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Best horror board games

Top horror games to scare yourself chitless this Halloween!

Halloween may have been and gone, but that doesn't mean that the spooky activities need to end - and boy do we have the best terrifying tabletop titles to share with you! From board games about astonishing eldritch beings come to end the world, to hordes of the undead swarming a local shopping mall, this list of the best horror board games features all sorts of frightening spectacles for players to enjoy this all hallowed eve!

Whether you’re looking for a game to bring your friendship group closer together, or to test the relationships you hold dear, the co-op titles and traitor-maker games on this list are entries to suit all types of frights on any given scary night.

Best horror board games

Of course, the true joy of playing horror board games is being able to imagine all the scary scenarios found within their boxes, from the safety of your own home. So, get ready to dim the lights, turn up the atmospheric spooky music and munch on some tasty sweet treats around the table with some of the best horror board games in front of you.

1. Eldritch Horror

Travel the world in search of clues and ways to stop the Old Ones returning

Eldritch Horror board game box
Eldritch Horror may take a while to set up, but it sure is worth it.

Eldritch Horror sees its players travelling (almost) the entire globe in a desperate race against time. The ancient ones are awakening, and a team of brave investigators must use both brains and brawn to stop this Lovecraftian invasion before it’s too late. By facing a series of encounters and completing the required number of quests, you and your friends might just be able to win Eldritch Horror. But the sheer amount of tension induced by brutal mechanics like the doom clock and the mythos cards (which trigger terrible events) makes playing it nothing less than the most entertaining endurance test in tabletop history.

Buy Eldritch Horror on Amazon UK/Amazon US.

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2. Betrayal at House on the Hill: Third Edition

A classic is revitalised with its latest edition.

Betrayal at House on the Hill: Third Edition layout photo
The new design of the miniatures for this latest edition are much improved on those in the previous one.

Whilst Betrayal at House on Hill has always remained a popular choice, it was showing its age by the time that the Third Edition was released. Betrayal is a horror game in which players explore a creepy house until they encounter an event that has the potential to pit them against each other. Each playthrough of the title could result in players experiencing an entirely new storyline, or haunt, that offers a fresh take on classic horror tropes. The latest edition of the semi-co-operative board game introduced a collection of brand-new haunts - including a few sequels to haunts from previous editions - as well as some much needed changes such as fresh artwork, a more diverse cast of characters and better designed components. If you're planning on giving Betrayal at House on the Hill a go, then you can't get better than the Third Edition.

Buy Betrayal at House on the Hill: Third Edition on Amazon UK/Amazon US.

3. Mansions of Madness

Fight against the forces of the Old Ones in this dungeon-crawler game

Mansions of Madness: Second Edition horror board game box
There are a wide variety of different scenarios to choose from in Mansions of Madness.

For a more visceral and combat-heavy approach to the Cthulhu mythos, consider picking up a copy of Mansions of Madness. As with Fantasy Flight’s other Lovecraftian games, Players take on the roles of investigators standing against the threat of certain annihilation at the hands of uncaring gods. But unlike those games, Mansions of Madness makes space for a DM-like role, designed to help guide the other players through various familiar locations in and around Arkham. In the second edition, this was eventually phased out with the introduction of a nifty app, which would manage all the admin work in the player’s stead. Along the way, you can expect nail-biting encounters with all manner of cosmic abominations, before a final showdown with one of the several bosses included in the box.

Buy Mansions of Madness on Amazon UK/Amazon US.

4. Mysterium

A ghost is looking for justice from a team of plucky mediums

Mysterium horror board game gameplay layout
Mysterium has some beautiful and surreal artwork inside.

Beloved abstract storytelling game Dixit gets given a suitably spooky makeover in Mysterium. A fantastic reworking of a system originally introduced in the game Tajemnicze Domostwo, Mysterium proposes a world where ghosts are real (wooo-ooo) and want to help you solve crimes. More specifically, their murder. In Mysterium, one player takes on the role of said ghost, whose methods of communication are limited to a deck of beautifully illustrated cards. With these cards, the ghost must lead the other players, or paranormal investigators, to the correct murder suspect before the night is out. Mysterium takes the initial concept of Dixit and applies a more defined ruleset and stronger theme to it, making for an arguably better game – or, at least, a more challenging one.

