Ghostbusters: The Board Game II is a game by Mataio Wilson and Vincent Pritchard, published by Cryptozoic Entertainment. It is for 1-4 players. In this game, players take on the role of the famous Ghostbusters as they battle spooktacular ghosts of every kind including piles of bubbling negatively charged slime using their proton packs and slime blowers. Of course they’ll need to seal gates if they hope to contain the darkness and ultimately save the world. In the end, if the team is able to complete the scenario by using teamwork they will be declared the winners. Otherwise, the ghosts will destroy the world as we know it.
To begin, players should choose one of the scenarios. If playing a campaign, the scenarios are linked together and should be played in order. Each scenario has a map setup on one side and the objective and other scenario specific details on the other. Each scenario will have different success and failure conditions. These should be noted before playing. It should also be noted that if playing a campaign scenario as a standalone, the scenario’s number in the campaign sequence should match the team’s recommended starting experience level. The map on the scenario card shows the different tiles that make up the board and should be placed on the table in the correct position and orientation. It also notes the starting positions of all the different elements of the game including, gates, goo piles and ghosts. These different pieces should be placed in the corresponding locations on the board. Gates should be placed on either the open or closed side, depending on the scenario’s instructions. Goo piles are placed face up on the corresponding location of the scenario map. The Spirit World tile should be placed near the board. The bottom of the scenario card tells what ghosts start in the spirit world. The corresponding entity cards should be placed near the board for future reference when dealing with each entity. The scenario card gives instructions on the Goo Pile cards that are put together to form the Goo Pile deck. These cards are shuffled together and then placed face down next to the board. In some cases, cards may be removed and other specific cards added before shuffling again. The scenario card should be followed in each specific case. The Ecto-Tank tile is placed beside the spirit world tile. Timer/Plazm counters are placed in an easily accessible pile, as they will be used for many different purposes, including keeping track of the total deposited Plazms that have been placed inside the Ecto-Tank. The PKE Meter tile is placed near the board and once placed should not change it’s orientation at any time during the game. The Ecto-1A vehicle is placed on the board in any 2 of the 4 spaces of the start zone on the scenario card. The Ecto-1A tile is placed near the board. If the scenario calls for the Lady Liberty figure, she is placed in the 4 spaces of the start zone instead of the Ecto-1A. Each player will choose a Ghostbuster character. They will receive the character card, proton pack and slime blower miniatures that match their character, along with the corresponding colored base and proton stream/mood slime tokens that match the color. They will also receive a combat die and an XP tracker that is placed on their character card on the 0 space. If playing a single campaign scenario, the XP level will start higher based on the scenario’s number. Each player will place their colored bases onto the bottom of both of their miniatures. They will need to choose which pack to start with, either the proton pack or the slime blower. The chosen figure is then placed on the Ecto-1A tile, while the remaining figure is placed near their character card. Each player should take the Class-S equipment cards that correspond to their character and shuffle them together. They will then choose 1 card randomly, placing it face up next to their character card. It should be noted that if playing with less than 4 players, it’s recommended for one or more players to play with multiple characters. The first player is chosen randomly and play now begins.
The game is played over several rounds. Before the first player begins each round, players can decide if their team will activate an Ecto-Tank ability. These abilities are on the player’s character card and can only be activated if the character is at the correct level and there is enough Plazm counters in the Ecto-Tank to activate the ability. When activated, the ability will affect all Ghostbusters on the board. Once this is finished, the round begins. Each round each Ghostbuster will take a turn. On that turn, the player may perform 3 actions. Each action may be performed more than once per turn. The actions are move, drive, deposit, remove slime, switch out the pack and combat. The move action consists of the player moving their figure 1 or 2 spaces in any direction. It should be noted that a figure can not move across red, dashed red, orange or dashed orange lines on the board. The figure also can not move off the map. It also can not be moved into or through spaces with entities, open gates or open goo piles. The figure may move through another Ghostbuster if there is enough movement points left over to move out of their space. The figure can also move into the Ecto-1A through the side if the movement ends the figure on the space that the Ecto-1A is on. In this instance, the figure is then placed on the Ecto-1A tile beside the board.
