The first game that became a Halloween tradition for us was Betrayal on the House on the Hill. It can be a great atmospheric game, that isn’t too time consuming. All of the players are exploring the house at the beginning of the game finding items, spooky events, and scary objects. Once the game has progressed to a certain point a haunt begins! Normally this means one of the players reveals their evil plot of one of 50 different scary movie tropes. Sometimes unbalanced but always lots of fun.
After a few years of playing Betrayal we discovered Mansions of Madness. Based on the mythos created by H.P. Lovecraft, this game drops players into spooky scenarios to investigate without dying or losing all sanity. Mansions was a more balanced game that added puzzle solving and a more engrossing strategy. Although one person had to run the story (which is complicated to set up) the other players felt more like a team. When the second edition came out it made the game even better, by having an app “run” the game. Now the game is fully cooperative, always changing, and even comes with thematic music!
One of the most complicated games with a Halloween theme is Fury of Dracula. But being complicated doesn’t mean to it can’t ooze with theme. One player is Dracula, trying to evade vampire hunters while trying to spread a reign of terror across Europe. One of the better hidden movement games made even better with dim lights, candles, and people playing up their roles as Van Helsing and other vampire hunters!
But what if you want to have some Halloween fun without it getting too scary or thematic? Ghost Fightin’ Treasure Hunters is a terrific cooperative game of getting some treasure out of a house before the ghost take over. Some people will have to fight off the ghosts while the others try to get the treasure out. With adult and kid friendly settings it can be a game for the whole family or a challenging game for a group of adults!