So as part of one of the many Kickstarter projects I’ve supported I got Miskatonic School for Girls. I love Deck Building Games, I liker player interaction, and I’m a fan of the Lovecraft Mythos. So here’s the premise, each player represents one of the Houses at girls preparatory school. The twist is that the teachers are all Eldritch horrors from beyond time and space. As with many games with a Lovecraftian theme, the goal isn’t so much to win, as to be the last person to lose, or in this case go insane.
Each turn you buy two cards. One is a student (that will generally be in your next hand) and one is a Faculty card, which goes to the player on your left. This is an important point, as long as your opponent is still sane, you are ruining their deck every turn. I bring this up because every card generates Nightmare points (to buy Faculty), Hearts (to buy students) or Either. That is to say a card might have both Nightmare AND Heart points on it… but you only get one. The reason this is important is if you concentrate really hard on hosing the person to your left, you’re going to neglect your own deck, and unless it’s a two player game the person to your right will probably end up winning because you’ll be an easy mark. However if you solely concentrate on honing your own deck you’ll also probably end up going insane, because you won’t be messing with your opponents enough.
One thing this game lacks is one of my favorite things to do in Deck Building games, which is deck thinning. Okay, there’s like 2 cards that do it once per game … which means I stand by my original statement.
On the other hand, this game also has another “game mechanic” which I love, though I use the term in the loosest of all possible senses. See your sanity track is split into 4 colors. When your sanity drops to a new color you have to laugh or cackle crazily to represent yourself going insane. The punishment for failing to do so is to be taunted by the other players. That’s it, the reprobation of your peers is the only enforcement of the rule.