The Halloween season is upon us, and one thing you can count on to offer safe, fun Halloween thrills is a great tabletop game. Here is this year's list of five great games for a spooky October. Because of the scary theme and artwork, some of these games may not be suitable for young children.
Darkest Night from Victory Point Games, is a cooperative game set in a medieval realm that has been overrun with the forces of darkness. One to four players take on the roles of various characters as they search for key tokens that can help them defeat their enemy, the Necromancer. Moving about the kingdom's various locations, the Necromancer creates monsters and other nasty surprises for players.
This game has a real fantasy/horror feel to it that is a lot of fun. A cooperative game, all of the players will be working together to defeat evil and bring peace back to the kingdom.
Darkest Night is recommended for ages 12 and up and plays in about two hours.
Do you like zombies? Flying Frog Production's Last Night on Earth is a game where two to six players find themselves in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. The catch is that some of the players are controlling the zombies while some of the players are the heroes trying to escape or achieve objectives.
Last Night on Earth has a real B-movie feel to it, and with its cheesy photographs and campy theme, players will get sucked into this horror board game adventure. Additionally, the game comes with several scenarios, giving Last Night on Earth a high replay value.
Last Night on Earth is recommended for ages 12 and up and plays in about 90 minutes.
In Fantasy Flight Games' Letters from Whitechapel, two to six players are transported to 1888 London. One player takes on the role of Jack the Ripper, while the rest become police out to catch the killer. Jack the Ripper must achieve his objectives and successfully escape from the police in order to win, while the police must exert themselves to find him.
The board is a beautiful map of Victorian London, and like Fantasy Flight Games' Fury of Dracula, this is a game of hidden movement in which Jack the Ripper may move about the city, and the police must use deduction and a bit of luck to track him down before he strikes his next victim.
Letters from Whitechapel is recommended for ages 13 and up and plays in about two hours.
Technically, Privateer Press' Level 7: Omega Protocol is a science fiction game, though with its creepy atmosphere and scary aliens, it might as well be considered a horror game. This game sees up to five players take on the roles of sci-fi marines as they navigate through an evil alien doctor's lab. One player takes on the role of the aliens and uses the marines' fear against them. Every time the marines take an action, they must surrender one adrenaline token to the aliens. Those tokens can then be used by the alien player to take actions against them.
Level 7: Omega Protocol has a real cinematic feel to it as the players must advance deeper into the lab. The alien player can make his alien clones appear suddenly and has more than a few surprises in store for the marines.
Level 7: Omega Protocol is recommended for ages 14 and up and plays in about an hour.
Also from Fantasy Flight Games is Eldritch Horror, a cooperative game that follows in the footsteps of Fantasy Flight Games' Arkham Horror. Set in the H.P. Lovecraft Cthulhu universe, Eldritch Horror sees one to eight players on Indiana Jones-like adventures across the globe in the 1920s, trying desperately to close interdimensional gates and stop a host of monsters from invading the Earth. At the same time, players are trying to solve a mystery and defeat Cthulhu or his evil brothers.
Eldritch Horror is a wonderful storytelling game that really sucks players in. Whenever players take actions, cards are drawn and the text creates chilling, memorable experiences that makes for fun and intense game play.
Eldritch Horror is recommended for ages 14 and up and plays in about three hours.
Cody K. Carlson holds a master's in history from the University of Utah and teaches at Salt Lake Community College. An avid player of board games, he blogs at thediscriminatinggamer.com. Email: [email protected]