Monday, October 2, 2023

‘Scream: The Game’ Is A Bloody, Chaotic Mess (But That Makes It Perfect)

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Disclosure: In covering this game the author attended an event hosted by Funko Games with comped drinks and received a special edition of the title as a review copy.

Would you like to play a game?

Next up in Funko‘s line of movie tie-ins is Scream: The Game, the first official adaptation of Wes Craven’s horror classic (and series of occasionally good sequels) for the tabletop. It’s also a bit of an oddball for a design team at Funko that has made their name with complex and asymmetrical strategy games like fellow Gen Con horror release The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Slaughterhouse. This is unabashedly a party game, something for fans of the macabre to bust out between horror flicks or at a Halloween party. And it kind of rocks.

What’s In The Box?

  • Ghost Face Figure
  • Location Board
  • Knife Marker with Base
  • 60 Scream Cards
  • 24 Scene Cards
  • Instructions

It’s clear where all the money for the game went: the game’s app featuring the official voice of Ghostface Roger L. Jackson. I’ll talk more about that in a second. The physical game contents are bare bones to an almost generic level with the same few images repeated across the cards like a drop of blood, a DVD of Stab, or a bag of popcorn. The Ghostface mini is nice even if the board it moves on is quite tiny and the Knife Marker passed around to each player is a fun little marker that you can also use to simulate being stabbed…as you do. But I can’t help coming away from it feeling a little disappointed in the lack of Funko polish contained in the box. Party games don’t require much but a little more would have been nice.

Scream The Game contents

Now, the app itself is…well it’s a functional app. Runs well and isn’t too complicated. It can run you through the rules and has different settings of how harsh you want Ghostface’s language to be (which is more about gore than swearing) as well as adjust the difficulty. Mr. Jackson puts his regular level of smarmy menace into the voice and most of the time it is genuinely fun to hear him “interacting” with the game. However, the nature of the game means there’s several voice lines where the voice stops and very mechanically says some game term before transitioning back a natural style. Mechanically I get why it does that but it would have been nice to not have the immersion break quite so suddenly.

How’s It Play?

Scream The Game cards

The minimalist presentation of the game reflects the minimalist gameplay. Each person starts with a hand of item cards (blood, popcorn, keys, a DVD, or a hilariously old school cell phone) as well as a “Scene” card which requires the player to match their cards to in order to succeed. Oddly enough for a game like this its co-op. Everyone is working together to get everyone else the right cards before Ghostface calls. If he calls enough times someone will inevitably die, which is Game Over.

Ghostface’s calling is the core mechanic of the game and is timed out by the app. As players take their turns and the ominuous music plays, they’ll be interrupted by a shrill ringing and the terrifying voice of Ghostface. When he calls he will do one of a few things: He’ll threaten anyone at his location (marked on the board and on each player’s scene) and make you get rid of any items he names, he’ll taunt players who have too many cards showing his face by naming a number and making anyone with that number discard their hand, or he’ll stalk someone. When stalking, Ghostface will name a player (sadly not audibly) and tell them how many of a certain item they need. If they and the other players can’t get the right amount by the time he calls again, then they’ll get stabbed and everyone will lose.

The Verdict?

For better or worse, there’s not much to Scream: The Game. The standout focus is the theme and the set dressing of it, not the gameplay. For fans of the series and horror games in general it’s a solid party game to bring out when you need one, though it lacks some of the touches that other licensed games use to make them feel truly tied to the property. The co-op aspect of the gameplay does change the dynamic a bit and it does get stressful when Ghostface begins making the rounds…but it also means you can pretty easily plan around him and fill your scenes out even in hard mode. While I don’t think it’s perfect, the price is pretty good and it creates some impeccable vibes. I can easily see this becoming a mainstay of a lot of Halloween parties this year and beyond.

You can pick up Scream: The Game from Amazon, Target, The Funko shop, or your FLGS at an MSRP of $20.00.

Images and Review Copy via Funko Games

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  • Dan Arndt

    Fiction writer, board game fanatic, DM. Has an MFA and isn't quite sure what to do now. If you have a dog, I'd very much like to pet it. Operating out of Indianapolis.

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