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Ghostbusters: The Card Game Review

Quick Look: Ghostbusters: The Card Game

Designer: Daryl Andrews & Erica Bouyouris
Artist: Jacqui Davis & Todd Bright
Publisher: Albino Dragons & Renegade Games
Year Published: 2018
No. of Players: 2-5
Ages: 8+
Playing Time: 20-30 min.

From the publisher:

Who you gonna call? Compete against friends and family in Ghostbusters: The Card Game to collect ghosts from the Ghostbusters universe. You'll call upon your favorite Ghostbusters to help you set your ghost trap and capture the highest point ghosts on the board.

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

Review: Ghostbusters: The Card Game

Overview and Theme:
I ain't afraid of no ghost!

If you've got a glass of EctoCooler and a little Ray Parker Jr. cued up on your speaker, it may be time to pull out the new Ghostbusters card game; the pop culture theme of the game is a delight to our family, where we love the Ghostbusters franchise from Bill Murray to Melissa McCarthy and everything in between.

Ghostbusters: The Card Game is an easy-to-learn set collection game where you're trying to earn the most points by collecting sets of ghosts, characters, and equipment over three short rounds.

Components and Setup:
Ghostbusters: The Card Game comes with a total of 108 glossy, colorful cards--48 Ghost Cards, 57 Action Cards, a Direction Marker Card, a Ghost Trap Card, and a Reference Card. The game also comes with a full-color score pad to make final scoring easier.

To get ready to play, you'll shuffle the deck of Ghost Cards and deal 12 out into a circle. Put the Ghost Trap above the card at the top of the circle, and the Direction Marker, with the clockwise arrow facing up, in the center of the circle. Each player gets a starting hand of 3 Action Cards, and you can begin.

Game Play and Mechanics:
The heart of Ghostbusters: The Card Game is using your Action Cards to move the Ghost Trap around the circle to a card that you want. Take a card, and the next player gets a turn. Once players have taken all 12 cards, the round ends; after 3 rounds, the game is over and you will tally up your points to find the winner.

On your turn, you can play one or two Action Cards (or discard a card to draw a new one). Action Cards include characters from the original movie:
  • Dr. Peter Venkman - move the Ghost Trap a certain number of cards counterclockwise
  • Dr. Raymond Stantz - move the Ghost Trap a certain number of cards clockwise
  • Dr. Egon Spengler - swap the positions of any two cards in the circle
  • Winston Zeddemore - move the Ghost Trap to a ghost of a certain value in the circle
  • Janine Melnitz - reverse the direction of play (flip over the Direction Marker) and move the Ghost Trap one card in the new direction
  • Librarian - capture the top card of the Ghost deck
  • Gozer - capture a card adjacent to the Ghost Trap

After you have played at least one Action Card, you can capture the card that the Ghost Trap is currently on. The Ghost Card deck includes 42 unique characters from the Ghostbusters world, ranging from Angry Poltergeist at 1 point to the Subway Ghost at 2 points to Zuul at 5 points. There are also 6 gear cards, 2 each of 3 different kinds--a Proton Pack, a PKE Meter, and the iconic Jumpsuit.

Different cards give a range of advantages during scoring, and some cards also give you a standing action or effect that you can use once per turn for the rest of the game. Figuring out which Ghost Cards you want to take is the meat of the strategy of this set collecting game. The instructions and the score pad break down scoring, which happens at the end of the game.

You'll score the points in the upper left corner of each Ghost Card (1, 2, or 5)--this is your base score. You can also score for having the most of a particular icon from the upper right corner (circle, square, plus, waves), or for making sequences from the Roman Numerals in the lower left (I to VII). Gear will score depending on how many unique items you have.

Some of the cards have slime on their numbers, and the person with the most slime will lose points unless they have Slimer, who scores positive points for slime instead!

All of the scoring possibilities are clearly explained in the rules and score pad--while it might sound a little overwhelming for a light card game, it's really not too much for kids and new gamers to pick up quickly.

Side Note:
Longtime readers of Everything Board Games or fans of the designers Daryl Andrews and Erica Bouyouris may notice something familiar about Ghostbusters: The Card Game--it is a retooling of the lovely Albino Dragon version called Ink Monsters (which I reviewed here in February 2018). Everything's on the up and up--the designers and original publisher worked together with Renegade to put out this new version with slightly tweaked rules and a whole new theme. I am sure that everyone involved was proud of Ink Monsters and ready to reach a new audience with the new pop culture theme!

The Good:
My family already loved Ink Monsters, so for us, Ghostbusters: The Card Game was very quick to learn. We appreciated that there were a few new ways to score and a few new rules, and we loved the Ghostbusters theme. The addition of the score pad really helped make the end game smoother.

Ghostbusters: The Card Game is easy to learn (even if you haven't played Ink Monsters), easy to teach, and quick to play. Everyone loved the cartoon illustrations by Jacqui Davis and Todd Bright, and production values--the quality of the cards, the well-laid-out rulebook, the sturdy, eye-catching box.

The Bad:
Not many bad points about Ghostbusters: The Card game for me! Personally, I would have liked for them to include 5 Reference Cards so that if you were playing with five newer or younger gamers, everyone could have their own instead of straining to see the one on the table.

I did have a few players comment that they wished there was more variety in the Action Cards. The majority of these cards are move X number in a certain direction, and some of the more experienced gamers said that this felt dull after a while. I can see a crowd-pleasing fix--I'd love to see an expansion box with characters from the new movie who have very different abilities!

Players Who Like:
Certainly this is a hit for fans of Venkman, Stantz, and Spengler, or anyone who enjoys the Ghostbusters world. Fans of Ink Monsters will enjoy a re-skin of a favorite game, and other gamers who enjoy light card games from Guillotine to Ninja Camp to Arboretum will find something to enjoy here too.

Final Thoughts:
Ghostbusters: The Card Game is a fresh face on a favorite game, one my kids especially enjoyed. Playing Ghostbusters: The Card Game is a light romp through a brightly colorful world of ghosts and gadgets, and it's easy to share with friends and family. I'm glad to have received a copy to review, and I'm shelving it with Ink Monsters and our other after-dinner card games--it's a keeper!

Check out Ghostbusters: The Card Game on:


Alexa Chaplin- Reviewer

My name is Alexa: I'm a life-long game player and homeschooling mom to two awesome kids. I've loved board games since my early days playing Scrabble and Gin Rummy with my grandmother, and life only got more interesting when I married a Battletech enthusiast and fellow game lover. We've played games with our kids since they were small, and I helped start a thriving homeschool co-op where we have weekly sessions of board games with kids.  In a family with kids raised on Catan and Pandemic, life is sure to be fun! You may run into me on Twitter, BoardGameGeek, and other social media as MamaGames. Be sure to say hi!

See Alexa's reviews HERE.
Ghostbusters: The Card Game Review Ghostbusters: The Card Game Review Reviewed by MamaGames - Alexa C. on January 11, 2019 Rating: 5

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