I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Halloween isn’t a day, it’s a season. Not unlike the “Christmas Season”, Halloween (the day) largely dominates the Western focus of autumn, but there are numerous other festivals and traditions in and around the same timeframe all over the globe. One such festival that has had an expandingly connected relationship with Halloween is the Mexican Day of the Dead festival, or Dia de Los Muertos.
The art and general aesthetic of Day of the Dead has become increasingly popular in America and Canada. With that popularity comes a very fine line between what is cultural appreciation versus cultural appropriation. Before I even look at this campaign I want to quote its creators on this important topic.
Brouhaha Games is committed to ensuring that games with themes from cultures outside our own are represented fairly and accurately. To meet this goal, we hired a paid cultural consultant to advise us on all of the details regarding Dia de Los Muertos in order to ensure that our representation of the holiday and the culture surrounding it were as accurate as possible.
We also realize that accurate representation is necessary but not sufficient when representing other cultures. So we made the following commitments as well:
- First, we made sure that this project directly benefited people from Mexico and/or of Mexican descent. We did this by committing the majority of our contracting budget to this goal. This includes art, story, rules, translation, and play-testing.
- Second, the celebration of Dia de los Muertos is extensive and not always homogeneous, so we attempted to gather diverse feedback from many different sources. We gathered extensive notes on the final design to make sure that the overall product was an accurate and positive representation.
- Finally, we sought extensive feedback around the theme being used as a setting for a game. We wanted to ensure that using the setting and history for casual entertainment was appropriate and respectful, and that the use of symbols, customs, and ideas created a positive experience for people who celebrate the holiday.
That statement is made towards the end of the Kickstarter page, but I want to highlight it upfront here because it is important. The world is changing and views on what is acceptable are changing as well, TheRatHole.ca always wants to support companies that are respectful of other people and do more than their basic due diligence in that respect.
Okay, moving on to what we are all here for: Hysteria.
The story that sets up the game in the (unfinalized) rulebook goes On Dia de los Muertos, Luna, a small girl from a Mexican village, has wandered through a portal in search of her dog, Kiko. Players will spend their turns searching through the village trying to find the girl and send her home before the end of the night.
Each player will either start as Team Human or Team Skeleton based on three hidden cards. These cards are placed face down in a row, and will never change positions outside the PASS step of the Information Phase. During this first phase, every player will LOOK at one card from the player on both the left and right of them, and then PASS one of their own cards to the player on their left. This card will be placed in the open space created by that player PASSING their chosen card to the left.
In the Capture Phase, every player has the chance to PEEK at a card in play or ACCUSE a card of being Human, and everyone then discussed and votes to capture it or not. At the end of the round a new card is dealt to every player and after three rounds or all five Capture tokens are placed the captured cards, and ONLY the captured cards are revealed. If three or more humans are revealed, the skeletons win, if not then the humans win.
There are only two pledge levels, the base game for $19 (USD) or the deluxe game for $25. The deluxe includes exclusive cards, card sleeves, upgraded wooden tokens, and a special box sleeve.
The game seems quick to learn and the art is fun. I look forward to seeing the final product.
Yesterday we had a review of Pumpkin Patch: Bad Seeds, which will be available as an add-on to this campaign. So if you aren’t sure just yet, make sure to pop over to and check that out as well. But if you are sure, you can back Hysteria on Kickstarter until Nov 4, 2021.