Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ghost Blitz gets a thumbs up

I just recently acquired a new game called Ghost Blitz.  It is aimed at children and the box says it is for 8+ but Elli picked it up really fast and is quite good at it at age 6.  The basic idea behind the game is that there are five objects on the table each having a unique colour and type (white ghost, blue book, red chair, green bottle, grey mouse) and players take turns flipping up cards with pictures on them.  Each card has two objects on it which may or may not match the objects on the table.  The objective is to figure out which of the objects on the table does not match either the type or colour of the objects on the card and grab it first.  For example, if a green mouse and a white chair came up on a card you would grab the blue book.  

To mix it up there are some cards that have an picture that matches an object on the table exactly; in this case you must grab the object that matches instead.  Whoever grabs correctly first gets to keep the card and the person with the most cards at the end wins.  In the case below the blue book is an exact match so you grab that.

The premise is incredibly simple but it is actually quite difficult to force your brain to recognize both the colour and type of an object simultaneously.  I was shocked to see how good Elli became at this game as within a week she was soundly trouncing some adults who were trying their best and giving Wendy and myself a run for our money.  In the past I have asked for good games for kids and I think I have found one of the best of them.  Very simple pieces which aren't particularly breakable are a plus and if some cards get ruined or lost they can be ignored or easily replaced.  Not only that but an adult can actually play this as a game unlike the mindless dicerolling that characterizes classics like snakes and ladders.

Game designers often end up showcasing tremendously complex creations that will hardly ever see the light of day but I am always the most impressed by the simple systems that are fun to play.  This is the basic theme behind the board games I have built; easy rules, quick playtime.  Granted my wargame isn't the easiest game out there but compared to other wargames it is supremely streamlined.  This game impressed me by having a remarkably high fun factor considering its nonexistent learning curve.

1 comment:

  1. I've played this once before and thought it was a neat idea.

    Here ia a mathematically equivalent game that is much easier. Think of the pieces as being the elements \((0,0),(1,1),(2,2),(3,3),(4,4)\) in \(Z_5^2\). Where the first element is colour and the second is shape. You're then given two elements of \(Z_5^2\) and you have to choose which of the five \((k,k)\) elements doesn't share an entry with either of the two chosen ones. (Or one of the entries you're given is \((k,k)\))

    If you can train your brain to instantly map back and forth between \(Z_5^2\) and these shapes, you should be basically unbeatable at this game.