Dark Souls Horror Board Game

Best Scary/Horror Board Games for a Spooky Halloween (2019)

Scare up some thrills, murder your friends, and sink into madness.

Halloween is a time when we embrace the ethereal, migrate towards the macabre, stride towards the spooky. As with most holidays, Kendra and I like to celebrate by playing board games, and it’s the perfect excuse to dress up and get in character without people giving us too many weird looks.

To share in that spirit we’ve compiled a list of some of the best Halloween board games to play on this frightening festival. We’ve rated each game on a scary ghost scale: 1 ghost is kinda scary and 5 ghosts is terrifying!

Without further ado, here are some of our favorite Halloween board games:

In Salem 1692, the witch hunt is heating up. Who is friend and who is foe? Accuse and defend your fellow townsfolk as you hunt down the witches of Salem. Act fast, before conspiracy turns you against your own in this bluffing card game.

  • 4-12 players
  • 20-40 mins
  • 12+ yrs
  • easy
3.5/5

Get ready for a strategically challenging, deeply immersive combat exploration game set in the Dark Souls video game universe. The Dark Souls board game is a brutally hard exploration miniatures game. Prepare to die.

  • 1-4 players
  • 90-120 mins
  • 14+ yrs
  • hard
4.5/5

Players explore a haunted mansion, encountering spirits and frightening omens that foretell their fate. Secretly, one of the characters betrays the rest of the party, and the innocent members must defeat the traitor in their midst before it’s too late! 

  • 3-6 players
  • 60 mins
  • 12+ yrs
  • medium
5/5

Players start in a small, weakened colony of survivors in a world where most of humanity is either dead or diseased, flesh-craving monsters. Each player leads a faction of survivors with dozens of different characters in the game.

  • 2-5 players
  • 60-120 mins
  • 13+ yrs
  • medium
4.5/5

Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game is a survival horror board game that pits small-town heroes head-to-head against a horde of zombies. All the game art is photographic. The game also comes with a CD soundtrack of original thematic music.

  • 2-6 players
  • 60-90 mins
  • 12+ yrs
  • medium
3.5/5

Arkham Horror is a cooperative adventure game themed around H.P Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. Players take on the role of Investigators who must prevent the Ancient One from breaking into our world.

  • 1-8 players
  • 120-360 mins
  • 12+ yrs
  • hard
5/5

Salem 1692 

Facade Games | 2016 | Playing time: 20-40min | Players: 4-12

The year is 1692, in Salem Massachusetts. Plunge yourself into a world of paranoia, accusation, witchcraft, and murder. Can you survive and root out the evil witches plaguing your village? Will you fall prey to the mass hysteria of the people? Or are you the actually a witch sowing discord?

Horror Board Game Mechanic

Each player takes the role of a villager of Salem. Each player is given several role cards, some of which could contain the witch. It is the entire village’s job to accuse, set a “tryal,” and execute all the witches. As with the real Salem witch trials it’s not going to be that easy, and you will probably accuse and kill a lot of innocent people along the way.

Salem is a social deduction game in the vein of Werewolf or Mafia, but it’s been described as Werewolf for people who hate Werewolf. Often times in similar games the players have no idea who the traitors are and sometimes have to accuse blindly which takes a lot of skill out of the game.

Salem 1692 GameSalem gameplay addresses this issue by using role cards and trial cards. Instead of being singled out through sheer luck players have to whittle down a potential witch with evidence before they can make a decision. As the game progresses it will become clearer who the real villagers are and who may be dabbling in the dark arts.

The game is much more horrifying if you also know the background of the Salem witch trials in which 20 people were executed for witchcraft and witchcraft-related activities. Despite popular lore, there was no burning. Of the accused, 19 women were hanged and 1 was tortured to death by being slowly crushed by rocks.

Why We Like It

I think social deduction games are fantastic ways to spend time with family and friends. It’s an easy way to introduce newbies to games (with relatively simple game mechanics) and it’s a great way to get to know new friends. Because honestly, if lying to strangers and accusing each other of witchcraft doesn’t break the ice, I really don’t know what will.

