the game. Some scenarios call for brute strength while others would benefit from a silver tongue. Be careful, though; you’re inhabiting the body of a lunatic, so there are some quirks and traps in each character’s behavior (some can’t be left alone, some can’t deliver a killing blow in combat).

To play, the team explores rooms, discovers items, and talks to characters. What you do affects what happens immediately in the game—offering more rooms to explore and more information about what is going on—but some effects will last much longer. This all happens on a time crunch and the longer you take, the more likely your team will have to start all over again (you are a time traveler after all).

The team wins when they solve the mystery and successfully

Game Experience

T.I.M.E. Stories is definitely a story game. There are elements of game play (combat and challenges), but for the most part, the team doesn’t “win” or “lose”. Players don’t defeat each other and the game never really beats the players. The fun is in making decisions and discovering the story along the way.

Since the majority of the base game is themed around a 1920’s asylum, the atmosphere is heavily horror related (with monsters, lunatics, and mad doctors). The art reinforces this. It is stunning and gruesome in equal measure, perfect for the story. The mystery itself is soaked in blood.

The game is nominally themed as science fiction, which allows you to expand the game (with other stories in new locations) and to keep playing a game that might otherwise be too hard (by restarting when all players die). However, while playing, you are immersed in the world of the story (the asylum), so, the science fiction elements become jarring when they are reintroduced.

This adds to T.I.M.E. Stories‘ complexity. This game isn’t for people new to board games or the faint of heart. There are a lot of pieces and parts to game play. The board, while beautiful, is not immediately easy to understand. If you wish to play, either find a veteran to explain or take the time to familiarize yourself with the manual.

Final Thoughts

While T.I.M.E. Stories was a fun and interesting game, the truth is, it isn’t a game you can play over and over. Unlike a “Give Yourself Goosebumps”, the story here has a definite path to follow and does not diverge greatly. There is only one major story included and once you’ve figured that out, the game loses its appeal. You already know the twists and ending. Given that most of the fun of the game is in exploring and discovering what is going on, that’s a big disadvantage.

There are seven expansion packs for T.I.M.E. Stories, so you can play some different stories, but from an investment point of view, it isn’t cost effective to buy. If you really want to experience this game (and I do recommend playing), visit a board game café that has T.I.M.E. Stories and its expansions.

Ghastly Games by Daphne Strasert: Enchanted in the Moonlight

Game Review: Enchanted in the Moonlight

Monsters are big business right now. I mean, they’ve always been the stars of horror, but recently audience sympathy has shifted in favor of what were, traditionally, the villains. Wanting a little monstrous romance is more common than it’s ever been (Academy Award Winner for Best Picture The Shape of Water, anyone?). So, in the world of games, romance and horror, there must be an intersection somewhere for those looking for a little action.

Look no more. Today, I will review Enchanted in the Moonlight, a dating simulator game for iPhone and Android where you become romantically involved with a monster.

Enchanted in the Moonlight draws inspiration from traditional Japanese mythology and includes ayakashi, creatures that are similar to monsters (and will be familiar to fans of anime). You, as the main character, have a special power that is coveted by the ayakashi. As a result, you have your pick of supernatural suitors. Choose a suitor, then sit back and enjoy the story.

Game Play

Dating sims have been huge in Japan for a while, so otakus are probably already familiar with the concept. Only in recent years have they made their way into the mainstream minds of Western consumers.

If you haven’t encountered the concept, dating sims work like an electronic Choose Your Own Adventure, plus romance. You play the sim on your phone by downloading the app. The game follows a story and gives you, as the main character, choices throughout that effect what happens next.

Most games are free, but you must purchase stories in the app to play through more than the first chapter. Once you choose which character to pursue, you can then follow the story, choosing what you do and say along the way and hopefully bring about a happy ending.

Enchanted in the Moonlight offers six possible love interests: a kitsune (fox), tengu (black bird), werewolf, oni (demon), yukibito (snow spirit), and house spirit.

Game Experience

I’m not going to lie, I’m a sucker for storytelling games. And the stories included here were addicting. The supernatural premise adds an element of drama that I really enjoyed. I’ve bought all the different character arcs at this point, none of which are repetitive in the slightest.

