There's a chill in the air, pumpkin spice in our coffee, and - at least around these parts - signs are already going up in abandoned storefronts for Halloween shops. It may not be October quite yet, but for all intents and purposes: it's spooky season. And we're here to help you gear up for Halloween with our list of 5 Massive Horror Board Games To Play This Fall. Whether they're full of terrifying scenarios or meant to be experienced as a campaign/legacy game, these are some of our favorite long, intricate, and deeply strategic horror board games to start playing now if you hope to finish by Halloween.
Betrayal: Legacy answers the question "How do we play a legacy game if a bunch of us are likely to die at the end of each session?" with aplomb. Betrayal: Legacy, published by Avalon Hill Games, turns the traditional horror mainstay Betrayal at House on the Hill into a session-by-session continuing "legacy" adventure by putting players into the role of not just one character, but a whole lineage of characters in a specific family's line. Explore the same haunted mansion decade after decade, learning secrets, uncovering surprises, and venturing deeper into the unknown.
If you're looking for a game of exploration, adventure, and risk-taking without an overabundance of mechanical heft, this is the game for you.
Remember what we said above about Betrayal not having an overabundance of mechanical heft? Well, if that's something you and your gaming group crave, look no further than the hulking Nemesis. This semi-cooperative board game by Awaken Realms is the only game on this list to not really have a campaign component (though there are expansions that tell more co-op stories), but the game is so massive in its intricate design that we had to include it on this list.
In Nemesis, players attempt to survive on a spaceship while a terrifyingly dangerous alien stalks them through endless corridors. Sound familiar? Simply oozing with Alien vibes, Nemesis uses its interlocking systems - including the important balance between taking actions and the subsequent noise those actions make - to create an almost instant sense of dread. And with each player having their own randomly drawn goals they're attempting to accomplish, it can make for a truly unique experience with each play. In space, no one can hear you scream... but that damn alien can somehow hear every step we take!
Zombicide (2nd Edition)
Zombicide by CMON has grown from a single tabletop game into a huge library of expansions, stand-alone settings, and more, and the release of Zombicide 2nd Edition is a culmination of all the learnings taken from those further iterations in the franchise. What's left is a tense, fun, easy-to-grasp tabletop experience where players take on the role of six survivors struggling to make it through various scenarios. Using special abilities, incredible firepower, and teamwork, our heroes have everything they need to survive an onslaught of shambling zombies and twisted mutations.
Though not one set campaign, Zombicide 2nd Edition comes packed with tons of different scenarios to test these humble humans. Pair that with two new expansions - Fort Hendrix and Washington Z.C. - which actively create an ongoing campaign complete with leveling up, and you've got a zombie-splattering experience unlike any other.
To learn more about Zombicide 2nd Edition check out our full review and see why think it "takes an already solid game and tightens all the screws, creating a fast-paced, fun, nail-biting experience we couldn't put down."
Mansions of Madness (2nd Edition)
You can't put together a list like this without including Mansions of Madness (2nd Edition). This huge, sprawling game by Fantasy Flight is the first bit of Lovecraftian horror on the list, putting players into the roles of investigators working their way through various scenarios. Full of mystery and suspense, the game really serves as a love letter to its source material, with special attention paid to the psychological (and sometimes physical) trauma of encountering the weird, cosmic, and unknown.
The second edition of this game turned a great game into an absolute must-buy with the inclusion of an app that helps guide (and narrate) the various encounters and scenarios. With tons of new scenarios to purchase, some physical and some digital, Mansions of Madness keeps us on our toes session after session. What sleeps beneath the sunken city of R'lyeh? Fun, that's what!
Bloodborne: The Board Game
Does a Bloodborne game count as another Lovecraftian entry on this list? I'll leave that up to you to decide. But regardless, Bloodborne: The Board Game by CMON perfectly translates both the punishing difficulty and Victorian gothic spookiness of the original video game into a tactical card-playing slugfest. With trick weapons that can switch forms back and forth, special items, and cooperation, Hunters have a chance (however slim) to slip past hordes of foes in an attempt to accomplish their goals. If you're a fan of the original video game and you're looking for an in-depth, gorgeously produced tabletop experience, Bloodborne: The Board Game is a must-play.
So there you have it! Want to dive into a deeper, more lengthy tabletop horror experience? Well there's no time like the present to dive in!