It's that spooktacular time of year again and given current guidelines, we may be experiencing a slightly different Halloween than normal. Instead of trick or treating, we will be holding our chilling celebrations in the dingy dungeons of our own haunted houses. So roast those pumpkin seeds, forget about cleaning those cobwebs away, boil your witches brew, and settle down for a night of scaretastic board games!
You might be indoors but that doesn't stop you from having some spooky fun. It might just be your household or you might still be able to see a few friends, but either way, you deserve a frightful All Hallows' Eve. Carve some pumpkins for some thematic lighting. Don't forget to dress up - from a member of the Scooby-Doo gang to vampires and zombies, the best dressed should be the first to roll in our list of petrifying party games.
Hey - Kerplunk is fun, right? But what would be more fun is you slowly went mad while playing right? Tower of Madness does just that by adding a splash of Cthulhu to the mix. No, let's make no bones about this. You are getting a Kerplunk variant. Instead of plastic spears though you have tentacles and the colour of marbles is hugely important. Some marbles will drive you slowly insane while you need others to win. Madness effects come into play when you collect too many of the insanity marbles.
It's silly thematic fun and get's your party off to a great start.
Continuing the fun but monstery theme is Dungeon Mayhem. This is a pure take that game with no apologies made. It's quick, mean, and a whole lot of fun. You will be taking the role of a D&D monster and a unique deck of cards to go with it. Using these cards and the icons on them you will attack, defend, and use your unique powers to be the last monster standing! The game plays in about 10 minutes at which point you'll deal out different decks and play again!
Another game that works on the concept of replicating you losing your mind, Mountains of Madness is a co-op summit scaling. Communication is key between you and the other players. So, as you may expect some of the insanity effects will put that to the serious test! It's another game that evokes more fun than terror and so perfect for the earlier stages of your evening!
Next comes Horrified. A co-op game where you and your teammates must defeat the monsters from the old Universal films. In each game, you can take on two to four monsters depending on how much of a challenge you want. There is a good range of classic monsters to choose from too, so the game doesn't get stale.
Each monster has a unique mini-game which you will need to complete to open it up for attack. These mini-games are driven by items you will collect across the map. You will need to work together in order to tackle these monsters and save the innocent villagers who appear. It is not only a great co-op game, but it is a brilliant game in its own right too.
Ramping up the tension is Escape the Aliens in Outer Space, a game with more than just a great name! The game comes with dry-wipe pads with a load of maps in them. Everyone agrees a map to use and then is dealt a secret role. Alien or human. These can be further subdivided into specialist roles once you are more familiar with the game. Each player's map is used to plot their own movements while trying to track the movements of the other players.
Players then take turns making their move. Humans may only move 1 space whereas aliens may move up to two. Spaces are either white or grey. If you land on a white one you announce 'Silence in all sectors' but if you land on a grey space you are at the whim of the deck of cards! This may require you to give your true location, lie about where you are, or something else.
Humans' only job is to get to an escape pod, while the aliens just want to eat... the humans. Aliens are the only ones who can attack and they must do so by announcing which adjacent space they want to attack. This lets everyone know where they might be though and can kill aliens or humans in the attacked space. This cat and mouse gameplay creates a huge amount of tension as you try to plot the moves, and therefore the identities of the other players. Though you are split into teams you have no real allies as each escape pod only takes one human! The way all player's movement is hidden works really well, but the movement is cleverly done in that you often have a good idea where someone might be.
We've been skirting around madness and now we go right to the source. Cthulhu: Death May Die comes from CMON and designers Eric Lang and Rob Daviau. Players will face the elder god of their choice, combining that with an episode. Being a CMON game you know you are getting quality in terms of components. From the miniatures to the map tiles and cards everything here screams quality.
Using the Cthulhu theme again means tentacles and insanity. Both of which will need to be managed as you move through the episode. Characters you play as aren't your usual gun-toting heroes either. Instead of being incredibly flawed humans, which has a direct impact on gameplay. You will have to manage your character's foibles as much as anything else. This is a big game with a lot of content and loads of expansions to tweak and change your experience and will make for a memorable night.
Last up is The Shining, the game of the film. You will take the place of ax-wielding caretaker Jack - Jonny to his family... Just like Jack, it's not long before you also get plagued by horrific visions. To get rid of them you will need to explore the hotel collecting weapons and... whiskey. These tokens are collectively called 'willpower' and you use them to combat the horrific visions. If you don't collect enough willpower you will attack the player who is nearest to you!
As well as the base co-op game there is a corrupt version where one player will be secretly working against the others. The rules are straight forward and the art and theme come through to remind you of the spooky inspiration!
Well, that should get you started! Remember to let us know on social media what games you played at Halloween and share your photos too. Or don't as we are right behind you anyway... mwhaahahahaha!
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