Board games have become more popular in the last few years, even though they’re a small and expensive hobby. Companies have tried to capitalise on the popularity of tabletop RPGs and unique board game systems. Some of the most well-known examples of this trend are the Dark Souls board game, which got a lot of money through Steamforged’s Kickstarter campaign, and Betrayal at House on the Hill, which was made by Wizards of the Coast to appeal to horror fans instead of fantasy fans.
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Even though it’s hard for people to get the same sense of tension in a tabletop setting as in a visual-based setting, the horror genre has grown quite a bit from this trend. Many people have tried to make Dungeons and Dragons games more scary by using cards, boards, and dice in other ways. Some of these have been very popular with people who want to play games with their friends, and others haven’t been so well-received.
1. Betrayal At House On The Hill
Perhaps the most well-known horror board game of all time is Betrayal at House on the Hill, by Wizards of the Coast. Anyone who even has a passing interest in the genre will enjoy this game.
In Betrayal, you might not be able to pick up and go with your family, but after a few games, you’ll see why. Players will become engrossed in the procedural nature of the mansion, as every room could hold a game-changing secret and every turn adds more and more tension to the inevitable arrival of a Lovecraftian ghoul or ghoulish ghoul. The base game has enough content to play hundreds, if not thousands, of games. There are also a few expansion packs that can add more layers to the mansion and its inhabitants.
2. Bloodborne: The Board Game
Soon after Dark Souls was made into a board game, Bloodborne also came out. Fans gave it a better rating than Dark Souls. In this game, you play as a group of Hunters who work together to find out what happened in the town of Yharnam.
The game has a unique way to fight. It uses cards to use different weapons and moves. They’ll then set out to explore Yharnam’s streets, pulling cards to move around and find new things. This will keep the story going.
3. Eldritch Horror
In Eldritch Horror, players work together to uncover horrific mysteries and keep an ancient terror at bay, with the fate of the world at stake. This game is based on the Lovecraftian style of horror storytelling. The game has a lot of different Ancient Ones that move the story forward. Each one has a deck of event cards that explain their history and give advice on how to stop them from coming.
The global travel system means there’s a lot to see and do in this place. Each location has its own mini-encounters, which can be very dangerous if you fail. When they get to the end, each sub-plot can make or break the party, because broken bones and pacts with the Ancient Ones can be big problems.
This is more for people who like classic horror than anything else. It’s almost like Scooby-Doo meets Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein in this story.
The interesting thing about this method is that all the monsters are on the board from the start, so Dracula and Frankenstein’s Monster and a group of other monsters will be working together to chase the players. To make this game more interesting, each monster behaves in a different way on the board, and each player has to use their turns in a smart way to avoid and then defeat them.
5. Cthulhu: Death May Die
Another Lovecraft-themed game, Cthulhu: Death May Die, is a very different take on the genre than Eldritch Horror. In this game, players try to summon the Elder Gods in order to destroy them once and for all, rather than try to stop them from coming. There will be more tension in the game because players start the game insane and make dice rolls that could decide the outcome of the game. This could be because a character’s mental state makes them more likely to make the dice roll that would make or break the game.
Before and after the Elder One is summoned, the game is broken up into “episodes.” Death May Die is beautiful to look at, with multiple story boxes, a wide range of characters, and well-made miniatures.
6. Betrayal Legacy
Betrayal at the House on the Hill has been a staple in tabletop horror for a long time, but the legacy version of the game makes it 11 times better at everything it does well at. Legacy games are made in the same way as a campaign for a role-playing game. They break the game into a series of episodes for players to play through in order, like a series of The Haunting of Hill House episodes. If you play this game, you can choose to make your own family and stay in the haunted house for generations to come. Throwing long-term consequences into a game where you do bad things to your friends makes playing Betrayal Legacy both painful and interesting. It’s a game that stays with you even after you put the box back on the shelf.
7. Mansions of Madness
Mansions of Madness is a game that takes a more violent and combat-heavy look at the Cthulhu mythos. As in other Lovecraftian games made by Fantasy Flight, players take on the roles of investigators who are fighting against the threat of being wiped out by gods who don’t care. But unlike those games, Mansions of Madness has a “DM-like” role. This person is there to help the other players find their way around familiar places in and around Arkham. In the second edition, this was eventually phased out because of a great app that would do all the work for the player. Along the way, you can expect to fight all kinds of cosmic monsters, before facing off against one of the many bosses in the box.
Loved abstract storytelling game Dixit is given a scary makeover in Mysterium, which you can play with friends. Mysterium is a great rework of a system that was first used in the game Tajemnicze Domostwo. It proposes a world where ghosts are real (wooo-ooo) and want to help you solve crimes. In this case, their death is the most important thing. In the game Mysterium, one player takes on the role of a ghost who can only communicate with a deck of beautiful cards. This set of cards is used by the ghost to help other players, or paranormal investigators, find the right murder suspect before the night is over. Mysterium takes the basic idea of Dixit and adds a more defined set of rules and a stronger theme to make it a better game, or at least a more difficult one, than Dixit.