5 Tabletop Games to try this Halloween
Updated: Apr 2, 2020
Halloween is less than two weeks away, and honestly, it's hard to concentrate on anything else! As October continues to fly by, I have been focused on filling my time with horror films and spooky reads. This month has especially been fun for the two RPG campaigns I am currently playing in: DnD's Curse of Strahd (which we lovingly call Shyndell since our DM isn't completely following the original storyline) and my friend's homebrew, Boadstreet Spellbook.
In Curse of Strahd, I am a super cool, badass vampire slayer who has horrible luck with actually killing vampires because I hardly ever roll well. In Broadstreet Spellbook, we are a coven of 1970s witches trying to solve brutal murders - so it has been a good time.
Since one of my hobbies is playing board games, I thought I would dive into some of my favorites to play in October (or at any point in the year).
Besides, I know I can get pretty serious on this blog sometimes and I do like to mix it up. I haven't talked about board games in a while! So take a break from the news, look up your local board game bar or independently owned store, and start planning your next ~Super SpOoOoOoky Board Game Night~
(For those of you who have been with me since the very beginning, that was a throwback to SpOoOoOoky pudding. Thanks for putting up with me.)
1. Betrayal At House On The Hill
Published by: Avalon Hill (image source: avalonhill.wizards.com)
Often described as a great gateway game, Betrayal has just enough complexity to intrigue first-time gamers and excite those who play regularly. The game is essentially played in two parts: exploration and revealing the haunt. The first part of the game consists of discovering parts of the haunted house with your characters and playing out whatever the rooms you uncover tell you to do.
Certain rooms may have an Omen icon (a little, creepy bird) that will prompt you to do a haunt roll. Eventually, the haunt is revealed - meaning that one of the players will now get a separate rule book and go into another room. The rest of the game consists of the Haunt playing against the group to determine who will win. There are many scenarios, meaning that the probability of playing the same game twice is very slim.
Recently, the 'Widows Walk' expansion came out, adding more rooms, cards and haunts. I was given the expansion at Christmas, and can say that it definitely adds more variety to the game and is well worth the purchase.
2. Dead of Winter
Published by: Plaid Hat Games
(image source: coolstuffinc.com)
The first time I played Dead of Winter, I was at a board game bar with a group of friends. We had asked the bartender for a co-op with a scary theme, and he excitedly walked us through Dead of Winter with the wise words "If you win this the first time you play, you are doing something wrong."
But don't let that deter you! If you like co-ops, playing with characters with special abilities and zombies, then Dead of Winter is for you. The premise is: A group of survivors are in a weakened colony with the threat of zombies, and a victory condition. You go through the game aiming to reach your victory condition, while also trying to complete individual goals. Some players may even have a goal that sabotages the rest of the group, so be careful who you trust.
This game is the first in the Crossroads series, but I have yet to explore any of the other expansions. AND, a new Dead of Winter comic books series is being developed following Sparky, one of the characters (who happens to be a cute pup).
Published by: Atlas Games
(image source: Atlas Games)
I used to play Gloom in college, and hadn't touched it in years. Over the summer, I went to a local tabletop convention, where it caught my friend's eye. She loved the artwork and I promised I would play it with her, so she bought it - much to my delight.
In Gloom, you control a strange and sad family, plagued by eccentric misfortunes. Your goal is to make your family as miserable as possible (different cards with various scenarios give you positive or negative points) while trying to make your opponent's family happy. The player with the lowest family value wins.
Published by: Asmodee
(image source: Asmodee)
I have only played Mysterium once at a board game bar, and it was a little difficult, but tons of fun. The key is playing with people you know well enough to guess the obscure clues. It's important to be on the same thought-train, here!
Mysterium is a cooperative deduction game, with awesome artwork, that involves solving a decades-old murder in a Scottish manor. Players play as psychics, while one chooses to be the ghost who is trying to describe how they were murdered with a series of clues.
The twist is: you only have one night to solve the murder! If time runs out, then the ghost has to wait another year to try to solve his mystery (or just the next time you play). The pressure is on to solve the mystery with only so many chances.
5. One Night Ultimate Werewolf
Published by: Bezier Games
(image source: Brezier Games)
The cool thing about Werewolf is that it comes with an app that narrates the game and provides instructions throughout. Basically, there are villagers, seers (psychics), werewolves, or other roles (depending on the version of the game you have or decide to play). The werewolves are killing people in the town, and the players have to out the werewolves before they're next!
It is a role playing game with plenty of opportunities for deception. You either have to convince the others that you are not a werewolf when you actually are, or that they should vote to banish someone that you
know is a werewolf from the town.
The app keeps the game moving quickly and also pressures the group to make fast decisions. It's a fun game that you can play more than once in a night.
And of course, Clue, an oldie but a goodie, always gets a special mention. Playing Clue, followed by watching the 1985 film always makes for a great themed night!
May your rolls be high, your cards be unlucky and your days be spooky, my friends.