Tonight we played Jinkies! by Tobias Strauss, a game about teenage mystery solvers and their anthropomorphic mascot. We are the members of the gothic country band Wally and the Wobs, who travel from gig to gig in the Jumpin’ Jalopy singing our hit, “Snap to It!” in constant conflict with our arch-rivals, the proto-metal band Smooch. Wolly Wob is our anthropomorphic hedgehog mascot and tambourine player. Alex Janson is one tough broad who plays bass in the band. Henrietta Bunt is the weird one who always hangs with Wolly and plays violin. And Priscilla Barbs is our resident bookworm and plays the organ.
When we arrive at Lake Winnemuck, PA, for the Battle of the Bands at the local high school, we immediately run into Smooch and exchange taunts about who’s going to win before going to register for the event with the school secretary. Once we’re registered, the old janitor starts talking about all the other bands that have run off because of the curse of Tiki-Taki, a relic from the Bradley family that was recently stolen from the high school trophy case. Ever since it was stolen, a ghost has been haunting the town and the smart bands have high-tailed it out of town. Mr. Withers, the school’s principal, says not to worry about people making up tales about ghosts, but he closes the school and cancels the battle after a ghostly screeched song starts playing over the school’s loudspeakers. There’s no way we’re going to let a stupid ghost prevent us from winning a band battle, so we’ve got to figure out what is going on and bring the contest back.
First we visit Patty’s Melt Shop where we meet the other bands who haven’t cleared out, The Candy Stripers and the Feel Goods, and talk to Patty about the Bradley sisters and general rumors around town. Patty doesn’t know nothing about no ghost, but gives us lots of gossip about the Bradley family. So, we decide to check out their old house and speed away in the Jalopy.
At the Bradley House we split up to search more effectively. Hen and Wolly go straight for the kitchen where Hen sees something suspicious outside the window and Wolly finds a box of gunpowder. Upstairs Pris and Alex search bedrooms with Priscilla finding a suitcase of clean clothes and a bottle of poison hidden away. Alex finds nothing in the bathroom but falls through the floor into the kitchen onto Wolly when the floor collapses. Sproing! go his needles and disturb a family of mice living in the cabinets, who tell Wolly about all the people coming and going at the house lately. Hen finds someone wearing a large cloak hiding in the dining room closet; it’s Rosa the school secretary who claims to be the nighttime caretaker of the place while it’s up for sale. We hear a scream coming from upstairs and Pris comes running down after she sees the ghost of Tiki-Taki. Since Rosa was with us, she can’t be the ghost.
We go to search the basement, which turns out to be an underground library. Hen starts pulling books off the shelves to find a secret passage, Pris finds a book with a secret compartment inside, Alex knocks over some bookshelves, and Wolly finds remnants of glow-in-the-dark paint. The ghost appears and a madcap chase ensues. Hen and Wolly pretend to be saloon keepers and sit him down for a drink, Pris blends into the background so she looks like a library ladder, Hen hides by poking holes in a book and holding it to her face to become a Tiki-Taki mirror image, Wolly accidentally hits a hidden spring and Sproings upstairs to safety, Alex successfully escapes the ghost, as does Pris, and then Hen manages to step on the hidden spring and flies upstairs to land on Wolly’s spines (Ouchie-Wowie!). They land on a silk mattress and find an arrow-shaped guitar nearby, more clues.
Henrietta comes up with a plan to capture the ghost. Using a pink book, she dresses as a female Tiki and lures him to fall through the hole in the second floor (which we’ve covered with a rug) into a waiting barrel in the kitchen. Priscilla solves the case by unmasking the ghost and explaining that old man Withers was an ex-boyfriend of a Bradley sister thanks to an old mortgage she’d found in a book and wanted to buy the old place cheap.
Afterward, we win the Battle of the Bands and get to meet Casey Casem, who invites us to play not only on his radio program but to perform at the BBQ fest in West Virginia, that is if we’re not afraid of the Creepy Carnival nearby. “Sproing! We’re on our way, Casey!” and everyone laughs.