50 Games in 50 Weeks: The Miskatonic School for Girls

Feb 18 2013

This is a game about schoolgirls driven slowly crazy by horrible monsters, yet it’s quirky and fun. If you can’t imagine how that might be, this is the wrong game for you.

Miskatonic School for GIrls

Miskatonic School for Girls artwork

Miskatonic School for Girls is a card game in which you build a deck of schoolgirls and school paraphernalia, face monstrous teachers, and try to drive other players’ girls crazy while protecting your own from paddling and daily exposure to Teachers From Beyond.

It uses deck-building, similar to Dominion. However, you can also draw monstrous teachers and use them to attack other players’ girls. Other players are attacking your girls, too, and you use your girls to fend off the monsters, with school paraphernalia (diaries, candy, etc.) to improve the girls’ scores.

If a girl succumbs to a monster, she gets paddled, which decreases her sanity. Once all your girls lose sanity, you’re out of the game, so the last player with even marginally sane schoolgirls wins.

The lush, full-color artwork keeps the game light in tone. This premise could induce shudders in many gamers, and thankfully both the artwork and concept avoid any sexual or depressing themes. For example, the image used when a girl loses all her sanity is simply a girl with crossed eyes and a goofy grin. The art maintains a comic strip tone, where the monsters are those under Calvin’s bed instead of the ones in a Japanese hentai movie.

Games run quickly, 45–60 minutes once you’re used to the mechanics. The decks contain just enough variety in cards that you must constantly adjust your strategy throughout the game. While I’ve only played it twice, Miskatonic doesn’t feel like it has very deep strategic possibilities. This is a game to pull out every few months and enjoy for a round or two.

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