The game is, for the most part, quite simple and accessible. Especially in the first few scenarios, odds are stacked in the Ghostbusters’ favor, and the game eases you into more difficult situations as you progress. Considering that the game only has ten double-sided tiles to work with, the scenarios don’t feel repetitive. This is largely due to the gate tile mechanics. These tiles are placed around the map, and have different effects in each scenario. Sometimes, the gates spawn new ghosts; other times, they can be used to send trapped ghosts back to the Spirit World. If too many ghosts make it onto the board, the Ghostbusters will fail at their mission. Wise players will balance completing scenario objectives with keeping the board relatively clean from unwanted spectral visitors.
While we enjoyed our sessions of Ghostbusters: The Board Game, and particularly appreciated the quick action, allowing for a group to easily play through two or three scenarios in an evening, there were a few issues. The first is more an irritation than a major hindrance: the ghost miniatures can be very difficult to tell apart on the table. With the exception of Slimer and the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, all the ghost figures are cast from translucent blue plastic. Telling the difference between Galloping Ghouls, Gruesome Twosomes, and Boogaloo Manifestations can be an issue. I am considering painting the ghost bases in different colors to make it easier to distinguish between them.
The most negative aspect of Ghostbusters: The Board Game is that the ghosts, for the most part, just stand around and ignore the Ghostbusters unless fired upon. There is no ghost movement phase (like Zombicide), or any sort of artificial intelligence rules (similar to the D&D Adventure Games, Castle Ravenloft, etc.) that govern ghost behavior. Unless the Chaos Symbol is rolled on the event die each round (a one in six chance of causing movement) ghosts don’t react in any way when players stand, move, or drive right next to them. I think this was a missed opportunity for some increased tension in the game. Running right up to the final objective, surrounded by ghosts, and rolling a die to complete it without any ghostly interference is very anticlimactic.
Are these issues game-breaking? Certainly not. It’s clear that Ghostbusters: The Board Game is aiming for a more casual board gaming audience. Given the large fan base of the property, this simpler focus was probably a good decision. The game is very thematic, cooperative, and an enjoyable way to spend some time with friends. If you are looking for a deep, strategic gaming experience, with crunchy mechanics and a high degree of challenge, this isn’t it. But if you are more interested in a light game to play while socializing and listening to Ray Parker sing “‘busting makes me feel good”, Ghostbusters: The Board Game fits the bill nicely.