Halloween is fun for most people because it’s the time of year you can really enjoy horror without people looking at you like you’re some sort of weirdo. But most people only think of horror movies when they talk about Halloween. I ask, why stop there? I love board games and there are some seriously good horror board games out there. So let me share with you five of the best horror-themed board games out there for you to enjoy this Halloween. Do keep in mind that these aren’t all the best horror-themed board games, but there are quite a few excellent board games out there that aren’t readily available, so this list only includes games that shouldn’t be too difficult to find. Check your Friendly Local Game Store, or failing that, Amazon.
5. Vampire Empire
We start off with a smaller game for people who might be wanting a more personal Halloween experience. “Vampire Empire” is a two-player bluff/deduction game. Vampires have infiltrated the town and the human player must discover which of its inhabitants are vampires before they take over the castle. The vampire player, on the other hand, must use misdirection to keep the human player off guard while killing off the humans or tricking the human player into killing innocents. It’s a short, fun game that would be perfect for a night alone with your significant other or if you’re going to be at a smaller gathering of friends.
By now, “Zombies!!!” is a classic Halloween game, being 16 years old and having a plethora of expansions for those who can’t get enough. The basic game is a classic scenario where 2-6 players are stuck in a city overrun with zombies. Somewhere in the city is a helicopter with one seat left. First player to the helicopter gets rescued and the rest are doomed. You explore the city by laying down city block tiles which add locations where you can find health and ammo, but they also add more zombies. You also draw and play cards that will aid you or hamper your enemies. It’s a bit basic but also very easy to learn. If you or your friends aren’t used to playing complex board games, ‘Zombies!!!” is both a fun horror game and a great gateway into games with more complicated rules.
3. Ghost Stories
Halloween is the perfect time for telling stories about ghosts, so why not play a game called “Ghost Stories”? The name might be a little bit deceptive because it’s not really about typical Western ghost stories one would tell around a campfire, instead it’s based on B-rated Chinese Kung-Fu/horror movies. You play as a Taoist priest working with other priests attempting to banish a bunch of Chinese ghosts and demons summoned by Wu-Feng, Lord of the Nine Hells. “Ghost Stories” has a reputation for being very fun, but keep in mind that most cooperative board games are difficult by design and “Ghost Stories” is also known for being especially difficult even for a co-op game. So get ready for a real challenge.
2. Last Night On Earth
“Last Night on Earth” is one of my favorite board games. It’s another zombie game but this has less of a survival feel and more of an 80s B-Movie feel. This game revels in its cheesiness and it is glorious. From the pictures of real people instead of artwork to the cards’ flavor text all the way to the game scenarios playing out the plot of a B-movie, this game actually feels like playing a movie. However, it’s not a cooperative game. Up to four players are the human survivors, but up to two players take the role of zombies, trying to devour the human players. This asymmetrical battle makes for interesting strategies and helps keep the game more interesting over multiple plays since you can switch from one side to the other. So if you want to play a cheesy zombie movie this Halloween, look no further.
1. Betrayal At House On The Hill
Easily the number one best game to play on Halloween is “Betrayal at House on the Hill.” No game out there has more atmosphere than “Betrayal.” This is basically every horror movie ever made thrown into a single box. You want a haunted house? Check. How about a motley group of mysterious “protagonists”? Double check. Creepy dolls, frightening visions, magic mirrors and organ rooms? “Betrayal” has them all. And that’s just the first half of the game. Eventually, the game moves on to “The Haunt” where possibly one of the players turns out to be a traitor helping out the monster(s). And again, this game has them all: zombies, ghosts, vampires, aliens, demons, or even getting caught in a “Saw”-like situation. You pretty much never know what’s going to happen in the Haunt, and it’s almost always something different. Now, admittedly, the rules for “Betrayal” are far from perfect, and not all haunts are balanced fairly, but if you can overlook the game’s warts you’ll have a ton of fun. Just make sure to keep the lights down low and to read every card you draw as dramatically as possible.
Well, there you have it! Our top 5 games for Halloween. If you don’t want to watch a horror film on Halloween, you can at least play like you’re in one with these games!