As soon as summer comes to an end, it’s time to make everything in your life a little bit spookier. From the books you read, to the movies you watch, to the horror-themed tabletop games you play, everything just needs a hint of darkness to it around this time of year.
You’ve probably got all of your favorite horror movies all queued up. And we here at Book Riot have given you plenty of book recommendations to get your TBR ready for Halloween pre-season. But for those of us who love to play tabletop games, which ones are the best to play in the fall?
As someone who is a certified horror fanatic all year round and who also boasts a sizable board game collection, I’ve got you covered, horror fiends! These horror-themed tabletop games are tried and tested and sure to make your next board game night a whole lot spookier. Whether you’re looking to hunt ghosts or fight zombies or explore a haunted house, I’ve got the perfect scary horror games for you. Bonus points if you play these games at night by candlelight and still manage to sleep afterward! These tabletop games are bringing all the spooky vibes.
8 Horror-Themed Tabletop Games
If you’re only going to have one horror-themed tabletop game in your collection, it has to be Betrayal at House on the Hill. Explore a haunted house with your friends, room by room. Every time you play, the house will be entirely different, and every time there will be a surprising twist: one of your fellow players will betray you. This board game has such great replay value because there are literally hundreds of different possible haunts to play through, and you’ll never explore the exact same haunted house twice. The situations you and your fellow players will find yourself in are legitimately creepy, and this one is certain to get everyone in the Halloween season spirit. Curious? See a full play-through of Betrayal here!
Mysterium is another personal favorite of mine because, in this one, you actually have an opportunity to BE a ghost. And the artwork is gorgeous! In this board game, a group of mediums sets out to solve a murder by communicating with the ghost of the murder victim. The only problem? The victim can only communicate through images. If you’re playing one of the mediums, it’s up to you to decipher the images and discover what happened to the ghost. If you’re the ghost, you have to choose images from a deck of cards to help the mediums uncover who murdered you, where, and with what weapon. Geek & Sundry has a full play-through! This one is so fun.
Okay, monster fans! Horrified is for you! In this cooperative horror game, you and your friends will come face-to-face with classic movie monsters: Frankenstein’s Monster, the Bride of Frankenstein, the Wolf Man, Dracula, the Mummy, the Invisible Man, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Each monster has their own strengths and weaknesses, and together, you and your team will have to figure out how to defeat each one. Check out a play-through of this super spooky game to get all the details.
Dead of Winter is a high-stakes cooperative game in a horrifying zombie-infested world. You and your friends lead a small colony of survivors to complete a common goal, all while fighting against the zombie threat. But there’s a twist. Everyone also has their own secret objectives. Your objectives might put you at odds with one other in some situations. Or it might make the team’s victory more complicated to achieve. This one gets my pulse racing every time I play. There’s just something about zombies. Don’t believe me? See for yourself in this play-through.
Looking for a quicker horror-themed game with fast, fun gameplay? Try The Grimwood. This fun play-through calls The Grimwood a game of “spooky go-fish,” and they’re not totally wrong. While most of these other games have been pretty cooperative, this card game is a game that’s all about full-on sabotage. Draw from the deck or steal from other players to rack up the most points before all of the cards run out. The cards feature creepy illustrations to get the Halloween vibes going.
Live out your gothic horror fantasies in Escape the Dark Castle, a cooperative board game where you and your friends are prisoners in (you guessed it) a dark castle. Now you must work together with your friends to escape all while dodging the dark horrors that await you around every turn. Each person in the game gets to play a unique character with their own stories and abilities, so this one has a fun roleplaying element to it as well. Check out the gameplay here!
Ever dreamed of being a vampire? You can with The Hunger. In this board game, you will play vampires who have awakened from their slumber and are now hunting for humans to feed upon, familiars to seduce, and powers to gain. But you have to act quick. Because, as we all know, vampires can only come out at night. And by the time the sun comes out, you’ll want to retreat back home before it’s too late! Want help figuring out how to play? Here’s an official “how to play” video.
Looking to get scared all by yourself? No need to find friends when you play Final Girl. This is a 1-player game where you (yes, you) get to be a final girl in a horror movie. You can buy different horror movie packs to play through different scary scenarios. There’s nothing as terrifying as realizing you’re all on your own in the end, is there? Check out this play-through to see how it’s done. And then if you’re looking into which one to buy, here’s a ranking of the best and the worst Final Girl sets!
Looking for more tabletop game recommendations? Here are board games and card games that are excellent options for book lovers. And if you’re an RPG fan, try out these TTRPGs at your next game night. Have a happy spooky season, my fellow board game lovers!