Ghost Stories is a game gifted to us by the designer Antoine Bauza, to show us how weak we truly are. It is a game that we spend the rest of the night building ourselves up to by paying easier cooperatives and such so that we don’t feel as pathetic when Wu-Feng utterly destroys all of our hopes and dreams, where God truly does laugh in our faces no matter what plans we may have for ourselves. The above picture is one of the two times that we even made it to the main boss, Wu-Feng, which was met with much jubilation, to the point that we didn’t mind that we were slaughtered… I guess what I’m saying is that it’s a hard game for us.
So what is Ghost Stories really? Well, imagine being a warrior monk in ancient China, able to overpower enemies with your strength, run on top of bamboo and fly around like in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and enlisted by some villagers to save their shanties from a powerful enemy, like Seven Samurai… except there are only four of you.
Each turn you are able to move one space in any direction and then try to exorcise a ghost from one of the areas surrounding the village by rolling colored dice, or use the gifts of a villager you happen to be visiting at the moment, such as the gift to bring one of your friends back to life, or tokens to make things easier to kill, or give you a handy dandy, two of a king Buddha Bomb! Yes, you can use a Buddha to blow up a ghost, how awesome is that! It may even be more fun than blowing up that evil bunny with the Holy Hand Grenade….
After you do your thing, another ghost appears! And that ghost may do a multitude of things, like haunt one of your villagers, making them incapable of doing things, or they can make you unable to use your precious tokens (Hate you Black Widow!), or stop you from using your abilities, or take one of your dice away, or quickly sap away your will to live… literally! They can even make more ghosts appear, quickly filling up your board with death and destruction.
Ultimately you will encounter one of Wu-Feng’s Incarnations, in which case you may need a new pair of underwear, and if you defeat him, you win, the village is saved and they will have a feast in your honor!
But most likely you won’t. Before that happens you will be overrun with ghosts, who will rip you into shreds, and each moment will get your pulse quickening as the dice fall and ghost cards are pulled. And it is fantastic!
There are few games where I sit there worried about what might happen or excited when I do something well. Rollercoasters have been known to have less excitement for me, and on the bonus side of the game, no motion sickness! So I definitely recommend it.
This game also reminds us that we really can’t do it alone. There are plenty of cooperative games where you are just doing your thing and in the end, you do win. But in this one you have to help one another out, you have to be in constant communication, or else you will surely die horribly. Each person has their own talents and skills, their own gifts, and they need to be used in order to succeed. Much like the Body of Christ, we can’t say “I have no need for you.” The hand needs the foot, the eye needs the ear, and everything else.
So check it out, and hopefully your plans are not laid to waste and Wu-Feng may fall beneath your feet. Good luck!