That said, your choices as a character don’t really hold that much weight. There are really only a handful of endings waiting for you, so you won’t do much more than deviate the events in a minor way. I found myself sometimes wishing that I could respond in ways that weren’t offered, maybe smacking a little sense into characters that tended toward the misogynistic. If you’re looking for something complex, there are better dating sim options. However, if you’re looking for some mindless fun and romance, this is for you.

The showcase of the games is the art. There are lovely anime-style images used throughout, with special pictures for important parts of the story. Most games let you save these in a special gallery to admire later.

Bottom line: the premise is a little contrived, the prologue is rushed, the main character is kind of a pushover, and the writing isn’t the greatest. BUT, it’s fun. It’s silly and ridiculous and romantic.

Final Thoughts

Dating sims aren’t for everyone, but they can be a fun escape. If you’re looking for a story game you can play in your downtime, this is a great option. If you want something mindless to enjoy, I recommend it wholeheartedly. I mean, I always wanted to date a werewolf.

Ghastly Games by Daphne Strasert: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Game Review: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Who doesn’t love pirates? Who doesn’t love undead pirates even more?

In Dead Men Tell No Tales, players take on the characters of a pirate crew and work together to plunder a burning ship, the notorious Skelit’s Revenge. They must defeat the undead crew, find the treasure, and fight the fire to stay alive. Do you have what it takes to survive and win?

Dead Men Tell No Tales is a thematic cooperative board game for 2-5 players and takes about 90 minutes to play.

Game Play

First, choose a character. All characters have different abilities that will help during play (extra speed, fighting power, rum capacity, etc.). Next, board the Skelit’s Revenge and start looking for treasure. You explore the ship, finding new rooms and revealing new obstacles.

Oh, and all the rooms are on fire.

You take damage when exposed to the flames, so as you explore, you’ll need to take time to rest your character—valuable time that could be used fighting the Skelit’s crew. Defeat the crew to find the treasure. Find all the treasure and get it back to your boat to win. Be warned, the fire gets worse and the enemies increase with every turn, so winning won’t be easy.

Game Experience

The game quality is very high. There are many pieces, but each is crafted with either hardy cardboard or wood. All character pieces are exquisitely decorated with detailed fantasy art that fits with the theme. The well-made setup makes the game a physical joy to play.

As far as gameplay, Dead Men Tell No Tales is complicated. There are a lot of things happening at once and it will take a few tries to really get a handle on what strategies work. I have never actually won a game of Dead Men Tell No Tales (and we’ve been playing on easy mode). There is a lot going on; between character powers, monster moves, a raging fire, and explosions, you can lose track of what danger is most immediately threatening.

There are many ways to lose, but only one way to win. There’s some serious strategy involved in playing and I cannot emphasize enough that the game is cooperative. You are working together as a team so—depending on who you choose to play with—you may not feel as if you’re making any of your own decisions at all.

As much as I emphasize the difficulty, the game is fun. I promise. Dead Men Tell No Tales is all about moves, finding the best thing to do from a long list of possibilities. But it isn’t just pure strategy either—luck is just another skill in a pirate’s arsenal.

Final Thoughts

Dead Men Tell No Tales is a good game for those who like a challenge and have experience playing complicated games. There are a lot of moving pieces. This isn’t Chutes and Ladders; no one wins for just showing up. You’ll want your wits about you (so, not a great game for drinking) and every move has potentially dire consequences (so, not a great game for children). If you really think you have what it takes to take on the challenge, look no further.

Ghastly Games by Daphne Strasert: One Night Ultimate Werewolf

Game Review: One Night Ultimate Werewolf

Introduction

Someone in the village is a werewolf and the townspeople are determined to find out who. Players all have roles and special abilities that will help them determine who is guilty. But, not everyone is going to tell you the truth. Who’s mistaken, who’s lying, and who is the werewolf?

Welcome to One Night Ultimate Werewolf.

Game Play

The concept for One Night Ultimate Werewolf  is simple. There are two teams: the werewolves and the villagers. The villagers win if they kill at least one werewolf. The werewolves win if they all survive.

It is when we reach beyond that that everything gets more complicated.

