Whether it’s bobbing for apples, tying donuts to strings or throwing eggs at houses, I think we can all agree that Halloween games have gotten a bad rep over the years. Thankfully, we’re here to fix all that with the top ten horror games for this year’s fright-night.
Ever wondered how you and your friends would hold up in a horror film? Well, now you can find out.
There’s nothing worse than watching a scary movie and seeing the characters say something like “let’s split up” or “I’m going to check the basement”. This Halloween, prove that you’re not that stupid in Eldritch Horror, the game that drops you into a horror film and makes you work together in order to stay alive. Featuring clue-searching, grave-robbing and a big bad boss battle at the end, it can be very easy to die and very tricky to complete. If you do manage to save the world however, it feels pretty great (as you can imagine).
Name something scarier than letting your friends write whatever they want about you. We’ll wait.
Friends. They know everything about us – the good, the bad and the very, very ugly. They hold a lot of power, so to make Halloween extra-scary this year, why not bust out a copy of Truth Bombs and find out how they want to use that power. In this game, players get to answer all sorts of weird questions about each other… and the best part is, it’s all anonymous. So if you’ve got some skeletons in your closet then watch out – it is their time of the year after all.
Betrayal at House on the Hill
Find a house, explore the house, do your absolute best not to die in the house.
Betrayal at the House on the Hill is a game of two parts. The first part is simple. You, a travelling group of clichés, spot a spooky-looking house and (like any sane person would) decide to break in and have a poke around. Once you’ve built up a map of the house, the second part starts. It turns out that one of the players is in fact a werewolf. Or a vampire. Or a slime monster. Either way, it’s up to the rest of the players to join forces and defeat the traitor before they all wind up dead. There’s over fifty different villains to choose from, each with their own story and win conditions, so this should technically last for the next fifty Halloweens – assuming you’re too scared to play it more than once a year.
Nail-biting tension, followed by some serious jump scares.
Sure, it’s a game for ages 8 and up, but that doesn’t make Geistesblitz any less spooky. The game contains five objects: a blue book, a green bottle, a red chair, a grey mouse and a white ghost called Baldwin. Each round, a card gets flipped over – then it’s a race to identify the missing object and grab it before anyone else does. Each game only lasts around 10 minutes and it’s the perfect outlet for hyperactive kids that have eaten their body-weight in sweets.
Forget vampires, zombies and Cthulhu. Time to team up against the biggest bad guy of all: germs.
Everyday we read about how the antibiotics aren’t working and how the world is ending, so we thought Pandemic, a game about exactly that, was super-appropriate for Halloween this year. Players all act as scientists and speed around the world, putting out fires and killing germs. Cure all four deadly diseases and you win. Do anything that isn’t that and the world ends (which means you lose).
Bucket of Doom II: Toxic Edition
Time to find out what true fear smells like. (Surprisingly, a bit like onions.)
If this Halloween list has taught us anything so far, it’s that there’s a lot of scary stuff out there. Ghosts. Disease. Horrible friends. The important thing is knowing how to avoid them and that’s where Bucket of Doom II comes in. Just like the original, this game is all about escaping horrible situations with the help of useless objects. The player who tells the best story wins, but this time there’s a twist. One of the losers has to pay the price by un-screwing the Stench-of-Doom canister and taking a big sniff. Don’t let curiosity get the better of you here – you really don’t want to lose.
Available only in John Lewis and from Firebox.
Dead of Winter
Playing a zombie game on Halloween = bit of a no-brainer. (Get it?)
In Dead of Winter, there’s certainly a lot to worry about. You’re stranded at a creepy outpost, there are zombies everywhere and, just to top everything off, one of you might be working against you. To win, each of you must complete the main mission (i.e. not letting the zombies eat everyone) as well as your own secret mission. Fingers crossed that doesn’t involve shooting all your friends, but better them than you right?
Can’t find your Ouija Board? Get your friend to pretend to be a ghost and commune with them instead.
Cluedo’s been done to death (bad joke) but thankfully, Mysterium is here to give it the refresh it needed. Here’s the perfectly Halloween setting: a servant in a rich mansion has been murdered. Obviously, they’ve bought in a team of psychics (you) to help find out who did it and where it happened. One player acts as the ghost and tries to help you reach the answer but, typically, ghosts can’t make any noise or make gestures. All they can give you are beautifully designed Dixit-style cryptic clues to help you on your way. Prove that you’re the best psychic around and win the game by successfully cracking the code and solving the murder before anyone else.
Sure, it’s fun to kill zombies. But what’s their side of the story?
It’s time to put the shoe on the other foot. Zombie Dice is a super-simple ‘push your luck’ game that lets you experience the many, many hardships of being a hungry member of the undead. Each turn, players roll dice and try to eat as many brains as they can without getting blasted by shotguns. It’s quick to learn, easy to play and it’s made all the better when the players are only allowed to make zombie noises. (The last part isn’t required, but actively encouraged.)
One Night Ultimate Werewolf
Close your eyes and try not to wake up dead.
Games don’t get any more Halloween-y than this. Gather your friends together and try to figure out which one of them keeps murdering everyone. It’s much easier said than done, which means the decision-process usually involves a lot of witch-hunting, frenzied pointing and angry mob mentality. Not that we’re saying that’s a bad thing – at all.