Halloween is a perfect occasion to bring out some scares and thrills out onto your gaming table. What better time to bring out the nastiest and scariest of games than when you’re wearing Power Ranger outfit or a Deadpool costume to protect yourself from the scares? Just me? Ok, well joke’s on you because that’s what I call a regular Friday night. Well, here’s our picks for some great, tense and terrifying games to try this Halloween!
Escape From the Aliens in Outer Space
In space…no one can hear you…swear profusely as you find your escape pod broken, thinking you were one of the lucky ones to escape, only to find yourself devoured by an alien then become the very thing you feared and ran from. Hi, welcome to Escape From the Aliens in Outer Space—a brilliant, hidden role game that takes games like Letters from Whitechapel and Fury of Dracula into a space setting with fear, tense moments, fear and more fear.
Players in the game are given a hidden identity: the poor unfortunate human or vicious alien hunter. As a human, your goal is to navigate your way through the map, writing down your hidden movement locations silently to yourself, desperately trying to escape to an escape pod without being caught while the aliens, who are posing as humans, try to hunt the humans down, preventing them from ever leaving. It’s a fantastic game of cat and mouse. Did I say cat and mouse? More like mouse and giant mountain lion.
As if life didn’t hate you enough, there’s a chance that one of the escape pods you cross in your brilliant escape path, is broken. Leaving you to have to travel to another end of the map and hope you won’t be eaten by then. Oh and not only do you have to worry about aliens, but you also have to worry about whether someone else will get to the escape pod first, because there’s only a certain amount and a certain amount of humans and sometimes, not everyone’s gonna win the lottery that day.
Mansions of Madness Second Edition
Ever play scary games like Resident Evil (I’m talking about the one from 1996!), or Silent Hill where there was an air of mystery shrouded in horror? You’d open a door or turn a corner, not expecting what to find on the other side? So take that and all that feeling into a board game and you’re given a godsend of games, Mansions of Madness (…SECOND EDITION!) aha, throwback to Resident Evil title screens. No? Well excuuuuuuuse me!
Mansions of Madness was a game that originally was designed as a 1 vs many game where one player controlled the lovecraftian monsters from hell against all other players who played investigators, trying to solve the mystery of the scenario (that’s right, you have no idea how to win until you traipse around, blinding investigating everything you come across, hoping to piece together the objective). With the second edition of the game, all players are now working together with the integration of an app, guiding you along the way, telling you what you find when you explore a new area, what monsters pop out of the closet or what codex you have to crack to open a lock. It’s brilliantly put together. Different scenarios, difficulties and characters to play, give it tons of replay value and is not only one of the best horror games made, but probably one of my favourite releases this year!
Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu
You’re probably already familiar with Pandemic already and are thinking what’s there left to play after having played Legacy or the original base and its many expansions? You’d be surprised when you find out how familiar yet different Reign of Cthulhu will feel. Instead of curing diseases, you’ll be closing portals and stopping Old Gods from awakening and destroying the world.
The most interesting thing about the game is how there’s no chain reactions or outbreaks as we’ve come to know Pandemic for. Instead, there’s a variety or Old Gods at the top of the board that were randomly laid out at the beginning of the game. When an “Evil Stirs” (AKA Epidemic) card is drawn or a Shoggoth makes its way through a portal, not only will cultists spread on the board (like the rotten diseases they are) but you also reveal an Old One card that is either an instant action that makes life harder or a lasting effect that will hinder you ((such as preventing you from using relics) as more Old Ones are revealed. With the variety of Old Ones drawn for the game, you’ll just never know what ways the game will decide to make your life miserable in a great uphill battle against the Old Ones.
Hit Z Road
What’s Halloween without a zombie themed game? We rave enough about Zombicide that it’s time for a new Zombie game to step up and take the spotlight. That game is gladly Hit Z Road, a game that inspires a rollercoaster of emotion full of more downs than ups. Bidding, super super scarce resources, tough decisions and a newfound selfishness to come out on top no matter the cost, Hit Z Road captures the feeling of being in a post-apocalypse better than most other zombie games out there.
The greatest thing about Hit Z Road is how it doesn’t need to have an emphasis on action. Fighting for your life is rather a necessity and sometimes a choice you don’t even want to take. You won’t have enough resources to spend if all goes wrong, and every time you lose a survivor in your group, you really feel your heart wrench that you’d do anything to avoid a situation like that again that you’d totally screw over other players just so you can survive and win. Yeah, it’s totally acceptable to be selfish in this game. You have an official encouragement from me to do so!
How about pretending to be ghost for Halloween? What about a ghost who got murdered and can’t remember how they died and who killed them? Almost like a game of Clue where the victim is able to come back to life in a cooperative game of “I can’t remember anything about my death”, the ghost in your game is a player who has assigned details he has to give each investigator to guess: A weapon, a location and a suspect.
Just like ghosts in movies, as I’d assume real ghosts would act, it’s hard to communicate with them. They can’t just talk to you and say that it was Colonel Mustard with the candlestick in the library. The ghost player can only provide cards with images on them to help the investigator gain some sort of hint of whatever clue they’re trying to guess. Maybe an abstract picture of a door to hint that they were murdered in the shed with an open door pictured on it. Much like a game of Dixit if it were to be played together and Clue put together, Mysterium is fantastic for any game group and gives way for a chance to be creative and inspire some outside thinking.
Thanks for reading! If any of these games sound interesting to you, we’ll be hosting a Halloween Sampler Day on October 22nd at 9 Neepawa Ave, Toronto ON just south of Roncesvalles Ave and Howard Park Ave. Come join us, have some snacks and try some of these games and more yourself to find the right fit for your Halloween night!