October 10, 2014 by dracs
Halloween is fast approaching, that holiday of spooks and thrills where we turn on all the lights in the house and pray that the monsters won’t come to our door. And what better way to celebrate it than with a couple of terrifying tabletop games? Here is our list of the Top 5 Tabletop Games to play this Halloween!
5. Arkham Horror
Few things evoke more fear than the terrifying elder beings of H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. In this board game, you and your friends take on the role of the hapless investigators from his stories as you desperately try to prevent an ancient evil awakening and consuming all of Arkham.
This cooperative board game from Fantasy Flight Games is, arguably, one of the most popular Lovecraft based games out there. Arkham Horror sees you and your friends working together in order to prevent a randomly selected Old One from awakening by rushing around a map of Arham, gathering clue tokens and items in order to combat the monsters pouring into the city streets and close the portals opening into another world.
This game did a great job at constantly amping up the threat as play progressed, leaving players frantic and panicking as they watch the encroaching evil grow steadily closer. The fact that it’s a cooperative game makes it a perfect choice for Halloween board gaming, as you and your friends come together to fight off the horror. The only reason it isn’t higher on this list is that with all its components it takes an age to set up.
4. Zombie Dice
Zombie Dice, by Steve Jackson Games, is perhaps the complete opposite of Arkham Horror. It’s fast, competitive and requires almost no set up. Just be sure to keep that shot gun handy.
Playing Zombie Dice is incredibly simple. During your turn, you pick up three random dice and roll them, counting the number of brains you get. You then have to make a judgement call on whether to roll again and continue your hunt, or stop there and keep the brains you got. Should you decide to continue, you risk getting three shot gun blasts to the face and losing all the brains you gathered that turn.
This is an incredibly fun and fast game, perfect for playing in between larger gaming sessions. It gives you and your friends the chance to play as zombies on the hunt for brains and leads to some incredibly tense moments where the difference between glorious victory and having your own brains splattered over the pavement are just one dice roll away.
If you want to find out more of this game, you can check out the review I wrote for it a couple of years back here.
3. Malifaux / Carnevale
OK, I’m cheating a bit on this one, but it was hard to choose which of the two would be best for Halloween as they both have such great horror elements to them.
Wyrd Miniatures’ Malifaux is a skirmish game that takes place in an alternative world where a breach has been opened to the mysterious and sinister world of the city of Malifaux. Now various factions compete for their freedom, power, and control of the soul stones.
This game has a brilliantly rich background for games, where cowboys hunt the walking dead and mad scientists compete against hideous monsters from the depths of human consciousness.
Vesper-On Games’ Carnevale: The Narrative Miniatures Game brings a far more subtle form of horror, the horror of the unknown as the familiar is twisted beyond all recognition. A cataclysm has befallen the world, a rent tearing open in the sky and raining the raw stuff of magic upon the city of Venice.
In this game, the worst creations of gothic horror take to the Venetian canals. The worshipers of Dagon go up against evil scientists and their twisted creations, and now even vampires have slunk from the shadows in their search for blood and power.
Both of these games are a ton of fun to play. Malifaux focuses more upon individual characters leading warbands, using its unique card system to create a game with a unique and interesting play style. Carnevale though, as we have said before, is one of the most cinematic games we have ever played and really helps you to tell full and exciting stories on the table.
Remember, there is still time to chip in on the Carnevale Kickstarter if you want to get into this great game.
2. Last Night on Earth
There is no escape from zombies when it comes to good games for Halloween, which is a shame because escaping from zombies is what this game is all about.
Last Night On Earth, from Flying Frog Games, is like Arkham Horror in a lot of ways. It is a cooperative board game, with a constant sense of building threat that helps to establish a tense and terrifying atmosphere. However, it gets higher on the list for a couple of reasons.
First, it is a bit easier to set up than Arkham Horror, with less components to deal with. Second, it has a number of different narrative scenarios for you to play through, meaning the game won’t be getting stale any time soon and you can even weave together a fun story from your play sessions.
This game is a lot of fun to play, whether your Halloween game plans call for a single scenario or a longer gaming session. This is definitely one board game I would recommend.
We actually took a look at Last Night On Earth on an episode of The Weekender last October, so if you want find out more be sure to check it out.
1. World of Darkness RPGs
What better night to pretend to be Vampires and Werewolves than Halloween? The classic World of Darkness games at dark, atmospheric, fun and among the best narrative RPGs that have ever been made.
I have made no secret in the past that i love this series, especially Vampire the Masquerade. I have both run and played in games that range from the genuinely scary, to the hilariously barmy (thank you all you magnificent Malkavians).
The World of Darkness was a series of pen and paper RPGs published by White Wolf where players existed in a world where all the creatures which go bump in the night truly exist and humanity is no more than background noise in the eternal struggles going on in the shadows. Imagine Interview With the Vampire, only even darker and vampires aren’t the only things you should be afraid of.
The World of Darkness games use an incredibly simple system that makes it perfect for both first and long time RPG players, while its focus upon narrative means that you and your GM can weave a rich story around your actions and the events of the game.
Should you really wish to experience the dark horrors of Halloween night, I think this is the perfect game for you and your gaming group to play through the night. Just build yourself some characters, think up a cool backstory for them and delve into the gothic urban landscape of these classic RPGs.
Well guys, those are my choices for the top 5 games to play this Halloween. Hopefully you agree with me, and if not be sure to leave us a comment below with your suggestions. Did I leave any of your Halloween favourites out? Are there any games here that you haven’t played before, but want to have a shot at?
What is your Top 5 Games for Halloween?