THE GOTHIC GAME emerges from the Crypt

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It's Halloween time over at Gameshark.com and it's finally time for me to cover a game that I've been putting off writing about for years. It's THE GOTHIC GAME, one of the best and most painfully obscure games you can possibly imagine. I first played it sometime around 1994-1995 when Frank Branham, whom I didn't really know at the time, spied me and my gothed-out friends and thought we might dig it. We did. I wouldn't play it again until almost a decade later when Robert Martin practically insisted we play it at every single gaming session. The good news is that the game is a blast, and if you have played it you either love it or you're a dirty spreadsheet-minded Eurogamer.

There Will Be Games THE GOTHIC GAME

THE GOTHIC GAME Michael BarnesFollow Michael Barnes Follow Michael Barnes Message Michael Barnes

         (He/Him)

Editor-in-Chief

Sometime in the early 1980s, MichaelBarnes’ parents thought it would be a good idea to buy him a board game to keep him busy with some friends during one of those high-pressure, “free” timeshare vacations. It turned out to be a terrible idea, because the game was TSR’s Dungeon! - and the rest, as they say, is history. Michael has been involved with writing professionally about games since 2002, when he busked for store credit writing for Boulder Games’ newsletter. He has written for a number of international hobby gaming periodicals and popular Web sites. From 2004-2008, he was the co-owner of Atlanta Game Factory, a brick-and-mortar retail store. He is currently the co-founder of FortressAT.com and Nohighscores.com as well as the Editor-in-Chief of Miniature Market’s Review Corner feature. He is married with two childen and when he’s not playing some kind of game he enjoys stockpiling trivial information about music, comics and film.

Articles by Michael

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Dr. Mabuse's Avatar
Dr. Mabuse replied the topic: #207021 25 Jul 2015 03:07
NECROTHREAD!!!!!!!

This bad girl landed on my doorstep yesterday. This will be perfect for Hallowe'en and TrashFest NW 2016!

Hex Sinister's Avatar
Hex Sinister replied the topic: #207046 25 Jul 2015 16:08
Jealous. I'd love to have this but I couldn't bring myself to pay too much for it. More games need A Butt of Malmsey card though. And there's not a lot of games where you can get approval from Satan(!).
Dr. Mabuse's Avatar
Dr. Mabuse replied the topic: #207054 25 Jul 2015 19:57
I paid 10% of BGG's market listing. No way I would pay that listing price.

The last time I paid a "market"listing price for a game was for Star Wars: The Queen's Gambit at $100.
Hex Sinister's Avatar
Hex Sinister replied the topic: #207063 26 Jul 2015 02:36
Holy crap, I had no idea Gothic Game was going for that much. Insane. You got a good deal, Doc.
Michael Barnes's Avatar
Michael Barnes replied the topic: #207073 26 Jul 2015 13:05
Now that's what I call a necro thread!

Where did you even find one to buy? This game is STUPID rare...it was hard to get during the 20 minutes or so that it was in print, now it's practically non-existent...unless you want to pay the big bucks...I'd actually go $150 on it as a max, which would make it the most I'd be willing to pay for any game. It is truly one of a kind.

It's a shame that the reprint effort that I was involved in about 10 years ago never got out of early talks...we had the designer on board, he was interested and I did some work on new cards for every room... The goal was for it to be 100% playable as it was originally published along with the new, revised edition. So not a whole lot was going to change, if anything I just wanted to make the game more brutal, unfair and hilarious.

But it just didn't take off- our backed lost interest and away it went.
wadenels's Avatar
wadenels replied the topic: #207074 26 Jul 2015 13:12
The original designer still lives and, with some courtesy and some taste, he may be willing to ship out one of his last few copies. That's how I got mine.
Dr. Mabuse's Avatar
Dr. Mabuse replied the topic: #207077 26 Jul 2015 16:30

wadenels wrote: The original designer still lives and, with some courtesy and some taste, he may be willing to ship out one of his last few copies. That's how I got mine.

Yep, that's exactly what I did.

