BOO: A Petite Phantasmal Puzzler
Did you know that ghosts can scare each other? Neither did I until I played BOO, a compact game for two players from Perplext. Did this ghostly game grip us, or were we perplexed by this petite phantasmal puzzler?
The game begins with 6 cards laid out in a specific pattern to make the “graveyard gate”. Each player starts with 12 cards marked with their color (hashes of black or white). A card has three spaces, each of which may contain a ghost, a gravestone, or an open space.
Players take turns putting down a card. The card must touch at least one other card, but not overlap any cards, kind of like dominoes. Then the player traces the direction each ghost is facing. Ghosts can look through empty space and ghosts of the same color. The first time the ghost can see a ghost of the opposing color, it will attempt to “scare” it. If the opposing ghost is not looking back, it gets “scared”: flip over its card. On the flip side of a card, the ghosts swap color and face the opposite direction. Each ghost’s gaze is traced when laying down a card, which means any particular card may be flipped multiple times.
BOO was less competitive and more puzzle-oriented than we expected. It was easy enough for our 6-year-old to learn, but thinky enough to keep the adults engaged. Each card drawn gave a new opportunity to maximize the “scares” (up to 3), but sometimes the best move used fewer “scares” to maintain the correct color ghosts face-up.
We enjoyed the illustrations on the cards; each ghost represented has a different personality, which is preserved as they are flipped back and forth. The purple, black, and white color scheme is fun, and the small markings made it easy to identify the owner of each card. Our only complaint is that the small form factor (just larger than a pack of gum, with 30 narrow cards) sometimes made it hard to pick up the cards to flip without disturbing the rest of the cards already laid down, especially near the end of the game.
The small form factor and short play time (under 15 minutes) make BOO a great game for travel or restaurant play. The theme is great for Halloween or other spooky events, without being overtly scary. And at around $5, BOO is a great value for the money.