Spirits of Carter Mansion is a macabre micro-game of luring an innocent child to their doom, needless to say this game has a strong horror theme! But it’s not all bad, whilst evil spirits are trying to lure the lost child into the creepy basement, never to be seen again, the good spirits are working to guide the child out to safety. You must use deduction and bluffing skills to work out who you can trust or to trick other spirits into doing your nefarious bidding.
|Player Count||3 – 5 players|
|Play Time||15 – 20 mins|
|Publisher||Cutlass Board Game|
Please note this is a pre-production prototype of the game, elements of the game and design may change at the publishers discretion.
The game is made up of just 18 cards, 17 of which depict a different room within the mansion, with one card being the lost soccer ball the child is rather foolishly looking for! At the beginning of each game, you will select a card from your hand to represent your alignment as a good or evil spirit, although sometimes this decision is made for you if you are dealt all cards of the same alignment.
Your goal in this game is determined by your alignment, evil spirits do not want the child to find the Soccer Ball and if they succeed in guiding the child down into The Basement, without the ball, evil wins and the child is lost forever! The good spirits must help the child to find their ball, then guide them out of the mansion via The Grand Entrance in order to win the game.
The spirits will guide the child from room to room, activating the chosen room’s special effects as they go. Some rooms will revel information on player’s hands or their alignment, some will mix up cards by shuffling or swapping cards in various ways and some will even change the alignment of spirits!
Each round a player takes on the role of Spirit Guide, this player alone chooses the room that the child will explore next. All the other players play a card facedown in front of them, and pitch this card to the Spirit Guide, trying to get them to choose their card. And this is where the bluffing comes in! Evil spirits might try to persuade a good spirit guide to choose the basement by lying about the rooms actual identity. Good spirits may attempt to build trust amongst each other in the hopes that they can get the soccer ball selected by the spirit guide as while this is in play, it offers the child protection and the good spirits will be one step closer to getting the child out safely. All while, not necessarily knowing for sure who is actually on your side and if they will stay on your side!
The gameplay super quick, especially if you fall for the evil spirits tricks and guide the child straight into the basement (I might just be the worst good spirit guide ever!). I think being able to choose your alignment sets the game apart form a lot of social deduction games in this respect as they are more often dealt at random. However this isn’t always the case if you have all cards of the same alignment, and while it didn’t actually happen in our games, there is always a chance that all players could all end up on the same team, which could be a little anti climactic. We had one game where we were pretty convinced that four out of five players were good, with the other player claiming to be good. When good won we were actually relieved to learn that player was indeed evil, as it felt like more of a victory.
As with other bluffing games, knowing the cards well is key so it can take a game or two for everyone to become familiar with the different powers in order to be able to bluff convincingly so a player aid could help in this respect.
The artwork is eerily beautiful and reminiscent of horror video games such as silent hill or resident evil. Personally I would love the cards to be tarot sized to really show off the artwork, but as they are, they are highly compact and portable! This is a game that’ll have a permanent place in my Quiver card case as it is so small and quick to play!