Base price: $30.
2 players.
Play time: 15 – 30 minutes.
BGG | Board Game Atlas
Buy directly!
Logged plays: 14

Full disclosure: A review copy of Soulaween was provided by Play With Us Design.

I actually didn’t think I’d be able to get as much writing done this week as I have been. I’m settling into the new formats pretty nicely, though I think I need to push the envelope a bit more with micro reviews than I currently am; I’m playing it a bit safe with the mini reviews. We’ll see how the stats at the end of the year reflect things, I suppose. I really should start doing more detailed statistics, but I have no really good way of tracking what reviews have resonated with y’all. WordPress analytics are deeply so-so. Alas. Expect a nice mix of full, mini, and micro reviews from here on out. I’m trying to cover as much as I can for you all. Maybe next I’ll work on the site’s discovery features. Who knows? In the meantime, let’s talk about Soulaween.

In Soulaween, players take on the roles of teachers and students at Death School who have a festival to participate in! During the festival, the participants rapidly reap souls to remember a legendary crisis that almost caused the school to descend into chaos. You’ve got various roles to play, but at the end of the day, it’s still a competition. So prep your scythe and get ready to reap. Are you up to the challenge?



To start, lay out the game board:

Then, set the Soul Tokens near the board. The side that’s up doesn’t matter.

If you want to play with player powers, shuffle them up and deal each player one:

Each of the various player powers comes with their own tokens:

If you’re not using the player powers, just set out the Teacher Vulture card and you’re ready to start!


In Soulaween, your goal is to reap souls! You do this by lining up a row, column, or diagonal with four souls of the same color. Lining them up is the challenge!

On your turn, play a Soul Token anywhere. Then, flip every orthogonally adjacent token to the other side. Then, if there’s a line of souls of the same color vertically, horizontally, or diagonally, remove them from the board and collect one token. Then your opponent takes their turn. First to gain three tokens wins!

The player powers offer new ways to play the game. One lets you swap between flipping orthogonally adjacent and diagonally adjacent pieces. Another lets you block opponents from reaping souls of the same color as the color you last reaped. The final power lets you reap souls in new configurations, but you can no longer reap souls in the standard one. Add them to your game to mix up play!

Player Count Differences

No major differences! The game only supports two players.


  • Try to plan a few moves ahead. You shouldn’t just be thinking about the immediate impact of your plays; you should be trying to think about what your opponent will do with the board you leave them. At the very least, don’t make the mistake I usually make and leave the board in a state where your opponent will be able to easily reap next turn? I’ve done that probably five or six times, at this point.
  • Playing in diagonals does make it easier to avoid flipping pieces. If you play the diagonals (and you’re not one of the Wuchengs), you won’t flip any pieces over, so you might be able to reap them a bit more easily. If you’re not going that route, watch to make sure that your opponent isn’t trying to do that under your nose. Nice thing is that there are only 16 spaces in the game, so they can only hide so much from you.
  • Playing as Anubis / Osiris is interesting, since you can block your opponent reaping a certain color. They can only reap Soul Pieces of the same color as the line you last reaped, which you can use to your advantage. This means you can basically exclusively turn the board to one color once you’ve reaped the other color, and even if a line exists, they can’t reap it. It’s a pretty tricky character to go up against, so try not to give them the advantage if you’re on the other end of the table!
  • When playing against Little / Papa Death, keep an eye out since they don’t reap tokens the same way. These guys can really sneak up on you since two of their reaping patterns are extremely strange (relative to everyone else’s). Make sure you know who you’re playing against so that you don’t just expect them to reap in a line. That said, the Needle token (which they need to win) requires them to reap in a line as normal, so you should probably watch out for that, too.
  • Playing as Hei and Bai Wucheng is interesting, especially if you can trick your opponent into thinking you flip tokens the opposite way. I’m not sure why the cards aren’t clearer, but you definitely can confuse your opponent. If they’re confused and think you flip pieces the opposite of the way you can flip pieces, then it works in your favor. Personally, I think this is a bit skeevy, but I’m not here to teach you how to be a good person, I guess.
  • In standard play, you really do want to avoid just piling pieces on the board; it makes it pretty easy for your opponent to catch you in a spot where you can only let them reap. Having a bunch of pieces on the board either creates a weird stalemate where you end up having to clear all the pieces of your color or you get stuck with no good moves (as any move you make sets your opponent up to reap on their turn). It’s not ideal.

Pros, Mehs, and Cons


  • It’s a cute game, thematically. It’s a little bit spooky but also pretty endearing? I love games that work in this thematic space. You’re reaping souls but mostly for a school festival, so it’s not going to be too intense, I guess.
  • I like the components a lot! The tokens can be a bit difficult to tell apart sometimes, but the actual Soul Pieces are really nice!
  • The player powers are pretty fun. They offer a lot of interesting ways to change up gameplay! There’s even a promo set that I haven’t had a chance to get into yet, but she looks interesting, too. I do love player powers in the abstract game space, as evidenced by my love for Santorini. I like how these play with the format, even if I find the particulars of some of these powers a bit more frustrating.
  • A portable little abstract! I really like the box size that they’ve gone for with Soulaween and some of the other games. It’s a bit bigger than, say, the Oinks, but it’s shorter than the Funbrick series, so I think the overall portability is still pretty solid. I have a lot of highly portable games at this point, which is a bit funny since I usually travel with games I haven’t reviewed yet. One day, I suppose.
  • Plays pretty quickly. It’s a quick little abstract; you can fly through it once you know the rules since it’s four-in-a-row but with some neat tile-flipping. With the player powers it takes a bit longer, but it’s not a ton more complicated.


  • It can occasionally be difficult to see which of the Wucheng sides are up (and know exactly what that means your opponent’s moves). It helps once you get a sense of which is which, but in your first few games you can definitely get confused as to which side of the card lets your opponent flip diagonally and which lets them flip orthogonally. I’m a bit surprised that they don’t … explicitly indicate that on the sides of the card, but what do I know.


  • The Anubis / Osiris restrictions, while fun, are equally annoying, since they function as restrictive rather than changing your abilities in some way. It’s definitely strategic to block your opponent, but you can also get into a pretty annoying spot where you can’t reap much of anything if your opponent is playing well. It’s neat, but imposing a pretty intense play limitation on a player can often be frustrating.

Overall: 7.5 / 10

Overall, I like Soulaween! It’s a pleasant little abstract that appeals to me thematically. I’ve been mostly playing it through Board Game Arena, and though I’m deeply terrible at it, I find it charming enough that I keep coming back. I think the simplicity of it is nice (again, four-in-a-row is a classic game that pretty much everyone knows how to play at some level), but I also appreciate how much care was put into the more thematic elements, from the pieces to the mat to the player power options. I find some of the player powers frustrating both as a user and as an opponent, but at some level that’s also the name of the game, I guess. Soulaween checks both of my boxes on speed of play and portability, though, so that’s also something moving it up my list a bit. I imagine I’ll keep playing it more (though Board Game Arena helps a lot on the accessibility of it; currently playing it with my friend who lives on the other side of the country). Fourteen plays has been a nice way to get some experience with the game; maybe one day I’ll even be good at it! In the meantime, if you’re looking for a mildly spooky abstract, you enjoy four-in-a-row games, or you like quick games with player powers, you might enjoy Soulaween! It’s been a fun time.

If you enjoyed this review and would like to support What’s Eric Playing? in the future, please check out my Patreon. Thanks for reading!

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