Ghostbusters: The Board Game from Cryptozoic Entertainment brings the same amount of awesome to tabletops as the acclaimed video game did to consoles in 2009. Hype for the game was big, with a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign, and Ghostbusters: The Board Game lives up to it and beyond.
In an interview at 2015’s GenCon, Cryptozoic colorist Luis Delgado described the creation process as a labor of love: “We had the rights for a while now, so we tried different versions of card games, since that’s what we usually do here at Cryptozoic. None of them worked right. So, finally we started over with a whole new concept, and it worked out right.”
This new concept involved taking the Ghostbusters back to their original intention as a team of ‘busters roping ghosts, a perfect fit for the burgeoning cooperative board game genre. Rather than players competing against one another, they work together to wrangle ghosts before the bounds of reality rip apart and creatures beyond our understanding pour unstoppable into our world.
In Ghostbusters: The Board Game, each player takes on a character who has specific bonuses that mirror the classic four-player dungeon-crawling model. Charismatic leader Peter Venkman can take the slime for another player; scientist Egon Spengler gets bonuses with his proton beam; die-hard worker Winston Zeddemore can take versatile actions; and research-enthusiast and heart of the team Ray Stantz acts as “healer,” getting the slime off himself and his fellow ‘busters. Characters gain XP based on actions unique for each, allowing them to power up their characters through five levels.
The “board” comes as modular map tiles showing various sections of street and park, enabling players to use dozens of combinations before replaying the same field. Using these different setups, players are able to move through a series of increasingly difficult “scenarios” to complete a campaign. Initially, ghosts are simple Galloping Ghouls and perhaps fan-favorite Slimer, but they become increasingly difficult: Boogaloo Manifestation, the Third Minion of Gozer Idulnas, and the greatest of them all, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. The ‘busters, the ghosts, and Ecto-1 come with richly detailed plastic miniatures and characters cards with a wealth of back story and in-game rules.
Often in cooperative games one or a couple of players tyrannize the rest by barking orders, but Ghostbusters: The Board Game brings out each person’s importance through dice rolls. Players must first roll to hit a ghost with proton beams, adding old-fashioned bones-rolling tabletop fun to the cooperative genre, where play often involves heavily euro-style puzzle-solving.
The final pages of the “operations manual” give an outline for creating new scenarios and campaigns, adding even more versatility to a game that already packs so many punches.
Ghostbusters: The Board Game is for one to four players aged 15 and up. Younger players may join in with some pointers from their older comrades-in-proton-packs. Because it is a cooperative game with numerous pieces acting as ghosts flying around and rapidly evolving into more dangerous forms, games are relatively long, lasting an hour and up, depending on how many scenarios players tackle at once. Even the time is versatile in this game, making it perfect for a moderate game for sitting down and busting some ghosts as well as for a long-haul adventure to save the city and the world.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00ZF09VLY][amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00KUS5YGC]