Miskatonic School for Girls - Board Game Box Shot

Miskatonic School for Girls

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Miskatonic School for Girls game title

The Miskatonic School for Girls is a high class private school filled with a wonderful variety of charming children. Unfortunately, the staff of the school is made up by a variety of Cthulhu-ian monsters and cultists - all desperately trying to hide their true selves.

In this deck building game, players take the roll of one "House" in the school. During turns, players will add new students to their house (deck), while adding bizarre and mind altering faculty members to the other Houses.

The Miskatonic School for Girls is the first deck building game where you get to build your opponents deck. This unique feature creates a totally different play dynamic from other deck building games.

Each player tracks their house's sanity on their House Tracker. The last player to have any sanity left in their House wins! while the other houses go stark raving mad.

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Canada
Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
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48 of 51 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 8
“All My Sanity Goes to the Miskatonic School for Girls”

You can’t extend a tentacle in Lovecraft Country without knocking over a Miskatonic University coffee mug – but what of the lesser known Miskatonic School for Girls?

A Brief Message from the Headmaster (courtesy of the back of the box) says it all. 😉

Welcome to the Miskatonic School for Girls. We’re so glad you decided to have your daughter attend our exclusive school.

Our faculty is looking forward to instructing your child in all that the world, and in fact the universe, has to offer. Hopefully, your daughter will survive the experience in a manner that you will be happy with. Or not. Whatever, it’s too late now.

Sincerely,
N.R. LaHotep
Head Master

I think that gives you a sense of what is in store and that the matriculation rate is quite low at dear old Miska-G. 😉

Miskatonic School for Girls is a game of BFFs vs The GOO and a deck builder with a twist – you not only build your own deck, but your opponents’ stack as well. Well – ‘corrupt’ your opponents’ decks might be a better term, because no one is going to be happy with the personal touches you add. But when you are trying to survive a semester of thinly veiled Cthulhu Mythos faculty, your Non-Euclidean Geometry final, and the Drama Club’s production of ‘The King in Yellow’ with the last shred of sanity standing – it’s every girl for herself.

Let’s take an Innsmouth Look…

Student Orientation:Gameplay

The object of Miskatonic School for Girls is to run your House so it has the last sanity point standing while ‘helping’ the other players run their own to a padded dorm and a one way trip to the mind shattering abyss of R’lyeh where You-Know-Hu is catching his quick 40.

Each turn consists of 6 Phases:

1. Go to the Bank
Draw your Purchase Pile into your hand and then draw from your Deck until you have a hand of five.

Deckbuilding Twist: Unlike most deckbuilders – cards your purchase on a turn don’t march off to your discard pile awaiting a shuffle. They go into the ‘Purchase Pile’ which is drawn from first next turn. You can seed your coming hand with all sorts of Mythos Buster goodness. This is a good thing, because your opponents will be putting all sorts of deleterious deities there during your turn interim which also get drawn first. *cue ominous music*

2. Stock the School Store

The Miska-G School Store runs on the Ascension conveyor belt system and two shelves are stocked with 3 cards each. One shelf consists of Student Cards (Good Stuff that you want! YAY!) and the other contains Faculty Cards (Bad Stuff you want to torture others with! Mad Cackle!). Purchase holes are filled. Malingering cards drop off to the discard pile. Occasionally, an event card pops up that gives a little boost or bane that round or a rare Locker Card makes an appearance- which is a rather expensive purchasable perma-power for your House.

3. Pay Your Tuition
It’s card buying time! The Miska-G School Store accepts two currencies: Friendship Points and Nightmare Points. Each card in your hand will generate one or the other or both (although you can only use these particular cards for one currency on a given shopping spree). Friendship points allow you to buy new Students for your deck and Nightmare points allow you to buy malefic modifiers for your opponents. You are allowed one purchase from the Student Shelf (off to your Purchase Pile for next round) and one from the Faculty Shelf (off to the Purchase Pile of the player to your left for their upcoming turn) per turn. If you can’t (or choose not to) generate enough psychic currency for an actual purchase from a given shelf – you draw a weaksauce deck clogger Transfer Student or Substitute Teacher from a common deck instead.

