Last month at New York Comic Con, I got to play the recently released Ghostbusters: The Board Game. I found it fitting that I traveled all the way to the film’s iconic setting, New York City, to play-test the game and meet with Cryptozoic Entertainment Game Designer, Mataio Wilson.
Ghostbusters: The Board Game is a cooperative board game that can be played with up to three other friends or by yourself. Throughout the game, players take turns controlling the four Ghostbusters, who all have unique special abilities. In addition to these abilities, each character has the opportunity to level up by gaining experience. The more experience, the more abilities your character will have. Peter Venkman gains experience by getting slimed by a ghost, while Ray Stantz gains experience by removing slime from a slimed Ghostbuster. Egon Spengler gains experience by rolling a one while in combat and Winston Zeddmore gains experience for each ghost he deposits.
Additionally, the game itself is action based, meaning that each turn you are given two moves which can be used to move a space, shoot at a ghost, or deposit a ghost back to the spirit realm. With these actions, you play out scenarios which lead into larger campaigns. After four scenarios, or rounds, you face one of three iconic ghosts–Slimer, Idulnas, or the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man–in a boss fight. According to Wilson, each scenario lasts about half an hour, or 45 minutes to 1 hour with a ghost fight. An entire campaign, consisting of four scenarios, takes at least two hours.
One of my favorite aspects of the game is the ability to customize the board. The game comes with 10 reversible map tiles, allowing for board customization and a multitude of different combinations for original game play. Those who donated to the original Kickstarter have access to even more tiles. The scenario cards that are a part of the game show you how to build out the board, but there is always the option of creating your own custom boards and submitting them to the online forum. Wilson told me that he frequents the forums, and plans to create scenario cards for some of his favorite custom board submissions.
Additionally, I like how flexible the number of players is for any campaign. To me it seems the best way to play this game would be with four players, but it’s good to know that if all of my friends were to cancel on me for game night, I could still play this game by myself for hours. It’s much more exciting than solitaire.
Before I left the Cryptozoic Entertainment booth, I had to know one last, extremely important, thing: with all of this cooperative game play, can you cross the streams?
The answer is technically is no, you still can’t cross the streams. However, because of what is required to defeat certain ghosts, multiple players (or Ghostbusters) must both have their beams aimed at the same target. It is inherent in the game’s mechanics that though the beams are pointing in the same direction, they do not cross. According to Wilson, in the Kickstarter there were specific rules regarding how to make sure the streams didn’t cross, but they creators wanted to simplify this for generic game play.
Being a huge cinefile, I enjoy all of the extended content I can get on my most beloved films. I especially love playing video games or tabletop games that take place in the world of my favorite franchise, especially when they’re actually good. I had a really fun time playing this game at New York Comic Con and I plan to grab a copy for myself with my next paycheck.
For more info on the game, be sure to check out Cryptozoic Entertainment.
All Image Credits: Holland Farkas