Note: This is for the 2019 Pac-Man board game. If you are interested in the 1980 version check out our how to play guide for the 1980 Pac-Man board game.
Objective of Pac-Man: The Board Game
The goal of Pac-Man: The Board Game is to use Pac-Man to collect the most points while avoiding the ghosts.
Setup for Pac-Man: The Board Game
- Insert a yellow peg into each hole in the game board. Once all of the pegs are in the gameboard, push them so they pop up above the gameboard.
- Assemble the gameboard. Attach the gameboard pieces in alphabetical order (A, B, C, D) with the Ready piece placed in the middle.
- Place the four Power Pellet tokens in the indented spots on the gameboard. You should place one token in each corner of the board. The Power Pellet tokens should be placed so you can see the Power Pellets.
- Place Pac-Man on the yellow start space.
- Put Blinky (red ghost) on the red ghost space near the ready section. The rest of the ghosts are placed inside the ghost cage.
- Place all sixteen Ghost tokens near the gameboard.
- Remove the five Yellow Level 2 cards from the deck and place them to the side. Shuffle the rest of the cards and place them face down near the board. These cards form the Ghost Deck.
Playing Pac-Man: The Board Game
During the game each player will have the opportunity to play as Pac-Man in one round. You will play as many rounds as there are players in the game. To begin each round you will determine what role each player will play as.
To start each round all of the players who haven’t been Pac-Man yet, roll the dice. The player that rolls the highest number plays as Pac-Man in the next round. The rest of the players will play as the ghosts. How many ghosts each player (that is not playing as Pac-Man) controls depends on the number of players.
- 2 players – the player that is not Pac-Man controls all of the ghosts
- 3 players – each player controls two ghosts
- 4 players – one player controls two ghosts, the other two players each control one ghost
- 5 players – each player controls one ghost
The players can decide which ghosts they want to play as. Each player takes a Ghost Eye Token for each ghost that they will control during the round. You will place the token in front of you so everyone knows which ghosts you are controlling this round.
In each round the Pac-Man player has one life. The Pac-Man player will take the first turn followed by all of the ghosts.
Playing as Pac-Man
To start Pac-Man’s turn you will roll the three yellow dice. The total you roll on the three dice determines how many spaces you will move on your turn. Each Pac-Dot (yellow peg), Power Pellet and greyed out circle counts as a space while moving.
There aren’t many rules regarding how you can move Pac-Man. You can move forward, backwards, up, and down. You can even move through the same space multiple times on the same turn. The one rule is that you must move the complete number of spaces that your rolled. The one exception is if you eat a Power Pellet. See the Power Pellet section below for more details.
Whenever Pac-Man moves over a Pac-Dot that is up, you will press down on the peg so it pushes into the board. This represents eating the Pac-Dot.
If you move off the left or right side of the gameboard, you will immediately move Pac-Man to the tunnel on the other side of the board. You will then continue moving with the rest of your movement. This applies to the ghosts as well.
You will keep moving Pac-Man until you use up all of the spaces that you rolled.
Playing as a Ghost
After Pac-Man has finished moving, the ghosts get to move.
To start the ghosts’ turn, you will flip over the top card from the Ghost Deck. This card features all four ghosts with numbers next to them.
There are a couple special cards in the game. If you draw a Fruit Card, you will place a Fruit Token on Pac-Man’s starting space.
The first time a Fruit Card is drawn you will place the cherry token. You will then place the strawberry and finally the orange token. If you draw a Fruit Card and either all of the fruits have already been eaten or there is already a Fruit Token on Pac-Man’s start space, you will ignore the card. After you handle the Fruit Card, you will draw a new card for the ghost’s turn.
Ghost Movement Rules
You will start with the ghost at the top of the card. This ghost gets to move first this turn. They will move spaces equal to the number next to their picture. Ghosts can move forward, backwards, up and down. Ghosts cannot change directions on their turn though. Basically you can’t turn around on your turn to move back to a space that you were already on.
When moving ghosts cannot move through one another.
If a ghost cannot move the entire amount shown on the card, they will move as far as they can.
To start the round Blinky (red ghost) has to move first since they block the path for the other ghosts. If Blinky is not the first ghost on the card drawn to start the round, ignore the movement for any ghost above Blinky on the card.
The ghost players may discuss strategy together for how they want to move. Once a ghost is moved though, it cannot be moved again this turn.
Moving Ghost Eye Tokens
Should a ghost be eaten, their token is replaced by a Ghost Eyes Token. The player controlling that ghost then tries to move them back to the ghost cage. They will move the Ghost Eyes Token in the same way as the normal token.
Once the token reaches the ghost cage, its movement ends for the current turn. The Ghost Eyes Token is replaced with the normal Ghost Token.
Using the Power Pellet
Around the gameboard are four Power Pellets. As Pac-Man moves around the board you will eventually eat one of the Power Pellets. When you eat a Power Pellet your current movement ends. You will flip over the Power Pellet token to the side that shows the gray circle.
