Since Halloween falls on a weekend (WITH DAYLIGHTS SAVING), what a great time to host a Halloween Gaming Night (WITH AN EXTRA HOUR OF GAMING)! I’ve compiled a few lists of great games to keep you going this Halloween weekend and to keep you spooked or devastated or, at the very least, a little unsure about sleeping with the lights off. I’ve divided the games into categories to better suite your thematic tastes.
While these are not an exhaustive list of games for these themes, I tried to pick 1-2 games that would be great for a gaming night this year.
Cthulu Themed Games
Elder Sign is a cooperative game that inspires terror at midnight! Elder Sign plays 1-8 players, but is best played with 4, if you want to defeat the evil that is unleashed. You encounter spooky locations within a 1926 museum and through the use of dice and special cards try to earn elder signs to aide in battle against the big bad Ancient One, once it is awoken. You will lose members along the way, but never fear, others will emerge to help the team be victorious against what lurks just past midnight.
Unspeakable Words is a rather simple game, but I have always fully enjoyed playing. Essentially you have to make words using the letter cards and then roll a D20 to see if you’ll go insane. You slowly start to lose little Cthulu figures and if you lose them all, you have completely lost your mind. The words you come up with can end up being rather hilarious! Simple, fun, and for most ages, a great interlude game for the long game nights. And the artwork will keep you intrigued by other games think of words they want to play. It is points based. First person to 100 wins!
Generic Horror Themed Games
You and your fellow players go through the doors of this foul mansion to unearth its mysteries. Move room to room looking for clues, finding means to protect you from the horrors that lurk around every corner. Not only is your life in danger, but your very sanity teeters on the brink. In the end, one of your compatriots turns out to be a traitor and each game of Betrayal at House on the Hill leads you down a very different story path depending on a number of circumstances. Is someone bringing for demons from another dimension? Is their a vampire amongst you? Is one of you a lunatic housing a gang of murderous escaped inmates? Has someone bowed down before alien eye-creature overlords? One never knows what sinister happenings you will discover at the House on the Hill.
A game for when you have a crowd, Werewolf is all the rage among group gamers, or. . . will for be for a little while. At the very least, it’s the favorite game of my Middle School Game Club kids. You have a storyteller who runs the game in a dramatic fashion and make sure everyone adheres to the limited rules in this game of bluffing and deduction. Then you have a selection of townspeople who will help you to find out who the werewolves are, but be careful. . . If the werewolves realize you know who they are, you’ll be next! You can adapt this game to any situation or play any variation that appeals to you (One Night Ultimate Werewolf), but it is a staple that is well loved and worth your time on a Halloween Game Night.
Ghosts Themed Games
A co-operative game from designer Antoine Bauza (he also gave us the previously reviewed Hanabi and so many other great games). A game for 1-4 players, Ghost Stories is about 4 noble and mystical Taoist priests protecting a village from an onslaught of ghosts, demons, vampires, and everything else that goes bump in the night. Players perform exorcisms, take special actions by enlisting the help of certain villagers, and work together to prevent any of the priests from becoming overrun and any of the village locations from becoming haunted. This all culminates in the priests doing battle with the incarnation of Wu-Feng, Lord of the Nine Hells. This is an incredibly difficult the requires precise teamwork and strategy, but its elegant design and simple mechanics make for tremendous fun.
Monster Themed Games
The biggest and best of the monster games and probably the more fun to play! Each person gets a super awesome monster and you vie to be the King of Tokyo. Game play is based on dice-rolling for attacks, victory points, or energy cubes. You use the energy cubes to buy special skills cards. This game plays 2-6 people and plays better with around 4-5. If you’re using 5-6 players, it opens up an additional space on the board for controlling Tokyo. So channel you’re inner epic monster and rule Tokyo.
There is a Halloween expansion for this that adds some extra spooky elements worth checking out.
See also King of New York, which is a more recent release of the game.
Murderer Themed Games
Letters from Whitechapel puts you in the position of one of the most notorious killers in history or the cops who sought to find justice. Players are either Jack the Ripper or the police officers. Each turn, Jack the Ripper secretly moves around the board and the cops need to use their knowledge and powers of deduction to try to catch The Ripper before the final night of making it back to his hideout. Full of fun and strategy and great for a group of people. You can even roleplay the characters if you’re so inclined.
If you’ve played Nuns on the Run, this is a similar gameplay style and Nuns on the Run is an additional fun game that you can dress up for (trust me, I’ve done it), but isn’t a murderer thing!
Zombie Themed Games
One of the most tense and exciting games of late, Dead of Winter is a uniquely cinematic semi-cooperative game. Each player controls a set of characters, all of whom make up a slapdash colony fighting for survival against hordes of walking dead and bitter, deadly cold. But as dangerous as zombies and frostbite are, the greatest threats come from within as your survivors face starvation, illness, and personal agendas– some of which end in total betrayal. Explore locations outside your colony, collect the supplies you need to survive and check to see if the special “Crossroads” cards trigger on your neighboring player’s turn presenting unexpected choices and situations.
Zombicide is a Kickstarter phenomena that has spawned several sequels and all sorts of mini-characters that are inspired by pop-culture. You can play this cooperatively or there are individual glory quests. The game book has the campaigns you can follow in them, explaining end-goals and missions. The problem, as with most zombie games, is being overrun with zombies! And in Zombicide you face the Abomination which can only be defeated with a special concoction.
Zombicide is the most epic epic games and can actually take up an entire weekend of gaming. My favorite characters are El Cholo (AKA Machete) and Dave (AKA Sheldon). There are so many character options, depending on the editions and character expansions, you can have endless geek fun representing all sorts of cult classics.
No matter what you end up doing this Halloween weekend, try out some of these great and spooky games to keep the scary mood alive throughout the night. Don’t forget to couple it with Halloween snacks (which you can find on this very site) and some spooky or not-spooky movies (whatever floats your boat). And don’t forget to keep the games coming!
Let me know what you’ve played or if you’re planning on playing any of these. Are there other games that you think are even better for Halloween? Let’s hear your thoughts on the blog or on Twitter with the #Hallowiggles and #IGGPPC making sure you @IGGPPCHQ or @AdventGeekGirl