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Best tabletop horror board games for a stay-at-home Halloween

Just because you should be staying safe this Halloween, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a little fear in your life. People are looking for ways to enjoy themselves from the comfort of their own homes this October, and with dozens of horror-themed board games to pick from, there’s no shortage of ways to have fun with your friends (albeit moderated with a certain amount of appropriate terror).

Bearing that in mind, we’ve selected some great board and tabletop games that’ll set a chill through your bones and give you a real night to remember, both for kids and adults alike. Read on to find how you can keep the creepy spirit this Halloween! And speaking of spirits…

Mysterium

The box for the board game Mysterium.

Players: 2-7
Ages: 10+

Mysterium is a great game with a classic premise. One of the players is dead (sorry you had to hear it from us first) and communing via dreams with several paranormal detectives, so as to accuse their murderer and explain the details of the grisly crime. The only problem is that they can’t talk out loud, and can only explain themselves with pictures of surreal dream imagery. Consequently, the poor detectives have to try and translate these meaningless symbols into concrete evidence. “Is this picture of a goose in a top hat meant to push me towards examining the kitchen, the entrance hall, or the garden?”

It’s a game based around knowing how your friends think and reading patterns in their behaviour, matched by all the frustration of getting it wrong. It’s a great time, easy to pick up, and will make-or-break your friendships handily.

One Night Ultimate Werewolf

The box for tabletop game One Night Ultimate Werewolf.

Players: 3-10
Ages: 8+

You knew this one was coming: Werewolf is one of those games that’s become both famous and infamous in equal measure, and it’s not hard to see why. Up to ten players take the role of rural villagers, but a few of you are secretly werewolves trying to slaughter the rest of the townsfolk while they sleep. Each round has the werewolves try and pick off some unfortunate bumpkins, then everybody gathers around and tries to work out who looks particularly guilty, even as the secret werewolves within try to look innocent, or even point fingers at other people. Eventually the villagers will vote on who to murder, and only afterwards do they find out if they killed a monster… or if they just butchered one of their own in a fit of paranoia, making the werewolves’ job that much easier.

Alien: The Roleplaying Game

All the components included in Alien: the Role-Playing Game.

Players: 2+
Ages: 13+

“I can’t lie to you about your chances, but … you have my sympathies.”

Those are the words that greet you on the front of the Alien: RPG website, and it’s pretty appropriate, all things considered. If you’re feeling like something a little more involved – and a lot more terrifying than normal – try Free League Publishing’s tabletop RPG adaptation of Ridley Scott’s and H.R. Giger’s legendary alien franchise, which takes the cold, cosmic terror of the movies and translates them elegantly into a structured game experience. It’s designed to spend long periods of time building the tension to an almost unbearable level, then suddenly detonate into frantic, panicked action. It’ll take a little more time to prepare than a regular board game, but it’s undoubtedly worth it if you’re looking for something spookier than standard Dungeons and Dragons.

Gloom

The box for the horror card game Gloom.

Players: 2-4
Ages: 8+

Gloom is a game more about being miserable than scared, but the events that happen in it are pretty horrifying, so we feel it counts. It’s largely about inflicting dreadful events on a miserable gothic family, with the whole thing feeling somewhere between Tim Burton and the Addams Family. Each of you has your own selection of long-faced family members, and the goal is to make your characters as miserable as possible before inflicting some dreadful death on them. The more miserable they are when they finally kick the bucket, the more points you accumulate. Only problem is, your opponents might kill your family members prematurely, or even – horror of horrors – do something to cheer them up, undoing all your hard work.

Miremarsh

The board and various components included in the game Miremarsh.

Players: 1-5
Ages: 14+

Goblins are always those who suffer in fantasy games – and this time that’s the whole point. Each player takes on the role of a loathsome little goblin with unique skills before they wander out into the swamp to accomplish as many evil deeds as possible before they die – which they almost certainly will. At that point, you get assigned a new goblin (they are disposable cannon fodder, after all), and continue where the previous idiot left off. Meanwhile, the swamp itself is full of deadly threats and lurking horrors, designed to torment and terrify you to the very end. The goblin that survives will be a true hero to his people – but there won’t be many of them left by that point.

Zombie Dice

The box, dice and instructions for tabletop game Zombie Dice.

Players: 2+
Ages: 10+

The phrase “dicing with death” has never been more appropriate. Zombie Dice is a quick, easy-to-learn game about being a zombie with a penchant for human brains, going out hunting while doing your level best to avoid shotguns. It can be learned in moments, finished in minutes, and enjoyed for hours at a time, not to mention that you can just put it in your back pocket to carry around with you. If you’re looking for something a little less taxing and on-the-go, this is a pretty solid option.

There’s plenty more options when it comes to Halloween though. If you’re still looking forward to dressing up, why not check out some of the best Halloween costumes around? Or if you’re looking for something a bit less ghoulish for board game night, we’ve got all the best sets of Monopoly listed for you too. And don’t forget to check out the Jelly Deals Twitter for daily updates on the best deals around!

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