Every player draws a character from the deck. One Night Ultimate Werewolf has a lot of possible characters. Some are werewolves, some are villagers, and some have special abilities (looking at cards, trading cards, mimicking the powers of others, etc.). After characters are drawn, everyone closes their eyes players take turns performing their action. Beware, some of these actions might change your character card, so you may not end the game as the same person you started as. When player actions are done, the real fun starts. Everyone opens their eyes and players argue over what happened. Ultimately, each player must decide who they want to “kill” in the round.

In the end, One Night Ultimate Werewolf is all about lying. Players want to keep what they know secret until the information will most benefit them. No one can be trusted, and in some cases, you may not even know that you are a werewolf until all cards are flipped at the end.

Game Experience

The best part of One Night Ultimate Werewolf is how fast gameplay is. Each round is played separately. Even if a player is killed, they still participate in the next round. Characters are re-dealt and the game starts fresh. This means that the game can end whenever you want it to.

The game setup is very simple, with a set of plainly illustrated cards and tokens. The art is charming, with a dark comic style that suits the game theme. All cards and pieces are sturdy and can stand up to some wear, which is good for a fast game where players constantly move pieces.

For a game that is—at its heart—extremely simple, learning to play One Night Ultimate Werewolf is a challenge. If you can find a veteran player, do it. They’ll let you know what information you need to know up front and what you can find out as you go along. Otherwise, you’ll spend an hour at the beginning trying to figure out detailed rules that aren’t important.

Luckily, the creators of the game have made a free app to guide players through the game. I highly recommend downloading the app. It has an easy to use interface and a narrator who leads you through the round. The narrator has a wonderful, soothing voice that I could listen to for hours. It’s an enjoyable experience from start to finish and the app reduces the complexity of the game tremendously.

Final Thoughts

I had this game for a long time before I could convince anyone to play with me. Since the game is similar in concept to the Mafia card game, the friends of mine who were inclined toward more complicated games thought it would be boring. And casual family gamers were intimidated by the number of different rules and worried it would be too complicated. In reality, the game was suited to both groups.

It takes a few rounds to fall into the rhythm of the game. This was the largest obstacle I faced in getting new players to join me. They would play one round and, having not gotten the hang of revealing and concealing information, give the game up for being boring and almost impossible.

However, it is very worth playing. It’s perfect for people who like to run their mouths. I recommend it as an excellent party game.

GOTH: The Game of Horror Trivia Video Review

Hello, Addicts! Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz here with a special Video Review of my awesome Thrift Find Goth: The Game of Horror Trivia!

 

In Addition to Goth: The Game of Horror Trivia, briefly I also mention some Lovecraftian and atmospheric games including Arkham Horror, Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu, Betrayal at the House on the Hill, and The Grimm Forest.

Be sure to check out more of our Game Reviews at Horror Addicts.net, and don’t forget you can get interactive, answer trivia questions, and tell us what kinds of Horror Media you would like to see – by Horror Addicts for Horror Addicts! – on our Facebook Group.

 

 

Ghastly Games by Daphne Strasert: King of Tokyo

Game Review: King of Tokyo

It’s the mega monster match-up to end all others. Up to six monsters join in one massive fight that will leave the city in ruins. Only one can rule it all. Roll the dice, earn Victory points, and attack your friends to become King of Tokyo.

King of Tokyo is a family game for 2-6 players and takes about a half hour to play.

Game Play

First, choose your monster: Gigazaur, The King, Alienoid, Mekadragon, Cyberbunny, or Kraken (Mekadragon is the best, but you can have your own favorite). Each character has a monster board that tracks the current health and the number of victory points you have earned.

You will want to pay attention to those numbers because there are two ways to win in King of Tokyo:

  • Be the first player to earn 20 Victory Points
  • Be the last monster alive

You gain victory points by rolling matching numbers on the dice, going into or staying inside Tokyo, and through special cards. Attacks from other monsters lower your health and if your health hits zero, you say sayonara and slink back from whence you came.

During play, one monster stands inside Tokyo. While there, every attack they make targets all monsters on the outside. Every attack made by those outside targets them. They can’t heal, but the longer they stay inside, the more victory points they gain. Any time after they are attacked, they can choose to leave Tokyo, throwing their attacker into the city in their place.

