Ghosts Love Candy Too Roll and Fright is a collection of three Roll and Write games themed around friendly ghosts and trick or treaters. I think they started life as stretch goals for a Kickstarter campaign. I waffled about writing about it as one or three blogs but each game is its own thing and I’ve devoted blogs to slighter games.
All three games have charming, kid friendly artwork that I’m sure is from the Ghosts Love Candy Too card game. They are also all multi-player solitaire which means they play one to how-many-you-got. Oh and the designer is Danny Devine, who has a solid track record.
Haunt the Block was the second of the games that I tried and, theoretically the second most complicated.
The main feature of the player sheet is a rectangular track of 42 spaces. The spaces are either candy spaces or kid spaces. Four of the candy spaces are marked with ghosts and are the starting spaces. The space inside the track is where you keep track of candy and bonuses.
Here’s how it goes: pick any of the start spaces and write a 1 there. Someone rolls two dice. Everyone picks one of the dice, moves that many spaces and writes down 2. Keep on going until the number 31.
Candy spaces will give you candy. That will give you points and stars, which can be used to add or subtract from dice. Kids? They give you specific powers, either to help you get points or dice manipulation.
IF you can’t move to an empty space, you have to cross off a type of candy and earn zero points for it. You then write the current number on any empty candy spot.
After 31 turns, most points wins.
So… Haunt the Block is essentially a soliatire Roll and Move as well as a Roll and Write. Roll and Move can be an iffy mechanic to begin with (Sorry, Backgammon) but add soliatire to the mix?
Mind you, I have seen some games that pull that combination off. Grunts is one and Bank or Bust from Dark Imp does it as well. But the game that Haunt the Block reminded me of the most is Doggy Race from the Creative Kids collection.
And Haunt the Block has the same core problem as that game. Two dice on a Roll and Move with what is effectively one pawn is too narrow a decision tree. Haunt the Block does have a variety of dice manipulation, which definitely helps. But the choices just aren’t enough making you feel like the dice aren’t railroading you.
Haunt the Block has some nice touches but they don’t overcome the issues with the core mechanic. It is my least favorite game of the three by far and not one I’d use in the classroom or for causal play.
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