Buy Mysterium on Amazon UK/Amazon US.

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5. One Night Ultimate Werewolf

Who will be the werewolves in this fast-paced social deduction game?

One Night Ultimate Werewolf horror board game box
With such a portable box, this is the perfect game to bring to parties.

Mafia may be the original social deduction game, but this list’s theme is horror, so we have to talk about something spooky. And what could be scarier than making your friends and families disown you? One Night Ultimate Werewolf is like the classic social deduction game Werewolf (innocents must successfully identify the lycanthropes or lose) but, as the name suggests, takes place over a single evening (or round) instead of several. What this does is speed up the pace of the game considerably, allowing for players to take on multiple roles during a single session. This ensures that the game never gets stale, making it perfect for Halloween parties where you want to keep the ball rolling.

Buy One Night Ultimate Werewolf on Amazon UK/Amazon US.

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6. Arkham Horror: The Card Game

A living card game where players become investigators in the Arkham Files universe

Arkham Horror: The Card Game horror board game gameplay layout
Players can make and customise their own investigator decks to their liking.

As you may have noticed, Cthulhu is a popular guy in the tabletop world now, so forgive us if it sounds like we’re beating the same drum. But Arkham Horror: The Card Game is unique amongst its eldritch card game peers for providing an ongoing series of campaigns, each one designed to be played with a deck of cards. These decks represent each of the game’s investigators, with the cards inside containing the various skills and tools unique to each one. As players encounter scenario after scenario, each more horrifying than the last, these cards become the only thing between survival and permanent death. Arkham Horror is a living card game, which means that unlike a collectable card game (e.g. Magic: The Gathering) deck expansions are not random. This results in Arkham Horror providing a more linear experience than its RPG sibling, Call of Cthulhu, whilst still giving players the freedom to craft a surprisingly deep narrative experience.

Buy Arkham Horror: The Card Game on Amazon US and Amazon UK.

7. Horrified

Fight together against some of horror's most iconic villains

Horrified board game layout
Players will need to employ different tactics against each of Horrified's monsters.

Though many of their origins pre-date them, it is undeniable that many of horror's most recognisable villains owe much of their fame to the Hammer Horror film series. The likes of Dracula, Frankenstien's monster and the Creature from the Black Lagoon have appeared in historically important horror films and are rising from their graves once again for Horrified, a co-op board game based on the monsters of Hammer Horror. Each one of these monsters provides players with a unique challenge, but can be combined together to form a coalition of infamy that will have the group scratching their heads figuring out how to defeat them. Horrified isn't just a fantastic tribute to some of the most recognisable horror films in history, it's also a entertaining experience that'll force players to work together.

Buy Horrified from Amazon UK/Amazon US.

8. Dead Man’s Cabal

A bizarre board game about raising the dead to join a party

Dead Mans Cabal horror board game gameplay layout
Prepare to fill this board with undead revellers.

But what if you wanted the dead to rise? What if… you were one of those pesky necromancers? Dead Man’s Cabal allows you to live that dream by putting you in the moth-eaten shoes of a dark mage whose social life is entirely dead. In Dead Man’s Cabal, players must compete to have the largest gathering of rotting partygoers rise from the grave. This is achieved by cunningly negotiating the game’s unique action queuing system, selecting one action for yourself and another action for the whole group. This refreshing approach to strategy, as well as the game’s darkly comedic tone, is why Dead Man’s Cabal is definitely worth digging up.

Buy Dead Man's Cabal on Amazon UK/Amazon US.

9. Nyctophobia

This unusual board game sees players donning blindfolds and navigating a 3D maze

Nyctophobia board game box, pieces, and black out glasses
Nyctophobia might just be one of the most unique looking board games of all time.

Easily the weirdest game on this list, Nyctophobia is a co-operative horror experience unlike any other. You just know you’re going to have fun with a game when blindfolds are involved, and Nyctophobia has a lot of them (or in this case, blackout glasses). In Nyctophobia, one player adopts the role of a bloodthirsty hunter, stalking the other players through a dark forest until the last victim dies – or the remaining survivors escape. Escape is achieved through careful communication between players, and a mental understanding of 3D shapes. The game board itself is a strange beast, with plastic panels representing the trees and little divots for players to poke their fingers into. It’s a game that’s designed for physical interaction, and yet provides a surprising amount of immersion considering how initially ridiculous it might feel to play.

