Horror and Halloween go hand in hand, and what could be more clichéd and terrifying than a ‘haunted’ hotel! Especially thanks to Stephen King’s Overlook Hotel from The Shining and Room 1408, hotels captured our horror hearts as a haunted setting. Fortunately, the haunted hotel in Run, Ghost, Run! is not as terrifying as Stephen King’s books. The ghosts in these games are more like Casper the friendly ghost than Bloody Mary. In fact, these spectres are much more afraid of humans than the other way around.
The ghastly ghouls have to escape through the hotel lobby to the various rooms. While these dearly departed rascals try to escape humans try to peep through the keyholes of the doors to catch our ghosts. The spooky spectres have spooked the furniture to use them as cover to stay out of sight, but at the same time they try to latch onto other players’ ghostly dealings. Run, Ghost, Run!
In Run, Ghost Run!, players try to float as many of their ghosts as possible to the other side of the game board to earn the most points. The game board contains various pieces of furniture and there are various doors displayed around the board. Using the movement cards, players move their ghosts and the furniture. Players divide the points depicted on their movement cards among their different ghosts to move them same amount of squares across the board. If a card depicts a piece of furniture, this player may move a piece of furniture in the lobby. Ghosts may not be placed on the game board and then moved to the other side of the game board in the same turn.
When all players have moved their ghosts, players peep through the keyhole. Each round, a player may decide on which side the keyhole (a playing piece made of cardboard and foam) is placed. The keyhole may not be placed on the same side as the previous round. The same player rolls the die to determine at which door the playing piece will be placed. Players peek through the keyhole and any ghosts visible are removed from the board. Players must therefore move their ghosts and the furniture in such a way that their ghosts are hidden from plain sight and also have to guess where the keyhole might appear at the end of the round.
Run, Ghost, Run! is a simple and short children’s game, and to make the game more varied and somewhat complex, players can add more elaborate rules. For example, they can apply the rule that players start out with small ghosts and that they have to merge these ghosts into larger ones. Also, players can add special cards that introduce new rules or events each round. Examples include all furniture being pushed aside or ghosts being laid on their sides.
Despite such additions, Ghost Chaos remains primarily a children’s game and family game to play with younger players first and foremost. The way you move Ghosts and especially the amount of step counting can sometimes be a bit cumbersome or tricky to manage for younger children. This is especially the case with cards containing higher numbers. Sometimes it is difficult to remember how many steps you have already taken with which ghost if you want or need to move several ghosts.
All in all, the keyhole and looking through it is a nice and entertaining gimmick that younger players will definitely appreciate. It is fun to plan where the keyhole might appear and to try to secure the ghosts. The components are of high quality and the furniture in particular is a favourite amongst players. However, I recommend using strict rules for peeking through the keyhole, so that no arguments can arise (“You looked through the keyhole at an angle!”) .