Gespensterjagd auf Canterville Castle
original German edition
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from 3 customer reviews
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One player is the ghost and the others the ghost chasers. The chasers try to capture the ghost and the ghost tries to elude capture in this exciting game. The chasers can cooperate, but only one can win by capturing the ghost. If the ghost eludes capture until the end of the game, he wins! All this happens in an old haunted (by the ghost, of course) mansion. The ghost chasers may only move from room to room in the conventional way: using doors and stairs. The ghost, being insubstantial, can move through the doors and use the stairs, but may also go through walls, floors, and ceilings.
The game has the basic Scotland Yard idea, but without the fiddling with tickets and trying to work out your movement.
Unlike Scotland Yard, Ghost Chase begins to narrow the number of options open to the Ghost over time. Instead of expanding from a sphere when Mr. X reveals himself, the hunters can quickly begin to deal with certain choke points, and know for certain where the Ghost isn't.
During the first couple of plays, I was convinced that the game was far too easy for the Ghost. But our last 3 games have all ended with a caught Ghost.
I've discovered many things about the game. First, the hunters REALLY need to coordinate their moves. Second, a Ghost trap and a hunter near the center stairwell are very important. Third, use moves to limit the Ghost's range of movement--instead of trying for a capture--until you are nearly certain of his location. Some rooms with a lot of connections are very key to this.
This hide-and-seek boardgame is quite reminiscent of both Scotland Yard and its follow-up, N.Y. Chase. The objectives are identical, a team of hunters move around the board via somewhat limiting modes of transportation (in this game's case, following only doorways and stairwells from room to room; in the other games' cases, following bus, subway, and taxi routes), until they, hopefully, bump into the elusive hider (ghost here, Mr. X in the other two games).
It's a neat concept--narrowing the net, hoping all the while to catch the prey before time runs out. And in Scotland Yard (and to a lesser extent, N.Y. Chase), the suspense seems real and the deduction is calculable and worthwhile. But in this incarnation, working with a map of less visible connectivity, the chasers find themselves often going to a room and hanging out because there's no really good move to aid in the narrowing of the ghost's options.
I guess the theme is neat (the ghost can pass through walls, making his movement not very constricted at all), but the execution seems to side too heavily with the ghost. Oddly, this is the exact opposite problem with Scotland Yard, where it's nearly impossible to win with Mr. X (because he can't disobey physical laws and must ride the same routes as his hunters). The main difference is that there seems to be very little challenge in winning with the ghost (named 'Max', 'Mr. X' with a different middle letter), whereas winning (or even coming close) with Mr. X is a huge accomplishment.
For now, the leader in this genre is still Scotland Yard. Maybe someone will come out with a 'The Fugitive' game where options are much like Scotland Yard with the occasional 'divine' help from kind strangers to pull Dr. Kimbell's ass out of the fire. Then we'll have a little more balance.
I'll concur with everything Randy said. I played Ghost Chase at this year's Origins with my wife. To make sure we weren't missing anything, we played four(!) games in a row, then realized we *weren't* missing anything. Possibly a game that families would like, the theme and gameplay wear thin pretty quickly. It has a cute timing mechanism as far as when Max the ghost appears to the hunters and interesting ghost/hunter movement rules, but I was very underwhelmed.
If you like/desire a team effort hunt-'em-down game, I would pass this up. Get Scotland Yard instead.