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Based on the Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, Funko Games brings another Disney classic to life in board game form. A staple of our youth at Halloween time, it was a great way to introduce scares to younger children. The game draws on some of the narrative of the story incorporating little vignettes throughout the game board, playing cards, box, and even instruction manual.
Not one to miss an opportunity to tell a story, Funko Games uses every piece of this game at their disposal. Each side of the box has another scene from the opening segment of the Ichabod Crane story, so literally right out of the box you begin the tale. Following that, the top of the game board immediately sets the scene showing a pleasant Sleepy Hollow by day contrasted after unfolding the game board and seeing an eerie Sleepy Hollow by moonlight. Lastly, the back of the instruction booklet leaves players with the final lines of the short film, completing the narrative.
The cards act as a mechanism for moving players, and each card further draws on moments from the short film. There are also a series of scare tiles, which determine the success or failure of players if too many of the wrong ones are chosen. This was a fun mechanism as it is either the woodland creatures that gave Ichabod a fright such as the owl or a toad or a piece of the flaming pumpkin, which if completed spells certain doom for our nervous traveler.
To complete the experience the game comes with some wonderful crafted movers. A nervous Ichabod looking over his shoulder and the titular Horseman holding the pumpkin in pursuit of our lonely rider. While not a mover, the game also includes the tree from the short film which acts as both a portal of sorts and a way to score extra movement. A fun gimmick towards the end of the game as Ichabod rides around the tree looking for a safe path forward.
Gameplay is fairly straightforward and easy to learn and teach children (we tested gameplay with a seven and ten year old). Like some of the other Disney titles, you play as a team, however in this case you are just moving one piece. Players take one turn together playing cards from their hand to hopefully get a match to move the token forward, no matches means another round. Once cards are matched the lowest value is applied and the Ichabod token moves towards the bridge. However, each card has a value for the Headless Horseman to move.
Along the road to the bridge players can encounter shortcuts, speed bursts, and scares. Landing on a shortcut allows you to cut some distance off your path. Landing on a tree space permits up to four more spaces based on your spin of the tree. Finally, the real anxious part of the game, the scares. Throughout the course you will see many purple horse head icons you must avoid, for they can bring forth harmless scares on draw you one step closer to being clobbered by the flaming pumpkin. They are random of course so your draws are driven by chance. Further, if the Horseman should catch up with you, you must also draw a scare card, so choose wisely. This is the part of the game where young players can learn strategy, you want to try and get card matches that don't land you on the horse head spaces, rather the shortcut or tree ones. So kids can practice those critical thinking skills early, and after a few turns we found that kids can indeed pick it up on their own. Lastly, if the game gets too easy, you can turn up the rate of the Horseman's movement to catch Ichabod even faster.
Another great entry in the line that captures the magic of the Disney classic short film. A delight for players of all ages and a great way to introduce little ones to critical thinking and more advanced games. Kids will delight at the cat and mouse nature of the game, that adds some suspense and light scares. Be sure to order this for you collection just in time for the fall season and that amazing pumpkin-themed holiday right around the corner!
Click here to order from Entertainment Earth