Scary Rating (out of 5): Scary RatingScary Rating

Perfect for getting into character and even dressing up.

Social Deduction games are great for large groups of people and we’ve found it’s a great way to get to know new people. It’s always good to know if your new friend is an excellent liar.

Salem 1692

  • A Witch Hunt Game of Cards, Strategy, Deceit
  • 4-12 players out of the box
  • 20-40 minutes

Dark Souls: The Board Game

Steamforged Games | 2017 | Playing time: 90-120 minutes | Players: 1-4

If you’ve never played the video game or know nothing about Dark Souls well then…

Prepare to die!

The Dark Souls board game has been faithfully recreated so that the tabletop version plays surprisingly similar to the board game. As a cooperative group or solo, players will explore a randomized area of the macabre world of dark souls. You will encounter tough monsters and demons and can press ever deeper into the dungeons, or you can move back to the safety of the campfire and upgrade your characters and rest. Be warned though if you rest the dungeon resets and every monster you just killed returns making just getting to the final boss a heroic feat in and of itself.

Dark Souls is difficult. You will die. You will be punished for impatience and carelessness. But for those that work together, strategize, and think, you will be rewarded.

Seriously that’s the tagline for the game.

Horror Board Game Mechanic

The world of Dark Souls as the name implies is very dark. The glorious heroic days of the kingdom are long past, and all that remains is a twisted version, corrupted by demons and dark magic. The game mechanics force a sense of urgency, where every monster is potentially lethal, and overextending your party can leave you facing a boss in an extremely weakened state.

The miniatures that come with the game all add to the dark fantasy setting where you will battle demons, dragons, and corrupted warriors.

Dark Souls Board Game

Why We Like It

The ambiance and the ever-present threat of death make this a perfect game to bring to your table. Its cooperative nature will unite your party together against the board, while still offering a high level of competitiveness. Players of the video game will have an easy time recognizing many of the game mechanics, but noobs to the game will still be able to quickly pick up the rules and jump right in. The designers over at Steam Forged games have done an incredible job of getting players into the game without too much fuss, but once you’re in, there’s no way out… (*cue scary music*)

Scary Rating (out of 5): Scary RatingScary RatingScary RatingScary RatingScary Rating

Dark Souls has beautiful artwork and gorgeous minis that will transport you to a highly thematic and truly dark fantasy setting.

Play to your audience though. If you know you’re players aren’t big on tactics and strategizing, they’re going to die… a lot. This game is good for smaller groups (2-4 players) who like serious strategy in their games.

Dark Souls: The Board Game

  • Dark Souls: The Board Game is a cooperative dungeon crawl board game for 1-4 players.
  • Use your resources sparingly, learn quickly, and prepare to die.

Betrayal at House on the Hill 

Avalon Hill Games | 2004 | Playing time: 60 minutes | Players: 3-6

Take a deep breath before you enter.

Are you ready for some classic horror? Channel your inner Scooby Doo and step into Betrayal at House on the Hill where every classic horror trope you can think of awaits. You might find yourself being haunted by an angry poltergeist, encountering zombies crawling from the walls, being hunted by the crazed ax murderer Calico Jack, or fighting the awakened ancient evil trying to swallow the world.

No two games are ever alike and your friends may not turn out to be who you think they are.

Horror Board Game Mechanic

Every game starts the same but each has a completely unique end.

The game starts out in cooperative mode and all players start exploring the house, opening up rooms and collecting items. Certain room tiles (marked with a raven) will give the player a powerful item, and trigger a haunt roll. If (and when) the roll fails then the real game begins.

Betrayal has around 50 different scenarios that come with the game. The room and item that was picked when the Haunt begins, determine the scenario that everyone is playing. They also determine who turns traitor and tries to kill the other players. So your best friend that you just helped out before the Haunt began could end up being a traitor and trying to kill you on the very next turn.

