The paradox of horror is the thrill that comes with gripping fear. It’s the essence of Halloween! Tired of the hollowed-out pumpkins and the not-so-terrifying costumes? In this post, we shed light on 12 scary board games for Halloween that will have you screaming at the top of your lungs.
Steel yourself and be ready to face the dark forests and the claustrophobic catacombs, but watch out, it might just turn into another ouija episode!
Best Scary Board Games for Halloween
Delve into the classic, gothic world of Universal Monsters with Horrified.
Horrified is a family game where each person chooses a character and cooperates with others to fight off the monsters. Frankenstein and his bride, The Invisible Man, Dracula, The Mummy, The Wolf Man, and Creature from the Black Lagoon are all here to unleash all kinds of terror.
The game is entertainingly thematic. You’ll find yourself defeating Dracula with garlic and humanizing Frankenstein so he can unite with his long-sought-after bride.
One thing that you’ll love about Horrified is that it feels like a completely new game each time. There are many characters to choose from, each with a different special ability.
There are also several monsters, each with varying ways to die. You can use as many monsters as you want in each round. This allows you to set the difficulty scale to as simple or as difficult as you need.
2. Betrayal at House on the Hill
“To haunt or be haunted?” is the question around which Betrayal at House on the Hill revolves.
You and your friends are exploring the house on the hill. You all enter the house as friends, but you never leave the same!
Each time one of you wanders into an unexplored room, you’ll find a symbol that will show you which card to take. You get a card from one of three decks; event, item, or omen.
Each time an omen card is picked, a dice roll will determine whether the haunt begins or not. Once it’s time to hunt, the game really picks up; a person is revealed as a traitor while the rest become heroes.
The traitor gets a tome full of 50 different scenarios, and the omen card will dictate which one they’ll follow.
The heroes, too, get their own survival book, which will prepare them for the betrayal they have to face.
The heroes have their own objectives to complete while battling with the traitor’s monsters.
An amnesic ghost, hard-to-decipher visions, and a quest to find the murderer.
In this game, the players are divided into the ghost, a person who can keep a poker face, and the mediums, who are the psychic investigators trying to decrypt the visions.
Each medium is assigned a suspect, location of the murder, and the murder weapon. Only the ghost knows what each player is assigned. The ghost hands out vision cards to his friends that hint at what each one is assigned.
The players get seven turns, seven clock strikes, to finish guessing. Only then can they move to the next phase. The next phase is guessing which suspect is the culprit. The culprit is actually decided by the ghost.
Throughout the game, the ghost can only knock, once if the investigators guess wrong and twice if they’re correct. The violent knocks, the spooky mansion, the cool blue hourglass, and the ominous crows make Mysterium all the more thrilling.
4. Dead of Winter
All is fair in love and apocalyptic worlds, right?
In Dead of Winter, you have frostbites crawling up your skin, zombies tearing down your barricades, and some stabs in the back from fellow survivors.
You and your friends are trying to keep the crisis at bay and trying to save the colony, but selfish decisions have their consequences!
If you take up the food to boost your dice, you’ll starve the rest of the colony. If you don’t clean the trash or let some of your characters die, morale decreases.
Not to mention, you all have your own secret missions to complete as well. So, what happens when your mission is to betray your group? Will you do it? And will they catch and vote you into exile? Or will you make someone else take the blame?
Besides the moral decisions you have to make, you have to deal with a deadly dice every time you move. It keeps on messing with you and your characters, throwing at you frostbites, wounds, and fatal bites.
An ax-wielding murderer, a vast dense forest, and you, blindfolded; what could go wrong?
Nyctophobia isn’t for the faint-hearted. All players, except one, will be wearing blackout glasses. The only one who can see would be the hunter. The hunter could be a merciless axeman or a mage with a few tricks up their sleeve.
The board has hollowed out places where a marshmallow-like piece, representing the player, moves. It also has other smaller hollow parts where miniature tree pieces fit to form a kind of maze. As a hunter, you have to guide the players’ hands to maneuver their pieces through the forest.
The players can’t see beyond the tree, and they have limited movements. They can, however, pick up rocks to throw at the hunter or throw them as a diversion. The hunter must follow the noise.
When all you see is pitch black, would you really trust your friends?
6. Arkham Horror: Card Game
“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” – H.P. Lovecraft
The Arkham Horror is designed as an embodiment of Lovecraft’s definition of fear. It’s a card game with unimaginable horrors. Its turns are never predictable, even though your choices are the ones shaping the narrative.
The game is divided into different campaigns with multiple scenarios. The way you work through every scenario directs you to the next one. You are free to move from one location to another or search for clues. However, you’re forced to battle the monsters thrown your way.
You start by choosing an investigator. Each investigator has their own particular ally creature, equipment, talent, weakness, and skills.
While the act deck determines your progress, the agenda deck is an equivalent one for the monster’s progress. There are also the chaos tokens controlling the game’s difficulty by helping you pass or fail your skill tests.
