Halloween is still one of my favorite days of the year. And while I’m just a little too old to trick or treat, I still like to take part in the festivities as much as I can. Here are some board games I think could help kindle the spirit of Halloween if I can just get one to the table. (Candy not included)

1) Halloween – Quined Games, 2-4 Players

I’ve been dying to play this game and this is just the week to do it. Halloween is an action selection and management game lets you use five different types of ghosts to score points by scaring humans, having ghosts fight each other, and controlling action cards that provide bonuses to help you score even more points so you can become the most swole demon. The game employs euro style mechanics and a little luck based dice chucking all clothed in vivid, spooky art, which seems like a tasty way to get board gamers into the Halloween spirit.

2) Dead Of Winter – Plaid Hat Games, 2-5 Players

I should have played this years ago and after becoming a fan of The Walking Dead the last few seasons, it appears that this game is the closest thing to being a part of the zombie apocalypse I’ll get to experience. The balance between being a part of the community and still taking care of “numero uno” is a big part of the show (and this game) plus there’s always a chance of getting bitten, which is kind of a bummer. The “Crossroads” system used by the game has players making difficult choices and even more difficult choices. All of this, plus the wintery artwork should help to provide a cool (cold) backdrop for a story that players will remember. Creating an uncomfortable story together seems like a great way to spend Halloween.

3) Affliction: Salem 1692 – DPH Games, 2-4 Players

Nothing screams of Halloween like the Salem witch trials. In fact, getting to learn more about the facts of this sick time in American history makes it easier to believe in ghosts than the goodness of humanity. And that’s very scary. But I digress. This game features worker placement mechanics that gain you the resources to accuse and arrest those citizens who are not in your social circle, while protecting those who are. The cards in the game represent the actual citizens of Salem, some of which have special abilities that reflect their historic status in the town. The game’s mechanics and evocative artwork combine to create an experience that is very thematic and provides excellent strategic choices. Plus, when you stop and think about what you are doing, it should make you shiver. And that’s an appropriate Halloween response.

RELATED: Board Games – Theme Plus Mechanics – A Sum Greater Than Its Parts

4) Salem 1692 – Facade Games, 4-12 Players

If you’d rather turn the Salem witch trials into a party, then this is the game for you. It FEELS like a lighter take on this dark material, mostly because of the mechanics, which are very much akin to Werewolf. Salem 1692, though, is a much better gamer’s game than Werewolf. Since players have a hand of cards to manage and play, there are more things to do, but the game is still very accessible and easy to teach. Once again, the roles assigned to players are actual people from the town of Salem, and there is historical flavor that adds to the theme. The different roles provide a great costume party possibility for your nerdy gamer buddies. Click here for my full review of this one.

The best and worst of humanity, as exhibited by some of my favorite people:

5) The Bloody Inn – Pearl Games, 1-4 Players

Here’s another one I’ve had my eye on but never played that seems perfect for Halloween. Players are innkeepers whose goal is to murder their guests, bury them, and steal their wealth. This is done by taking actions which require you to play cards from your hand. If you manage your cards correctly, you may be able to return played cards to your hand instead of discarding them when done, keeping you better equipped to cause even more mayhem. All the while, players are trying to avoid getting caught by the authorities and causing their opponents to do so instead. The theme is dark and the art fits the creepy bill. I’m thinking this is about as Halloween as it gets.

Well, there you have it. I hope whatever you get to play this Halloween, it provides some tasty nerdiliciousness.

RELATED: Read Rob’s board game reviews and recommendations, here!

This article was first published on October 30, 2018

Rob Fenimore
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