SALT LAKE CITY — If the chilly October air is keeping you inside this Halloween, why not put down the costume and pick up a few board games that can bring the spooky atmosphere inside?
Here are 10 games to play this Halloween season that involve ghosts, goblins, ghouls and zombies.
One game that encapsulates the mystery of Halloween is Mysterium, a cooperative game for up to six players, each acting as a 19th-century psychics, and one player acting as a ghost helping them solve a murder mystery.
Expect a cooperative game of interpreting abstract ideas. Through surreal, dreamlike art, a ghost player delivers "visions" to psychics around the table, who are attempting to identify the ghost's murderer. The twist: The psychics can speak among themselves, but the ghost has to remain completely silent, communicating only through visions.
Despite fitting the mystery of Halloween, Mysterium isn't a game of creepy, crawly creatures. It's more about trying to interpret what your friends and family are thinking when they hand you a vision card that's not even remotely related to the cards you have in front of you.
Werewolf, Ultimate Werewolf or One Night Ultimate Werewolf
One of the party games that's truly made its way into the mainstream, Werewolf — a riff on the Mafia party game — has been a staple of Halloween parties for nearly three decades.
Players are secretly given a team they're on — they're either a werewolf or a villager. Further iterations of the game, like Ultimate Werewolf and One Night Ultimate Werewolf, give players additional roles and powers that add variety to the game, with the latter confining the game to a shorter, more contained period.
Whether you're having a large party or a small gathering, one of the Werewolf games could be a Halloween hit.
Fury of Dracula
It's hard to look past Bram Stoker's classic character when it comes time to Halloween. "Fury of Dracula" pits one to four vampire hunters against Dracula, who uses a variety of powers to try to evade capture.
Along the way, Dracula will leave a trail for the hunters to follow, but he can also transform into a bat, a wolf or mist, making their job even more difficult. At its best, it's an intense, exciting game of deception and logic, but it can take up a substantial chunk of an evening, with play times
Betrayal at House on the Hill
One of the major success stories of the modern board gaming renaissance, Betrayal at House on the Hill is a sleeper hit that picked up a huge following after a 2010 second edition release.
In Betrayal, a group of three to six players are exploring a haunted mansion — until, that is, a "haunt" is triggered, most often resulting in one of the players being found out as a traitor.
When that happens, a story unfolds. Typically, the betraying player will leave the room to read from the "Traitor's Tome" rulebook, while the other players will read from the "Secrets of Survival" rulebook. Both rulebooks detail rules and story for each side; they could involve one player turning into a werewolf, secretly having been a vampire, or any of 50 different scenarios rooted in classic horror tropes.
Betrayal starts as a game of exploring a haunted mansion, but it always ends as a completely different game — and it'll always be memorable.
While the theme of Broom Service is a friendly one — each player is a witch trying to gather ingredients for potions — it's a deeply strategic game.
Each player will choose four actions from a possible 10 to perform in a given round. Each action can either be "cowardly" or "brave" in nature, and players get to choose which action they perform. Brave actions provide more resources, but also more risk, as there's no guarantee you'll get to actually perform the action. The cowardly actions are safe, but won't have as good a return.
When a player chooses an action to start a round, each subsequent player must follow with that action if they have it in their hand. However, only one player who chooses to be brave gets to perform it, and it's always the last player to have declared it. If a player chooses to be cowardly instead, they'll get something regardless — just a little less than if they'd tried to be brave.
Broom Service is easy to grasp when you start playing, but each round will pit the players against their own estimation of what their opponents are planning.
Ghost Stories is a cooperative game that tasks up to four players with protecting a village from an army of ghosts. That army will gradually — or suddenly, depending on what cards you draw — become stronger, leaving you with a difficult task.
The game has a relatively simple premise: Draw ghosts from the deck, assign them to a side of the board, then try to push them back. Using bonuses gained from different locations in the village, players try to keep the village from being overrun.
Managing that becomes increasingly difficult as the game goes on, making Ghost Stories a legendarily difficult game to beat.
In Gloom, two to five players compete to have the most unhappy family on the table by putting them through any manner of hardships. Players aim to end the game when they're convinced your family is as unhappy as they'll get, but before other players get a chance to end it first.
The game's focus is storytelling, as players are encouraged to do more than just read the text on each card they play to make their family worse off, or to make another player's family better off.
While you can certainly play the game without an ounce of storytelling involved, it's a fairly simple card game at its core so you'll quickly find yourself growing tired of the game. It really is when you engage in your own and others' creativity that you'll find the most success with Gloom.
Dead of Winter
Dead of Winter is a game in which players try to survive in a post-apocalyptic, zombie-infested world. It's mostly cooperative, except each player has a secret objective that, if they fulfill it, will give them a win instead of only being able to say they survived.Comment on this story
One player might be a traitor who's trying to sabotage the whole group's efforts to feed a small colony of people, fend off zombies and solve crisis after crisis. That player — if there is one in the game, at least — isn't likely to reveal they're a traitor immediately because the group can choose to exile that player.
Because of this, the traitor will often try to look like a normal, cooperative player, who's simply conflicted about how best to achieve their goals. As the traitor, if the group loses, you win, and the best way to bring the group down is from the inside.