Deckbuilding Twist: This is where you not only expand your deck but also undermine other players by seeding their decks.

4. Pre-Class!
This is where you prepare and prepare for the horrors that lie ahead after First Bell. You can choose to use any Pre-Class abilities in your hand. Now move all Faculty in your hand to the Classroom and all Students to your discard pile. *cue ominous music track two*

5. Class!
Time to sharpen your pencils, break out that Elder Sign you made in pottery class behind Pickman’s back, and defend your fleeting sanity!

Time to Take Your Test!

Draw cards from your deck for every Faculty Member in your classroom.

Deckbuilding Twist: You actually draw from your deck twice on a given turn. The burn throughs and shuffles come rather fast for the Girls of Miska-G.

Any students drawn are your BFFs and are sent to the classroom to face the awaiting G.O.O.s from Pre-Class. Any Faculty Cards drawn are Pet Teachers and are placed into any player(s)’s discard pile. They don’t help you keep your sanity intact, but at least they are off to bother someone else for awhile.

Faculty Members have varied health and your BFFs this round generate Girl Power! Tally up your total Girl Power and use it to defeat the Fiendish Faculty this round by equaling their health. Defeated Faculty move off to your discard pile. Remaining Faculty generate Sanity Damage while a few Students generate Resolve. (Third Years have seen a few things best left forgotten it seems, but are the better for it.) Subtract your total Resolve from the total Damage and that is how much Sanity you lose from the pop quiz on your Necronomicon Primer. Some Faculty have ‘Defeat’ abilities, some have ‘Survive’, and a few Student Cards have BFF Powers to spice things up.

6. Class Dismissed
Send in the janitor with his shaker of sawdust and clean up the classroom to your discard pile.

Hopefully you have some Sanity left because there’s a biology lab with Professor West on the morrow. 😉

But tonight – tonight is Meatloaf Surprise in the Dining Hall!

(Although one look at Lunch Lady Lulu will tell you – that might not be a good thing.)

The Lurkings at the Threshold

In poking about other reviews of this game around the Interwebs – I found the release response of two years ago decidedly eldritch. Is the Mi-go brain goo really that tepid at the Miskatonic School for Girls? Let’s look at some of these immediate cries of ‘con’ ‘retpro’actively – now that some of the deckbuilding dust has settled in the Cardboard Kingdom. Deckbuilding has grown a bit beyond the need for the next Dominion/Ascension clone. 😉

CON????: ‘It’s Different! Oh the Difference! Ia! Ia! Ia!

Can I get a Fthagn?

Miskatonic School for Girls IS different. It has many of the familiar trappings of a standard deckbulder and you will want it to be familiar, but it is different – as different as the offspring of ol Cap’n ‘Wandering Sextant’ Marsh.

Much like Eminent Domain combines Deckbuilding with Euro Role Mechanics to take the genre on a sideways journey, the combination of Deckbuilding with Sabotage/Screw You! play takes the girls of the Miska-G on a field trip.

I asked Luke Peterschmidt about this deckbuilding deviance:

My main point with MSfG was to create the “anti-deck-building” experience. Instead of the game being “optimize optimize optimize see who wins” I wanted a game where your deck was never better than on turn one and it just got worse from there. This was meant to make the player feel like they were losing control (as does extending the time from when an opponent ‘attacks you’ and when that attack deals damage). I like lots of different types of games. I like both Dominion and Ascension, but if you ONLY like games like those, this is not the game for you. If you like games that create an emotional response that goes hand-in-hand with the theme then I think you’ll really like MSfG! It’s very different and that makes me happy.

