The weather is crisp, and the leaves are falling. Grab your pumpkin spice whatever, put on your favorite hoodie and pop in your favorite slasher movie. It’s October and of course that means, Halloween! Listed below are games that give you the horror and Halloween themes you crave.
Do you have a soft spot in your heart for the classic Universal monsters? You know, Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and their other friends. Gather a party, your pitchforks, and torches. Screw your courage to the sticking place and fight back against the beasts invading your village.
Horrified is a cooperative, pick up and deliver game that gives players different hero roles and pits them against your chosen villains. Each monster has their own unique set of rules, and each requires a different strategy to defeat them. A great game for the whole family as it’s easy to teach and learn. Sitting and strategizing as a team and then putting your plan into action can be very rewarding. My first time playing, it looked as though we simply were just going to run out of time. Then my cousin Nicole with a stroke of genius found the path to victory on the last possible player action! Victory! Well, at least this time. I hear Wolf Man is causing trouble the next village over.
There’s been a murder!!! And now there’s a haunting!!! And now there are mediums communicating with a ghost trying to find out who murdered it, where, and with what?!?!?! Mysterium is another cooperative game, but with a twist. One player takes on the role of the ghost. From a display of cards, each player is secretly assigned cards representing a murderer, a location, and an object. Each round, the ghost then silently uses a deck of vision cards to help guide the mediums to correctly pick their designated combination of cards. The vision cards are beautifully strange art pieces made up of an assortment of images and colors. The players discuss their assigned vision card(s) and decide which card the ghost is directing them towards. The players have seven rounds to correctly guess their three assigned cards and then move to the final round. The ghost gives one more round of vision cards and the players vote on which combination is the correct set of murder cards!
Disney Hocus Pocus: The Game
You have awakened the infamous Sanderson Sisters of Salem! They are now working to brew a poisonous potion that will suck the life from all the children. Only you and your friends (another cooperative game) can stun a witch and ruin their extraordinary elixir. Stun a witch three times, the sun rises, and you win!
Players draw cards, each one of five colors and one type of ingredient. Then, keeping their hands secret, players take turns playing cards Uno style on the five space of the cauldron (board) matching by color or type. Stun a witch when the board shows ingredients of the same color, five of the same type of ingredient or the same ingredient in all five different colors. Add some extra fun with Spells from the Sisters that make it harder for your team to complete their quest and Trick tokens that give the team a one off bonus!
The short of it is this: Gloom is a game about taking charge of a Tim-Burton-esque family, and making them as miserable as possible before they die. It’s delightful. The artwork on each card is Saturday-morning-cartoon gothic, dark and deathly but charmingly so. Besides the art, what catches your eyes about the cards are that they’re transparent — happiness and misery points are placed at different points on a card, and as you stack them up atop your family members, you’ll be able to keep track of your score at a glance. Where Gloom’s REAL strength lies, though, is as a story prompt game. Each card of misery, death, and sometimes happiness has a prompt on it, and with every card you put down, you are complicating the story of these families a little further. You could have Lord Slogar (who is A Brain in a Jar) be Ruined by Rum, his woes compounded by being Pestered by Poltergeists, and even being wheeled outside to be Charmed by the Circus doesn’t help to cheer up his day — for soon, he is Taunted by Tigers. And that’s just one family member out of the five you’re given. Playing it by the numbers is fun — but you’re going to get the most out of the game if you play it with storytellers.
Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate
The Betrayal series began with Betrayal on House of the Hill. It is a cooperative series of board games…for the most part. The concept of these games sees adventurers explore a spooky area, encountering dangers and gathering strength or weapons along the way. You build the board as you explore, so the layout is never the same twice. The crux of the game, though, is that at some point one of your adventurers finds a cursed artifact of immense power, and turn traitor, forcing everyone else to team up to defeat this newly cursed friend-turned-foe.Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate is an officially licensed D&D twist on the game — explore the city of Baldur’s Gate, fight dragons, umber hulks, liches and more with familiar D&D items and classes all at your disposal.There are over 50 different scenarios. One sees the traitor being replaced by a minotaur, locked with the adventurers down in the Catacombs, trying to kill them before they escape. One turns the traitor into a murderous Dungeon Master, trying to get the remaining adventurers killed with carefully chosen Encounter cards. Some scenarios even have a secret traitor — and winning depends on sussing out who it is in time. Between that, and a constantly shifting layout, you will never play the same game twice. And if you’re looking for something a little more kid friendly? There’s a Scooby-Doo version as well!
By Armaan Babu (Betrayal and Gloom) and Dan Nixon (Horrified, Mysterium and Hocus Pocus)