So after Matt and I pieced together the proper rules for the game, we finally won a round and then jumped straight into "Hell". "Hell" being the highest level of difficulty, though I must say, if you don't find "Hell" to be challenging enough, play the way we were!
No, we did not win on this level, but at least we lost knowing that we weren't playing like beginners.
In Ghost Stories, each player takes on the role of a Taoist Monk with a specific super power. You work collaboratively together to defeat the ghosts who have been unleashed by the evil Woo Fang, who threatens to rise again in one (or possibly 3) incarnations.
The board is made up purely of tile pieces. The outside frame is for players, thus they come in 4 different colours to specify which Monk you are. All tiles are two sided, so regardless of which Monk you pick to play, you have two different powers to choose from. So if you're selecting Monks randomly at the start, you need to pay close attention to which side of the player board you've picked. No two Monks have the same power, but when you play with fewer than 4 people, you may get to "borrow" some help from the non-playing monk, or the Neutral Board. In this game, I played Blue Monk and Matt played Yellow Monk.
But let's say that it's your first round. There's nothing on your board so nothing nasty happens. That's step 1. Then you draw. It's a Red Ghost, so you put it on any of Red Board's empty card spaces. Maybe it doesn't have an icon in the left corner, so that means that this ghost isn't going to hurt you - yet. That's step 2 and the end of your Yin phase! Now you can do something good!
If you are playing with fewer than 4 and have a neutral board in play, you do not skip this Monk's turn. The Board remains active for step 1 of the Yin phase, any ghosts on it get to do their evil trick for the turn, but you DO NOT pull another ghost card for this board (this is how we managed to make the game so much more complicated than it needed to be). The Monk of a neutral board is not actually present, so that's where his turn ends, he can't run to villagers or fight ghosts, he just houses them.
How to Lose: 1) By having no Monks left alive, which means that every Monk has somehow lost all of their life tokens. 2) By having 3 village tiles get haunted (this is why you don't want those Haunter figurines to reach the village).
Anyways, Ghost Stories, one of our favourites because it's an intense little Arkham Horror (our family staple) that doesn't go on for 4 hours (about 2 if you're close to winning, even shorter if you die early). But if your family staple is Monopoly, you may want to do a playtest run with people who are familiar with the game before launching into it head on. The rule book is not as intuitive as I think they meant it to be.
I'll try to post about our other games, and maybe do some video, or at least more helpful picture taking, of the games we play. Should have some fun stuff come out for Table Top Day. No idea what we'll be playing but we should go through several different ones. I'll keep you all posted!