It’s getting close to my favorite day of the year, Halloween! For the last few years, I have been assembling lists of board games to help you have the nerdiest Halloween possible. This year’s Halloween board game list has some new and old, and now that I have been recording gaming content, you can see a few of them in action if you so choose. So, without further uh, boo, here is my 2021 Halloween tabletop gaming list.
1) Halloween – Quined Games, 2-4 Players
Halloween is an action selection and management game that lets you use ghosts to score points by scaring humans, having ghosts fight each other, and spending resources to acquire bonuses. The game employs euro-style mechanics and a little luck-based dice chucking all clothed in vivid, spooky art. Efficient use of actions will usually win the night. It’s a great way to get in the nerdiest Halloween spirit.
2) Dead Of Winter – Plaid Hat Games, 2-5 Players
For zombie lovers, this game is the closest thing to being in the Walking Dead. Dead of Winter is a balance between being a part of your community and still completing your personal goals. The “Crossroads” system used by the game creates excellent choices which can be morally compromising. The dreary artwork creates a perfect backdrop for a story that players will remember. A great way to spend Halloween.
3) Affliction: Salem 1692 – DPH Games, 2-4 Players
Nothing says Halloween like the Salem witch trials. The game features worker placement mechanics that has players vying for the resources to accuse and arrest those citizens who are not in their social circle. 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.
4) Salem 1692 – Facade Games, 4-12 Players
If you’re looking for more Salem witch trial action, this is the game for you. It is the game I wish Werewolf was. It’s a bit more involved than the typical party game, but it is still very accessible and easy to teach. By the time the first night rolls around, people will become as paranoid as if it were 1692 again. It’s a creepy reminder of how easy it is for such atrocities to occur. Super fun, and yet very macabre when you really think about what you’re doing.
5) The Bloody Inn – Pearl Games, 1-4 Players
The goal is to become the evilest innkeeper by murdering your guests, burying them, and stealing their wealth. If you manage your cards correctly, you’ll be super-efficient at being naughty. The artwork and theme are perfect for a Halloween game night. I highly recommend it.
6) Letters From Whitechapel – Fantasy Flight Games, 2-6 players
One player takes the role of Jack and the rest of the players take the roles of the police officers. If Jack successfully commits five murders in four nights (two murders on night three) and makes it back to his hideout on all four nights, he wins. If Jack gets arrested or gets blocked from making it back to the hideout after move number fifteen each night, the police win. This game is light on rules and heavy on tension. It manages to get the creepiness of catching a serial killer without an ounce of blood. One of my all-time favorite games and a great way to spend Halloween.
7) Abomination: The Heir To Frankenstein – Plaid Hat Games, 2-4 players
It’s time to see who can complete the late Dr. Frankenstein’s research and build the best monster over the course of 12 rounds. In order to do this, players will send out their scientists and assistants throughout Paris, gathering body parts, improving the players’ reputation and scientific knowledge, while still trying to maintain some semblance of their humanity by not being too evil. Players score points when they start a body part and again when they finish it. Points are awarded based on the freshness of the materials used. It’s quite thematic, and a solid Halloween offering. You can find my full review, here.
8) Fury of Dracula – WizKids!, 2-5 players
One person plays Dracula and the others take the roles of the four vampire hunters. The hunters can only win by sniffing out Dracula’s trail, cornering, and defeating him before he matures enough vampires to irreversibly spread his evil throughout Europe. As for Dracula, he must stay “alive” long enough to earn 13 influence points to win the game. This game is like Letters From Whitechapel but with the added element of combat. An epic tabletop take on a Halloween icon.
9) Scooby Doo! Betrayal At Mystery Mansion – Avalon Hill Games, 3-5 players
Take on the role of one of those meddling kids (and Scooby, of course) in this family-sized take on Betrayal At House On The Hill (another excellent Halloween game). This version has streamlined rules that simplify the experience of the original. I actually like this version better than the original because the haunts are easier to understand and the playtime doesn’t overstay its welcome. It would be even more Halloweenie if you can get players to cosplay their characters.
10) Grind House – Everything Epic Games – 2-6 players
This game is like a goofy horror version of choose your own adventure where players are trying to survive (obviously) but also need to complete their secret objectives to actually win. Some characters might be tasked with secretly trying to help others, while some players might have mayhem on the menu. The rules are simple and every game tells a creepy little communal story. A few rounds of Grind House on a Halloween night would be good for the soul!