Have you felt a chill in the air lately? Has the cold wind rattled your bones? Halloween is soon to be upon us – the hallowed eve when all things dark and spooky emerge from the woodwork. If you’re gearing up for a Halloween party, or just looking forward to a cobwebbed night in, board games are the perfect celebratory companion.
There are plenty of spooky board games out there – games that send you on terrifying quests through haunted mansions, or to dances with the dead. There are games that ramp up the horror of darkness – and others that open on derelict villages haunted by strange murders.
However you celebrate Halloween, there’s a board game adventure out there for you. Here are a few suggestions to get you started on your haunted tabletop journey as the cool wind kicks off, and the Trick or Treaters come out to play.
- Scooby-Doo! Escape from The Haunted Mansion
- Betrayal at House on the Hill
- The Haunted Mansion – Call of the Spirits
- Disney Villainous
- The Night Cage
- Horrified & Horrified: American Monsters
- Ticket to Ride: Ghost Train
- One Night Ultimate Werewolf
- Check out Mysterium on Amazon.
Mysterium is a gorgeously-illustrated board game that asks players to tap into their psychic potential to divine visions, and free the haunted soul of a ghost (played by a single player). The only way the ghost can communicate is through surreal imagery – pictured on art cards – and it’s up to each player in the game to work out the clues being presented, as the clock ticks down. Each ‘hour’, the ghost can provide more visions, helping to narrow down the circumstances of their death – but it’s largely up to the players to work together to solve the mystery.
As in Cluedo, players will need to solve a murder in multiple parts. They need the suspect, location, and weapon cards all laid out to end the game – or the soul will not be able to find rest. Should the mystery be solved, the ghost is free – and the players have won the game.
It’s not just the clever gameplay loop that will likely attract your party of players to Mysterium – it’s also the wonderful art, and the atmosphere created by the game board and pieces. It perfectly sets the tone for a spooky evening, and should keep players in a Halloween mood.
Scooby-Doo! Escape from The Haunted Mansion
Scooby-Doo! Escape From The Haunted Mansion is a puzzle adventure game where players must embody each member of the iconic ‘Scooby Gang’ and use their unique skills to travel through and eventually escape a haunted mansion. Each map tile reveals a new set of puzzles, with each character unlocking new parts of riddles. Velma, for example, is good at examining things. Scooby can sniff things out. Shaggy can put things in his mouth. Each of these skills are extremely handy as you get further into your quest, and attempt to escape the mansion.
If you’re a fan of the Exit the Game or Adventure Games puzzles, the gameplay loop in this mystery plays out quite similarly. It’s all about looking deeper into riddles, trying out new solutions, and thinking deeply on your answers.
For the most part, this romp is fairly easy – making it great for younger kids or those less familiar with board games – but there’s also some real head-scratching moments that will certainly be a challenge. If you’re looking for a lighter Halloween romp that won’t scare you silly, Escape From The Haunted Mansion is a fantastic, casual adventure game.
Betrayal at House on the Hill
- Check out Betrayal at House on the Hill on Amazon.
Betrayal at House on the Hill is another adventure through a haunted mansion – although this one is filled with plenty of tricks. In the base version of Betrayal (there are also Scooby-Doo! and Dungeons & Dragon themed variants of this adventure), each player embodies a hero wandering through the endless corridors of a mansion. As you move, new tiles are placed – revealing the furthest reaches of this house, and new items or beasts with every turn.
Each room carries the risk of triggering an event known as ‘The Haunt’, where one or more players are driven mad and become pawns for the evil forces in the House on the Hill. From this point onwards, players are locked in a fighting battle against their friends, attempting to escape the house or complete a certain goal by defeating monsters and derailing the evil’s plans. While this game can devolve into chaos, it’s still an excellent and frightful romp, perfect for Halloween.
If you’re looking for a different kind of adventure set in a haunted mansion – one where you don’t have to fight with your friends – you can also play through Mansions of Madness for a similar experience with solo or co-op gameplay.
The Haunted Mansion – Call of the Spirits
The Haunted Mansion: Call of the Spirits is one of many gorgeous Disney board games, brought to life with a colourful aesthetic, wonderfully cartoonish art, and a funky map that guides the action. In this haunting adventure, you’re tasked with wandering the titular Haunted Mansion, seeking out spirits and attempting to help them move on. Some spirits are friendly, and socialising with them will aid you on your quest. Others – the Hitchhiking Ghosts – will attempt to derail your plans and lose you points.
As you travel through the Mansion, the Endless Hallway rotates around you, letting you access new rooms and gather more points. At the end of gameplay, the player with the most points – the most haunted player – will win.
This is a game that’s great for everyone, of all ages. It’s easy to teach, features accessible gameplay, and keeps the action fresh with new events and ghost encounters littering your path and every playthrough. If you don’t win this spooky romp the first time, give it another spin – you’ll find new treasures in each round.
