It’s a known fact that ghosts love candy almost as much as dragons love tacos. What better night for ghosts to get candy than Halloween? All the kids dressed up in their cute costumes going door to door and filling bag after bag of sugary delights. The ghosts want that candy so they head out to haunt the kiddos in search of their favorite treats. The trick to getting the most candy is scaring the kids, but not TOO much. If they get scared off they can’t trick-or-treat for more candy!
Ghosts Love Candy has each player taking the role of a ghost in search of sweet treats. Each player takes their Ghost Cards which range in value from 1 to 9. The Love Cards are then shuffled and one is handed to each player. Players can look at these but must keep them hidden from everyone else as they dictate what candy is worth the most to that player. The candy is shuffled and placed face down into a draw pile, and the kids are shuffled and some are turned face up in a line with the following rules:
- For 3 or 4 players – Six kids are flipped up. The game will last 8 rounds.
- For 5 or 6 players – Eight kids are flipped up. The game will last 6 rounds and players will place their 4 and 6 value ghost cards to the box.
Play starts with the following actions taken during a round:
- Place Candy – Add a candy to each of the kids in the neighborhood from the draw pile.
- Choose a Ghost – Each player chooses a ghost from their hand and places it face-down on the table.
- Determine Order – Players flip their ghost over. The player with the highest value ghosts goes first, and so on.
- Players Take Their Turns
- Place a ghost under a kid and take all the candy from that kid.
- Resolve the action from the kid being haunted.
- If the total number of ghosts meets or exceeds the kid’s value that kid becomes scared. The last player to haunt that kid gets the kid placed in front of them, any candy left on that kid is discarded, and a new kid is drawn to fill the gap. If any action causes another kid to become scared then resolve that kid.
Once each player has taken a turn the round ends and a new one begins. Play continues until the candy deck is empty, at which point players reveal their Love Cards and tally their points. Candy is totaled and then 2 points are subtracted for every kid a player has scared.
There are a few more details, including how to resolve ties, in the full rules.
The first thing you’ll notice about Ghosts Love Candy is that it’s super kid-oriented with colorful, cartoony artwork. Nothing spooky or scary here. The cards are typical Steven Jackson Games quality, which means slightly less sturdy than your traditional card stock. The Kid and Ghost cards are standard size, while the Candy cards are smaller.
Ghosts Love Candy is a fun little game to play with the family that is simple to learn, yet contains a certain level of strategy above your standard mass-market card game. Each turn players are presented with the choice of what value ghost to use, what kid to haunt to earn the most candy, and whether or not scaring a kid is worth it in the long run. It’s a constant balance of trying to earn the most with the least amount of consequence.
You can snag the game for $19.95, which is an excellent price for such a cute little family game considering how much thought is really required to play. It’s certainly a game adults will enjoy playing with younger kids, especially around the spookier holidays! The box suggests age 8 as the low end of the age scale, but it’s certainly accessible for kids as young as 6.
A copy of Ghosts Love Candy was provided free for review by Steve Jackson Games.
Media personality Rob Kalajian has been a staple in the board game world for many years. As a former writer for Purple Pawn and the owner of A Pawn’s Perspective, Rob focuses on board game reviews, events, and news. A self-proclaimed geek, Rob loves all things toys and games and even helps raise his four kids in his spare time.