Rather than sugar plums, some of us have visions of candy corn and pumpkins dancing in our heads year round. After a completely bonkers summer, some of us are just ready to slide into that cool fall sweater weather and focus on the spooky things life has to offer. In that spirit (pun intended) I have gathered up thirteen board games and TTRPGs with a focus on all things Halloween!
*Content Warning: Some game may have a focus on creepy crawlies, hauntings, horror or similar themes.
Kicking off our Halloween list is a classic module for Dungeons and Dragons: The Curse of Strahd Revamped. Set in the land of Barovia, Castle Ravenloft has been a destination for adventurers since 1983. Barovia has had many reprints and updates over the years. Most recently, The Curse of Strahd was published in 2016, with a new supplement, Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft joining the list in May of 2021.
While the module has faced critiques over the years, the newest editions have worked to take problematic language out of print and give players and Dungeon Masters more tools for traipsing through the world of horror.
Dread is a game that is new to me, but is one I am very excited about! Put away your dice, take our your Jenga tower and get ready for a unique role playing experience.
Dread was originally published in 2005 by Epidiah Ravachol. Dread itself has no official setting. The rule book contains information on how a Game Master can bring players through several classic horror settings, such as a carnival or spooky spaceships. As the players move through the story, their success or failure is determined by their ability to keep the Jenga tower standing.
Based off of the 1993 movie, Hocus Pocus, come the board game of the same name. Coming from Ravensburger, Hocus Pocus is meant for 2 to 6 players aged 8 and older, this family friendly game plays in about 30 minutes.
Players work to stop the Sanderson Sisters by protecting the children of Salem. Personally for me, the best part is the meeple of Binx, the heart and soul of that adventure!
Next up on our Halloween Spooky Games List is Horrified, also from Ravensburger. Horrified is designed for 1 to 5 players, aged 10 and up and plays in about 45-60 minutes. Those who know me are aware that I am a sucker for a game with a solid 1 player mode and Horrified delivers. Players work cooperatively to defend their village from classic horror monsters, such as Wolf Man and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Fans of classic horror movies of yesteryear will be sure to enjoy the nods to the genre throughout the game.
The last year plus has shown us that we cannot always spend our game night with the people we wish. With everything going on in the world, many people had to cancel regular game nights with their favorite people. It has been a time to get creative about how to meet with your friends when you’re forced to be physically apart.
Fortunately, there are games such as Jack Box, which can help lessen the sting of having to be apart. Officially, this is a recommendation for Trivia Murder Party from the Jack Box Party Pack 3, although Monster Seeking Monster from Jack Box Party Pack 4 also fits the bill.
Enjoy game night on an online platform with friends near and far with this spooky theming!
If you are looking for a rules light TTRPG with some magical touches, check out Kids on Brooms from Renegade Game Studios. Game Masters and players work together to build a magical school for wizards and witches and fill it with adventure and intrigue! Using the system put for by Kids on Bikes, your table can roll their shiny click clacks in the world of magical learning. This story first design may feel different to veteran players of the more well known games, but trust me, you’re going to want to check this one out!
From our friends across the pond at Cobblepath Games, comes a favorite of the Variants: Locus. Locus was truly a unique experience for the team as we played through. You can read about Variant Berry’s experience as the Director, as well as Variant J’s experience as part of the Cast.
Locus will take players through the world of horror as they grapple with the consequences of their actions and explore their morality. This struggle is set over the backdrop of imminent danger. Players are encouraged to both unravel the mystery and then survive it. Horror and TTRPG fans alike with come away a mess of things to think about after playing Locus.
Using Powered by the Apocalypse (PbtA) rules Monster of the Week is sure sure to scratch you itch for monster hunting. Designed for 3 to 5 players, this stand alone RPG helps players create a cohesive team of monster hunters to help take out the nightmares that the rest of the town just doesn’t seem to believe exist. Monster of the Week is more focused on telling the story than crunching numbers and players who aren’t thrilled about combat may find their comfort level in the collective experience. Fans of Monster of the Week have compared it to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Supernatural or the X-Files. If you’re ready to be a hometown hero, check it out!
Taking place a century or so after the Zombie Apocalypse, and powered by the Fate Core System, is Morts, from Evil Hat Productions. Players are morticians, or Morts, and they are facing down the undead. Despite it’s importance, this is not a career many go into willingly. It is likely your character just needs some extra cast. Character receive minimal training and then go out to protect the world from undead of every description.
This recommendation is actually many recommendations. The One Night Ultimate Collection from bezier games.
While personally, I only have experience with One Night Ultimate Werewolf and Werewords, I am assured by friends that the rest of the collection, including One Night Ultimate Alien and One Night Ultimate Super Villains, are up to par with the games I have played.
One Night Ultimate Werewolf plays similar to the elementary school game 7 Up or the camping game, Mafia, where one person is the werewolf and the rest of the table has to guess who it is.
I recommend my strategy of just always guessing Variant Rory, but I am sure you will find a way to put your own spin on these wonderful party games!
Are you afraid of the dark? I hope not because Shadows in the Forest is played with the lights out! This ThinkFun game is for 2 to 7 players ages 8 and up. One player focuses on moving a lantern around the forest and the other players try and keep the shadowlings in the dark. If all of the shadowlings can make it to the same shadow without being caught, the players win. Make sure to check out this darling game for silly, spooky fun this Halloween!
Skeletons may be the most unique game on this Halloween feature. Skeletons is available on DriveThruRPG.com and is put out by Bully Pulpit Games. Skeletons is designed for a truly immersive experience. I recommend playing in a quiet place, without disruptions and turning your phones off.
Players are skeletons that are cursed to guard a tomb for all eternity. A Game Master takes them through time. Has one day past? A year? A decade? You don’t know. Throughout the game, you regain memories from your life. There are also pauses between rounds. Players then sit in silence, or with haunting music, possibly in the dark as they get into the spirit of the game.
If you are looking for more information , encourage you to read some more in depth reviews, but this is a game best discovered as you play, IMO.
You may recognize Zombie Dice Hoard Edition from earlier this year, but I had to bring it back around for Halloween. This dice game is designed for 2 or more players, aged 10 and up and plays in about 30 minutes.
I always want to put a content warning on this one though, while not graphic “shotgun” is one of the mechanics in the game, so this may not be appropriate for all game tables.
The extra fun part of the Hoard Edition are the extra rulesets included, Summer Feature and School Bus, for extra dice rolling games. If you are looking for a quick and spooky game, Steve Jackson Games has you covered with Zombie Dice Hoard Edition.
Hopefully you have found something to help enhance your Halloween this year. TTRPGs and board games can be a wonderful way to mark the season.
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