In what is becoming a nice opening tradition, we have a fantastic homemade dinner and a chance to play a new game with an old friend Frank Schulte-Kulkmann.
Two years in a row now, we have gotten an early copy of the new game from Repos, Last Bastion. This is a new version of Ghost Stories.
In this version, the heroes are working together to save their castle from the hordes of baddies. Each player chooses a color which comes with its own special penalty for having a full board of monsters. Furthermore, there are 8 different characters to choose from, each with its own ability. Finally, the castle is a 3×3 array of locations which can be in a different arrangement each game.
On a turn, a player first resolves any actions on the creature cards on his board. Then next you draw a baddie card. It goes on the board matching the color that matches. If this is not possible, then you can choose where it goes.
Then, the player can move and then either interact with the castle space they are on or fight any adjacent baddies. Some of the space actions include earning tokens, swapping the position of two baddie cards, healing a hero, or placing a banner up which gives everyone a permanent color bonus (well until a new banner is placed)
The deck is made up of 42 cards, then the boss baddie, then 8 more cards… The players win if they kill the boss before the deck is exhausted. The team loses if three skull tokens are placed in the castle or if the deck is exhausted without defeating the boss.
Overall, it seems a little easier and more streamlined than ghost stories. Though it helped that we had all played Ghost Stories in the past, we were playing within fifteen minutes of starting the rules. The iconography is good, and we had few issues with them. The skulls, which don’t move, are easier to grok than the moving spirits in Ghost Stories.
There is a lot of variety here with ten different bosses, a multitude of board setups as well as different combinations of special abilities on the characters.
The game still has a lot of tension from turn to turn as you have to manage the never ending onslaught of baddie cards. There is still plenty of discussion to be had on what move to make or what strategy to take.
Frank was able to get a deluxe set which comes with painted pieces which look great. The molded skull tokens are also nice and menacing.
Overall, this is definitely a lot of fun, and despite saying it’s more streamlined, we still suddenly lost our first game about 40 minutes in usual fashion after we had a damaging cascade of six baddies entering the game on the same turn.
Very enjoyable, and we played a second time immediately and just like ghost stories, we lost yet again :)
This is a game I’ll definitely be glad to play more at home after Spiel.
Until your next appointment
The Gaming Doctor
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