Another action is the drive action. If a figure is inside the Ecto-1A, the player may then drive it up to 6 spaces, either vertically or horizontally. It may not be moved diagonally. To move it, the player chooses either the front or back end of the vehicle and counts out the number of spaces to be moved. The vehicle is then placed with one end in the destination space and the other end in the previously counted space. If there are other characters inside the vehicle when it is moved, they travel with it. The vehicle may be driven through a Ghostbuster as long as it has enough spaces to move out of it’s space. It may not be entered or exited while driving and it can not drive off the board. It also can not move across red, dashed red, orange or dashed orange lines, neither can it move through spaces with entities or open gates. If an entity shares space with the Ecto-1A, it can not be driven and no trapped ghosts or plazm counters may be deposited.
Speaking of depositing, this is another action that the player may take. This action allows the player to send any number of trapped ghosts on their character card back to the spirit world and to add any plazm counters on their character card to the Ecto-1A’s Ecto-Tank. The player’s figure must be inside the Ecto-1A or adjacent to it to perform this action. Ghosts are placed back on the spirit world board, while plazm counters allow the counter on the Ecto-Tank to be moved up 1 for each plazm deposited.
Another action that a player may take is to remove slime from an adjacent Ghostbuster; more on how slime happens and what it does in a moment. This is done by simply choosing a type of slime that has been placed on the player’s character card and removing it. It should be noted that this action does not allow the player to take slime of their own character, only from adjacent characters. Slime can not be removed from a Ghostbuster while they are inside the Ecto-1A either. So where does slime come from and what does it do? Well, sometimes an entity will move through a Ghostbuster which will cause them to be slimed. That character will then gain a slime token of the type indicated on the entity’s card. That character can be slimed more than once but can only have up to 3 slime tokens on them at a time. If they would gain a fourth one, then one of the slime tokens on the character is exchanged for a caustic slime of the player’s choice. These slime tokens cannot be removed by normal means and if a character gains 3 of them, the team loses the scenario. These slime tokens can cause the player to lose 1 on their combat rolls, lose 1 space on their line of sight, lose a space of movement, lose a maneuver point or even lose an action. It’s for these reasons why this action is available.
Another similar style action is to switch out the pack of an adjacent Ghostbuster. Much like removing slime, switching out one’s pack must be done by an adjacent Ghostbuster. When this action is taken, the player that’s switching packs will take their figure off the board and replace it with the other figure of the same Ghostbuster. Doing this allows the character to use different forms of attack during combat. It should be noted however, that like removing slime, packs can not be switched out inside the Ecto-1A.
This brings us to combat. Combat is an action that may be taken by a player to fire a proton stream or mood slime against a target, depending on the Ghostbuster’s pack. The player rolls their combat die. If their roll is higher or equal to the entity’s “To Hit” value, then the player scores a hit against that entity. It should be noted that ghosts must be fought with proton streams and plazms must be fought with mood slime. Ghosts are not affected by mood slime and plazms are not affected by proton streams. When a ghost is hit with a proton stream, the player will place one of their proton stream tokens on the figure. When a plazm is hit with mood slime, the player will place one of their mood slime tokens on the figure. Ghosts have a “To Trap” value which requires a certain number of proton streams on it before it can be trapped. Plazms have a “To Extract” value which requires a certain number of mood slimes before it can be extracted. Each entity has certain instructions on it’s card that determine what it does when hit or when missed. If the player was able to place the final hit needed to trap or extract an entity, it’s “When Hit” ability does not resolve like normal. The player is then able to place the trapped ghost on their character card or remove the plazm from the board and the player gains a certain number of plazm counters as described on the entity’s card. Each player receives 1 XP for each stream that they had on an entity when it was trapped or extracted. The tokens are then returned to the respective players. It should be noted that Haunted Humans are a bit different. Some of these require both proton streams and mood slime, while others may allow either. They may be trapped like ghosts but they also reward the player with plazm counters when trapped. Another thing to note is that if the player changes targets or they switch out the pack on their character, they must remove their tokens on the original target. The same is true if line of sight is broken by the entity moving out of range or if it’s broken by another entity, gate or terrain line. Besides entities, the players will need to attack gates to be able to close them. They may be closed by either proton streams or mood slimes. Just like entities, the gate will have a “To Hit” value which must be rolled equal to or higher on a combat roll. The player that hits places the appropriate token on it and follows any additional effects that may be caused from the scenario card. Just like entities, some gates may require multiple streams or slimes be placed on them. This is determined by the scenario’s “To Close” value on the card. Once the appropriate number of tokens has been placed on the gate, it is flipped over to the closed side and each player receives 1XP fore each of their tokens on the gate. If the player misses the gate on their combat roll, then the player checks the scenario card for the results. If the last open gate is closed, all of the ghosts on the map are sucked back into the spirit world, excluding mini boss and boss ghosts. Plazms also are unaffected and stay where they are.
