Without further ado, let’s dive into five of the season’s spooky specials.
#1: Mysterium—It's hard to get more Halloween-spirited than diving into
the mystery of an unsolved murder as a psychic detective on Halloween
itself, and that's where you land with Mysterium. Years ago, the Count
of Warwick's manservant was found dead at a party, and the trauma of
the event led the family to leave the region forever. Now it's your
job to figure out what happened and free the ghost once and for all.
Like most good spooky-themed games, Mysterium is cooperative.
It's much creepier working together in the face of an unseen force
than being able to look at your opponent across the table. Unlike
most spooky games, the ghost isn't your enemy here; in fact, the
reason your psychic team is investigating on Halloween is that it's
the day when the mortal and spirit realms touch, and the ghost can
speak to you through visions. Work together with up to five other
detectives and the trouble ghost to suss out the possibilities
and conclude, once and for all, the cast of the Warwick Manor Murder.
#2: Obscurio—If psychic ability isn't enough, and you're angling for
real magical power, Obscurio might put the spark into your table.
There's still a mystery afoot,but it's one you and your friends have
walked into unwittingly—but that's what happens when you try to steal
magical grimoires from mighty sorcerers, kids.
There's a big similarity to Mysterium here, in that the clues you need
to escape the Sorcerer's illusions are handed out in image form by the
Grimoire, which is trying to free itself from the Sorcerer's clutches
just as much as you want to free it (or, you know, "free" it). One major
departure, however, is the presence of a traitor who's fallen to the
Sorcerer's power. It's not enough to share information and make your way out
with the great book; you need to be careful not to let the turncoat ruin your
group's cohesion and leave you lost in the illusory maze forever!
#3: Until Daylight—If you're still not tired of zombies, Until Daylight is
waiting to leap into your loving arms and gnaw on your face. Even if you are
tired of zombies,Until Daylight might be the thing to win you back. Ten waves
of monstrous hordes are coming for your camp when the sun goes down, and if you
want to make it through this nightmarish apocalypse, you can't afford
to lose anyone on your team before dawn.
Apparently based on the notion that Five Minute Dungeon was too relaxed,
Until Daylight gives you varying (let's call them random) timers you use
to search for helpful items before the horde comes. Winning isn't just a
matter of bashing monsters, either; terrible human raiders come for you as
well, and survivors are mixed into the whole mess as well. You have to pull
at least one survivor out of the horde and keep them alive until the end of
the game to win. And if you have more than one? Meat shield!
If you don't mind getting overrun by zombies a few times until you figure out
exactly what it takes to beat them, and you like having a Die of Fate to roll,
Until Daylight awaits you with rigor-mortis extended hands.
#4: Villainous—Our only non-cooperative suggestion, Villainous is less about
things that go bump in the night and more about the greatest nemeses of Disney
lore wanting to go bump on your head. Captain Hook, Jafar, Maleficent, Prince
John, the Queen of Hearts, and Ursula are all on deck (advantage: Hook) to battle
not only each other,but the forces of good that won't leave them alone.
The cleverness of Villainous lies in its different style of gameplay for
each of the characters. You can look at their boards and see similar symbols,
but each villain has their own method of winning, their own set of mechanics,
their own deck of cards, and their own heroes waiting to foil their plans.
Better yet, part of your task is to use the enemies of the other villains against
drawing a bunch of goody-two-shoes out of their personal hero decks to thwart
their neverending schemes.
In the end, sure, you still have to beat a bunch of terrible villains. But if you
ever wanted to hit Peter Pan with a stick while doing it, Villainous might be
your type of game.
#5: Creepy Classic Co-ops—What, you thought we could keep this list down
to five actual games? Impossible! We stashed the perennial favorites together
in order to shine the spotlight on newer games that deserve your attention,
but we can't let Halloween pass without a mention.
If these game series are new to you, give them a look. If you're familiar
with them, remember, there's always something new coming out for you to see.
Werewolf: From Ultimate to One-Week to Werewords, the Werewolf series has
existed in one form or another for over thirty years. It's co-op… mostly;
the villagers are definitely cooperating to ferret out the handful of
werewolves that literally take them apart night after night, and the
werewolves are doing their best to make sure there's no village left by the
end of the game.
Ultimate is the classic game gone big, with dozens of roles to shake
up the strategy game after game. One Night is the quick version; find
the werewolf now before he gets away! Werewords is a Twenty Questions
version of the game, but the werewolf and her eternal nemesis, the Seer,
still have to figure each other out by the end. And 2018's
Werewolf Legacy will help you answer the question, what happens
to this village if we take more than one night of gaming to learn its fate?
Betrayal: One of the first storybook games on the market, Betrayal at House
on the Hill gives you a haunted house, some creepy surroundings, and the ticking
time bomb of knowing one of you will be driven against the others by the powers
at work around you. With dozens of outcomes available, if you ever see the same
story play out twice, you will have gotten your money out of the game multiple
More recently, Betrayal at Baldur's Gate was released for those of a D&D-friendly
persuasion, with characters much more in tune with Dungeons & Dragons lore but
keeping the same core gameplay. Like Werewolf, Betrayal also has a Legacy version
now—who's to say how powerful the evil in the house can become when you watch it
evolve over decades?
Cthulhu: Yep, it's Granddaddy Tentacle ready to sweep you into the ocean and
break the town of Arkham into pieces for the eighty-seven millionth time. If you
like the Cthulhu mythos, there's almost no end to the options available. Want to
battle the Elder Gods in Arkham? Arkham Horror. Prefer traveling the world?
Eldritch Horror. Dice-based? Elder Sign. Small (four-max) card game? Arkham
Horror, The Card Game. Sherlock-style mystery solving? Mythos Tales.
This is not an exhaustive list, either, but it's enough to get any fan
of Lovecraft's work, or anyone even a little interested, into the
game-based use of his lore. Your friendly local game store can help you dig
further into the possibilities if these aren't enough, or if you're a big fan
who already owns all the games on this list.
That'll do it for our Halloween Spooky Special games run down. Take a trip down
to pick up the game that strikes your fancy today, because sales are…
...wait for it…