King of Tokyo employs dice for the main gameplay. Dice let you attack, heal, earn energy, and gain victory points. Like a game of Monster Yahtzee, you have three rolls to collect what you want and you can reroll as many or as few of the dice as you want.

The game also has bonus cards that you can buy using “energy”. These give your monster extra powers that can boost your gameplay. You earn energy through dice rolls just like everything else, but cards can make all the difference between survival and early death.

Game Experience

King of Tokyo is a fast, fun game. It’s the best game for casual game players that I’ve reviewed so far. The game involves some strategy, but success is mostly left up to luck. In the many times that I’ve played, I have only seen someone win using victory points once. Generally, the game is a battle for survival rather than a race to the top.

My favorite part of the game is the design. The art has a comic book style that suits the theme and pays homage to countless monster movies. Each of the characters is an off-brand monster (Not quite Godzilla, but you know what they’re going for). Over time, players develop attachments to the various characters, so you’ll probably have your own too.

The only drawback that I have for gameplay is that players who die are out for the rest of the game. While that’s how life works sometimes, it isn’t helpful when you want to keep everyone engaged in play.

Even though there is little actual decision making in the game, it often ends in shouting as players try to convince each other to attack or not, risk it all, and possibly knock themselves out of the game. It’s a good time.

Final Thoughts

King of Tokyo is easy to learn and the pay off during play is worthwhile. It would be a good game to play when children are around. I recommend it for anyone who loves (or maybe just casually likes) games.

Ghastly Games by Daphne Strasert: Munchkin Bites

Game Review: Munchkin Bites

Kill the Monsters. Steal the Treasure. Bite your Buddy.

Ready to fight the forces of evil? Whether you’re a vampire, werewolf, changeling, or human, you’ll need all the help you can get. Kill monsters to level up, collect treasure to boost your power, and reach level 10 before your opponents to win.

Munchkin Bites is a spinoff of the popular humor card game, Munchkins. The Munchkin games satirize role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons. This version follows the theme of monsters and horror. It is a game for 3-6 players and takes about 90 minutes to play.

Game Play Overview

The goal of Munchkin Bites is to be the first player to reach level ten. Everyone starts at level one, but players can improve their characters by assigning a race (vampire, werewolf, or changeling) and by equipping them with items. These increase the chances of defeating monsters you encounter. Munchkin Bites also include Power cards, which give your character special abilities (like forcing others to help you or letting you reroll the die).

You increase levels by defeating monsters that you encounter during the game. Each turn, you flip over a Door card to discover monsters or items behind it. If there is no monster behind the Door, you can play one from your hand to fight. If you kill a monster, you go up a level and collect treasure.

But when you step up to fight, know that the other players can (and will) get involved. They have cards and powers of their own that they can use to help the monsters kick your ass. If you want their help, you’ll have to bargain. This bargaining plays a central role in the game dynamic, forming alliances and breaking them just as easily. When the dust settles, you either kill the monster and collect your reward or suffer the consequences of defeat.

Game Experience

Early gameplay goes quickly; players level up and gain items with little resistance. But as everyone approaches level ten, things get personal. Players start all-out war to keep others from budging in the standings. Friends become enemies and people you’re close with will screw you over if it means the difference of a point.

While the arguments are real, Munchkin Bites refuses to take itself seriously. Most of the fun of the game is in the cards themselves. Each features art from John Kovalic’s Dork Tower comics with a horror twist. It’s a fun play on macabre themes. While anyone can enjoy monsters like the ‘Heck Hounds’ and ‘Were-Hamster’, Horror Addicts will get more out of this game than most (Bela Lugosi impressions, anyone?). The characters are delightfully grim and the culture references are reason enough to play on their own. After all, who wouldn’t want to kill monsters with ‘The Sword Of Beheading People Just Like In That Movie’?

Final Thoughts

Munchkin Bites is a staple of my own Game Nights. It is a fun, silly game, but isn’t for people looking for a casual game with no decisions involved (some people just want to play Sorry!. I’m not one of them, but whatever…). Gameplay is straightforward, but there are built in layers of complexity that mean players who are familiar with role-playing games will catch on more quickly. Don’t be discouraged if you’ve never played D&D! Munchkin Bites is a fun introduction to the essence of role-playing. Even when you’re familiar with gameplay, Munchkin Bites doesn’t lose its luster. The jokes never really get old and players devise new, monstrous ways to torment their opponents with each turn.

