We played Funko’s new Haunted Mansion Board Game, but does it stack up it’s namesake? Here’s our review of The Haunted Mansion: Call of the Spirits!
When you can’t visit Walt Disney World in person, board games let you bring the magic home in a box.
Among the many new Disney-themed board games released this year is The Haunted Mansion: Call of the Spirits. Inspired by the classic park attraction, this spooky game is for 2-6 players and takes under an hour to play.
Publisher Funko Games provided me with a copy of the game, so I got to journey into the labyrinthian passageways of the Magic Kingdom’s spookiest attraction. Here are my thoughts on the game, and if your family should buy a copy.
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HOW TO PLAY
At the start, everyone begins in the Séance Room in the center of the board. Throughout the game, you’ll move through the endless hallway as it rotates and connects you with rooms throughout the mansion.
Your goal is to collect the most points by interacting with ghosts throughout The Haunted Mansion. Each ghost is categorized into a certain type with its own point value and ability.
Collecting complete sets of corresponding ghosts earns you points at the end of the game.
Each round begins with the Hitchhiking Ghosts roaming through the mansion and haunting anyone they come near.
Then, more ghosts appear throughout the house’s six rooms as cards are drawn and added to the board. Then, it’s your turn to move around and gather cards!
Starting with the player who holds the candelabra and progressing clockwise, each person takes their turn by spending their allotted actions how they wish, whether that’s moving around, picking up ghost cards, rotating the endless hallway, or dueling with other players to steal their cards.
Eventually, the card indicating the final round of the game will be revealed, and you’ll have one last chance to finish your objective!
When the game concludes, you’ll add up your points, though the person who was visited by the Hitchhiking Ghosts most is penalized by losing some hard-earned points.
If you have the most points at the end, you win!
EASY TO LEARN
If you don’t like learning to play new games, you’ll appreciate how simple The Haunted Mansion: Call of the Spirits is to master.
The rulebook is only a half-dozen pages long and includes helpful visual aids and example scenarios. You can easily learn it right before teaching your family.
During your first couple of times playing the game, you’ll probably have to refer to the rulebook to clarify how certain cards work or situations resolve. Luckily, the booklet is well-organized and easy to skim for particular points.
Once you start remembering those, everything falls into place.
The way each type of ghost card scores is relatively self-explanatory, and if you’re ever unsure, detailed explanations are provided in the instructions on each one.
FUN TO PLAY
This is a fun family game because it isn’t too dependent on luck, nor is there a “best” strategy that will always win you the game.
It offers enough strategic decisions to appeal to older kids and parents.
Everyone else’s cards remain visible through the game, so you can add up your opponents’ current points and decide your next move. The game rewards you for seeing which cards your opponents want, for finding ways to sabotage, and for taking calculated risks.
Dueling to steal cards from other players is a nice way to ease the randomness of cards appearing and being snatched away before you have the chance to acquire them.
Just make sure you always play with at least four people. Any fewer, and the game isn’t as fun.
THM: Call of the Spirits is ripe for expansions, so I hope we see them eventually. Booster packs that add other types of ghost sets into the mix would increase the game’s variety and ongoing replayability.
If you’re following a tight budget, you’ll love the game’s remarkably low price. It boasts a high production quality and packs a lot of goodies into the box –including plastic figurines– at a price of $25.
My only frustration with the production is the tiny haunt cards. They’re tough to shuffle and would’ve been much better as tokens you could draw from a bag.
GREAT FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY
If your family loves The Haunted Mansion, this is a must-buy—you already like the ghoulish atmosphere of the Magic Kingdom attraction, so you’ll certainly enjoy those same characteristics in this board game adaptation.
But just like in the in-person tour, there is some macabre content on the cards. So, make sure your child is old enough to handle cartoonish illustrations of decapitated ghosts and deadly weapons.
I’d recommend playing with children ages 8 or older, as the box recommends since all players need to read the cards and perform basic math to adequately compete.
The game takes 30-40 minutes to play and moves along quickly, so your little ones shouldn’t get bored (and nor would you).
The Haunted Mansion: Call of the Spirits would be a step up for children who are used to dice-dependent games like Monopoly and can start learning more open-ended games that involve less hand-holding and more strategy.
There’s enough sabotaging between players that it’s competitive without being overly mean.
If you’re a serious gamer who only plays with adults, this will probably be too light for you. In that case, only buy THM: Call of the Spirits if the theme enough is to satisfy you.
FAITHFUL TO THE ORIGINAL
The biggest appeal of this game is its theme. Does it capture the spirit of the beloved attraction, or is it a lifeless imitation?
I can honestly say that The Haunted Mansion: Call of the Spirits does justice to the beloved Walt Disney World attraction without feeling like a cash grab.
You’ll find many of your favorite aspects of the tour here. If you’re an enthusiast and have stood in line enough to recognize the apparitions, you’ll get a kick out of the many that appear on the ghost cards.
These include the stretching portraits when you first enter, Madame Leota’s floating head, and the many spectral musicians!
What’s particularly wonderful about the ghost cards is the charming art style reminiscent of hand-drawn animation.
It’s delightful enough to make me wish for a 2D-animated Haunted Mansion movie!
Obviously, a board game cannot be as immersive as a live ride. But, if you dim the lights, ignite a few candles, and play some spooky music, you can set the mood for an evening of child-friendly chills!
The Haunted Mansion: Call of the Spirits is a charming, atmospheric board game your family would enjoy playing at Halloween or any time you want to visit your favorite ghosts.
Our writer received a complimentary product from the publisher for review. All opinions are honest and advice has been given with the interest of the reader in mind. Thanks for tuning in to our unbiased reviews!
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