I love my electronic media, yet every now and then I just need to unplug.  One of my favorite ways to do that is to have the friends over, crack open some booze, then bust out some good old fashion tabletop games.  You remember those, right?  Luckily we’ve evolved far past the Monopoly and Scrabble games of the past.  I’m going to give you 5 great horror themed games that will please casual gamers, or even those that are a bit more hardcore.

This is a dice rolling game that is known as a “push your luck” style game. Players take turns blindly pulling 3 dice from the container to roll. As ravenous zombies, you want to roll as many brains as possible. But beware! 3 shotgun blast will end your turn and wipe out any points you may have earned that round. 13 points signals the last round, most points win. This game is great for your casual gaming friends. I’ve taken this on camping trips, picnics, and outdoor events. It’s quick to learn and fast paced.

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It doesn’t get much better than getting a new game out of a game you already own. Somehow, someway, damn near everyone has owned a Jenga set. Just sprinkle some imaginative storytelling into those dusty blocks and you’re ready to play Dread. Dread is a role-playing game for people who hate rolling dice, keeping up with character stats, or spending $300 on rule books. One person takes on the role of Game Master in order to tell the story and dictate actions. Every time a player wants to make an action, they have to pull from the tower. Knock over the tower and that character dies. As more and more blocks are pulled, Dread really starts to live up to its name. There is a PDF available with specific rules and scenarios, but it’s totally optional.

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If you truly want a thematic game night, look no farther than Betrayal at House on the Hill. You and your friends are exploring a haunted house that is designed as you play. Combine this with the multiple scenarios that are provided, and you have a game that is new and excited every time it’s played. This game is 3-6 players, and for me, the more the merrier. One of you will betray the others. Though it is a bit “heavier” than the previous two, the B-movie scenarios can keep it silly while the strategic elements keep you engaged. A must have.

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Don’t let the D&D scare you off. Yes, this is set in the world of Dungeons and Dragons, but you won’t be required to dress up or bring a sackful of dice. Like the previous game, Castle Ravenloft’s board is built by randomly drawing tiles. The fun thing about this one is that it is fully cooperative. Every enemy has a predetermined action based on board conditions. It can seem intimidating at first, but once you get in there and start slaying the Undead, it will all make sense. Be warned: this game is brutal. Expect to lose just as much as you win.

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H.P. Lovecraft fans, rejoice! Or perhaps slip into insanity as you face off against the Ancient Ones. Newbies approach with caution, this is an intense game. Run time will easily exceed 2 hours, and the text can feel overwhelming. However, if you can get past all of that, you will find an extremely immersive experience. 2-5 players will search for clues as they race to uncover the dark plots in Arkham. You might find yourself facing off against a nightmarish fiend, or at the mercy of a brain-melting puzzle. With more beautiful game pieces than you can imagine, Mansions of Madness is sure to impress (or overwhelm) when it hits the table.  Need more?  Check out one of the several expansion packs available for the core game.

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That’s 5 solid tabletop horror games for you.  Whether you’ve got a casual group, or those who are ready to live the experience, you are covered.  Got a favorite that I didn’t list?  Let me know, I’m always on the hunt for new games.

 

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