Chills and Frights Await in Don’t Go In There! – Turn Order

Halloween is my favorite holiday. As a theater geek at heart, I love dressing up, decorating my set­—uh, my yard, that is. With lights and fog I’ve made a new world, if only for a short time. Halloween parties are where my cosplay-loving friends and crafty neighbors get to shine, and while my husband is always looking for the perfect bubbly creation for the party cauldron, I like to be on the lookout for the creepy entertainment. So I was delighted when I got my Kickstarter delivery from Road to Infamy Games (also known as R2i).

Don’t Go in There is a ghostly little push-your-luck set collection/set banishment game. Players are kids in a haunted house that just can’t leave things alone, triggering curses and stirring up ghosts as they go. It is pretty easy to understand, family friendly for tweens and veteran gamer kids who can keep track of the score calculations and plan their own strategies. Those who can’t can still play the game if an older person is willing to help them along. The game is fairly light in theme and good for family game night or a small party setting, as it can run with up to five players. Playtime runs to about half an hour so if you have a variety of short games to bring to your costume party, this is a good addition to your stash.

Players collect cursed object cards in each room that rack up curse points unless you can collect a specific set to dispel (banish) those cards. Each object has different set rules and different curse values. There are twelve different kinds of cursed items and you don’t use all of them during the game, which allows for different combinations each time you play. Each item card is a throwback or reference to a popular creepy story or movie. Whether you are holding holy water or a haunted ring, the plan is to get them banished before the end of the game, even if you do get sidetracked discussing a favorite work by Poe or that eerie movie with the girl in the well…you know the one!

Credit: KittySue

The room cards are double-sided and each one has its own rule variations, adding a bit more excitement to the game as you swap the rooms around. I wish there were more room cards for even more combinations, but given the size of the box I understand why they only have three room cards instead of five to eight.

Each player gets five meeples to place in three different rooms that are available. Three meeples in a room causes the ghosts to make themselves known! Roll the glow-in-the-dark dice and deal out ghost tokens by the placement of meeples on the board. Meeples without flashlights for protection collect more ghost tokens, which can hurt you later on. If you are holding the most ghosts at the end of the game, you get an extra curse point for every two ghosts in your pile. Accordingly, objects that allow you to pass ghosts to other players can be really helpful, but only if you are watching which objects you pick up.

Each card has a different curse value, so you don’t want to grab a four-curse mask to pass one measly ghost. Unless, that is, you have a whole set of masks already, which allows you to pass several ghosts at once. Run your calculations to make sure you don’t hurt yourself in your hurry to pass a ghost token or two. I wasn’t willing to risk it at first and then I realized the player next to me was clearing out his pile and dropping many of them on me because he had been grabbing masks from the start. Needless to say, I didn’t win that game.

The player with the fewest curses at the end of the game wins. You want to keep a sharp eye on your cards and your ghost tokens, as well as watch what other players are grabbing. I wasn’t as careful as I could have been and wound up getting more ghosts than I could give away. I look forward to a rematch! Next time I will place the ghost dice under my plant lights so that we can see them glow in the dark for a couple of rounds. I enjoy that as much as the kids do.

The box is a neat setup that becomes a built-in dice tower for the included ghost dice. I like the innovative way the box converts into the tower. We have one tiny beef with the fact that once the box is put back together, one end piece is a little flappy; it would have been nice to have a tiny magnet or velcro or something to secure it. We will probably magnetize it ourselves so that we won’t worry about it coming off in a bag or box of games if we travel with it. I like that each ghost token is unique. It makes them more fun to look at. The storage is really compact and not set up to accommodate expansions or sleeved cards, although supposedly there are a couple of very tight fit sleeve brands that will allow sleeved cards to fit in the box with some finagling. The components don’t have a lot of wiggle room which is ideal for people who don’t like to store their games flat.

All in all I think R2i has given us another unique game that is fast, easy to learn, and family game night friendly wrapped up in a ghostly little package. The theme is good for any Halloween gaming session and it plays quickly and smoothly enough to accentuate a party for the older folks while the trick-or-treat set are hopped up on sugar and swapping candy with their friends. I look forward to playing it again and I definitely plan to win the next game.