You can combine Munchkin Bites with any other core Munchkin games (they come in a lot of varieties), but Horror purists won’t see the need to muddy the cemetery with the riffraff from other versions. For more fun, consider combining it with Munchkin Bites 2: Pants Macabre.

Ghastly Games by Daphne Strasert: Gloom

Game Review: Gloom

The sky is gray, the tea is cold, and a new tragedy lies around every corner…

The distinguished characters of Gloom do not have happy fates awaiting them—not if you have anything to say about it. You control what happens to them through the course of the game, building tales of woe for your unfortunate family. Your objective is simple (and grim): make your characters as miserable as possible before killing them off one by one.

Gloom is a thematic game for 2-4 players. It takes about an hour to play.

Game Play

Gloom offers four nefarious families to torture. Will you play with Darius Dark and his ill-conceived circus of misfits? Or the rich, but malevolent Hemlock family? How about the undead results of Professor Helena Slogar’s experiments? Or the extended kin of the Blackwater Matriarch, who proves you can’t choose your family, but you can choose which of them survive?

Beware, you’ll probably get a little attached to your family as you ruin their lives. In my experience, players develop an affinity for a certain family, sometimes continuing their stories from previous games.

Once you’ve chosen your victims, you’re ready to start their tales of woe. In your hand are several types of cards. Some contain horrific incidents that will make your characters miserable. Some contain happy moments that you can use to lift the spirits of other player’s families. Other portend the ultimate calamity to befall a character of your choice. Choose wisely and time your characters’ deaths to bring you the most advantage.

The game ends with the demise of one entire family. That family doesn’t necessarily win, though. One supremely horrible life can outweigh five mildly grim ones. Whichever player has the most miserable score for their dead characters takes home the macabre victory.

Game Experience

The cards in Gloom are the real stars. Each features delightful callbacks to Edward Gorey style grim humor with cute alliterations that makes torturing your family delightful (“Widowed at the Wedding” or “Mauled by a Manatee”, anyone?).

The cards are clear, so the values of preceding play can still be seen. The clear cards make for more complex gameplay, since all new moves build off former ones. It requires some strategy to maximize misery. Because the cards are plastic, though, there are problems with them sliding off each other (shuffling is not great).

The cards create a great base for weaving together the tales of woe that befall the families. Gloom is a storytelling game and piecing together the miserable lives and deaths of the characters is as much a part of the game as killing them off. However, I found that the story takes a back seat to strategy and is usually summed up by what can be found on the cards. If you’re looking for more creative outlets, there are better options.

Final Thoughts

Gloom is a fun, easy game to play, once you get the concept. Most first-time players struggle with the idea that they want to murder their loved ones, but once they get over that hurdle, they take to the game with glee.

While the premise is simple (bad actions take away happiness points and good actions give them), there are a few different types of “happiness” and the cards interact with each other to change those. First time players should pay attention to what you’re doing. It can get complicated.

My favorite parts of the game are the art, the snippets of writing on the cards, and the characters, which build a macabre tapestry. Overall, Gloom is fun and casual, a little like playing a part in the Addams family.

Ghastly Games: Monster Fluxx

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On episode #133, hear Emerian Rich talk about Fluxx, Monster edition

fm fmFluxx is a card game where the rules keep changing and the excitement never stops. You still start out simple: draw one card and play one card, changing the rules as you go, while collecting up different cards to combine into the goals. Changing Goals will keep you on your toes as well, and Action cards are still shaking things up! Monster Fluxx takes classic monster movies and TV shows and adds them to the basic Fluxx deck. With the prominent monster presence, this deck is designed to introduce new players to the Fluxx system and has it has just four main card types.

 

Find out more about this awesome game on Episode #133, coming September 3rd.

