Brad Harmer-Barnes explains why busting makes you feel good.
Ghostbusters: The Board Game
I’ve long maintained if there’s one movie you can be pretty sure that most of the people you meet will love (or, at the very least, like) it’s Ivan Reitman’s classic Ghostbusters. As kids, my brother and I loved it; similarly eating up the cartoon, toys, sequel, lunchbox, pyjamas…And now, it’s back, as a fully co-op board game. If, like me, you’re the sort of gamer who craves genre emulation, then you’re onto a real winner here. The game plays exactly the way you want a Ghostbusters board game to play.
The game is an episodic adventure game for one to four players, who are charged with busting ghosts and sealing gates to the Spirit World. Players choose one of the four Ghostbusters — Peter Venkman, Egon Spengler, Winston Zeddemore and Ray Stantz — then select one of the game's pre-written scenarios, beginning a game session that lasts from 30 minutes to two hours, depending on the chosen scenario(s) and exactly how much of a challenge they fancy.
Each of the Ghostbusters has unique traits and talents that can assist the entire team, with highly co-operative gameplay. As players gain experience from banishing spirits, the Ghostbusters level up, gaining new abilities that help them take on greater challenges.
The game does also contain some great moments of fan-service, from the appearance of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and Slimer, to the base – but legitimate – thrill of driving the Ecto-1 around the map. The ghosts and their busters are represented by small plastic miniatures that capture the feel of – if not the movies – then certainly the cartoon and the comics. A real nice touch is that when a Ghostbuster manages to hook a ghost with his proton stream, you actually get to hang a little ring-donut-shaped cardboard marker onto the miniature of the ghost, so it looks like you’re capturing them. It’s silly, I know, but it just looks so satisfying on the table.
An average game consists of the four ghostbusters playing four different “maps” or “levels” of a campaign, each of which get successively harder. The AI behind the ghosts is rather simplistic, but it does make for some rather chaotic events during a game, which adds to the replayability.
On the down side, the card components could possibly have been a little thicker, and harder wearing, but this is a minor quibble. The game itself may even be a little too simple for those who prefer their games on the heavier side – this is hardly Arkham Horror, but neither is it trying to be. It’s a fun, light adventure/skirmish game for Ghostbusters fans.
For those who have been waiting for a decent Ghostbusters game since the demise of West End Games’ Ghostbusters RPG…WE GOT ONE!
Brad Harmer-Barnes is a contributor to Miniature Wargames magazine, as well the editor of Suppressing Fire. He can be followed on Instagram and Twitter at @realbradhb