Base price: $10.
2 – 8 players.
Play time: 10 – 15 minutes.
BGG | Board Game Atlas
Buy on Amazon (via What’s Eric Playing?)
Logged plays: 85, in various combinations with other sets.
Full disclosure: A review copy of Similo: Spookies was provided by Flat River Games.
It’s the last of the Similo sets! I am impressed that we got this far, though, it’s not like I wasn’t going to finish these. I tend to be a follow-through kind of guy, so here we are. I still think the next thing I’m going to try and do are the Railroad Ink Challenge expansions, but that’s going to be a Whole Thing, since they’re multiple different games packaged in the same game, so my traditional review format isn’t going to work. We’ll deal with that later. For now, let’s see what’s up with Similo: Spookies!
In Similo: Spookies, someone haunted up your Similo game! Now the creepiest crawlies are going to end up being your secret character! Navigate the nightmares and mild horror of many cultures’ fears and anxieties to try and give the clues you need for your co-player to correctly guess your secret character. Will you be able to correctly help them figure it out?
- Think about how these Spookies were created. That can help distinguish between them a lot. Are they magic? Are they not? Are they Just Some Guy? Figuring out their origin can be pretty useful, since that lets you split them apart and start comparing and contrasting. As always, try to go for simple and straightforward divisions. A lot of my splits are hat-based, for some reason, which doesn’t work as well with this set (but it might, this game!).
- Also, the humanoid / non-humanoid divide can really help distinguish characters, if you have the right cards for it. Just watch out because the Werewolf is something that might cause some confusion there, since it’s a person that turns into a spooky during a full moon. And, say, a Scarecrow is person-shaped, but isn’t really a person, either. Maybe if he had a brain? Hard to say.
- Living versus undead is a pretty good distinction, as well. A lot of these Spookies are undead. That can often be a useful way to split them. I tend to try and keep one card I can use to split the last two cards up, but honestly, it’s useful to try and eliminate all cards of one type early in the game to make the subsequent divisions a bit simpler to grind out.
- Also constructs! There are a lot of spooky things that are just … made. There’s a creepy doll and a scarecrow, and those both definitely count! I’m surprised there’s not a haunted puppet, though I imagine that’s pretty close to the creepy doll. The Killer Clown is, notably, not a construct, though my housemate does have some deeply-haunted porcelain clown dolls that I’m always very impressed by.
- If you want to learn more about the Spookies, read the cards! As I keep mentioning, it’s pretty much always a good idea. I also appreciate learning about the folklore and background, like how many distinct cultures have some kind of a swamp monster. That was fun to learn!
Pros, Mehs, and Cons
- As someone who occasionally dips their toe into pedantry, I appreciate that the card is correctly labeled Frankenstein’s Monster. There’s not a whole lot else to say about it than that.
- I also like that the Skeleton has a little crown. He deserves it. He’s a little prince or something! I love it. Skeletons don’t often get to be fancy, and a fancy skeleton every now and then just reminds me of that Home Depot skeleton that I never got a chance to buy.
- I don’t see Krampus all that often in games! Glad he’s getting some screen time. Just a fun little extra addition.
- This is a very tough set to mix with other sets, which I think is a lot of fun. Definitely the highest-complexity one, I’d say. It might be a little too hard, since the set has a strong theme around Being Casually Spooky, but I’m hoping Joe and I can iron out our differences and come up with a few wins. We did just get one, recently, so that was nice.
- I’m a bit amused that the Tin Man and Dorothy are in the Fables set while an unrelated Scarecrow is here. There’s also a Lion in the Wild Animals set, so you’ve basically got your entire Wizard of Oz group across various Similo stuff. Maybe that was on purpose? I’m warming up on the Wizard of Oz stuff, if that’s the case. I’m here for a laborious joke.
- I also enjoyed learning where various monsters and spookies come from! I always like that aspect of Similo; I was a bit disappointed that Fables doesn’t have any more than just a citation with their characters. There’s a lot of great information, here.
- Speaking of Fables, that set seems to match up nicely with this one. There are a number of cards that are pretty good slam dunks (Dorothy / Tin Man + Scarecrow, Little Red Riding Hood + Cultist [they both have hoods, calm down], Big Bad Wolf + Werewolf). It’s an interesting overlap, but it makes sense; spooky stories are fables of a sort, so there’s a natural pairing.
- I’m always in favor of having more games that I can play around Halloween time. More spooky games! I can’t really get enough of them, as someone with basically no tolerance for horror. Reminds me that I need to play the new Betrayal at House on the Hill.
- I wouldn’t say this is a particularly scary set, but I was intrigued by them going for something horror-themed, given that Similo seems almost aggressively family-friendly. It’s not bad, it’s just Spookies! I was surprised, since this game is so family-oriented. I don’t think this is the kind of game that would scare kids, but I also have no idea what scares kids, so, hard to say. If you’re not sure, maybe look through the cards first? I’ll make sure I post something fairly comprehensive, in terms of card photography.
- Not really much of a con, but I was surprised there weren’t more sci-fi spookies, given that the alien is in this set. Does the Invisible Man count? I don’t remember the story all that well. But there are a lot of Spookies from science fiction, so I’m surprised we just got Alien and not a ton else. Maybe there will be a “It Came From Space!” set or something. That would be fun.
Overall: 7.5 / 10
Overall, I think Similo: Spookies is a fun set! It’s a bit off in its own world, which is interesting, since it doesn’t really match up super well with the broad strokes of the other sets. The vaguely-overarching horror theme kind of rises to the surface first, in lieu of anything else. While that makes this game super fun to play on its own, it makes it very challenging to mix with other sets without overwhelming them with its theme. That said, I kind of like that challenge, so I’d say that I definitely find this set intriguing, on top of everything else. Plus, the spooky theme is very fun! I love horrorless horror games, personally. I think they are very fun and a little goofy in a spooky way. I also, once again, learned a fair bit about various cultures’ spookies, and I’ve been enjoying referring to these different creatures and people as “spookies”, in the more general sense. It’s fun. I wouldn’t say that I have any major gripes with this set, though. It’s pretty straightforward! It’s got a good amount and variety of spookies. I’ll be interested to see if they do any more strongly-themed Similo sets, after this one. If you’re looking for a fun bit of spooky scares, you enjoy a bit of logical deduction, or you’re looking for more games to play around Halloween, like me, you might enjoy Similo: Spookies! I’ve been having a lot of fun with it.
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