Ghastly Games: 13 Dead End Drive

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On episode #131, hear Emerian Rich talk about 13 Dead End Drive

ded5 A bluffing game where you try to conceal your identity. On your turn you move two of the character pawns on the board. Movement is decided by dice. The board is a 3D house with several traps. If you move a character to a trap space, you may spring the trap if you have the corresponding card in your hand. You can bluff by moving your opponents’ characters towards the entrance or moving your own character onto a trap space, but not release it. The portrait above the fireplace contains cards for each character plus Aunt Agatha. When you roll doubles, you may change the portrait. You can win the game in three different ways: 1) If you can move your own game counter out of the house when it’s the same as the portrait on the wall. 2) If your game counter is the last surviving. 3) If your game counter’s portrait is on the wall when the detective enters the main entrance.

Find out more about this awesome  game on Episode #131, coming August 6th.

 

Ghastly Games: Zombicide

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On episode #129, hear our resident Ghastly Gamer, Chantal Noordeloos talk about Zombicide.

 

zombZombicide is a collaborative game for 1 to 6 players, for 13 years old and up. A game lasts for 20 minutes (beginner board) to 3 hours (expert board). Each player controls from one (for 6 players) to four (solo game) “survivors”, human beings in a zombie-infested town. In fact, “survivors” hastily change to “hunters” to smash zombies through and through. However, the team must constantly keep the balance between survival and slaughter: as the zombicide’s going on, the “Danger level” is going up and infected are growing in numbers. Any misstep can turn to disaster.
Zombicide is a fun and easy game with cool minis in an archetypical, popular and comics-inspired environment. zombicideAmbiance is constantly kept between “beat’em up” and “survival horror” as characters keep on turning from preys to predators. Humor and gloom happily marry in a zombie-fest. Find weapons, kill zombies. The more zombies you kill, the more skilled you get, the more skilled you get, the more zombies appear. The only way out is Zombicide! Play 10 scenarios on different maps made from the included modular map tiles, or create your own.

Find out more about Zombicide on Episode #129, coming July 9th.

 

Ghastly Games: Panic Station

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On episode #128, hear our resident Ghastly Gamer, Chantal Noordeloos talk about Panic Station.

panicstationA team of heavily armed troopers enter a desolate army base. The collective mission: destroy the alien parasite that lurks within the darkness. Your team has only half an hour to locate the parasite hive and destroy it. But one member of your team has transformed into a host andwill attempt to infect your team one by one. Panic Station is a paranoia-driven cooperative game in which you control two characters in the Extermination Corps sent out by the government to investigate the presence of fiendish alien life forms. Players move both their Androids and Troopers through the base, exploring and gathering equipment that will help them to complete their mission: to find and destroy the Parasite Hive hidden somewhere in the inner depths of this doomed location. A player who gets his Trooper into the Hive and plays three gas can cards to fuel his Flamethrower wins the game for the humans. However, one of the players will become a Host. psationHe must keep this identity secret, infecting as many team members as possible to gain allies and prevent the humans from completing their mission. Only players who carefully watch the behavior of team members will stand a chance against the infected players and roaming parasites.

Find out more about Panic Station on Episode #128, coming June 25th.

 

Ghastly Games: Mansion of Madness

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On episode #127, hear our resident Ghastly Gamer, Chantal Noordeloos talk about Mansion of Madness.

mofmUp ahead, isolated in the Massachusetts countryside, stands a secluded mansion. This is where the clues have led you. This is where you will finally find the answers you have been seeking. As you advance through the cold, driving rain, the dim light dancing in the ornate windows gives the appearance of a dozen sinister eyes watching your approach. The very walls are infested with evil and the great house seems to stare at you with hostility, but despite the growing fear gnawing at your soul, you press on. You must. This madness has to end, and by God, it will end tonight… even if it kills you.

Designed by Corey Konieczka, Mansions of Madness is a scenario-driven board game of occult horror and mystery for two to five players. One player takes on the role of the keeper, a malevolent force working to complete a sinister plot. All other players take on the roles of investigators who explore an eerie location in the hopes of solving a mystery before it’s too late. The keeper’s goal is to fulfill an evil scheme, using the weapons of fear, paranoia, and terrifying monsters. The investigators win or lose as a team, and must keep their wits about them to find the artifacts, weapons, and clues needed to stop the keeper’s diabolical plot. Can a handful of brave investigators uncover the truth in time or will the wicked plans of the keeper come to fruition?

Find out more about this awesome board game on Episode #127, coming June 11th.