Some things you’ll encounter:

  • Getting chased by an Ax Murderer
  • Demonic possession
  • Cannibals
  • Zombies
  • Crazy Cat Ladies (seriously they’re in there)

Betrayal at the House on the Hill Board Game

Why We Like It

This is our #1 choice for a fun board game to play for Halloween (or any time of year)! The replayability of this game makes it a lot of fun. The scenarios you will encounter are nearly endless. If you find that you’ve already played a certain scenario, then it’s easy to just draw a random card to mix it up a bit. If ever there was a perfectly themed Halloween game, this is it.

Sometimes the scenarios can seem fairly one-sided and I’ve had certain players complain that they always end up the traitor (You know who you are…), but I still think this game is incredible.

For me, it’s about the shared storytelling and the heroic moments of the game. We still talk about games where Kendra sacrificed herself to buy enough time to kill the Zombie Lord, or how her uncle stabbed me in the back to steal my stuff. (I’m not bitter about it at all.) Check out our full review of Betrayal at House on the Hill for more spooky goodness.

Scary Rating (out of 5): Scary RatingScary RatingScary RatingScary Rating

Great for 3-6 casual players and those looking for high replayability in a game. We’ve spent whole days playing this game.

Betrayal at House on the Hill

  • Features multiple scenarios, a different lay-out with every game, and enough chills to freeze the heart of any horror fan.
  • Cooperative game for 3-6 players

Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game

Plaid Hat Games | 2014 | Playing time: 60-120 minutes | Players: 2-5

The world is overrun. Civilization has collapsed. We’ve already lost. The only thing left is to survive… and winter is here.

Dead of Winter has you control a group of survivors who are trying to survive in your fortified compound. Each player controls a hero character with skills from the old world, like a firefighter, police officer, engineer, etc. You are going to need to work together to feed your people and avoid a mutiny (and frostbite) in order to successfully survive.

Be warned! One of you may not be who they seem to be.

Each survivor has their own specific goal that they are trying to accomplish, and someone may try to sabotage the group for their own gain.

Horror Board Game Mechanic

Despite the horror of seeing your well-loved character bitten and slowly dying a horrible death, there’s always the ever-present threat that your buddies will let the zombie horde into your compound, thereby sabotaging all of your hard work keeping everyone alive.

Dead of Winter Board Game

Why We Like It

I really like the fact that this isn’t a straightforward hidden traitor game. You could potentially play a game where everyone is working towards the greater good, that way everyone’s individual goals keep the group guessing. If you’re intrigued, check out our full review of Dead of Winter here.

Perfect for a spooky game night! If you love zombies (and even if you don’t) the survival and hidden traitor aspect really make this game really special.

Scary Rating (out of 5): Scary RatingScary RatingScary Rating

With everything already going against the survivors, the fact that one of you could be working against the group really ratchets up the tension level and keeps everyone suspicious and paranoid.

Excellent theme and great for getting into character for a fun role playing night.

Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game

  • Survive the Winter, the Dead, and Each Other.
  • A story-centric game about surviving through a harsh winter in an apocalyptic world.

Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game

Flying Frog Productions | 2007 | Playing time: 60-90 minutes | Players: 2-6

I know I already did a zombie game, but this one is a personal favorite.

Get ready to step in and take a role in your very own B horror movie. Two teams face off trying to complete objectives or eat the brains of the competition. Objectives can range from surviving the night, gassing up the old truck to escape, or defending the manor until help arrives.

Horror Board Game Mechanic

The zombie players will relentlessly attack the human players and can wreak havoc on their ability to fulfill objectives by closing off sections of the board and herding them into corners to be devoured. Every player they kill then comes under the control of the zombie squad and becomes a super zombie, stronger and faster than the garden variety.

The human heroes aren’t helpless. They will have to scrounge up weapons and abilities to survive the night, and they’ll have to keep their wits about them so as not to be cornered by the horde of ravening undead.

