It’s probably fair to say that the 1970’s and 1980’s was the era when role playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons were at their most popular. This popularity saw certain films and comic books get their own role playing game, and Ghostbusters was one such film that the made the transition from celluloid to statistics.
Role playing games are often stereotyped as being a bit geeky, as to somebody not used to playing such games it appears there is usually no board or playing pieces but instead a whole bunch of numbers and some weird looking dice. Â The Ghostbusters role playing game deliberately tried to distance itself from these more technical games in order to create a more relaxed experience for the players.
Each player created themselves a character by assigning 12 points to each of four traits, these being Brains, Muscle, Moves and Cool, which are fairly self explanatory. Â You could also select a particular Talent related to each of these traits, which made your character better at performing certain tasks. Â If this all sounded like too much work then you could also choose to play as one of the movie characters, as the game came with statistics cards for each of the main characters of the film.
To play one person was chosen as Ghostmaster (a play on the usual term of Gamesmaster) who described situations that the players characters found themselves in. Â Players could ask questions and suggest actions for their characters, and it was up to the Ghostmaster to decide how much information to reveal, or how difficult an action was to perform.
For example, say a player suggested doing some kind of acrobatic move to dodge a ghost. Â The Ghostmaster might decide this was a tricky thing to do correctly so would assign a how difficulty value to it. Â The player would see if they performed the move correctly by rolling the same number of dice as the value of the relevant character attribute, in this example the Moves attribute. Â If the player character had a talent befitting this task (for example, Gymnastics) then they could roll an extra three dice. Â If the total on the dice exceeded the difficulty value they achieved their aim, otherwise it failed in some manner decided by the Ghostmaster.
To hinder the players further one of the dice that had to be rolled was called the Ghost Die, which had a picture of the Ghostbusters logo instead of a six. Â Having this come up meant something went wrong even if the player managed to achieve the required difficulty score.
Each player also had a supply of Brownie Points, initially starting at 20 with more awarded for doing things the Ghostmaster deemed clever or particularly suited to the players character. The player could use Brownie Points to lessen the effects of any failures they may have, and also to increase their chances of success in the first place by effectively buying extra dice to make difficult rolls with.