The Pac-Man player than rolls the three yellow dice one at a time. After you roll a die you will move Pac-Man the corresponding number of spaces. You will do this for all three dice.
After eating the Power Pellet the Pac-Man player can eat the ghosts. If Pac-Man moves onto a space that has a ghost on it, they will eat the ghost. Replace the Ghost Token with the corresponding Ghost Eyes Token. The player who controls that Ghost Eyes Token will then try to move it back to the ghost cage. While it is a Ghost Eyes Token, any other token may move through it.
Due to eating a ghost, the Pac-Man takes a Blue Ghost Token and adds it to their scoring pile. Each of these tokens are worth 200 points at the end of the round.
The Pac-Man player keeps moving until they use the number rolled on each of the three die. If Pac-Man ends their turn on a Ghost Token, they will eat that ghost before they lose the ability of the Power Pellet.
Scoring in Pac-Man: The Board Game
During your round as Pac-Man you can score points in a number of different ways.
If you should move Pac-Man over a Fruit Token, you will place the corresponding token in front of you. At the end of the round you will score points from the tokens as follows:
- Cherry – 100 points
- Strawberry – 200 points
- Orange – 500 points
You also score points for eating ghosts after acquiring the Power Pellet ability. You will score 200 points for each Blue Ghost Token you acquired.
Finally you will score points for eating Pac-Dots. As you move around the board you will eat Pac-Dots. The gameboard is separated into four different quadrants (the four corners). If you eat all of the Pac-Dots in a section, you will collect a mini-board token corresponding to the section that you completed. Each of these tokens is worth 800 points at the end of the round.
There is also an alternative way of scoring the Pac-Dots. If you choose to use this scoring method you will count up any Pac-Dots that you ate that weren’t part of a completed section. You will score 40 points for each of these Pac-Dots.
End of Pac-Man: The Board Game Round
A round of Pac-Man: The Board Game can end in one of two ways.
If Pac-Man should move onto a space that has a ghost and they don’t currently have the Power Pellet ability, their turn immediately ends. This also occurs if a ghost moves onto Pac-Man’s space. They will count up all of the points they scored in the round and write it down on the High Score notepad.
The next round begins with another player playing as Pac-Man. All of the players that haven’t played as Pac-Man yet will roll the dice to determine who takes the next turn as Pac-Man. Reset the game following the setup instructions.
Otherwise the round can end if Pac-Man eats all of the Pac-Dots on the board. In this case the player completed the level. They will then have the opportunity to move onto level two.
Before you begin level two you should add up all of the points you earned in level one. You should write down your score on the High Score notepad. You will then return all of the tokens back to their starting places like during setup.
Take the five Yellow Ghost Cards and add them to the rest of the Ghost Deck. You will then shuffle all of the cards together. This forms the deck for level two.
Pop up all of the Pac-Dots into the up position. All of the character pawns are returned to their starting positions. Flip all Power Pellets to the active side.
You will then play level two in the same way as level one. This continues until you are caught by a ghost or you complete level two. If you complete level two, you will reset the board and play level three (the same as level two).
Winning Pac-Man: The Board Game
The game ends once all of the players have had a chance to play as Pac-Man.
The player that scores the most points as Pac-Man wins the game.
Instead of the normal game you can decide to play the game following the Arcade Mode rules.
The Arcade Mode plays mostly the same as the normal game. There are two main differences.
First you will add the five Yellow Level 2 Ghost Cards to the Ghost Deck.
The other change is that each player gets three lives when they play as Pac-Man. You will place three Pac-Man Life Tokens near the gameboard at the start of each round. Whenever Pac-Man is caught by a ghost, you will remove one of the Life Tokens.
You will then move all of the Ghosts and Pac-Man pawns to their starting positions. Keep the Pac-Dots in their current positions. You will then continue playing. When you lose your last Life Token, your round as Pac-Man ends. You will tally all of the points you earned from your three lives. The player that scores the most points wins the game.
Pac-Man: The Board Game FAQs
If you have any questions about how to play Pac-Man: The Board Game, leave a comment below on this post. I will try to answer any questions asked as best and as quickly as possible.
Pac-Man: The Board Game Components
- Gameboard (5 pieces)
- Pac-Man Pawn
- 4 Ghost Pawns
- 35 Level 1 Ghost Cards
- 5 Level 2 Ghost Cards
- 16 Blue Ghost Tokens
- 4 Ghost Eyes Tokens
- 4 Power Pellet Tokens
- 4 Scoring Pieces
- 3 Pac-Man Life Tokens
- 3 Fruit Tokens
- 3 Yellow Dice
- High Score Notepad
Year: 2019 | Publisher: Buffalo Games
Genres: Cooperative, Roll and Move
Ages: 10+ | Number of Players: 2-5 | Length of Game: 30-60 minutes
Difficulty: Light | Strategy: Light-Moderate | Luck: Moderate
For more board and card game how to plays/rules and reviews, check out our complete alphabetical list of board game posts.