Buy Nyctophobia on Amazon UK/Amazon US.

10. The Thing: Infection at Outpost 31

A tabletop adaptation where you most either survive assimilation or hunt humans

The Thing: Infection at Outpost 31 blood test cards
Players can become an alien at any point throughout Infection at Outpost 31.

Though there are mutiple board game versions of the '80s sci-fi horror film The Thing, this particular example is the best one out there. Taking place at the infamous Antarctic research station, The Thing: Infection at Outpost 31 is a board game that splits the players between two teams: the humans and the aliens. As a human, players will need to explore the research station to find the items they need to complete their missions. However, the hidden alien players will be looking for ways to disrupt the humans' attempts without being clocked. The human players can carry out blood tests - similar to the one conducted by MacReady in the film - on people they think are attacking suspicious and oust them from the group. As the game continues, the aliens will gain more chances to assimilate others into their ranks. Get ready to play a tense and challenging tabletop adaptation of one of the best horror films of all time.

Buy The Thing: Infection at Outpost 31 on Amazon UK/Amazon US.

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11. Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game

They are excellent mechanics coming out of the walls in this horror deckbuilding game

Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game board game xenomorph card
If you love the Alien film series, you'll love the artwork for Alien Legendary.

Alien is unequivocally one of the best horror movies of all time. Hugely influential and ahead of its time, Alien spawned a film franchise that arguably has since seen better days, but it does have some pretty brilliant tabletop adaptations to its name. One of these adaptations is Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game, a series that began with a Marvel themed entry and eventually made its way to a number of other IPs. (Including, funnily enough, the Predator franchise.)

Marvel Legendary is a great game in its own right, but Alien Legendary masterfully combines fluid gameplay with surprisingly competent theming. As a deckbuilding game, Alien Legendary contains all the classic elements of the genre - card buying, deck synergy and engine-building - but wraps them up in a brutally difficult experience that seeks to mirror the feeling of being in an Alien film. Which film you imagine yourself in depends on which set you decide to play with, as Alien Legendary comes with a card set for each of the first four mainline entries. Every set presents a unique challenge, with the variety of xenomorphs you face changing to reflect the film the set is based on.

Luckily enough, Alien Legendary is also a co-op game - so at least players will be able to rely on each other for support. Players can choose between a selection of different characters, each with their own individual powers that benefit the group. However, you’re still likely to have a hard time of it no matter which roles you decide to play with. Alien Legendary is tough as nails and often ends with players being overrun by the sheer volume of xenomorphs. But this only makes Alien Legendary a better horror game because the incoming doom provides so much delicious tension.

Buy Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game on Amazon UK/Amazon US.

12. Shadow Hunters

A social deduction game with ludicrous character powers and fast-paced gameplay

Shadow Hunters board game artwork
It's easy to see the Japanese influence on this game in its artwork.

Let’s get this out in the open, Shadow Hunters is a ridiculous board game. The gameplay mechanics are mostly random, the world-building makes no sense and it involves player elimination. Despite all this, and despite the disappointing depiction of the female-identifying characters, it’s easy to love Shadow Hunters. This is all because the messy combination of every element of Shadow Hunters just works.

At its core, Shadow Hunters is a social deduction game about a world where monsters prey on the innocent, and a cabal of warriors have sworn to stop this from happening. At the beginning of the game, players are secretly sorted into different teams depending on how many people are in the game. Larger player counts means the introduction of the neutral characters, alongside the opposed hunters and shadows. The goal of hunters and shadows is simple enough - destroy the opposing side - whereas neutral characters have their own unique goals to achieve before the game ends.

All this makes for a pretty chaotic experience, with players attacking each other based on either intuition or the words of an apparently trustworthy team member. Using a turn to take a green card may provide some much needed information about the identities of the active players, but there’s an equal chance it could just contain complete nonsense. Each of the characters have a special ability they can use if they decide to reveal their identity to the rest of the group, and some of these powers are unbalanced in the most wonderful way. The fact is that Shadow Hunters is an unfair game that sometimes results in players being punished for unexplained reasons. However, the games move so quickly and continue to be deeply entertaining for everyone but the person getting dunked on, that it doesn’t matter.

Buy Shadow Hunters on Zatu.

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