Creepstone Manor is open for guests after being closed for almost 100 years. The only problem is that the current residents don’t want these new visitors. In Ghostel, 2 to 4 players are ghosts trying to scare away travelers by any means necessary.
Welcome to Creepstone Manor
Players start the game with a ghost miniature, 3 6-sided dice in their color, a Spookie Favour card and a Scare Tactic card. In the middle of the table is Creepstone Manor which has 9 rooms open to travelers. Each room is filled with cards from the guest deck at the beginning of the game.
These guest cards each have a scare value in the bottom right corner that has to be met or exceeded by the number of pips on the dice. By reaching this number, the guest becomes frightened at the end of the night, leaving the hotel.
In Ghostel, players simultaneously roll their dice to start the night. The first player places their ghost and a die in the room they want to haunt. Each player takes a turn doing this based on the highest to lowest score. On the second turn of the round, players can move through a wall and scare another guest with another die. The night ends when every player has placed 3 dice in Creepstone Manor.
Players are awarded victory points based on how many dice pips they contributed to the scare once the scare is complete. If the dice didn’t equal enough to scare a guest, all dice pips on that guest are reduced by one at the end of the night. Scared guests leave the hotel and new guest cards fill their empty rooms.
Once the deck of guest cards cannot fill the empty rooms, the game is over and the player with the most points win.
Exploiting Their Fears
Ghostel is a simple and very accessible dice placement game. Each turn is really easy to understand and players have 9 choices on which guest they can scare at all times.
Some guest cards have phobias which can be exploited and die restrictions that force players to change their strategy. If a player wants to earn big points, they’ll have to focus on dropping dice onto a couple staying at the hotel over the course of a couple turns due to their high fright number.
After each night (round), players can spend victory points to buy 3 different types of cards.
Terror Bonus: These cards will allow players to upgrade from a 6-sided die to an 8-sided die or add an additional die to initial roll each round.
Scare Tactic: These cards allow you to play on the phobias of different guests that visit. Each card has 2 different types of fears
Spookie Favour: These are bonuses that allow your ghost to move in different ways, give guests phobias, change die rolls and more.
There is definitely some tension to buying these cards. They can be incredibly helpful but you’re literally giving away points to make this happen. When playing a Scare Tactic card that matches a guests phobia, you’ll double the die value that you place on the card during the scare. This is how players can lock in first place scares during the night.
Is it Worth a Visit?
I really enjoyed playing Ghostel. The game is light, fun and easy to teach which is a great formula for gaming with kids. The game has a similar theme to Haunt the House from Kids Table Board Gaming but is a much different game. Bad die rolls can be frustrating but with all the bonuses that the various cards give you, it’s easy to change your strategy and still score points each night.
Since we’re a family that games together, I struggled with the use of pentagrams on the cards and tokens throughout the game. I’m a huge fan of spooky games, scary movies and all things Halloween. But, this is something that could definitely keep some families away from the game depending on how they feel about it. For us, we’ll be replacing the phobia tokens in our copy of the game but there’s not much we can do about the images on the cards.
Ghostel is a really fun dice placement game that is going to stay in our collection. While some of our creepy games get lots of play each Fall, I could see Ghostel coming to the table year round.