What’s better than dressing up as an alien? Fighting one!
You’re aboard a spaceship full of aliens; perhaps, making it back to earth in one piece won’t be the easiest task.
There are quite a few things to do, you can research aliens’ weaknesses, destroy alien nests, tamper with the engines, or even change the spaceship’s direction. However, you’ll find that every movement makes a noise that soon alerts aliens to your location.
Your attempts to save the day will soon turn into attempts to survive.
There’s only one rule: watch your back! Alien attacks aren’t the only threat. Each player has their own set of objectives to fulfill. One objective could just be killing you off.
8. Chaos in the Old World
If you can’t be Zeus, be Tzeentch.
Are you done being the good guy who’s trying to rescue the world from impending doom? Try being a corrupt God wreaking havoc and seeking to dominate the world instead.
There’s Khorne living for death and bloodshed. Nurgle is the Plaguelord, spreading disease and reveling in filth. Tzeentch is the one pulling the strings and playing fate. Lastly, Slaanesh is the master of six fatal seductions meant to prey on nobles and heroes.
Each of the Gods has their own chaos cards, powers, and individual road to victory.
The Gods face heroes, natural phenomena like meteor showers, and elves. Still, they have their own upgrade cards that boost their strength.
The best part of the game is plotting against your friends and trying to read into their master plans.
9. Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition
Remember, fight the monsters and don’t lose your mind.
In Mansions of Madness, technology meets board games, and you get the best of both worlds. The game needs to be played using a companion application you can download on both Android and iOS.
You’ll be setting up the board game and the application to show the same setting. The application makes the steps simpler, and it guides you through the haunted passages of Arkham.
The investigators will be navigating their way through the mansion in calculated steps, sometimes using teleportation.
On your way, you find yourself doing the strangest and most unlikely of stuff. You’ll steal, set fires, use holy water, and cast spells.
To defeat the monsters, you’ll be taking agility tests, playing different kinds of puzzles, and trying your luck with damage and horror cards.
If the horror you face is beyond your sanity levels, you might just lose your wits. And if time is running out, the game will only get tougher.
10. Dead Man’s Cabal
A 60-min recipe for raising the dead perfectly.
As the dead man’s cabal, you and a bunch of necromancer friends decide to bring the dead back to life. You can only do that by performing rituals, which will take a lot of precious bones and skulls.
To complete the rituals, you’ll be passing by a Sepulchre for a quick skulls pickup, then you’ll move on to the Scriptorium for some much-needed runes.
Once you’re done, you’ll move through the necromancer’s lair to the Sanctum to start your rituals.
The Sanctum’s chilling appearance is enough to bring the devil banging on your doors. And the oracle isn’t any less disturbing.
When you have the ritual cards you need, you go to the Ossuary. There, you perform your ritual and get ready for another round. That is unless one of the players has done seven or more rituals. That would lead up to the end game.
11. Fury of Dracula 4th Edition
A bloodsucking shapeshifter, some garlic, and the darkness of the night.
In the Fury of Dracula, the players are all vampire hunters except the one who plays Dracula. Dracula moves stealthily at night creating his army of vampires to march across Europe. The hunters, on the other hand, spend day and night on the move, trying to end his reign of terror.
Rumor tokens help Dracula deceive the hunters and keep his offspring hidden, and his power cards make him a power to be reckoned with.
Dracula doesn’t have to reveal his locations. He initiates combat and sires new vampires to increase his influence. Once his influence track is 13, he becomes invincible and wins the game.
The hunters are a lot weaker, having to use the train to travel and falling prey to vampires. Nonetheless, they’re still strong enough to resist turning into vampires. Their only hope is to kill Dracula and end his blood-lusting lineage once and for all.
12. Claustrophobia 1643
A good day to send a sea of demons back to hell and seal the gates.
In Claustrophobia, only two players can play; one controls some fierce humans, while the other takes up the demons, hellhounds, and troglodytes.
The human starts by setting up his characters and their equipment. Then he activates some of their strength and starts drawing instinct cards. Once the preparation phase is done, the character goes on to battle.
In the same way, the infernal player prepares his demons, triggers them, and draws event cards. After that, they, too, are placed on the board and are allowed to fight.
The human needs to reach the exit tile with at least two characters alive to win. However, the infernal needs to kill all human characters to win.
Imperial vampires, bickering Gods, forgetful ghosts… Take your pick!
Personally, I find Dead of Winter the winner of the night. The flesh-eating zombies keep you on your toes. The details in the game take you right into the world of the Walking Dead.
You get the responsibility of saving the world with the exact feel of a world on the edge of collapse. Health is failing, and food rations aren’t enough. You find yourself in a grey moral area, stuck between surviving and staying true to your friends. It’s a completely horrifying experience!
Looking for more board game ideas? Check out our articles on the best engine building games and must have board games for your board game collection.