The key to enrollment in the Miskatonic School for Girls is to keep deckbuild mechanics in your fingertips (after retraining that Pavlovian response to immediately toss your purchases in your discard pile), but wipe them from your mind. The ‘Deck Undermining’ of your opponents is easy enough to grasp, but the ‘anti-deckbuilding’ aspect is going to taint your own deck as well. Each round, corruption in your card stash is going to build and build. Much like any poor soul in a Lovecraft yarn, you are pretty much doomed from the get-go. You aren’t so much building your own deck with Student Cards to ‘optimize’ it as to ‘sustain’ it. You are trying to keep your head above ichor, while doing unto others before they screw unto you. Remember the game isn’t so much about ‘winning’ as it is about ‘not losing’ by clinging to those last few sanity points longer than your classmates.

This sideways play on the deck building genre can be a tentacle slap to the face on your first foray if you don’t clear away pre-conceptions.

Con???? Girl Power meets The Great Old Ones

Some factions of the Big Boy’s Clubhouse in the Cardboard Kingdom have dubbed this game ‘girly’ with all the BFFs and Friendship Point and Girl Power terminology.

Is this a ‘girly’ game?

Hmmmm…does sending a bunch of teeny-boppers down a path of gibbering madness courtesy of the Big C & Co. really smell like Teen Spirit?

Not so much. That’s like calling Gorey’s Gashlycrumb Tinies a children’s book.

Yes – there’s plenty of gals populating the cards, but when you plant your tongue firmly in cheek and call your game Miskatonic School for Girls it stands to reason there would be. And No – these girls aren’t in halter tops or flashing Sailor Moon skirts, making for an acceptable boy-girly experience of sexy postcards meet fleeting definition of gaming. *sigh* These School Girls don’t Love Tentacles.

When did games start meriting ratings of ‘male, female, or other’ based on their cast of characters? So Schoolgirls + Sexless Dimensional Horrors = Sugar and Spice? I best stay away from Shadows over Camelot – total guy game!!!

Con???:There Can(‘t) Be Only One!

Elimination – no one likes sitting on the sidelines, but elimination has been a part of the game scene since the dawn of man and dodge ball. (Admittedly, at 5 foot and a possible inch on tippy toes I did ‘Ok’ in the arena of school yard blood sport.) Miskatonic School for Girls is an elimination game, but in Lovecraft Country most characters end on a ‘Ia!’ note as mad, in a brain jar, or as a bit of squooshy in the bathtub because the AC is on the fritz.

It is reasonable to assume that in a Mythos game, players aren’t going to link arms and run headlong into the Abyss together to see who nabbed a dozen more XP’s overall come Endgame. The Girls of the Miska-G are no exception. You might lose a few sanity points trying to kick your lab partner into the metaphorical maw of The Series of Consonants that Screams at the Center of the Universe, but they are certainly going to lose more. Once the sanity starts slipping away – it is a slippery, slippery slope for everyone. Come endgame just about everyone will be counting their sanity on a cephalopod. If you are first off to the asylum, by the time you refill the chip bowl, it is only about a five minute wait in Gamer Purgatory until someone is declared the ‘anti-winner’.

The Last Call of Cthulhu:Final Thoughts

Miskatonic School for Girls does suffer from some standard problems of the deckbuilder. A player can dominate if draws and purchases come out in their favor and other times players can suffer the cold shoulder of a lousy hand. The further along in the game and the more ‘corrupt’ the decks are the more costly these rounds can be. This is the nature of the Deckbuilding Beast in general, and doesn’t mean this Eldritch one is broken. In a way these ‘doomed’ turns, sort of fit the whole ‘clinging to quickly slipping sanity’ theme. Welcome to Lovecraft Country kiddos.

Quite a bit of love and craft went into this game. The art shines -capturing both the innocence of the student body and the mind-rending horrors shoe-horned into the tweeds of private school faculty. There’s plenty of tongue-in-cheek dark humor and clever H.P. love, but you don’t have to be a Mythoshead to get a chuckle at Cthulhu as a sinister lunch lady. It’s almost worth the price of tuition alone!

Miskatonic School for Girls might not be for everyone, but it might be for you if you like a bit of light-hearted darkness and are curious to dip a toe in the ichor pool of an ‘anti-deckbuilder’.

