Monday, October 3, 2011

Countdown to Halloween - Wanna Play A Game?

Trying to figure out how to pass the time until Halloween gets here or stuck inside because it's raining and you can't decorate outside? Then it's time for some good old fashioned monster board games! We're gonna start off with a favorite here around the tomb, Monster Madness...

Players pick from either Dracula, the Wolf Man, the Mummy or Frankenstein's Monster, all supplied as beautifully illustrated stand up playing pieces Roll the dice and move that number of spaces and follow the instructions on the space. You may choose to re-roll the dice a second if you want a better roll. You may also choose to re-roll a third time, but you are then required to accept the last roll and move. If you roll a lightning bolt at any time, you must go back on the path to the last lightning bolt passed and your turn is over. The first player to reach the 'lab slab' by exact count and be energized by rolling a lightning bolt becomes a 'Super Monster' and wins the game. With a board as richly illustrated as the playing pieces and loaded with character specific bonuses the game is a real monster lovers treat. The only thing I've done to the copy I purchased years ago at a Toy Show was recently create a fifth playing piece of the Creature in honor of my late uncle and avid Creature fan.

 Next we have Pop-O-Matic Yipes!

One of the many games that utilized the pop-o-matic for rolling the dice like the more main stream Trouble game. Players race to be the first to reach the Laboratory,  become the Monster and then chase the other players back to the start, trying to "eat" them on the way. The other players try to flee the Monster and safely reach the Entrance Space.

Points are scored for becoming the Monster, reaching the Entrance Space without being eaten and for being eaten (for good taste!). The player with the most points after 3 rounds is the winner.

Then we have Which Witch?

 Classic three dimensional haunted house race game from the seventies. Look at the level of detail that went into the various playing board throughout the various incarnations, the game is worth tracking down just to display it . Players move their pawns around the board trying to be the first to escape the house. Along the way players draw cards that either: a) turn you into a mouse (can't move), b) turn you back into a child if you are a mouse, or c) have you drop the "whammy" ball down the chimney. The whammy ball comes out in one of the four quadrants of the game board and makes something move (witch's broom, secret door, etc.). If a player's pawn (or mouse) is hit by the ball or moving object it is sent backwards to a "safe" spot.

Which Witch came out in two editions: a large box version in 1970 with an unfolded board, and a narrow box edition in 1971 with a folding board.Finnish version known as Kummituslinna did not use cards for events but came with wheel you spin around. Kummituslinna had high quality plastic tower and staircase instead of cardboard. Italian version of the game was published by MB and it was called "Brivido!". It came with a plastic central tower and a phosphorescent skull instead of the ball. Also, the plastic "scared guy" markers glow in the dark and the cards are replaced with a spinner (the Greek version also came with the glowing skull and the spinner). Hungarian version of the game is known as "SzellemkastĂ©ly" and also came with a plastic central tower, a wheel instead of cards and a skull which glows in the dark. The UK version of the game, called Ghost Castle, also featured the black plastic central tower, glow-in-the-dark skull, and spinner.

MB re-formatted and re-released the game in 1986 as The The Real Ghostbusters Game.

The Real Ghostbusters repackaging

Can you solve the mystery of ...Mystery Mansion

Mystery Mansion is a unique search game that challenges you to build a Victorian Mansion, room by room, as you search these rooms for hidden treasure. Build the mansion by adding new rooms onto existing rooms with the roll of a special die. Every room contains many objects which are all possible hiding places for clues to the whereabouts of the Real Treasure. Search cards allow you to look behind, under and inside these objects for clues. Try to add rooms that you suspect contain objects that match Search cards in your hand. If you have a Search card that matches an object in the same room as your pawn, play it and draw a Clue card. The clue might be a Treasure Chest, a Key to a chest, a Secret Passage or just Cobwebs and Dust. If you own a key that matches a chest, haul the chest out of the mansion to unlock it. Once it's outside, the big moment comes as you open the lid. Will it be filled with gold and jewels or cobwebs and dust?

It from the Pit!

From Milton Bradley comes the Grade B Monster Movie in a board game. The object of the game is to land on the treasure chest, but don't get grabbed by It From The Pit. A large plastic board with a deep center well houses the large motorized monster that reaches up onto the board throughout the game while players move on one of two paths at the rim of the pit. The inner path is shorter, but is easier for the monster to reach. The monster is turned on at the start of the game and continues grabbing players until the game is over. Players roll dice and quickly move their explorer around the pit. At any time during the game, if the monster grabs your explorer and pulls it down into the pit hole, that explorer is out of play. If the monster just knocks the explorer over or moves it to another space the explorer is still in the game. The first player to reach the treasure chest space by exact count wins the game. If all the explorers are pulled into the pit, then "It" has won the game.

The Green Ghost

The original glow-in-the-dark game, there were at least three versions of the board. One was green with red spaces, another white with red spaces and the third was white with brown spaces. The game itself is pretty much the usual roll-and-move with a few twists. The board is up on stilts and the "path" has holes in it so that movers may fall through and thereby gain the privilege of opening one of the three pits (cardboard boxes containing ghoulish feeling items) and retrieving one of the precious small green ghosts. Players are not ensuring victory, but simply improving their chances in the end game which is decided by the giant green ghost spinner.


  1. Great stuff! I love the Green Ghost game! I have vague recollections of that game as a kid!

  2. I picked up Monster Madness and Yipes a few years back. I'm always on he lookout for monster games. Another favorite since I was a kid was Superstition. Sitting on my game shelf is also Ghost Castle and Mystic Skull, a voodoo inspired game which would probably never get made today.

  3. A great post. Man, do I want to play some kiddies board games now. I had the Real Ghostbusters Game, so it was especially nice to see Which Witch is Which, as it is the older version. Very cool.

  4. The "Monster Madness" game looks pretty cool. I haven't seen that one before. The "real" ghostbusters game I do remember, didn't know it was a re-working of the old witch game. Cool.

  5. I loved loved loved the Green Ghost game! I think my sister took it so I can't add it to my current game collection.

    Great post, great blog!


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