Let’s continue onward with Spooktober! Last week we talked about a handful of RPGs that you might enjoy if you’re a horror nerd (Read that article here!). This week, I wanted to dive into some of the cool horror board games out there. Board games may not scream at you the way your Game Master might, but game designers have a way of creating tension for players.
Let’s jump right in!
The year is 1926, and it is the height of the Roaring Twenties. Flappers dance till dawn in smoke-filled speakeasies, drinking alcohol supplied by rum runners and the mob. It’s a celebration to end all celebrations in the aftermath of the War to End All Wars.
Yet a dark shadow grows in the city of Arkham. Alien entities known as Ancient Ones lurk in the emptiness beyond space and time, writhing at the thresholds between worlds.
Occult rituals must be stopped and alien creatures destroyed before the Ancient Ones make our world their ruined dominion. Only a handful of investigators stand against the horror. Will they prevail?
In Arkham Horror, from Fantasy Flight Games, you play the role of an investigator in the city of Arkham with up to six players. You are trying to rid the world of eldritch beings called Ancient Ones. Players will have to gather clues, face monsters and find tools to help them on the way to defeating otherworldly beings. Player beware, victory is never guaranteed.
As you may have guessed, Eldritch Horror is a similar game to Arkham Horror. Both are based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft, both are set in the 1920’s, and both have you trying to stop Ancient Ones. The difference is that this time, the horror goes worldwide!
In Eldritch Horror, you are part of a team of unlikely heroes who are part of an international fight to stop the gathering darkness. You will have to face off against monsters, solve mysteries surrounding this plot, and travel across the globe and beyond. Be sure to take care. If your body doesn’t break, your mind surely will!
Gather eight people and work together to stop a diabolical, omnipotent Ancient One from waking up and plunging the world into eternal darkness!
Mountains of Madness
Let’s stay right on theme here. Based on the H.P. Lovecraft novel At the Mountains of Madness, this games plops you and your friends in an airplane headed to Antarctica. Scientists have discovered a gigantic, ancient city, but to get to it, your team has to cross a seemingly impassable set of mountains.
As you head higher and higher, you’ll begin to notice that those around you are losing their sanity. In this cooperative game, a leader will emerge and have to keep their composure, and sanity, together to try and keep the team flying!
This game plays with three to five players and is good for over an hour of tense fun. For a similar experience, look for this games cousin, Mansions of Madness!
Mysterium is a fun party style board game where the game is always different. In this game, you will either play as a ghost, or one of multiple psychic mediums trying to decipher their messages. This neat game can play with up to seven players; one ghost and six psychics.
In the 1920’s, prominent psychic mediums are to a house in Scotland to hold a séance and make contact with a restless spirit. The ghost, however, cannot speak with them. Instead, they give them visions, given to players in the form of beautifully illustrated cards. The psychics have seven hours (rounds) to figure out who murdered the ghost, where they were murdered, and what weapon was used in order to catch the culprit!
I really enjoy this game. It is different every time you play and is a solid mix of elements of a party game, board game, and roleplaying game. You can also find a recommended playlist for the game on Libellud‘s website. Check it out here!
Letters from Whitechapel
In the year 1888, in the poor and dirty Whitechapel district of London, a series of murders swept the streets. Letters From Whitechapel recreates this terrifying time in history. You are about to enter the streets covered in dirty children, beggars, disgusting alleys, merchants, and prostitutes (known as “the Wretched” in this game).
In Letters From Whitechapel, one player plays the part of Jack the Ripper and everyone else plays the part of police detectives. The goal for Jack the Ripper is to take out five victims before being caught. The goal for the police detectives is to stop this form happening. Players move their characters along dotted lines on a historically accurate depiction of the Whitechapel district in the 1880’s. The police move along their patrol route, while Jack the Ripper stealthily sneaks between certain spaces where the Wretched also move.
Gather two to six players and sit down for a couple of hours to stop one of history’s most notorious serial killers in Letters From Whitechapel!
I want to shift gears a little bit here. Up to now, I’ve been talking about big board games that up to, and often over, an hour to play through. Now I want to discuss smaller games that you might find in the party games section and play pretty quickly.
Ultimate Werewolf is a fun party game, and as you can see on the cover, you can play with up to 75 people. I would recommend that, unless you want to spend an eternity getting through one round, but I’ve played with something like ten people and we had a lot of fun. There are multiple versions of the game, but we’re going to focus on this version pictured here.
In Ultimate Werewolf, you play the part of either a werewolf trying to eliminate villagers, or a villager looking to chase the werewolves out of town before it’s too late. The game is run by a neutral moderator to keep things fair and balanced. The game takes place over a series of several days and nights (rounds). Each day, players discuss who they think the werewolf is and vote a player out. Each night, the werewolves get to eliminate a player of their choice.
A handful of other roles keep the game interesting. The game ends either when the werewolves are eliminated or when the werewolves eliminate all of the villagers. Try to survive in this game of politicking.
Tiny Epic Zombies
I love the Tiny Epic Game series. I first got into it with Tiny Epic Galaxies, but have since branched out and own three or four of the games. They continuously prove that you can pack a full-game experience into a tiny box. Tiny Epic Zombies is a survival game for one to five players.
In this game, you get to choose if you want to be a survivor, trapped in Echo Ridge Mall, or a zombie, hungry for flesh, hunting down the survivors. With that in mind, there are several ways to play; cooperative, competitive, and solo! Survivors run around the mall gathering weapons, killing zombies, and completing objectives. Zombies try to snack on the players or take over the mall courtyard.
As a survivor, you only have to complete three objectives to win. Be careful though. Focus too hard on the objectives, and the zombies will take over the courtyard and win!
This one sort of ventures off the path of horror, but I couldn’t resist throwing this on the list. Our final game is Stupid Deaths. This is a party game where players are running away from Death by guessing correctly whether or not a stupid death, read aloud by one of the other players, is real or made up.
Players take turns reading out “Stupid Death Cards”. Then the other players vote “true” or “false”. If a player votes correctly, they move one space forward. If they vote incorrectly, they don’t move and instead move Death one space forward. If no one votes correctly, the person reading the card gets to move two spaces forward.
If death catches up to your game piece, you’re touched by death and out of the game. If you’re out, don’t worry! Each player gets one “Extra Life Token”. Using it puts you one space ahead of death. The game goes until either one player is left alive, or someone reaches the end first.
These games are fun and spooky and will add a lot of spice to your usual board game night! If you want to know more about any of these games, come see us at Central Gaming Corps. If you’re looking to pick up a copy for yourself, you can find them in our store or at shop.centralgamingcorps.com.