Conveniently, enrollment is always open. 😉

[***END TRANSMISSION***]

 
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5
Book Lover
Video Game Fan
5
52 of 59 gamers found this helpful
“I wanted to love this game”

Very cool theme, excellent idea, love anything related to Cthulhu. We tried to play this a few times before giving up on it. Our group consists of experienced board gamers some of whom are great at sorting out rules for those of us, ok ME, who are not great at sorting out rules. We found this game to be borderline unplayable. The rules just didn’t make sense. We kept stopping and trying to figure out what the heck we were supposed to be doing. I’m hoping there has since been some errata posted so others can enjoy the game, we gave up and sold ours. It just wasn’t any fun at all for our group.
That said, the art was cool and the components high quality. I sincerely hope that corrections have been released to make this into the game we had hoped it was going to be. I gave it higher marks than our experience deserved because of my hopes.

 
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4
The Big Cheese 2012
Weasel - Level 1
9
34 of 39 gamers found this helpful
“Out of Control Deck Building”

You’re not making it out of this with your Sanity intact.

This take on the deckbuilding genre finds you playing the role of the head of a house at the Miskatonic School for girls. Your goal is to make sure that the girls in your house go mad slightly slower than the other houses.

Everyone begins with an identical roster of students. Each student had a Friendship value and a Nightmare value. You can choose to use the friendship on each card to buy a girl for your house, or the night mare to buy Faculty for an opposing house.

After you have bought one teacher and one student, you place any teachers in your hand into the classroom, discard the resat of your hand, draw one student for each faculty from the top of your library and they battle using the attack and defense values on them.
At first, this seems weird, disjointed. Building your opponents deck, cycling through your own like mad. But after you look at the beautiful watercolor pictures of the girls, and see them in the classroom trying to retain their sanity against a Lovecraftian horror in a very poor disguise it makes sense.

No one’s making it out, no one can stand up to these faculty, but if I can make another house go mad quicker, I’ll feel better about my own house.

This game is not for everyone, it is a deckbuilder with a deliberate lack of control. The rules of the game are simple and very easy to pick up (which is good because the instructions are convoluted), the mechanics are simple, straightforward and have some innovation. Powergamers, min/maxers and rules lawyers will all be disappointed, but the rest of us will have a blast.

 
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3
Gamer - Level 2
8
12 of 18 gamers found this helpful
“Will drive you insane!”

This game has a lot of rules. They’re easy rules, but the instruction manual is not the most straight-forward. I guess it’s thematic? When you are playing for the first time, make sure you go over them a few times, slowly, then go over them again. We accidentally skipped things all over the place our first time through, learning as we went.

Once you think you have everything figured out, something will feel and a little off and you’ll realize you’d been doing something wrong the entire time and now it’s too late to go back and fix it, but you’ll do it the right way now going forward.

Once you actually have things figured out, it’s a fun and quick game that you’ll want to play over and over. And you’ll still want to double check the rules again, just in case there was something else you missed. Because there probably was.

Once you’ve finally made sense of the rules and peered into the true nature of the universe, you are one step closer to gibbering insanity. Or, at least, your schoolgirls will be. You’ll just have to do your best to stave off that insanity for as long as possible by sacrificing some other poor set of souls to the elder gods… some poor set of souls who look and act remarkably similar to yourself… could it be…? Nah. Best not to think about it for too long.

 
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7
Pet Lover
Treasure Chest
The Gold Heart
Novice Advisor
3
17 of 27 gamers found this helpful
“Miskatonic School for....zzzzzzzz”

Let me start off by saying this won’t be my usual review, I don’t really wish to waste more breathe on this than I need to. Concept is cool, the deck building aspect is a unique way of tackling the mechanics of the game and I really enjoyed the paddle boards (if only to use the Simpson’s reference: ‘That’s a paddling’). But after that there was nothing. The game came missing a card and with the worst rulebook in the history of rule books in my opinion. Hard to follow, I had to go through several video reviews/plays before we could get a full game right. In the end this one is sitting on the shelf collecting dust. There are better deck builders, with better feel to them and I just can’t recommend this one to anyone.

 

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