This is a classic zombie game. Zombie players continuously spawn zombies that slowly creep up on the survivors. Humans are faster and have access to weapons and cards that help them stay ahead, but sometimes there are just too many to escape.

Last Night on Earth Board Game

Why We Like It

The game pays homage to the zombie film genre and the gameplay reflects that. The artwork is amazing (all photography), so each player character has a photo of an actual person, which just adds that extra bit of flair to the game. It’s so fantastically campy.

It reminds me of when I was growing up and watching Night of the Living Dead with my brother, and there’s even a similar scenario in-game similar to the classic movie where you have to defend the house from zombies.

Scary Rating (out of 5): Scary Rating

It’s about as scary as a B horror movie, which is to say this game doesn’t take itself too seriously and you’re going to have a lot of fun. There’s even a card in the game that forces two hero characters to stop whatever they’re doing and end their turns because it’s their “Last night on Earth” and they have better things to do…

We’ve played with 2-4 players and each time is fun. It’s highly thematic and great for before or after a George A. Romero movie marathon.

Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game

  • Last Night on Earth The Zombie Game is a fast-paced game of brain-eating zombies, small town heroes and horror movie action.
  • For 2-6 players. Takes 60-90 minutes.

Arkham Horror Board Game

Fantasy Flight Games | 2005 | Playing time: 120-360 minutes | Players: 1-8

Step right into the pages of H.P. Lovecraft into Arkham City, where eldritch horrors are awakening and the only thing between you and complete madness is your group of fellow investigators. Choose your favorite investigator straight from Lovecraftian lore and dive right in.

Horror Board Game Mechanic

Each investigator is drawn to Arkham from some rumor or event in their lives that pushes them to seek and the source and end the horror. While investigating the town of Arkham, gates into other realms will open up and spill monsters into the city. For every gate left unchecked you risk having a monster surge that will exponentially spawn more monsters throughout the game. There are many ways to lose this game, and not many to win. You must either close the gates fast enough or the Ancient One will awaken and force you into a final showdown. If you fail you (and Arkham) are devoured.

Arkham Horror Board Game

Why We Like It

This is one of the truly cooperative big box games on the market. You must work together to present a united front against the Ancient One. Everyone wins or loses together. If you have a group of highly competitive players and there have been some disagreements or Monopoly-style table flips, then this is a great game to get everyone back together.

Scary Rating (out of 5): Scary RatingScary RatingScary RatingScary Rating

If you love H.P. Lovecraft then you will be familiar with many of the themes and locations in Arkham. If not, that’s okay too because the game itself is a lot of fun and can be extremely challenging. The difficulty scales with the Ancient One chosen. Each one has its own abilities and some are much harder than others. As you can imagine, Cthulhu is one of the more difficult Ancient Ones to beat. This game can be a lot of fun with 2-8 players.

Arkham Horror (Third Edition)

  • A modern take on the classic cooperative game of Lovecraftian cosmic horror
  • Choose one of twelve unique investigators, each with their own abilities and backstory

The Chilling Verdict

We’ve spent countless hours running from ghosts, demolishing zombies, and stabbing each other in the back. If we had to choose, our number one favorite game on this list would be… Betrayal at the House on the Hill.

The game board changes every time, the scenarios are challenging, terrifying (and sometimes outrageous), and the haunt roll never fails to keep everyone on the edge of their seats.

The thematic level is through-the-roof and by the end of the night we always end up getting into character with goofy Halloween costumes and dramatic readings of card events.

I’m not scared,  you’re scared.

If Betrayal at House on the Hill is not your cup of tea or you just want something a little weightier with your games, then definitely try out Dark Souls: The Board Game. I’ve rarely had my heart pounding so hard waiting for the outcome of a dice roll.  The level of horror from getting to a boss with your buddies only to watch them all be taken down one by one is truly terrifying.

We hope that this list helps you find something spooky to play together on Halloween!

Have you played any of the games on this list? Do you have another favorite scary horror game?  Leave us a comment below and share your tales and favorites. Happy Halloween!