A lonely village plagued by relentless ghosts, an ancient evil poised to take over the world, four Taoist monks stand as the only barricade from the destruction and the only source of exorcism. Ghost stories is a cooperative strategy game where players struggle against the endless hordes of ghosts before the arrival of the ancient evil Wu-Feng. After he arrives players have a limited time to banish the demon before the game ends.
The game I played with my wife during a recent power outage set a great tone going into it. Halfway through the power came back on and we were forced to scramble to shut off all the lights before the kids woke up. Our first experience with the game ended very poorly. That poor village was so overrun with ghosts that it practically became the next set of a new poltergeist movie. The narrative of the game is very entertaining and it set a great mood in our dark family room on the floor playing with flashlights shining down on us.
The strategies involved in winning break down to players taking actions with the lowest chance of failure. In order to banish ghosts players must roll the dice and the color of the pips determine what type of ghosts a player can banish. If the player is unable to banish a ghost or take an action with the roll then the turn is over. The way Ghost Stories plays out it encourages players to communicate with each other, but I can see if a group has someone with a strong personality they may end up just telling everyone else what to do.
The major form of strategy in the game comes with the special abilities that each player is able to perform. Each color token players choose comes with two options for special abilities. These range form flying across the table in one move to being able to take two actions in one turn. The game is won and lost by the use of these abilities.
Ghost stories is well designed, but I feel like the learning curve is pretty steep. Playing on the easiest recommended setting we lost our first few games and my wife got fairly discouraged with the game and I had to branch out to other people to get another game in. My suggestions to new players is to place Wu-Feng a little higher in the deck on your first couple of games. Playing like this will get you much more familiar with the mechanics and you wont be quite as discouraged by loosing the game your first go round.
No rankings from me, the game is definitely worth a buy. Try it out and see how you fare against the hordes of ghosts.