The Halloween season is one of the best for board game nights. The weather is brisk and comfortable, the nights are enjoyable, and the atmosphere is perfectly moody.
While board games can't quite deliver the same kind of terrifying experiences as movies, TV shows, haunted hayrides, and all the other usual Halloween fare, that doesn't mean they should be pushed aside.
Some board games are surprisingly immersive with their creepy and/or existential narratives. There's also plenty of fun to be had with murder mysteries and social deduction. Horror-infused fun for everyone!
Here are some of the best board games for Halloween, packed with thematic goodness that's perfect for the season.
For 2+ players (no limit).
Zombie Dice Deluxe is a quick and simple push-your-luck game where you play as the zombie. Your goal is to eat brains—more brains than any of the other zombie-players—and you do so by rolling from the custom dice provided by the game.
Each die can result in a Brain, a Shotgun, or a Footstep. Brains count as points and Footsteps let you reroll the die, but if you roll too many Shotguns, you lose all the Brains you got that turn. Finding that balance between risk and reward isn't so easy!
For 3 to 5 players.
Nyctophobia is a truly unique experience that will revolutionize your Halloween board game nights.
One player is a maniacal killer on the hunt in a pitch-black forest. The rest of the players need to escape... but they can't see. Literally. Everyone wears blackout glasses that eliminate sight, meaning you have to play the game using your sense of touch!
For 4 to 12 players.
Deception: Murder in Hong Kong is a murder mystery game that incorporates social deduction elements.
One player is the Forensic Scientist, who knows how the murder happened but can't speak. They must communicate with the other players (who are Investigators) using special tiles that ambiguously describe how the murder happened.
But the Murderer is among the Investigators, and they're trying to misdirect the investigation by purposely misinterpreting the clues. Can you solve the murder without being led astray?
For 1 to 6 players.
The original Zombicide and Zombicide: Black Plague might be better suited for Halloween, but they're no longer in print and can be hard to come by (at least without shelling out tons of cash). Zombicide: Green Horde is similar but with orcs and goblins instead!
In this cooperative board game, everyone must work together to survive against the near-endless swarm of enemies. With all the different scenarios and various player characters and abilities, the game plays out differently every time.
For 1 to 4 players.
Ghost Stories is a cooperative game where all players are Monks who must work together to defend their village against an onslaught of ghosts. With every ghost that appears, players must use their Monkly powers to exorcise them before they overwhelm.
Surviving against the ghosts is hard enough, but to win you must defeat the leader of the ghosts, Wu-Feng. The gameplay mechanics lead to a variety of ways to play each game—and a variety of ways to die at the hands of the ghost invasion.
For 2 to 7 players.
Mysterium is a murder mystery game with one player in the role of the Ghost, who can't speak and must communicate with everyone else (Psychic Investigators) using visions. These visions are image-based cards that act as clues to the circumstances of the murder.
Players can work together—or not—to interpret the Ghost's visions and discern who committed the crime, with what weapon, and where. If you've ever played Clue and Dixit, Mysterium is a bit of a mixture of the two. A perfect game to play on Halloween, for sure!
For 1 to 5 players.
Horrified is a cooperative board game where players must work together to defeat one of several classic movie monsters.
These monsters include Frankenstein, Dracula, The Invisible Man, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and more. Each one has its own abilities and difficulties, requiring different strategies that change things up every time you play.
This board game is especially good for Halloween because once you're done playing, you can pop in the relevant movie and migrate from board game night to movie night without missing a beat!
For 2 to 5 players.
Dead of Winter is a competitive-cooperative board game where players take on the role of survivors in a post-apocalyptic world that's been ravaged by undead zombies.
On the one hand, everyone must work together to reach the shared overall victory condition. However, each player has their own individual objective they must accomplish to actually win when victory comes.
This tension between acting for oneself's benefit and acting for the group's benefit is what makes Dead of Winter so interesting. With dozens of characters, the experience will play out different every time.
For 1 to 4 players.
Arkham Horror: The Card Game is a deeply immersive board game that's mainly played using cards. There are different story campaigns, with each campaign comprising several episodes, and each episode comprising multiple phases and evolving narratives.
It's a complex game with a considerable learning curve. However, it also offers one of the deepest story experiences of any board game, all hinged on a beautiful mixture of Lovecraftian horror and mystery.
Arkham Horror: The Card Game is a living card game, meaning there are occasional expansions that add more cards, characters, and campaigns into the mix for ever-growing possibilities.
For 1 to 5 players.
Mansions of Madness is another Arkham-themed board game, except this one's unique in that it's app-driven.
Players each take on the role of one of eight paranormal investigator characters, and must work together to solve the mystery of a particular scenario. The app guides you through, allowing you to immerse yourself in the scenario as an investigator.