One final action that’s not listed above is to pass. This simply means the player chooses to take no more actions. If a player does this before taking any actions they are able to remove slime from their character or switch out their own pack. If either of these options are taken, the player is still able to perform maneuvers and use character abilities.
Maneuvers do not require one of a player’s 3 actions. These may be taken in addition to those. Each player may perform up to 2 maneuvers at any time. It should also be noted that a player may convert a regular action into a maneuver. This allows a player that has no maneuvers due to slime to be able to perform a maneuver. There are 4 different maneuvers that may be taken. The first maneuver is to transfer trapped ghosts and plazm counters. This allows a player to move any number of trapped ghosts and plazm counters from their character card to another player’s character card, or vice versa. However the character must have line of sight to the other character. Trapped ghosts and plazm counters may also be transfered from a character adjacent to the Ecto-1A to a character inside the vehicle and vice versa. Another maneuver that may be taken is to transfer equipment to or from an adjacent Ghostbuster. This maneuver is very similar to the previous one except that instead of ghost and plasms being transferred, in this case it’s equipment cards. The same rules as for the previous maneuver apply. The only thing to note is that Class-S equipment can not be transferred. The next manuever available is to enter or exit the Ecto-1A. For this manuever the character may be moved from either inside the vehicle to the outside or from outside the vehicle to the inside. If the character is inside and exits, then the figure is placed on an unoccupied space adjacent to the Ecto-1A along the 4 side spaces. If the character decides to enter the vehicle, then the figure must be on one of the 4 side spaces adjacent to it. The figure is then placed on the Ecto-1A tile. The last maneuver is to investigate a goo pile. To do this, the character must be adjacent to the goo pile and have line of sight to it. The player will then flip over the goo pile token and gain 1 XP. They must then draw the top card from the Goo Pile deck. This card can be anything from a key item to complete the scenario, a piece of equipment or an event. If it’s an event or equipment, then a card is drawn from the appropriate deck and placed beside the board or the player’s character card respectively. It should be noted that if an entity is sharing the same space as the goo pile, then it may not be investigated.
Once each player has completed their actions and maneuvers, the end of round effects take place. First off players check the entity cards, event cards and scenario card for any “at the end of the round” effects that may occur. These are then resolved. Afterwards, the Goo Timer is moved down 1 on the scenario card. Once this is done, the event die is rolled. Players check to see if the side of the die that was rolled matches any of the gate symbols. The players then check to see if the matching gate is open or closed following the instructions on the scenario card for what to do. If the chaos symbol is rolled, it causes every entity in line of sight of a Ghostbuster to go into a frenzy. This means that it reacts as if it was missed in combat. Players should then check the specific entity’s card for instructions. Many times the event die will cause new ghosts to appear on the board. When this happens, the player must roll the movement die and then use the PKE meter to determine where the entity exits the gate to. Likewise if an entity must move, the player rolls the movement die and consults the PKE meter to determine the direction it moves. Once the event die has been rolled and resolved, a new round begins.
The game continues until one of the scenarios success or failure conditions has been met. If the players complete the success result, then they win. If not, they will have to try again, especially if playing a campaign.
One last thing of note, just like the Ghostbuster figures, entities can also have colored figure bases place on them. There are 5 different colored bases that may be used and each one affects the entity in a different way. There’s the brown Hive base that causes all other entities that share a name with that entity to react as if they were hit or missed by the same Ghostbuster that attacked the one with the base on it. The black Caustic base changes the entity’s slime type to caustic slime, which can not be removed until the end of the scenario. If a Ghostbuster receives 3 caustic slime tokens, the team loses the scenario. The light green Amplify base causes the entity to have it’s “To Hit” and “To Trap/Extract” number increased by 1. The light blue Shadow base allows an entity to move 2 spaces towards the nearest Ghostbuster at the end of each round. The magenta Marked base is used when an event, equipment or ability requires an entity to be marked. The specific equipment, event or ability will determine how to react to these entities. It should also be noted that entities can have multiple bases applied to them. Each one’s effect stacks with the other abilities applied by the other bases on it.
