If you find yourself with downtime while waiting for the trick-or-treaters to arrive, a board game can be just about perfect. Here’s a quick run down of some tricks ‘n’ treats to keep you entertained while waiting for the little goblins to arrive.
Each player in this card game takes on the role of a mad scientist, racing to be the first to complete an unholy fusion of science and the occult without riling the locals enough for them to storm your castle/laboratory (castlebatory?) with pitchforks glinting and torches blazing. In practice it feels more like advanced go fish, but it’s quick, cheap, and easy to teach and learn. Not a bad option if there are younger misanthropes in your Halloween gaming circle.
True to it’s namesake, Zombie Dice (functionally identical to Dino Hunt Dice, except, you know, with zombies) is a push-your-luck dice game that doesn’t require a whole lot of thought. You and the other zombies in the game will take turns chasing after humans, trying to eat as many brains as possible before you’re shotgunned back to oblivion. Yahtzee it ain’t, but it’s thematic thriller you can teach to anyone in seconds.
Give this one a shot if you’d like a little strategy with your dice rolling. A cooperative team of up to four investigators search through a museum, trying to collect the sigils necessary to close a portal to Another Place before one of the Elder Things comes through and destroys us all. While the game mechanics essentially boil down to rolling dice and matching symbols, the game drips of flavor as only a much-loved FFG game can, and there are plenty of updates to keep you going if you manage to save humanity to easily in your first few outings. Which, by the way, you won’t.
One of the most interesting competitive deck-builders we’ve seen, Nightfall is set in a world where one day, the sun never came up, and the creatures of the night decided it was time to come back out of hiding and claim their birthright. Players act as puppet masters, working from the scenes to turn the battling vampires, ghouls, werewolves and human “hunters” to their own advantage. This game has a little bit of everything – drafting, deck building, combo chaning, and fast and furious combat action that manages to have a clear winner without having player elimination, a rarity among PvP games. Sadly AEG stopped supporting it before many of the expansions were ported, but it’s still a great game in a well-designed app with all the usual Playdek polish.
The core of most zombie conflict pits a hopelessly outnumbered, pitiful band of human survivors against an endless tide of the undead, with survival the only goal. Zombies! hits all of those notes, as players turn over tiles to build a city, struggling to survive long enough to get to the helipad and ultimately rescue. (Aside – notice how it’s always assumed that Somewhere Else will be safe? If zombies roam the whole earth, where can you find safety? Don’t you people watch The Walking Dead?) In this massive dice-fest, you’ll roll to move, roll to shoot, and try to survive. Unwieldy graphcis tend to bog down a bit what should be a quick and simple game, but until Last Night on Earth or Zombicide show up on the platform, this may be the best we have.
Here we find one of the few games that tries to answer the question of what happens after the zombies take over. Rebuild is sort of an inverted SimCity – in this case, the city has already been built, and you instead are trying to wrest control back from the undead. You must keep your people fed, housed, and happy, while you fight off wave after wave of zombies, evil bikers, and random events while working toward one of seven (!) different ways to win the game. Surprisingly thought-provoking if surviving the zombie apocalypse is your thing.
One of EA’s first forays into free-to-play, HH is still a decent intro to strategy board games. Two players face off building their own haunted mansions one room at a time, generating monsters, and then scaring the town or fighting the opposition. First band of spooks to scare the whole town silly wins. The catch is that each individual unit beyond the few base units supplied with the game are a separate IAP – you don’t technically NEED them to play the game, but you quickly run out of possible combinations without them, and $2 per unit ain’t cheap. Still, it’s a cute, light one-on-one strategy game that serves as a good intro to meatier fare.
In this fully co-operative game, each player takes on the role of a monk fighting to rid the town of a host of angry spirits hell-bent on haunting the town into oblivion. The thing about this game is that you will lose. A lot. Then you will lose some more. A lot. Then, after countless plays crafting strategies, carefully coordinating your actions, and getting JUST the right amount of luck – you’ll win. And then try it again one of the three harder levels. And lose. This game’s reputation for difficulty is as legendary as it is deserved, but that just makes the feeling of satisfaction when you finally bust the ghosts that much sweeter. We assume. We haven’t actually done it yet.
OH GOD DON’T MAKE ME PLAY IT AGAIN!!! THE HORROR, THE HORROR!!!!
Got a Halloween favourite we missed from the list? Tell us in the comments!