Disney Return of the Headless Horseman Tabletop Game Review

Help Ichabod reach the covered bridge in Sleepy Hollow in this family-friendly, cooperative tabletop game.

Funko Games recently released Disney Return of the Headless Horseman, a cooperative tabletop game inspired by Disney’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” which is one part of the film The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad.

We had the chance to try Disney Return of the Headless Horseman.

What’s this game about?

In Disney Return of the Headless Horseman, players must help Ichabod reach the covered bridge in Sleepy Hollow before he becomes too scared. The Headless Horseman will follow along behind Ichabod as he makes his way around the game board.

How do you play this game?

Disney Return of the Headless Horseman is a cooperative game for 2-4 players with a recommended age of 6+. All players will work together to help Ichabod reach the covered bridge, so they’ll either win or lose the game as a group.

The game begins with the figure of Ichabod at the Van Tassel Farm. Throughout the game, players will need to move the Ichabod figure down a winding path that leads to the covered bridge at the end. While Ichabod begins at the Van Tassel Farm, the figure of the Headless Horseman begins on a separate path containing nine spaces. The Headless Horseman will need to move down this path before he can join the main path with Ichabod. This means Ichabod will have a head start in every game.

To move Ichabod, players will need to play cards from their hands. Each card has a number in the top-left corner that represents the number of spaces Ichabod can move. Similarly, some cards (but not all) have a number or question mark symbol in the bottom-left corner that corresponds to the movement of the Headless Horseman.

On each turn, every player will choose a card from their hand and play it face down. Once everyone has chosen a card, the cards are flipped over and the group will look for two or more cards with a matching number in the top-left corner. If there aren’t any matches, every player will play another card face down. Once these cards are revealed, the group will again look for two or more cards with the same number in the top-left corner, but this time, they can look at every card that has been played so far on this turn. This process will be repeated until two or more cards are played that have the same number in the top-left corner. This number will tell players how many spaces to move the Ichabod figure down the path.

Source: Funko Games

Depending on where Ichabod lands on the path, players may need to take another action. Specifically, if Ichabod lands on a Secret Path space, he can take a short cut and skip ahead on the path by a short distance. If Ichabod lands on a Tree space, players will spin the board’s tree spinner to see how many extra spaces Ichabod can move. Finally, if Ichabod lands on a Scare space, players will need to flip over one of the game’s eight face-down Scare Tokens. When a Scare Token is flipped over, Ichabod has been “scared,” which players want to avoid.

Once the Ichabod figure has moved, players will add the number(s) in the bottom-left corners of all of the cards that were played on that turn. This determines the number of spaces the Headless Horseman figure will move. After the figure moves, if any of the cards have a question mark symbol in the bottom-left corner, the Headless Horseman figure will move extra spaces, with the number of spaces being determined by the number on the game’s Speed Tile. The Speed Tile is used to set the game’s difficulty level. The easier difficulty will have the Headless Horseman figure move two spaces for every question mark symbol found on a card while the harder difficulty will have the figure move four spaces for every question mark.

If the Headless Horseman figure ever catches up with Ichabod or would pass him on the path, he’ll frighten Ichabod and players will need to flip over a Scare Token. The Headless Horseman will then move to the space immediately behind Ichabod and the game will continue.

Four of the game’s eight Scare Tokens picture portions of a Jack-O’-Lantern. If all four of these Scare Tokens are revealed before Ichabod reaches the covered bridge, the group will lose. However, if players can end a turn with Ichabod at the covered bridge without having all four pumpkin Scare Tokens revealed, the group will win.

Source: Funko Games

Is this game fun to play?

Disney Return of the Headless Horseman is a simple tabletop game that focuses more on chance than strategy.

That is, while the game’s instruction booklet points out that players can strategically choose the card to play on each turn in an attempt to make Ichabod land on a desired space, there’s no guarantee the other players in the group will have the same thought process, or have the necessary card(s) in their hand to complete a beneficial action on each turn. This means strategic thinking can only help players so much, and the game ultimately comes down to chance.

We enjoyed this casual, simple setup, but it may not be for everyone.

Is there anything else parents need to know about this game?

Parents should know that even though some stories featuring the Headless Horseman character (Wikipedia) are mature or violent, Disney Return of the Headless Horseman is only slightly spooky and doesn’t contain mature content.

In addition, we feel it's worth pointing out that the game’s instruction booklet offers an alternate gameplay setup for families that want the experience to have “Less Strategy." In this setup, instead of giving every player a hand of cards to play, one or more players could play the top card from the deck on every turn, which means they would never have to think about which card to play next.

What’s the final verdict?

Tabletop games don’t have to be complicated to be fun, and Disney Return of the Headless Horseman is a nice example of that. It’s a casual, entertaining game that would be especially fun to play during the Halloween season, but can be enjoyed all year long.

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Disney Return of the Headless Horseman is now available for $19.99.

Disclosure: SuperParent received Disney Return of the Headless Horseman for coverage purposes.