Before I get into detailing the different components included with this game, let me state that my copy is the Deluxe edition with all the Kickstarter extras. The base game in retail will not come with everything that mine does. While there are several things that are not included, there’s still PLENTY of good stuff in the retail edition to make you happy. Oops, spoilers. With that said, I’ll start with the base game’s contents. There are 12 large thick cardboard map tiles. These make up what I commonly refer to as the board in this review. These remind me a lot of the city tiles in Zombicide. The quality is very similar and the artwork is great. You really get a great feeling of the atmosphere that the game is trying to convey. There’s also a spirit world tile where all the different entities are held before coming onto the board. There’s a PKE meter tile for moving entities with, an Ecto-1A tile for holding Ghostbuster figures when they’re inside the vehicle and an Ecto-Tank tile for keeping up with all of the plazm counters that have been stored. There are all kinds of tokens, from the many different types of slime tokens to goo pile and gate tokens. There are also trap tokens for the variant and pack tokens to show which pack your character is wearing. The game also comes with the various colored proton stream/mood slime tokens that conveniently can be placed around on the different ghosts and other entities due to the hole in the middle of them. When you’re punching these out, you’ll find the timer/plazm counters which are little circular 1 and 2 tokens. The game has several dice from the 8 sided movement die, to the 4 combat dice as well as the event die. The combat die is particularly cool as it has a ghostbuster symbol where the 6 should be. There are a bunch of cards included with the game. There are goo pile cards for when you inspect a goo pile. Equipment cards that add different abilities, including the special Class-S equipment cards. There are event cards which cause different things to happen. There are all the larger cards which include the scenario cards for playing the actual game. These include set up and all the special instructions for playing each one. There are the entity cards which describe the different entities and explain how each one works. Then there are the Ghostbuster character cards. I really like the artwork on all of these cards. They feel like something from a comic book and look great. However there are several problems with the entity and scenario cards in general. See the rulebook section below for more on these issues. The game has lots of little snap on bases in different colors for placing on the Ghostbuster characters and for the specific special abilities of some entities. There are also some little plastic arrow clips that fit on the character cards to keep up with XP. These are a lot like the ones in Zombicide. Finally there are all of the many different miniatures. There are ghostbuster character minis in 2 different varieties, slime pack and proton pack. There’s also a Vigo mini, Ecto-1A mini and a larger Lady Liberty figure. These are all gray and look great. I especially love the Lady Liberty and Ecto-1A figures. They are amazingly detailed, as are all of the miniatures and figures. Speaking of which there are lots of different entity minis, some purple and some pink. The purple ones are your normal ghost entities while the pink ones are the plazms. Some of the minis are smaller and some like the Washington Square Ghost are huge. Each one of these plastic minis is amazingly detailed and looks completely awesome. I will say that the quality seems a lot higher on these, as they seem a lot stronger than those in the first game. These don’t seem to break as easily which is a huge plus. If you just get the basic retail edition of the game, this is what all you’ll be getting. That’s a huge amount of stuff that looks great and really conveys the theme of the game. The only problem is those issues that are mentioned below about some of the larger cards.
