Oh man is this game fun. The horror story type language makes it a bit much for very young kids, but for the PG-13 and above crowd this is one of the best games group games I’ve come across in a long time. (Clearly I missed the boat on this, because the ebay sold prizes of $150-300 of the game before the recent reprint, speaks a lot for how much people wanted to play it again.)
The game puts up to 6 players moving through a house that builds itself as your character chooses to go through each unexplored door. Each character has their own balance of Speed (movement), Might (physical and fighting strength), Knowledge (smarts) and Sanity (the ability to laugh in the face of what creeps out of the closets.) These stats can be raised by some things, and (more often) knocked down by others. Get knocked down all the way in any once of your abilities and your character does the mortal coil shuffle right out of the game.
Most of the rooms that are discovered cause the player to draw a card, either of Items (hopefully ones that help),Events (that often will have them rolling to keep their sanity or avoid some other ding to their abilities) , or Omens that will not only either bring them fortune or dismay, but that take them one step closer to triggering the key turning point in the game, the Haunting. This is where the plot (and the game) takes a very exciting turn. When the haunting happens, a special table in one of the two books that are carefully (and correctly) labeled DO NOT READ, reveals which of the players is suddenly not like the others and becomes (da, da daaa) the traitor! That person then take one of the two books into the other room to learn how he will t make the lives of the other players miserable, while they open the other book to the specified plot page to discover what they need to do to survive. Everyone comes back together and it becomes one (uber powerful) player vs. everybody else until one group is victorious.
The games says one hour to play, but you will find a couple of hours passing without knowing it while you get sucked into the adventure. It combines the “whats behind the door” discovery of D&D with a touch of the creepy (though all by the descriptive words, not by any really bad images.)
Game should be going for ~$50, but since they sold out the second print run in a week, it’s going online for $90-110. We’ll fight it try and meet somewhere in the middle.
Big thumbs up from Ben and the regulars on this one.