Friday, October 10, 2008

#50: My Haunted Castle

My Haunted Castle
  • designer: Virginia Charves
  • publisher: FX Schmid
  • date: 1989
  • BoardGameGeek rank/rating: not ranked/5.9
  • age: 6+
  • # of players: 2-4
  • print status: OOP
  • cost: I could not find any available from a reputable online source... there is a copy of the German version of the game (no English necessary), Das Geisterschloss, available on the Geek for $16.00.
Another classic example of the way to misname a game when it crosses the Atlantic - in German, this is "The Ghost Castle". In English, it sounds like a Halloween episode of My Little Pony.

The game itself is a memory variant - the board is a picture of the castle in question with various horror film staples peeking out each window: the Headless Horseman, Frankenstein, Dracula, the Mummy, a witch, a skeleton & a ghost. Placed over each of these are shutter pieces - which have one of the beasties on their reverse side. One window is open (with a shutter piece that remains safely hidden in the box).

Players look at figure in the open window and then pick up one of the other shutters & show everyone the reverse. If they match, the tile is placed beastie side up, facing the player who got it right. (It's actually a very nice way to score the game while still keeping the spaces covered.)

However, if a player does not make a match, the shutter tile is placed on the previously open window - thus creating a new open window AND moving the tiles around. Because there are duplicate tiles of each type, this isn't as frustrating as it might seem, but it's also not simply a game of memorizing positions.

The shutter tile left in the box figures into the game as well... each player can make one guess during the game about which tile is missing. A correct guess is worth 2 points; an incorrect guess is minus 2 points. (We're still trying to figure out how to make this work so it can't be gamed - there's no time limit in the rules, which means you could wait until almost all the tiles are out and make a perfect guess. I checked the translated rules - rather than the English rules from the "My Haunted Castle" edition - to write this post & this rule does not appear in the German rules.)

When all of the tiles are matched, players total the number of matches they made plus any bonus/penalty for guessing the final tile & the player with the most points is the winner.

My three-year-old is scary good at this game - it moves fast enough for him to pay attention and his memory is much better than mine. He asks for it on a regular basis. For kids to play on their own, I'd guess the recommended age 6 is probably about right.

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