Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Ghosts Love Candy Too Roll and Fright part 1

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.

Boogaloo was the first game of the three I tried. It’s the shortest and, in principle, the simplest.

The main part of the player sheet is a three by four grid of trick or treaters. Each square, in addition to a funny picture of a kid in a costume, has a die pip, a symbol and three candy check boxes . Twelve kids so each number on a die appears twice. The rest of the play sheet is where you track your candy and bonuses.

Here’s the core mechanic of the game: someone rolls two dice. Everyone picks a die and checks off one of the candy check boxes that match that die. (That’s how you collect candy)

But here’s the clever bit. You get bonuses for collecting sets of candy, completely filling in a kid’s candy check boxes and completing lines on the grid. You get either Full Sized Candy Bars (worth five points) or stars that let you immediately check off any candy check box.

So gameplay is really about setting up cascading star moves. That’s where the real decision tree is. After thirteen turns, which include multiple actions, most points wins. Or, you know, you try to beat your best score.

The game that Boogaloo really reminds me of is Tanuki Matsuri. Now that is a game that is all about cascading special actions. And Tanuki Matsuri is the better game. Boogaloo has only one special action.

However, taken on its own merits, Boogaloo is nice. The brevity means the simplicity doesn’t outstay its welcome. Trying to set up good cascades is fun. And, perhaps most importantly, Boogaloo is easy to teach with charming artwork and intuitive iconography.

Boogaloo has seen repeat play for me. And, if I need a game for a classroom or casual environment next October, it is a definite contender.

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