5 Spooky Games Designers Will Love

Halloween is coming up and that means costumes, conjurings and way too much candy corn. At this year’s Halloween party, impress your guests with these incredibly designed spooky games! They’re sure to bring a scare and a smile to any party.


5. Gloom

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Image from Atlas Games

Designer: Keith Baker                Publisher: Atlas Games, 2005

Artists: Michelle Nephew and J. Scott Reeves        Players: 2-4

This American-styled card game gives players the chance to control the fate of “an eccentric band of misanthropes.” The goal is to make your family the most miserable while making your opponents’ families as happy as you can. With art that smacks of Edward Gorey and intriguing transparent cards, this game is both visually pleasing and mentally stimulating.

4. Betrayal at House on the Hill

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Image from Board Game Geek

Designers: Rob Daviau, Bruce Glassco,                    Publisher: Avalon Hill, 2004

               Bill McQuillan, Mike Selinker, Teeuwynn Woodruff                                                               

Artists: Dennis Crabapple McClain,                                                    Players: 3-6

Christopher Moeller, Peter Whitley                                                                        

Betrayal is a “build it yourself” tile game that allows players to build their own haunted house one room at a time. Players happily explore the mansion like characters in a B horror flick until they learn that one of their own has betrayed them. Defeat the traitor before it’s too late!

Image from Amazon.com

Image from Amazon.com

3. Letters from Whitechapel

Designer: Gabriele Mari                                            Publisher: Nexus, 2011

Artist and Designer: Gianluca Santopietro                                  Players: 2-6

Players are taken back to London’s Whitechapel district in this cat-and-mouse game. The year is 1888 and Jack the Ripper is running rampant. While one player acts as Jack trying to take five lives before being caught, other players work together as detectives and police officers. Catch Jack before the game ends to win.

2. Dread

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Image from Hex19

Author: Epidiah Ravachol                      Publisher: The Impossible Dream, 2004

Designer and Artist: Nat “Woodelf” Barmore                                     Players: 3-6

Dread is an independent role-playing game that focuses on the characters and their interactions. The game features individually drafted questionnaires that coax players into “revealing their character’s abilities, shortcomings, personalities and fears.” Instead of using dice like most RPGs, Dread uses the “Tower of Dread” (as named by Geek & Sundry). You might know it better as Jenga, the “classic block-stack, stack-crashing party game.”

1. Ouija Board

Spooky_Games_Ouija

>Image courtesy of Flickr user jmawork

Designer: Charles Kennard                 Publisher: Kennard Novelty Company, 1891

                                                                                                               Players: 2-8

So it’s technically not a game, but it still has a board, right? A little history behind the board…

In the 1800s, conjuring spirits and holding séances was totally normal. It wasn’t unusual to hold a séance on Saturday night and show up for church on Sunday morning. Back then, people didn’t look at it as “opening the gates of hell” or anything remotely that scary.

Basically, séances were used to talk to loved ones that had passed on to the other side. After the famous New York Fox sisters shared their story of contacting the other side through knocks on the walls, spiritualism really took off and people began looking for an easier way to contact the other side.

To save time, spiritualist camps in Ohio created a talking board that looked very much like today’s Ouija board. Charles Kennard caught word of the board and noticed just how popular spiritualism was becoming and, like the sly businessman he was, decided to turn this into a moneymaking scheme.

Rumor has it, the board named itself Ouija after being asked by Helen Peters, “a strong medium,” what it would like to be called. She asked the board what Ouija meant, and in an almost eerie response, it spelled out “Good luck.”

Charles Kennard and one of his investors, Elijah Bond, took the board to a patent office in Washington, where the chief officer demanded a demonstration. Kennard and Bond knew that if the board didn’t pass the test, all hopes would be lost.

The chief patent officer made a decision: If the board could spell his name correctly, the patent would pass. Lo and behold, the board spelled his name correctly (a name which supposedly was unknown to both Kennard and Bond) and the patent went through.

BONUS #6

If none of these spooky games tickle your fancy, check out Art Chantry’s “The Bored Game: A Board Game from Hell.” Designed specifically for Print magazine in November of 1992, the game ran in our “Fun ‘n’ Games” issue and, in true Chantry form, is pretty satirical.

Spooky_Games_Art copy


Z4827Paper Wonderland is a collection of super kawaii-like paper toy templates – ready to be cut out, built and played with or displayed. Inside, you’ll find templates for 32 terribly cute paper toys, detailed step-by-step instructions for each toy, and brilliant color patterns and illustrations. 

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