Scooby Doo Haunted House Board Game Review

8 Jan

Scooby Doo has been entertaining children for over 40 years and in that time he’s featured in hundreds of different types of merchandise, including lunchboxes, videos, jigsaw, books and anything else you could care to mention. He’s also appeared in a number of board games, and it’s one of these titles we’ll be looking at today.

Scooby Doo: Haunted House, has you effectively trying to solve the riddle of a scary ghost who’s terrorising the local old house on top of scraggly hill (I’ve made up this location as I like the sound of it). Players do this by entering the haunted mansion and making their way through its trap-laden halls, where they will eventually come face to face with the tricky ghost and discover his true identity.

You only get cardboard figures, but the house itself is well constructed.

Scooby Doo: Haunted House is ideally suited for up to 5 meddling kids, as they will then be able to replicate the full adventures of Mystery Inc team. It scales down to 2 players just fine though, and if anything works a little better, as it’s a lot harder to disrupt the board. A spinner is included on the base of the board, and players take turns to spin it. You can move up to six spaces at once, although only one 6, 5 and 1 appear on the 9-numbered dial. Should you hit a gravestone there are no mishaps and you are free to move your character and finish your turn. Hit a ghost tile however and the Haunted House is activated. This is achieved by pressing down on the ghost at the top of the castle, until you hear him click. This will then activate the 7 traps found throughout the playing area, which range from a cage, to shaking stairs and falling platforms. It’s a nice throwback to the old game Haunted Castle, but everything is done mechanically.

Should your charater get knocked over or trapped you must then return to the beginning of a set area, or what until the trap is once again activated so you can escape from it. Once a player finally reaches the top of the house, they can unmask the troublesome ghost and win the game.

As you might expect, Scooby Doo: Haunted House is best catered to the taste of younger players. It’s is a very simplistic game, with players at the mercy of the mechanical traps that can strike without warning. It also has a few issues that can make the game needlessly tricky. For starters, the spinner is part of the main board, meaning younger children can knock down player pieces by overzealously spinning the marker. The cramped area of the game also means that it can be easy to catch yourself on the board itself and again knock characters over. Oh and the included instructions are a real pig, as they pictures are very small and hard to look at. Finally, the house itself is extremely noisy when traps are activated.

And yet even with these issues it’s a fun game for the very young and a nice introduction to board games as a whole. It’s dripping with theme, and will go down extremely well with fans of the TV show.

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