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Ghostbusters: The Board Game

November 22nd, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

I think it’s safe to say that a lot of us “Ghostbusters” fans are starved for content, so seeing this game come out really got me excited…excited enough to splurge and pick it up.  The last “Ghostbusters”-anything I played was the PC game, which is totally awesome and worth picking up.  It’s as close to “Ghostbusters 3” as you’re going to get (what with the actual actors voicing the characters) and is probably going to be better than the upcoming movie with the all-female cast. “Ghostbusters: The Board Game” is a cooperative game that puts players in the shoes of Peter, Ray, Egon, and Winston as they attempt to bust some ghosts.  Will bustin’ make you feel good, or will you cross the streams resulting in life as you know it stopping and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light?


Ghostbusters: The Board Game

Ghostbusters: The Board Game – 1-4 Players, Ages 15+, Average Play Time = 30-60 Minutes per Scenario



The game includes 47 plastic miniature figures, 10 double-sided game board tiles, 6 dice, 41 tokens, 1 PKE meter, 4 player cards, 6 ghost cards, 13 scenario cards, 5 xp trackers, 1 Ecto-1 figure & tile, and a Ghostbusters Operations & Field Manual.

Setup & Gameplay

“Ghostbusters: The Board Game” has multiple game modes, so game setup will vary.  Players can opt for an episodic experience (2-4 hours) that spans multiple scenarios to where they level their characters up as they go.  Alternatively, you can play one mission (30-60 minutes) with your level and abilities preplanned for you.  Since each scenario is different, I’ll opt to quickly overview what a typical round plays like.

On the beginning of each round, each Ghostbuster takes a turn, being allotted two action points and one maneuver.  Being slimed reduces your available standard action points by one.  The actions include moving, driving, firing a proton stream, depositing a trap, and removing slime from yourself or another Ghostbuster.  Manuevers include giving or taking trapped ghosts and entering/exiting Ecto-1.  At the end of each round, an event die is rolled.  The symbol rolled will mean different things, depending on the scenario.

Ghostbuster character sheets list an XP tracker across multiple levels, allowing you to unlock unique abilities as you play.  They also come with their own colored stream tokens so you can keep track of who contributed to capturing a ghost.  Ghost cards, on the other hand, list the roll required to hit and to capture, what happens when they get hit, and what happens when the Ghostbuster attacking them misses.  The die and the PKE meter determines what direction the ghost will go in when prompted to move.  In addition to having special abilities, ghosts can combine to form a much nastier ghost!

Play continues until players beat (or lose against) the chosen scenario or campaign.

Editor’s Note: The above doesn’t cover all of the rules found in the manual, but should give you an idea as to how the game is played.


Ghostbusters: The Board Game


The Review

I’ll be honest, for $50-$60, I expected this game to be a bit more complicated.  Most $50-$60 board games I own take a while to play and have a nice, hefty rulebook.  The hardest gameplay mechanic for me to wrap my head around were all the rules associates with line of sight, but I got used to it after a few games. I’m not complaining mind you, just simply expressing my surprise.  My guess is that you’re paying for the cost of the license (just as you would when buying Lego Star Wars or what have you) and the minis. I kind of like that the game is a bit more simplistic, though I wish it weren’t so reliant on successful die rolls.  Egon has a reroll ability, for example, that helps offset the luck factor a bit…but for the most part you’re at the mercy of the combat and event dice.

That’s not to say that there isn’t strategy, though most of it will be coordinating with others on the use of your action points, maneuvers, and passive abilities.  Each Ghostbuster has a unique way of gaining XP, outside of using streams to capture ghosts.  Peter Venkman, for example, has a lot of abilities that actually reward him for getting slimed.  Ray Stantz gets XP every time he helps de-slime a fellow Ghostbuster.  Deciding where you all should be at any point in time is also something you’ll be thinking about…that is, will you split up and cover more ground, or stick together and take down ghosts a bit more easily by double/triple teaming them?

As fun as the campaign is, I find the one-off games to be a bit more accessible due to how busy I can get.  The campaign is pretty fun, don’t get me wrong…it’s just that it can take over two hours to get through.  There’s a sense of progression as you go from scenario to scenario, leveling up your character in the process.  Of course, you can skip all the waiting and jump into something you’ve concocted to romp around in for a half hour.  Another alternative is to write down your character’s name and XP level after a scenario finishes so that you can continue the campaign on another day.

All in all, we enjoyed our experience with this one.  I didn’t care for the box insert…or rather lack thereof.  The miniatures came in two plastic sheets each with their own mold (which was nice) inside another slightly smaller cardboard box.  Unfortunately, there was no room for the other components once they were punched out, so I had to do away with the brown box and simply dumped all of the minis into the core box (which has no insert).  The minis themselves are nice, some better than others.  While nicely weighted, the Stay Puft mini wasn’t painted. The game also included streamer tokens of colors not belonging to the Ghostbusters, so I’m thinking they are for the extra characters that came as stretch goals during the KS campaign.

If you can get past the price tag and like cooperative games, then you’ll probably enjoy this title.  While easy to play, the rules aren’t laid out all that well (I feel), so my advice is to reread the rulebook after you’re done the first time so as not to miss anything.  Some reference cards would have been nice too.

Final Verdict: 6/10

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