 

Ghastly Games: Bloody Inn

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On episode #126, hear our resident Ghastly Gamer, Chantal Noordeloos talk about Bloody Inn.

bloody inn1831 Peyrebeille, France. Times are tough for the common man. It’s all your family can do to make ends meet as lowly innkeepers. Together you hatch a plan, so diabolical it just might work. Preying upon the wealthy travelers who frequent your establishment you’ve been led to commit robbery and even murder! However, the greed has caught up with you and now it’s everyone for themselves. The Bloody Inn is a devilish game that pits family members against each other in a battle to see who can walk away with the most francs. No crime is too sinister, no traveler is safe! Hey, an innkeeper has to do what an innkeeper has to do! CONTENTS: 78 Guest cards, 4 Player aid cards, An Inn game board, A First Player card, 20 10F (10-franc) Check tiles, 20 Key/Room Service tokens, 4 white Key tokens, 4 wooden player discs, 1 rulebook.

Find out more about this awesome  board game on Episode #126, coming May 21st.

 

Ghastly Games: Gloom

 

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On episode #125, hear our resident Ghastly Gamer, Chantal Noordeloos talk about Gloom.

1250In the Gloom card game, you assume control of the fate of an eccentric family of misfits and misanthropes. The goal of the game is sad, but simple: you want your characters to suffer the greatest tragedies possible before passing on to the well-deserved respite of death. Play horrible mishaps like Pursued by Poodles or Mocked by Midgets on your own characters, while trying to cheer your opponents’ characters with marriages and other happy occasions.

gloomPrinted on transparent plastic cards, Gloom features an innovative design by Keith Baker. Multiple modifier cards can be played on top of the same character card; since the cards are transparent, elements from previously played modifier cards either show through or are obscured by those played above them. You’ll immediately and easily know the worth of every character, no matter how many modifiers they have. You’ve got to see (through) this game to believe it!

Find out more about this awesome  game on Episode #125, coming May 7th.

 

Ghastly Games: Arkham Horror

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On episode #124, hear our resident Ghastly Gamer, Chantal Noordeloos talk about Arkham Horror.

ArkhamHorrorIt is the roaring 20’s, and while there’s electricity in the air, unnatural storms are brewing as well. Strange things are happening in the small Massachusetts town of Arkham; people have gone missing, sightings of indescribable creatures grow more and more frequent. And the very air thickens with a sense of foreboding that roils like an acrid mist through the streets.

The Ancient Ones are stirring…

arkhamArkham Horror was originally published by Chaosium, Inc., in 1987. This new, updated edition features stunning new artwork and graphical design (including a new gameboard, counters, cards, and playing pieces) as well as revised and expanded rules from the game’s original creator, Richard Launius.

Players can select from 16 unique playable investigator characters, each with unique abilities, and will square off against the diabolical servants of 8 Ancient Ones, including Ithaqua, Hastur, and the terrible Cthulhu! No fan of the Cthulhu Mythos will want to miss the opportunity to acquire this classic Call of Cthulhu board game!

Arkham Horror is a cooperative game for 1-8 players ages 12 and up, and can be played in 2-3 hours.

Find out more about this awesome Cthulhu-inspired board game on Episode #124, coming April 23rd.

 

Press Release: Monster Magic Magazine

20140601230838-Monster_Magic_October_Edition__social_share_size_Monster Magic Magazine 1st official online edition is set for June 30, 2014. The October edition will be released both online and in print! Monster Magic Magazine is a monthly magazine that captures the fun,exciting and sometimes creepy world of fantasy and horror. The magazine will include upcoming events such as conventions, contests, haunted houses and much more! In addition, there are interviews and bios on the people who make all this possible. Monster Magic Magazine gives an inside look at the work, preparation and art behind the scenes of the fantasy and horror industry. This magazine will also create exposure for new Indy projects that otherwise may go unseen. The founder believes that everyone needs to have the chance to have their projects viewed and this is a great platform for people to discover new talent. The founder believes this magazine will be successful because there are very few magazines on these subjects, none that cover this much material, and it has huge fan base! The magazine will contain ad space pertaining to businesses that deal in both fantasy and horror. Monster Magic Magazine will feature special fx, films, books, and games that we all love and the people who create them! For more information go to: www.monstermagicmagazine.com