Ghosts on Oak Island Kickstarter Preview

Quick Look: Ghosts on Oak Island

Designer: Timothy Smallwood
PublisherHighland Point Games, Inc.
Year Published: 2020

No. of Players: 2-6
Ages: 8+
Playing Time45-90 Minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com 

From the Publisher:

You find yourself in an ethereal world of Ghosts. Four Pirates, a Viking, and a Nights Templar are stuck on the Island and need your help. There is a curse keeping them on the island until the treasure is found.

Find the Treasure to set them free, but you need to prove yourself as well. Collect Equipment for their ship so they can sail away in full gear or as much as you can get and in return, they will reward you.

Players will journey around the board collecting equipment, camps, treasures and skills, taking and repairing damage along the way. Use your Skill to traverse the Island digging your way to find small treasures and to the final big treasure.

When a player finds all of the Blue equipment, that player receives a map giving them access to Oak Island by unlocking the secrets of when to approach the island. That player then continues the journey on the island spaces. Be the first player to find the big treasure to end the game, count your victory points to see who wins.


Overall I really enjoyed playing Ghosts on Oak Island. I played it on Tabletop Simulator. Once I got past understanding better how to use their pesky controls it was a lot more fun! But, I much prefer to be able to play with the actual cardboard and paper. I felt that Ghosts on Oak Island was a fresh new look at a roll and move game adding in elements of cards and more strategy than you get out of the traditional roll & move game. Gave me similar vibes to the newer version of Fireball Island. I only tried it with one other player. I feel it would probably play better with more players, perhaps 4-6. It had quite the presence with all of the components laid out on the simulator. So I can only imagine what it looks like on an actual table. It might look similar to this:

Rules & Setup:

Place the board in the middle of the table.  

Each player chooses a set of movement meeple currently by color, stretch goal meeples  upgrade may include a rune to distinguish each players meeple.  

Place one meeple at the Start position on the outside track of the board. The second meeple  remains with each player until island movement is unlocked.  

Give each player;  

1 Equipment board and 1 Resource board  

1 Skill tile counter and 1 Skull tile for damage tile counter  

2 Gold tile counters, each player begins with 10 Gold  

1 deck of Rune/movement cards. Each deck has nine cards and each marked with a  rune and color per deck. Players shuffle the deck, then take two cards to hold in their  hand. Place the remaining 7 cards face down in front of them.  

Separate the remaining tiles into individual stacks and place the equipment tiles on the main  board on top of the dotted circle (see above photo for example) and place the small treasure  tiles in order near the island (see above photo for example), place the jewel tiles in a corner of  the main board.  

Note: place the small treasure tiles next to the space they were found on when a small  treasure is found, showing that small treasure is “unlocked”  

Place the 3 Dirt tiles and 2 Success tiles into the bag.  

Shuffle all the Actions cards and deal two action cards to each player face down. These cards  are for each players hand. Then place the remaining action cards face down next to the game  board.  

The player that has been to an island the most recent (within 6 months) is the first player. If  not, then the youngest player becomes the first player or each player rolls a die with the  highest roll winning. The first player gets the Navigator board and the 2 D4 dice.  

Game overview  

A game round consists of three phases for each player. Started by the first player who performs as  the Navigator for that round, then going clockwise to the left. Three phases are done by each player  before the next round begins passing the Navigator board. The phases are as follows;  

Phase 1: Outer ring movement  

Phase 2: ActionRumor card  

Phase 3: Island movement 

Phase 1: Outer ring movement  

The Navigator will roll 2 D4, then looks at their hand of two Rune/movement cards and determines  which of the two dice results they want to play, placing that dice on the Navigator Rune board for the other players to see. This is where the navigator has a slight advantage over the other players but  that’s ok because each player gets to be the Navigator.  

The first player then discards face up the chosen card and moves their meeple that many spaces and  performs the space actions, then passing the play to the next player until each player has completed  the move phase.  

Phase 2: Action Phase 2: ActionRumor Cards  

Following the Move Phase is the Action card phase. Each player on their turn will select and play one  of the two action cards in their hand. Follow the rules on the Action card. Some Action cards will have  a Rumor, in which case you will check the Token bag for success or fail, follow the details of the  cards, refer to rules if needed.  

To determine a success or fail check with the token bag, each player gets two free draws. The Star  token is a success and a Dirt token is a fail. Once a success token is drawn, it is a success. Tokens  drawn from the bag remain with the player. So, after two draws from the bag, there remains three  tokens. If a player draws two Dirt (fail) tokens, additional draws from the bag may be given but will  cost the player one Skill per draw to do so. Players that have zero skill cannot do additional draws.  Return all of the drawn tokens into the bag when done.  

When an Action card is played or placed down as a small treasure, replace the card by taking the top  card from the deck, shuffle when all cards have been used.  

Place used action cards in the discard pile next to the deck.  

When using an action card for Battle must also follow rules under “Player damage level effects during  battle”.  

Phase 3: Island Movement Phase 3: Island Movement  

This is where the player will move on the island if they have unlocked the map and have their meeple  on the island. Move the number of spaces desired and when you stop moving you can take the option  of “find” to see if you can find a small treasure or the final big Treasure.

Final Thoughts
Once again after I got past the mechanics of using the tabletop simulator that I played it on, I quite enjoyed the game. It was more than your typical roll and move game. I’m thinking it might possibly be a bit more fun with a higher player count than the 2 that we played at. I enjoyed how each player got to do each different phase before moving onto the next phase. This seems like it would be a great thing to keep those players that might get bored easily more engaged than some other games might. I would love it if there were other options of chance in the bag you draw from but I understand what the designer was doing with it. I also appreciate the fact that the game isn’t just slapped together and he’s having people do actual math to make sure the economics work and make sense. Overall, I can’t wait until I can get the final production copy of Ghosts on Oak Island to my table. Feel the same way? Then make sure to back Ghosts on Oak Island on Kickstarter TODAY!

Check out Ghosts on Oak Island and Highland Point Games on:


Lake Leafty – Owner

Lake was a pharmacy tech in just about every facet you can think of including as a veteran of the United States Air Force. He’s also a husband to his wonderful wife with whom he has been blessed to be the father of 5 great children. Due to circumstances beyond his control he got thrown into the world of Tabletop gaming. As an overachiever he couldn’t just sit there quietly playing games. So he started podcasting about games in May of 2017. Ever since then has been slowly trying to grow his evil regime starting with The Giveaway Geek and now EBG.

See Lake’s reviews and interviews HERE.

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