There was always something about the humble board game as I was growing up that captured the imagination. Made you create a reality in your head. Unlike the Xbox or Wii you had to imagine things a bit more.
Ghost Train fired the imagination and then some. It was British game made by Denys Fisher in 1974. It was based on haunted rides at amusement parks – even details like the spinning tracks in the game are the same as those in the Walt Disney Haunted Mansion Ride Game! Fact.
The game had lurking ghosts, bats, skeletons and spiders, and simulates sudden and jolting changes of direction, dead stops, being 'stuck' at one of the exhibits, and mechanical moving spooks. Really, just like the actual rides. But this was a game as well. What would happen if you lost…? It was slightly scary to think about.
Players would have to spin the turntables to either change the direction of a buggy or have a ghost knock over an opponents buggy back to the waiting room. There was also a giant swinging spider guarding the exit!
It reminded me a bit of Mouse Trap because it had a lot of moving parts, it was 3 dimensional rather than just involving moves around a flat board. Almost like having a train set! Also, it made you jump if something you got ghosted!
Because of that I think I enjoyed it most when I was very young – maybe 4 – 7, because it had moving parts and seemed to be alive. As I got older it was a bit boring, as the gameplay was quite slow.
Nowadays Ghost Train by Denys Fisher is apparently really in demand by Collectors.
In fact it is SO collectable, that the game is now shown in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London!