Friday, September 19, 2008

#62: Geisterwäldchen

  • designer: Michelle Schanen
  • publisher: Drei Magier Spiele
  • date: 2005
  • BoardGameGeek rank/rating: 2248/6.5
  • age: 5+
  • # of players: 2-6
  • print status: in print
  • cost: 23.89 Euros (spiele-offensive - about $38)
This is the Spiderman 2/The Empire Strikes Back of kid games... a game sequel that is much better than the game that gave it a chance at existence. In this case, the game that proceeded it is the 2004 Kinderspiel-winning Geistertreppe (Ghost Stairs), which I thought was an OK memory game that was likely (among equal players) to degenerate into a kingmaker situation. (The magnetic ghost thingee, however, was nifty.)

Wait a year or so, capitalize on the good SdJ buzz, and here comes Geisterwäldchen (Ghost Wood), which uses a different magnet system. The children (small wooden pawns) are magnetically attracted to the giant dwarf (large wooden figure... and yes, an oxymoron). The giant dwarf keeps the children safe as they go through the wood filled with ghosts.

OK, he only sorta keeps 'em safe - if you roll a ghost, you may place one of two wooden ghosts over another players pawn, thus keeping him from moving. If you manage to connect with the giant dwarf, he moves everyone next to him along with him... except, of course, for the ghost kids, who don't magnetically connect with him.

There are some other small rules to the game involving the narrow log & the sunlit clearing, but the game is pretty much roll & take your best move. (Those rules, btw, work to keep the game close.) The winner is the child and/or children who reach the safety of the village with the giant dwarf - you can win with others or on your own.

The game is best with 4-6 players, though it is playable with 2 or 3. It's simple enough that a 4 year old can easily join in, though the potential for hosage (getting turned into a ghost) or kingmaking (whose piece is chosen to move when yours is ghosted) can sometimes be emotionally overwhelming for little guys.


Yoki said...

I'm surprised you like this better than Geistertreppe (Spooky Stairs), but to each one his own I guess.

In my house we love Geistertreppe, especially together with Flaschengeist.

Mark (aka pastor guy) said...

I found that I could track the information in Geistertreppe easily enough that it was pretty much all about the die rolls. After reading about the expansion, I think I might enjoy the game more with it.