Aaaaaand SOLD to one Mr. Barnes Esq. for $150!*





* Joking of course, it's staying on my forever shelf.
metalface13's Avatar
metalface13 replied the topic: #207079 26 Jul 2015 19:11

Michael Barnes wrote: Now that's what I call a necro thread!

Where did you even find one to buy? This game is STUPID rare...it was hard to get during the 20 minutes or so that it was in print, now it's practically non-existent...unless you want to pay the big bucks...I'd actually go $150 on it as a max, which would make it the most I'd be willing to pay for any game. It is truly one of a kind.

It's a shame that the reprint effort that I was involved in about 10 years ago never got out of early talks...we had the designer on board, he was interested and I did some work on new cards for every room... The goal was for it to be 100% playable as it was originally published along with the new, revised edition. So not a whole lot was going to change, if anything I just wanted to make the game more brutal, unfair and hilarious.

But it just didn't take off- our backed lost interest and away it went.


Kickstarter?
Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #207140 27 Jul 2015 11:40
I really like The Gothic Game, but $150 is too much to pay. It has the simplicity of the classic family boardgames combined with dark humor and a unique appearance. However, it can go on a bit long for a game with player elimination.
Dr. Mabuse's Avatar
Dr. Mabuse replied the topic: #207233 27 Jul 2015 19:26

Shellhead wrote: I really like The Gothic Game, but $150 is too much to pay. It has the simplicity of the classic family boardgames combined with dark humor and a unique appearance. However, it can go on a bit long for a game with player elimination.


What is the running time? On BGG for some odd reason I thought it said 20 minutes but on second view it doesn't say.
Michael Barnes's Avatar
Michael Barnes replied the topic: #207236 27 Jul 2015 19:30
It can go pretty long...with a full table, it can hit 90 minutes, easily...especially if you are playing properly and goofing off the entire time. One of the things I wanted to do with it was to put some kind of a timer on it.

Here's a protip Doc. Make sure you play with the dice cup rule. Players MUST roll (or "throw") the die with the cup. If they do not, they immediately die and are eliminated from the game. I'm serious. This results in LOTS of hilariousness as people try to get each other to throw without it. Like handing over the die but not the cup. It adds a touch of nastiness to it that is lots of fun.
Dr. Mabuse's Avatar
Dr. Mabuse replied the topic: #207237 27 Jul 2015 19:37

Michael Barnes wrote: It can go pretty long...with a full table, it can hit 90 minutes, easily...especially if you are playing properly and goofing off the entire time. One of the things I wanted to do with it was to put some kind of a timer on it.

Here's a protip Doc. Make sure you play with the dice cup rule. Players MUST roll (or "throw") the die with the cup. If they do not, they immediately die and are eliminated from the game. I'm serious. This results in LOTS of hilariousness as people try to get each other to throw without it. Like handing over the die but not the cup. It adds a touch of nastiness to it that is lots of fun.

How much time would you have aimed for? I like the cup rule. In the pirate game called Trade Winds, you have a tiny ship that you can load up with treasures but if at any point any treasure drops out of it, it's gone. Much laughter has been had with people losing a shit ton of loot due to clumsiness combined with greed.
VonTush's Avatar
VonTush replied the topic: #212810 19 Oct 2015 16:15
So...My copy just arrived the other day, just in time for Halloween which is great since it doesn't seem like Ghostbusters is going to make it by then. Thanks for the inspiration!
Almalik's Avatar
Almalik replied the topic: #212886 20 Oct 2015 11:31
Seriously, the Fort must have just about cornered the market on copies of this game.
Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #266940 04 Apr 2018 11:38
"I really like The Gothic Game, but $150 is too much to pay."

What a difference it makes to have a higher-paying job. I recently paid $120 plus $20 shipping to get The Gothic Game. The box has a bit of wear and tear, but the contents are in great condition. Judging by the scoring sheets, the seller played two 8-player games and then never again.
Jexik's Avatar
Jexik replied the topic: #266941 04 Apr 2018 11:44
The original review is lost to time.