10 Spooky Halloween Board Games
Tis the season to, well, to be scary and stuff. Halloween was a lot of fun back in the day when you could go trick or treating, and eat more candy than any adult on earth ever could, but if YOU’RE the adult giving candy out, maybe you’re looking for a way to spice up your Halloween night at home. Lucky for you, you’ve got a lot of options in board games! These ten games are great choices to honor the spookiness of Halloween. While all of these games aren’t scary per se, they hit all the right notes thematically, and most importantly, they’re just a fun time overall. See if you agree with our choices, and give a shout out in the comments if you think we missed anything good!
Wu Feng, Lord of the Nine Hells, has long been dead and gone…until now. Ghost Stories is a game that has you and a group of friends co-operating to stop the reincarnation of the terrifying Wu Feng and his army of ghosts. Functioning almost like a wave survival game, you and your friends will have to strategically stop Wu Feng’s minions, as more and more come at you, desperate to bring back their master. Beware, though – even if you stop them, you’ll have to face Wu Feng himself, and he’s a monster of his own. Ghost Stories is known to be pretty unforgiving, so if you’re up for a challenge, this is a good one to consider.
If you’re yearning for a fix of good ol’ Lovecraftian action, Arkham Horror should be at the top of your list. Arkham Horror is another co-operative game that pits you against the servants of the Ancient Ones, even the terrible Cthulhu. Casual fans might want to be cautious—Arkham Horror isn’t child’s play. Regular sessions can be four to five hours in length, and the game is extraordinarily deep. For a similar, more accessible version, try the more recent Eldritch Horror, published also by Fantasy Flight. These games dive deep into Lovecraftian mythos, and will provide an immersive, delightful experience whether it’s Halloween or not.
If you’re into the Lovecraftian horror, but can’t be bothered to get into the dense, arcane mechanics of Arkham Horror or Mansions of Madness, Elder Sign has gotcha covered. Referred to by many as “Arkham Horror Lite,” this is a game that takes the fundamental concepts of its sister game, and reduces them into a quicker, easier to play dice game. The idea is still similar; you’re working together to stop the Ancient Ones, but the gameplay in this one is much easier to get a grasp on. This is a game that dives deep into Lovecraftian mythos, without requiring a high barrier of entry. If you want to spend your Halloween (or every other night) in the fight against Cthulhu but you don’t want to spend the entire night doing it, Elder Sign is a good fit.
Letters from Whitechapel
Letters from Whitechapel is a game that pits one player against the rest—Jack the Ripper is roaming the streets, and he has to work against the detectives (the other players) to continue his dirty work without being caught. The player controlling Jack has to outwit the other players, his ultimate goal being to take five victims and return to his lair. Through clever co-operation, the other players must figure out where Jack is before it’s too late. From that description alone, it’s pretty easy to see why this game would make the list. Not every game is bold enough to put you into the shoes of a serial killer, so this one is a unique and obvious choice for a Halloween game.
Mansions of Madness
This is another Fantasy Flight title based off the universe created by HP Lovecraft. Mansions of Madness is a 1v4 game, where players work on a team to navigate through a spooky old mansion, while another player controls the monsters and evil that lurk within. There are plenty of surprises waiting in the cards that the “Keeper” can play (the player that works against the other players), and the game uses a modular board to keep things fresh every time. Mansions of Madness is loaded with content, and for those who love opening a box with TONS of stuff inside, this one will serve its purpose well.
One Night Ultimate Werewolf
If you don’t have the time or money to invest in one of these long, complicated games, One Night Ultimate Werewolf is the game for you. Available for $15 and playable in ten minutes, One Night makes players try and figure out who among them is a werewolf. The game takes place over the course of one night, where players choose a “role” every turn, with the goal of the villagers to kill the werewolves, and vice-versa. This is essentially a micro version of Ultimate Werewolf, a more substantial game from the same parent company. Whether you go with One Night Ultimate, or the original, either one will be a fun Halloween party game.
Last Night on Earth
Don’t be deceived by the cheesy cover art; Last Night on Earth is one of the best zombie experiences on the market. This one differs from a lot of other experience, in that it allows players to control zombies, and other players to fight against them. Featuring a modular board, every game will be different as the heroes try to outwit their rotting enemies. The game alternates between hero and zombie turns, and each side will try to outwit the others. Will the heroes win, or will the limitless onslaught of zombies bring them to their doom? If Thriller, Night of the Living Dead, or zombies in general are your jam, Last Night on Earth won’t disappoint.
Dead of Winter
If Last Night on Earth is Night of the Living Dead, then Dead of Winter is more akin to The Walking Dead. Although technically a zombie game, this one is much less about the zombies, and more about the people trying to survive. The game describes itself as a “meta co-operative psychological survival game,” where factions of humans (each controlled by a player) must work to survive in the new, zombie-ridden world. Zombies, however, are the least of their problems, as players have the option of manipulating or betraying each other to serve their own needs. Every player has their own secret objective they must fulfill to win, meaning that some players, everyone, or no one can win. For those who enjoy the psychological survival aspects of The Walking Dead, this is a perfect game for you.
Fury of Dracula
Conceptually, this one is not unlike Letters from Whitechapel, just replace Jack the Ripper with Dracula and the detectives with vampire hunters, and you’re set! Fury of Dracula is a classic, dating all the way back to 1987. In fact, publisher Fantasy Flight Games JUST pushed out a brand new, shiny updated version of it. It’s been out of print for a while, so now is the first time it can be found at reasonable prices once again. In any case, anyone who owns a copy of Fury of Dracula, or can find a place to pick one up, it will be a delightful treat and a fun way to experience a night with your favorite monster.
Betrayal at House on the Hill
What is a Halloween without haunted houses? Although the word “Halloween” evokes all kinds of spooky images, it’s safe to say that haunted houses are near the top of everyone’s list. If this is the case, there’s not a Halloween game that’s much better than Betrayal at House on the Hill. In Betrayal, up to six friends can team up together to try to make their way through a haunted house. What makes Betrayal unique, however, is that every game is different. The game includes fifty different scenarios, and every single one has its own set of spooky haunts. Not only that, but somebody in your group might just betray you. In Betrayal, your own friends can be as dangerous as the horrors inside the house.