From horror movies and trick-or-treating, to costume parties and haunted houses, the Halloween season gives us so much to enjoy. But there’s another great way to get into the spooky spirit, too, all while enjoying a cup of Witch’s Brew with your friends and family. You can host a Halloween-themed board game night with a tabletop adventure that embraces the best of Halloween. If you’re not sure which one is right for you, though, we have you covered. Here are seven spooky board games to play this October.
Mysterium brings a silent ghost to the table, as one player serves as a murder victim speaking to the living through visions (a.k.a. picture cards). Over the course of the game, which runs around 45 minutes, you’ll try to solve the mystery as a medium deciphering these unspoken clues. Set the light lows and keep communication to a bare minimum and you’ll start to feel the intensity of the moment. However, if you keep the lights on this is also a great game to play with kids, too, especially since it’s easy to create “teams” of mediums rather than have individual players. This is a fantastic party game that an accommodate far more than 2-7 players.
It’s obvious which slasher horror movie franchise inspired Last Friday. A machete wielding sociopath will hunt you down at a remote summer camp for a weekend in 1980. That is unless you play as the dangerous supernatural sociopath. Running anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours, the hidden movement game features four chapters. Over the course of play you’ll go from hunted to hunter, back to fighting for survival. And while you won’t actually die, you’ll still feel the terror of a killer sneaking up on you.
Betrayal at House on the Hill
This spooky list wouldn’t be complete without Betrayal at House on the Hill, a terrific haunted house game you can enjoy with your family, at parties, or alongside more serious board game devotees. In (roughly) 60 minutes of gameplay you’ll create your own haunted abode with tiles and detailed game pieces, making each sit down unique. But the real fun comes during the endgame. That’s when one of the (up to six) players learns they must work against everyone else. The others must stop the betrayer before they ruin everything. That twist adds a whole extra layer of excitement to an already suspenseful and spooky game.
Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game
It doesn’t get much spookier than trying to survive inside a small colony in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by zombies. That setting provides a real sense of dread and terror while playing Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game. Two to five players, each overseeing their own group of characters, must deal with dangers both inside and outside the colony. That involves making some hard choices over one to two hours that will have you questioning your own morality. But while everyone must work together to survive, what makes Dead of Winter so good is that each person has their own secret objective. To win you must also achieve this goal, which might mean working against everyone else. Zombies, starvation, and disease aren’t the only things to fear with this game,
Tiny Epic Zombies
Not every Halloween-appropriate board game has to be terrifying. They can also be fun, quick, and easy to play. That’s what you’ll get for 30 to 45 minutes when you sit down to the addictive Tiny Epic Zombies. Designed for 1-5 players, the game features five different game modes. You can also opt for a cooperative play through or compete against each other. You can even decide if the game itself or players control the zombies. And whether you’re attempting to survive the living dead from inside a mall, save everyone, or trying to kill the living, you can enjoy both sides of the battle. Especially if you die during the game. The fun isn’t over if that happens, you simply become a zombie. Now that’s an appropriate way to celebrate Halloween.
Letters from Whitechapel
Who was Jack the Ripper? History might never know, but for anywhere from 90 minutes to more than two hours someone at your table will be the infamous killer. Letters from Whitechapel puts two to six players in the middle of his 19th century killing spree. The person playing as Jack the Ripper has one goal: claim five victims (the Wretched) before the game ends. The others all work as police detectives trying to cross paths (literally) with the serial killer before he strikes again. The only thing missing from the unsettling Letters from Whitechapel is Jack’s top hat. And, fortunately, actual victims.
There are many versions of Pandemic you can play, but for 45 minutes two to four people still can’t go wrong with the original co-op game. It features what may now be the scariest premise in all of board game history. Terrible diseases are running rampant across the planet, and you must work together to help stamp out hot spots, build research labs, and find cures before humanity succumbs to these killer viruses. But no matter how well you’re doing, Epidemic! cards will make things worse when you can least handle the pressure.
Just make sure if you do sit down to play it everyone is fully vaxxed and healthy. A spooky board game is a great way to celebrate Halloween. But only because the terror is limited to your tabletop.
Mikey Walsh is a staff writer at Nerdist. You can follow him on Twitter at @burgermike. And also anywhere someone is ranking the Targaryen kings.