For those with the deluxe Kickstarter edition, you get even more cool stuff. There’s a cool Litho print of the cover of the rulebook that’s suitable for framing or whatever. There are ecto dice which are supposed to be glow in the dark. However I haven’t tried to see if they are or not. They just look cool anyway. There are several new Ghostbuster characters included which are those from the animated Extreme Ghostbusters cartoon series. Unfortunately I don’t remember anything about them, as I can’t say I ever saw the show. In any event, I’m happy to have more characters to enjoy playing with. There are also several new ghost and plazm minis that add even more for the Ghostbusters to deal with. There are some new map tiles which work with the new scenarios included. There are new entity cards for all the new ghosts. There are new equipment and event cards as well. All of these new cards will fit inside the Roylance Guide box, much like the Tobin’s Spirit Guide box from the first game. If that wasn’t enough, the Deluxe edition also contains the Tully expansion with two miniatures for him, some new ghosts and a giant Giga Plazm. There are also entity cards and a group of new scenarios that works with it. Once again, there’s a ton of extra stuff in this version. The Tully expansion came inside the Deluxe box, while all the other extra content came in a brown cardboard box. Not exactly sure how I’m going to fit everything together in one box. For now, I’m keeping it all in the original boxes. It’s a bit of work getting certain things ready to play but so far it’s not been too bad. Needless to say, there’s so much cool looking stuff. As I’m sure you’ve already figured out from the different pictures that I’ve included in this review. Oh and did I mention the extremely cool looking deluxe edition box cover. Where the first game’s Deluxe edition was all black, this one is all white. It’s very cool. So what I’m saying is that everything looks great and this is definitely one of the best looking games that I’ve seen this year. If it weren’t for the mishaps on the core game cards, it would get a higher rating. In any event, for what all comes included, you get a bunch of great pieces that any fan of the movies or cartoons would be glad to have.
9 out of 10
The rulebook for this game is pretty much standard across the different versions. First let me discuss the good things about the book. There is a really nice story in 3 parts that is spaced out throughout the rule book. I really love that this was included and I enjoyed the story. There are lots of great looking pictures throughout the book as well. There are pictures of components, cartoon like illustrations and plenty of examples. That’s another good part about the book. There are plenty of great examples with pictures to explain how things work all over the book. Each of the different game elements are explained in good detail with breakdowns of scenario cards, character cards, entity cards and more. There’s also optional rules included for playing with ghost traps that I didn’t cover in the overview. Just looking at the book, it looks great. For the most part, it appears that everything you need is there and it looks really great. Now for the bad parts. There are a few rules missing in the book such as how that investigating a goo pile causes the goo timer on the scenario card to move up by 1. This I didn’t realize until I was looking through the game forums on BGG. I saw that there has been a updated rulebook posted and an appendix of all the things that were misprinted or left out of the rulebook and on the different cards. I couldn’t beleive how much there actually was. Ok, so that’s bad. The rulebook also tends to jump around and not really give you a real idea of here’s how the game is setup and here’s how you play and here’s how you win. While the book looks amazing, it definitely needed some work. Granted, I own and have played the first game so I already have a bit of knowledge on some of the content of this book. However for first time players, reading this might overload their senses. I mean, it’s over 30 pages long. While I appreciate the attention to detail and the extra content and beautiful design to the book, it could have been laid out better from start to finish. I would have liked to have seen the contents move into setting up the game, followed by how to play and ending with winning the game and the variant rules. I really feel like if it had been done like that, things would have been a lot clearer and could have cut down a good chunk of pages too. So while it looks great, it’s not really all that functional. You will definitely find yourself look all over the book for that rule you forgot. That is something I didn’t like. Overall, it’s good but it’s bad too. I’ll give it a fairly average grade but seriously consider downloading the appendix and updated rulebook.
