*About 60 Minutes
Ghost Stories is a cooperative game where players have two phases, Yin and Yang. During your yin phase, you move up any haunting ghosts and resolve the effects. Then draw a ghost card if your board is not full (lose a qi if your board is full), if it is your Taoist's color or black, it goes on your board, if it is not your color, you give the card to the player with that color, if their board is full, you can put it on any board you want. Once the ghost has been placed, it is time for the yang phase, where you move your Taoist then either fight a ghost by rolling, or you can activate the tile you are on. To win the game, you must defeat the Wu-Feng incarnation that comes out before you run out of ghost cards, or all players are out of qi.
Favorite Number To Play With: I like to play with 4. I have tried it as a 1 and 2 player, which seems to be SUPER hard! Though I have won once as a 1 player, and lost a WHOLE Bunch of times. My husband and I have won as a 2 player. I prefer 4. The rules above change for a 3 or less player games, which changes the difficulty.
Favorite Character And Why: My first pick would be the green Taoist board, Strength of the Mountain Side, with no rolling the curse die and an extra die. Second pick is the yellow Taoist board, Enfeeblement Mantra, with the enfeeblement mantra you can place it on a ghost and it takes one less element. Third pick would be the blue board, Heavenly Gust, activating tile and fighting. Each board can be powerful depending on how the ghost come out, how the village tiles are placed out, and how your team of Taoist work together.
Least Favorite Character And Why: If I had a pick a least favorite board, it would probably be the red Taoist board, Dance of the Twin Winds, moving someone else, because the only real place to move some one is to middle, but that isn't super powerful compared to getting an extra die, fighting and activating the tile, enfeeblement mantra, re-rolling, 2 actions, and others.
Mechanics I Like And Dislike: I like the stress of, as a team, having to talk it all out to win, but there are times it feels overwhelming! My dislike is that I wish you could active a tile or fight first then move instead of having to move first. But I also understand the idea that not having a choice of doing that makes the game hard, which is part of the reason I like the challenge.
Favorite Art Or Pieces: I like looking at the art on the ghost cards, but there aren't any that stick out as my favorites.
Strategies: Attack the ghost as soon as you can, depending on what boards are in play make sure you are utilizing your specials (aka if the green board doesn't have to roll the curse die than it may be smart for them to fight the ghost that makes you roll the curse die when you beat it). Sometimes there is a player that has to continually push haunters back. Use your special yin yang token before you battle a ghost that will give you it back so you are getting to utilize the special yin yang tokens.
Final Thoughts: As a game designer I love Antoine Bauza! It is great game, win or lose, it is fun! I really like the cooperative challenge.
8 out of 10 Stars
Favorite Number To Play With: I have currently only played this as a 2 and 4 player game. I like playing with 4 players best, because you have more people to help get things done.
Favorite Character And Why: I enjoy the blue board, Heavenly Gust, where you can both activate the tile you are on and fight, or, Second Wind, where you do the same action twice.
Least Favorite Character And Why: The red board, Dance of the Peaks. While moving anywhere can be nice sometimes, I just find it to be not as fun to play as the other boards.
Mechanics I Like And Dislike: The only one I can really think of, is the fact that you are at the mercy of your dice rolls. Sometimes you can play the game perfectly, but bad dice rolls can lose you the game. I still really enjoy the game, but I maybe would have liked it even better if you relied on a better token collecting mechanic than the randomness of dice rolling.
Favorite Art Or Pieces: The haunting ghosts! They remind me of dementors from Harry Potter!
Strategies: For me this really depends on which board that I am playing with. Also, if we are playing with the White Moon expansion, then to take advantage of Su Ling and using the mystic barrier.
Final Thoughts: This is another cooperative game win for me. It's super challenging so we don't always win, but we win often enough for it still to be fun. The White Moon Expansion is a great addition. It makes it a much more challenging game.
8 out of 10 Stars