Disney Villainous is a light-hearted horror romp that asks a simple question – what if the villains of Disney stories actually won? This game, which uses its own unique engine and gameplay mechanics, is all about embodying one of six main villains in a quest to achieve total world domination. On your player board, you’ll find a number of locations to to conquer, each of which will bring you closer to your nefarious goals.
By playing select cards from a villain deck, you can claim new powers and locations, reducing the total power pool on the board. Other villains will vie for your crown, playing their own decks and attempting to exploit your weaknesses – but if you can prove you’re the most ‘evil’ of them all, you’ll wind up ruling the entire world.
While not strictly a horror game, the aesthetics and premise of Villainous make it a spooky and dastardly romp through the darker parts of Disney lore. If you’re keen for more, there’s also a Marvel variant of this game, a Star Wars variant, and plenty of additional Disney expansion packs which introduce new threats.
The Night Cage
- Check out The Night Cage on Amazon.
The Night Cage is a creepy horror adventure set in an ever-changing dungeon maze that is only lit up while you have a light source with you. In your quest to escape this dungeon, illustrated on a map board with interchangeable tiles, you only have dim candles as your companions. These light up short paths ahead of you, but don’t extend to the entire dungeon – or the horrors that await you in the shadows.
In your path through the darkness, you may come across helpful items – like keys – but you can also run into the terrifying ‘Wax Eaters’ which occupy the dark alongside you. Trust us, you don’t want to run into the Wax Eaters.
If you’re looking for more genuinely horrific board games this Halloween season, The Night Cage is certainly a game to consider. With its claustrophobic atmosphere and skin-crawling themes, it’s perfect for a spooky night in.
Horrified & Horrified: American Monsters
Horrified and Horrified: American Monsters are the perfect set of Halloween board games. Your goal, in both these games, is to hunt down and destroy a variety of monsters, each with their own unique skills and gameplay mechanics. In Horrified, you’re facing off against the classic ‘Universal’ monsters – Frankenstein’s Monster and his Bride, Dracula, The Wolf Man, The Invisible Man, and more. In American Monsters, you’re facing off with modern cryptids including Mothman, The Jersey Devil, and the Chupacabra.
Each time you let a villager fall into a monster’s hands, the ‘Terror’ level of your town goes up. If every investigator dies along the way, you fail in your quest. These stakes create a real sense of tension in Horrified as you make moves across a beautiful game board, and hold your breath for dice rolls and monster attacks.
The best thing about the Horrified series is that it can be played solo, if you choose. This mode takes nothing away from the game, and lets everyone enjoy the madness.
Ticket to Ride: Ghost Train
- Check out Ticket to Ride: Ghost Train on Amazon.
Ticket to Ride: Ghost Train is a spooky adaptation of Ticket to Ride that features Halloween-themed locales like ‘Circus Dread’ and the ‘Pumpkin Patch’. While the mechanics remain the same from the base game – you’re still trying to claim the most train routes on the map – they’re all given a spooky twist with new playing pieces and special Parade Floats to claim.
The artwork and theming of this standalone game is delightful, and should attract keen new players – even if the original Ticket to Ride is a bit dry for them. There’s just something so fun about the game’s haunted carriages and trick-or-treat gameplay loop. Like the original game, this one is also very easy to teach, and operates well as an early introduction to the world of board games.
This Halloween, go for a spooky ride. Whether you land on the Gingerbread House or the Deserted School, you’ll have a blast claiming each and every track.
One Night Ultimate Werewolf
- Check out One Night Ultimate Werewolf on Amazon
One Night Ultimate Werewolf is fantastic if you’ve got a full party of players. It’s quick to set-up, easy to learn, and it integrates with an app that provides spooky music and narration. If you’re looking for the perfect Halloween atmosphere, this game is guaranteed to give you the shivers.
In One Night Ultimate Werewolf, you are the resident of a sleepy village. You may be an innocent, you may have a special power, or you may be a werewolf in disguise (determined by random handout). If you are a villager, it’s your job to ‘interrogate’ suspects in a game of social deduction and work out who’s doing evil deeds. As a werewolf, you need to avoid suspicion and kill as many villagers as possible before being discovered. Surviving the night requires a lot of luck and observing your party companions closely – leading to a final showdown where the suspects are accused.
While not strictly designed as a ‘board game’, One Night Ultimate Werewolf functions quite like one. And if you love the gameplay, but want something with more complex mechanics, it’s also been adapted into a tabletop-friendly ‘One Week‘ variant.
If you’re looking for more of the best board game adventures out there, check out the rest of the GamesHub favourites:
- The best board games to play solo
- The best board games to play in co-op with friends
- The best board games to play at a party
- The best narrative adventure board games
- The best puzzle-based board games
- The 8 best dungeon crawler board games for adventurers
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