7 out of 10
First off, I really enjoyed playing the first Ghostbusters game. My family and I have played several of the scenarios and even the youngest could enjoy playing it. Sure it was a bit random and silly at times, but we all loved it. For me, I thought of it as a more family friendly version of Zombicide, especially since my daughter is a bit frightened of the zombies. I’m not sure why the ghosts don’t bother her though. So what does that mean for this version? Well it’s a bit of a conundrum wrapped in an enigma, if that makes any sense. There are some things that I like and some things that I don’t. As I’ve mentioned earlier, the rulebook is a bit messy and doesn’t really explain everything in the way that I wish it did. There are also rules left out, not to mention the errors. I wasn’t really aware of this when we were playing the game. It wasn’t until later when looking through the forum threads on BGG that I noticed some of the problems. I’ll be honest, I thought I was doing something wrong. I’m glad to know that it wasn’t me. The second scenario was so difficult, due to the errors on the card, that after a couple of times playing it, we simply moved on. It just seemed impossible to beat and the kids were getting annoyed with it. Some things like the goo timer are a pain. Sure if you’re playing with hard core gamers then you may be good with the sense of doom breathing down your neck every single round. For my family, it wasn’t as much fun. It definitely amps your anxiety as you know that the game is about to utterly destroy your group. The game also has a lot of luck to it, much like the first game. Nothing wrong with that as long as you’re good with it and realize it up front. Sometimes the dice won’t go your way. Sometimes the card that you really need to accomplish a task is at the bottom of the deck. Sometimes you’re just going to lose. Well that stinks, but it happens. The thing is if you realize that things could go that way ahead of time, it makes it not as hard to deal with when it happens to you. Another thing that I didn’t like was the lack of good character abilities. While the first game had actual directions for each character to go in, this one many times gives you an equipment card and calls it good. Where are the awesome and cool abilities of the Ghostbusters? While each one of those options in itself isn’t TOO bad, combined together it makes for a frustrating and at times very difficult game to play. If you don’t realize that something’s wrong you can’t fix it and do it right. Thankfully I see from the appendix that several of the things were wrong from the get go and should make for a bit smoother game. While I haven’t had a chance to replay it with the updated information, I have the utmost hope that things will go better this time around. I don’t want you to think that this review is negative. In all honestly, it’s not. The thing is that you need to be aware of the errors and be prepared to address them prior to playing the game. That way you’ll have a much better experience than we first did.
Now I realize that I’ve been kind of harsh so far, so now let me give some highlights to the game. I like that this is a game my family can play together. It is one that everyone enjoys. We love the theme and enjoy the look and feel of the game. It’s definitely a bit tougher and more involved than the first game was, but it’s still one that even the youngest can play with a bit of help. I will say that sometimes I had to remind everyone that they had 3 actions and 2 maneuvers. Sometimes you won’t be using the manuevers as there won’t really be anything you can do at that time anyway. The thing is that I like that some of these simple things don’t cost an action. I like that there are more entities to face than what the first game had. I also like that there are 2 different types so you have to actually be a bit more strategic than in the first game. For it you could simply run around and do what you needed to do shooting everything in your path. With this one, you have to discuss what the best course of action for each player is. It’s definitely a game that inspires teamwork. I like the different slime types for ghosts and how this can affect how their attacks work against you. It gives me a bit more thrill when I catch that ghost that’s been causing my team such headaches for the past several rounds. While the difficulty is amped up a good bit more in this game, I like it and find that it’s a natural progression for players that are ready to take a step up from the first game. With all the different scenarios that are available to play, it makes the game very replayable. Not to mention the fact that you can design your own scenarios with all the content that’s available inside the game. Overall, I think that fans of the first game should enjoy this one. I think that families will enjoy it if they’re aware of the increased difficulty level. Errors and luck abound in this one, but there’s still things to enjoy about it too. I’m sure that there will be some players that find ways to make house rules to deal with a few of the issues, making the game better. As it is, it’s good. I wanted it to be better but it’s still good enough that I will want to play it more. Needless to say, the pros definitely outweight the cons. I like it and I would recommend giving it a try.
8 out of 10
Ghostbusters: the Board Game II is a miniature heavy co-op game that is based on the Ghostbusters II movie, as well as the Ghostbusters cartoon series. The play time on this game can vary depending on the scenario and how lucky or unlucky you are. Game time can range from 20- 30 minutes up to a couple of hours. There are a lot of great looking pieces to this game. The miniatures are amazing and the artwork is fantastic. However there are some errors on some of the entity and scenario cards which cause some issues with the gameplay. The rulebook also has some problems with errors, as well as a lack of direction in covering the rules in a more linear way. The game is fun despite the many issues that have plagued it, especially with the appendix and updated rulebook that players can download. Even with the many problems, I still like the game. It looks amazing and can be quite fun if you can move past the errors. It’s definitely a bit more gamer oriented than the first game was. Families and younger players should enjoy it, however it does ramp up the difficulty just a bit more. For us, we all enjoyed it even though it kicked our butts repeatedly. Personally I feel that if you loved the first game and you love the theme, then you’ll most likely find something to like about this one. I would recommend giving this one a try. For me, I like it and plan on keeping it in my collection. It’s got things that are both good and bad about it but the good definitely outweighs the bad. Now, who you gonna’ call?
8 out of 10
For more information about this and other great games, please check out Cryptozoic Entertainment at their site.