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Focus on the Frightful: 6 Seriously Spooky Games

It’s that time of year again and Halloween night draws ever nearer. And while rain and thunder and lightning are great for Halloween atmosphere they play hell on actually going out. This year my family has decided that it’s going to be a movie and game marathon this Halloween. If you find yourselves in the same boat as us (or ark as the case may be) you might want to try out these seriously spooky video and board games to try.

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AtmosFear: The DVD Board Game

I just realized how much this is now and yikes! My favorite iteration of AtmosFear was the Harbingers board game but the DVD game is fun as well.

In AtmosFear you can play as one of several famous horror figures: Gevaudin the Werewolf, Countess Bathory, and Khufu the Mummy. You begin by placing your greatest fear (on a slip of paper) into the Well of Fears. You then collect keys from each area by moving around the board. Once you have all the keys you then make your way to the Well of Fears in the center and pull out a fear. If it’s not yours, you win.

However! To make this more difficult the Gatekeeper will pop up from time to time to give you instructions on what to do, have you perform certain tasks or just generally be a dick. You can also pull cards that will give you tasks to do at certain timestamps on the DVD. For instance, one might direct you to scream at 40:05 and whoever jumps has to hand over their keys. Oh, did I forget to mention that you’re also on a timer. You have one hour to complete the game and make it to the well.

It’s a very fast-paced game but loads of fun!

Betrayal at House on the Hill

Betrayal at House on the Hill is an RPG-lite board game in which you play as one of five characters. Each character has their own stats and each figurine can have one of two personalities and stats. You create the house as you move through it with squares with certain rooms printed on them. You also have a booklet giving you the story of the game. Usually at a certain point (after so many of a particular card has been collected one of the players will typically become the villain and actively start working against you or trying to reach a goal before you do.

This is a really fun game where the more people you play with the more fun it is. It can run from five minutes or three hours (seriously, we had a game run that long before). It’s pretty simple and can be played by a pretty wide age range.

Call of Cthulhu: The RPG Game

If you’re more inclined towards Dungeons and Dragons but want something more horror-oriented the Call of Cthulhu RPG can be a good option. You can either go by pre-made scenarios (with plenty of open-endedness to add your own details) or, if you’re feeling brave, create your own campaign from scratch.

Ouija Board

You knew it was going to be here somewhere.

If you are feeling very brave and want to get into the, ahem, spirit of the season (and haven’t seen The Exorcist) you could give a Ouija Board a ty. It should be perfectly safe if you follow the instructions.


Jackbox Games (Party Pack 3): Trivia Murder Party

You wake up in the grasp of a (hilarious) serial killer who also loves trivia. Lucky you! You answer trivia questions (natch) and play mini-games when someone loses (and possibly loses a finger) to see who lives and dies. But, fear not! If you become a ghost you can still win by possibly snatching a body to escape in. It’s also one of the few Jackbox Party Games that I can actually win, so there’s that.


Goth is a somewhat basic cardboard game area where you answer trivia questions until you win enough headstones. The trivia questions are fun and cover a huge variety through the horror world such as music and movies.

I really need to get more horror-themed board games. If you guys have any suggestions I’d love to hear them! Classic, obscure or popular, bring it on!

Published inFocus on the Frightful


  1. Glow-in-the-dark board games were brand new in my youth. I had “Green Ghost” and “Ka-Bala.” The latter was my introduction to the Tarot. I think I still have the marble that came with its board.

  2. Some friends and I played Mansions of Madness recently, I’d definitely recommend checking that one out if you haven’t already. You play along with an app and it’s really atmospheric. It has to be the second edition though, I’ve seen a lot of people bemoaning the complex setup of the original. Great article!

    • Thank you so much! I’ll look into that, it’d be great for a lot of people it sounds like!

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