“Put the hex on your opponent!”
Released in 1964 by Ideal, the ominously titled Mystic Skull: The Game of Voodoo saw players take on the role of a “witch doctor” and cast hexes on their opponents.
Using a combination of zombie, shrunken head, spider, and snake tokens, players attempted to fill their opponents’ Voodoo Dolls with pins while preventing their doll from being filled.
At the start of the game, each player chose a Voodoo Doll and received a standard set of cardboard tokens (one zombie, two shrunken heads, three snakes, and four spiders.) The player who selected the red doll started the game.
Each turn of the game required a player to stir a spinner in the shape of a cauldron in the centre of the board using an included plastic bone while also chanting a spell, such as “Trouble, Trouble, Toil and Trouble, Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble.” The act of stirring the pot moved a hidden mechanism located beneath the board that contained a magnet.
Once the incantation was finished, the same player hung the mystic spell from the crooked limb attached to the cauldron and slowly rotated the spinner in either direction above the game board. When the magnetized Mystic Skull came in contact with the hidden magnet, it would quiver and come to rest on a Voodoo Segment — described as “contacting a spirit from the Great Beyond.”
Each Voodoo Segment on the board allowed the player several strategic options. Players could take an offensive approach, trading in tokens and placing a pre-determined number of pins in an opponent’s doll to their left or right. Or, they could operate in a defensive mindset, removing the same number of pins from their doll.
If a player’s doll became filled with pins, they were considered “under a spell” and out of the game. The last player with a doll that still had empty pins in it was declared the winner.
IN THE BOX
A complete Mystic Skull game included a game board, four zombie tokens, eight shrunken head tokens, 12 snake tokens, 16 spider tokens, four Voodoo Dolls in primary colours (red, green, blue, yellow), the Mystic Skull, a bone, a crooked limb, a rubber band, and an assortment of coloured Voodoo Pins. Instructions were printed on the back of the box.
The Mystic Skull game wasn’t on store shelves for long, making it challenging to find a complete copy in pristine condition now. In addition to ensuring all the various pieces are included in your copy, check that the cauldron spinner operates properly, as any degradation in the game board may prevent it from smoothly rotating when activated.
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