It’s the most wonderful time of the year – Halloween! A time of cosy fireside tales, hot chocolate and board games. And I have a sizeable collection of Halloween appropriate games for you to try. Here are my favourite 5 games from the massive Halloween stack!
I know Cluedo and Dixit seem like they are on different ends of a spectrum but Mysterium has combined them into a fabulously spooky co-operative game. You are psychics who have got together for a seance. Someone has been murdered and has returned as a ghost to communicate the weapon, the place and their murderer through visions alone. The visions depicted on the cards truly are things of beauty. (Perfect if you’ve got one gobby one in your group as they are not allowed to talk!). Each psychic has a place, a weapon and a murderer of their own to figure out but only one of you has the correct set. Each round you can earn clairvoyancy points by correctly identifying which other players psychic powers are working properly. The more clairvoyancy points you have amassed the more visions the ghost will show you at the end of the game when you have to work out which one of you has the cards showing the murderer, the weapon and the place of the dastardly deed. You meet under cover of darkness and the clock counts down towards daybreak. You have just 7 hours to work together, crack the case and free the tormented spirit.
Plays 3-7. Allow: 45mins. Age 10+
You can buy this from Zatu Games
Mysterium for Kids
If Mysterium for grown ups sounds a bit too scary then you need Mysterium Kids. Legend has it that Captain Echo hid his treasure in a spooky, old mansion in the woods. The Captain will give clues to anyone brave enough to venture in and will actually help them find the treasure so he’s not too scary at all. Each room contains a noisy object card and it is the ghost’s job to replicate the sound on the drum included. The drum has a ribbed ribbon around it, a wooden side and a paper top – there are suggestions in the rules book of how to make a variety of noises with it. The game is co-operative, you need to work together to win so you need to agree on what noise the ghost was making. If you identify the correct room you are rewarded with a treasure card – these are like a jigsaw and you need a complete picture to win. There are two difficulty levels so you can start off easy and make it harder as you get used to playing.
Plays 2-6 Allow: 20mins. Age 6+
You can buy this from Zatu Games
…and then we died.
What could be more Halloween than mysterious deaths following a tarot card reading? And what’s more the cards are curiously marked with clues that tell the tale of the poor unfortunates’ untimely demise. In this story telling game you can play on your own or with a larger group (a maximum of 8 works well), you can play a serious game or a silly game – it’s entirely up to you. The rules are very light touch so you can make decisions about style, tone and length of game in your group. Each card has fragments of words on each side and cards are played so that they overlap one another to form a word. Players then make a sentence which tells part of the story of their deaths using the word that was formed. The last player to make a sentence ends the story with …and then we died.
I am grateful to Emma Larkins for sending me a copy of this because I absolutely love this game, the artwork and the creative story telling is right up my street.
Unmatched – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The first three of my choices were co-operative but you can’t really have Halloween without bloodshed and a battle for supremacy. Which brings me to Unmatched – the Buffy version. The first thing to know about the Unmatched games is that each one comes with four playable characters and they are all interchangeable. I have Cobble and Fog as well as Battle of Legends which means any of those characters can do battle – I can pit Sherlock Holmes against Spike or The Invisible Man against Alice in Wonderland. Ever wondered who’d win in a fight between Buffy and Medusa? Now you can find out. Or, you can stick to the Buffy characters and let them battle it out in the bronze or flip the board and they can fight in the library. Each character has their own abilities, strengths and weaknesses; each comes with their own deck of cards which you must use carefully to ensure victory. It’s the kind of game that really the first time you play you are learning, there is quite a lot of text on the cards and you need to get to know the characters. It does help that they faithfully replicate the characters from the show. On subsequent plays you can really harness the character’s abilities and enjoy playing around with strategies. The more you play, the better it is. A perfect one to play on dark winter evenings, maybe with a glass of red wine and something garlicky.
Plays 2-4 Allow 40mins Age 14+
My final recommendation for spooky games is Geistes Blitz (Ghost Blitz). A super fast very competitive game of lightening reactions. Be the first to grab the correct object: the white ghost, the green wine bottle, the red chair or the blue book. But something spooky has been going on – when you turn over the cards you will find the objects are the wrong colours. You have to grab the object that’s not represented at all on the card – either by colour or object. However, if the object is shown in the correct colour (e.g. a white ghost) then grab that object. In the example below, we know it isn’t red or blue and it’s not the ghost or the mouse so it has to be the green bottle. People who love Dobble tend to love this one. It’s perfect for kids and for big kids and it’s definitely funnier with wine.
Plays 2-6 Allow 10mins Age 6+
This one is available from Zatu games too.
There are many more and I could definitely go on: Gloom is a good cut throat card game where you are making your family as miserable as possible before killing them off; Zombies is a massive tile laying game where you need to kill the zombies and escape in a helicopter before it’s too late; Escape Zombie City is a 15 minute co-operative race against time to grab supplies and escape in the van before the zombies breach the church yard while Zombie Dice is a push your luck dice game where you have to eat as many brains as you can without being shot. Why not come along to an event and have a go at some of these awesome titles or book me for a spooky themed party.