Saturday, April 30, 2005

Review: Geistertreppe (Spooky Stairs)

We recently managed to get a hold of a few copies of Geistertreppe (or Spooky Stairs). This game won the Kinderspiel des Jahres (German Children's Game of the Year) for 2004.

Inside the box you'll find a large game board that shows a spooky flight of stairs, four wooden colored disks (one for each player) and a large wooden die. You'll also find four colored wooden pawns with magnets on their heads and four white wooden ghost shells or coverings. When a ghost is placed over a pawn, the magnet holds the pawn inside so that both move together, hiding the pawn from view.

Spooky Stairs is a simple race game with a memory element. Players are trying to move their pawns up a flight of spooky stairs to yell "BOO!" at a ghost. Whoever gets there first wins but there's a catch. Players move by rolling a die and moving their pawn. Two faces on the die show a ghost and when a player rolls a ghost, they take one of the ghost shells and put it over a player's pawn, turning it into a ghost. If all the pawns have already been turned into ghosts then the player gets to swap any two ghosts on the board.

It doesn’t take too long before all of the players' pawns have been turned into ghosts, making it impossible to tell whose pawn is whose. Players must remember where they were and keep a sharp eye on their ghost so that they can make sure that their pawn reaches the top of the steps first.

Jessica, age 4, had this to say about Spooky Stairs: "I liked it because the ghosts made me laugh."

Christopher, age 6, says, "I like Spooky Stairs because you can turn into a ghost and get all mixed up. That's the cool part."

Matthew, age 7, says, "I liked playing Spooky Stairs because it's a very good children's game and because it's fun to try and remember where your piece is."

Michael, age 9, says, "I liked it because it's fun. You have to be a good memorizer and watch your ghost."

Spooky Stairs is a perfect game for small children. It's easy to learn and easy to play. It takes seconds to learn and only about ten minutes to play. There's no reading and no counting above four. The memory element means that children have a good chance of winning. Kids really love the playful ghost theme. It's not scary at all. If you have a young game player at your house then you should pick this one up.


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