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6 Scary Good Games For Any Time Of Year

best board games of 2021 ark nova cover

Halloween is a time to revel in all things scary. As I’m a bit of a wuss when it comes to the traditional scares I’ve spent my time looking at the top games rated by the bloggers. From that list I have pulled some of my favourites that are in stock right now. Along with that I've also added a sort of related scary film for you to watch while reading the rules. That way you can hide behind them. You know... if you need to.

Ark Nova - Sharknado

Also known by many as 'Terraforming Zoo', Ark Nova is so much more. In fact Ark Nova and the quicker and smaller Terraforming Mars Ares mean TM is no longer in my collection.

For me the thing that lifts Ark Nova above martian competition is the action selection. Using 5 cards you will shape and fill a zoo full of animals and work towards conservation goals. Yes there are a lot of cards in play, but reacting to them and making the best of situations is fun, fun, fun!

Picture Perfect - One Hour Photo

I love a heavy game. But sometimes you need something to cleanse the taste buds. Picture Perfect is that game, but also one I would play any time ever.

The theme is integral to the game play as you organise various fussy characters for a photo shoot. But Auntie Mildred doesn't want to stand next to cheeky cousin Tom and the pot plant is demanding to be visible.

Yes. You read that right. Each character will have three desires. Match some for some points, match them all for mucho points! But you might not get to see all the desires due to Cluedoesque pouches that are not always available. At least not in the ways you would want.

Nemesis - Game Over Man! Game Over!

From family photo shoots to hiding from scary aliens, enter Nemesis. The game of the film you already think it is about. Other players may help or hidden you as hidden objectives dictate.

The noise actions create add to the tension as too much noise can bring intruders crashing into play. Nemesis is not a combat game. Intruders are massive and hard to deter, but there are ways and means.

What I love about Nemesis so much is the unfolding narrative. Nemesis sets the scene and the players create the stories. Stories that will last long after the game has finished. Other players may help or hidden you as hidden objectives dictate. You might escape certain doom only to for the captain to order you back in to it! It's a great experience.

Point Salad - Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

Point Salad is a very clever, very quick and very vegetable game. Using cards that have a vegetable one side and a point scoring method the other, you will draft your way to victory.

Point Salad let's you choose how you will score points. Want to go heavy on peppers? You can! To throw a bit of chaos in the mix the other players can see what you are up too. They can leave you will less than desirable veg which will score minus points due to your earlier cards.

Not only that but if you are a grumpy old man like me vegetables are perfect substitutes for treats - kids hate them!

Beyond the Sun - Event Horizon

While not a looker, Beyond the Sun has big gameplay chops. The main board is a tech tree of worker placement spots. The spots open up as players research them, but only players who have done the research can use them.

This creates a game of interesting decisions as you can carve out a branch on your own or piggy back others. You can also grab some bonuses on a small map board with some area control shenanigans too.

The player boards offer some resource management with dice that represent various entities. Managing these is crucial to success. It looks horrific, but I love it.

Kemet - The Mummy Returns

Kemet is in my top three games of all time, often hogging the top spot. It is a game of area control with battles encouraged and turtling nigh on impossible. Before asymmetry was a buzz word Kemet offered you the chance to build your army the way you wanted.

This is due to an array of power tiles which you can buy. Of course to get the best tiles you will need to have built your pyramid to the required level. The map is also a feature as through clever and baffling design you are always close to the action.

The Blood and Sand edition pumps up the component quality and streamlines some rules. All while leaving the main ingredients intact.