The last few years have been great for horror in general, but horror board games in particular have taken off. Whether you want zombies, monsters, human killers, ghosts or ghouls or otherworldly abominations, there’s a game for you.
There are options from funny to depressing to legitimately terrifying, and everything in between. The sheer diversity and volume of horror games we have to choose from is baffling, so I tried to narrow down some suggestions based on personal preference and community popularity.
Enjoy this list of the best horror board and card games of the last several years.
Anyone who grew up reading Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events will love this gloomy card game. The players adopt a family of very unfortunate folk and then proceed to make their lives as miserable as possible.
You’ll encounter mishaps and lower your character’s self-worth score, bringing them as low as you can before they shamble off the mortal coil. But wait, there’s more: pile celebrations of marriages, births, and other happy occasions on your opponents’ characters to foil their dastardly intentions.
This is a fun game for 2-5 players with expansions that really gives a whole new meaning to family feud!
Published by: Atlas Games Players: 2-5 Year Published: 2005 Recommended Ages: 13+ (as young as 10 could potentially enjoy) Time to Play: 60 minutes
The recently released third edition of this deduction game is a fan-favorite, but be warned: you’ll drop at least $300 to pick up this born-again classic. Play as Count Dracula himself, Van Helsing, John Seward, Lord Arthur Godalming, or Mina Harker in this game of subterfuge and misdirection.
The player assuming the role of the Count spreads his influence and vicious progeny across Europe, while the heroes attempt to hunt him down. This intense 1 player vs. 1-4 player classic has been beautifully revamped for modern audiences, and if you can get a hold of it, it will be well worth your time and money.
Published by: Fantasy Flight Games Players: 2-5 Year Published: 2015 Recommended Ages: 14+ Time to Play: 150 minutes
The trajectory and enduring popularity of this game proves that Werewolf in any form deserves a spot in the top ten of the 20teens. Whether you’re playing the old Are You a Werewolf? version with only two available roles or One Night Ultimate Werewolf: Daybreak with apps and roles and options galore, I have never come across someone who didn’t enjoy this game.
Trick your friends, sow discontent, and decide who to murder in the ultimate party game of werewolves and villagers; hopefully all your friendships remain intact at the end. This game can be played with anywhere from four to forty people, and the better you know your opponents, the more fun it gets.
Published by: Bezier Games Players: 3-7 Year Published: 2015 Recommended Ages: 8+ Time to Play: 10 minutes
This game is sort of a combination between Betrayal at the House on the Hill and 13 Dead End Drive set in the world of HP Lovecraft. From the same people who brought you Eldritch Horror and Elder Sign, this app-guided game will lead players through baffling adventures in the dark alleys and haunted halls of Arkham.
Play alone or cooperate with up to 4 other players as you solve puzzles and flee for your life from otherworldly abominations.
Mansions of Madness: Second Edition also showed up on our aggregated best games of 2016 list.
Published by: Fantasy Flight Games Players: 1-5 Year Published: 2016 Recommended Ages: 14+ Time to Play: at least 2 hours
Whether it’s The Long Night expansion or the original game, Dead of Winter is very popular—and for good reason.
This game manages to capture the atmosphere of a zombie apocalypse: the desperation, the potential for frostbite and infection, and the impending doom of the zombies outside slowly creeping in. This game will stress you out in all the right ways, and can be played with 2-5 players.
Read more about the The Long Night expansion in our review.
Published by: Fantasy Flight Games Players: 2-5 Year Published: 2014 Recommended Ages: 14+ Time to Play: at least 45 minutes (games can extend for hours)
This game combines exploration, monsters, player cooperation, and betrayal in the haunted house from hell.
Explore to discover the layout of the mansion, and stumble across ghosts, ghouls, monsters—and eventually, a betrayal from one of the other players.
Defeat the traitor and their armada of monsters before they complete their objective to win this fast-paced party game for 3-6 players. And yes, I cheated a little here. The game was released in 2004, but it was re-released in 2010. And has a recently released expansion: Widow’s Walk.
Published by: Avalon Hill Games Players: 3-6 Year Published: 2004 (original); 200 (re-released) Recommended Ages: 12+ Time to Play: 60 minutes
This game takes a less conventionally Western view on a ghost game.
Players must cooperate to beat back the spirits (incarnations of Wu Feng, the king of hell) threatening to overrun the village. In video game style, the players must defeat Wu Feng himself in an epic boss fight at the end of the game to exorcise the demons for good.
This super challenging thematic game is one of the most affordable hidden gems on the market.
Published by: Repos Production Players: 1-4 Year Published: 2008 Recommended Ages: 12+ Time to Play: 60 minutes
The original Pandemic is one of my all-time favorite games, and the recent spinoff game Legacy didn’t disappoint. This is the second highest rated game on Board Game Geek right now, which is very impressive to say the least.
It incorporates the horror of contagion with strategy and cooperation to make a thrilling and delightful experience. Legacy diverges from the original format by incorporating a campaign component to the traditional board game, which looks like 12 missions, 5 dossiers, 8 mystery boxes, four diseases that evolve and change, one pack of stickers, and a deck of legacy cards. Players end up ripping up cards, placing stickers, and writing on the board as they play through campaign scenarios in the familiar world of Pandemic.
Collaborate with 2-4 fellow scientists to cure the diseases before they wipe out the world—and then pick up where you left off last time you played.
Published by: Z-Man Games Players: 2-4 Year Published: 2015 Recommended Ages: 13+ Time to Play: 60 minutes
I guess I’m a sucker for Lovecraftian horror, because my top two games take place in his world of darkness.
This cooperative game pits players against oncoming horror as they travel around the world investigating, unraveling mysteries, and solving puzzles hold back the hordes.
Discover your limit, and push beyond it in this mind-numbing mystery. Play with 1-8 and get ready to get weird with this truly bizarre and beautiful game.
Published by: Fantasy Flight Games Players: 1-8 Year Published: 2013 Recommended Ages: 14+ Time to Play: 2-4 hours
Call me biased, but this is probably my favorite game in the horror genre. I am always down to play a round of this Lovecraftian nightmare game.
Elegant and flush with cooperative and storytelling elements, this game is atmospheric and creepy as hell, and even a single expansion pack will expand the playability of this game immensely.
Explore houses, haunting theaters, spooky alleyways, graveyards, and more as you search for clues, fight horrifying monsters, and run from sanity-shattering beings that will linger in your mind for years to come.
This game for 1-2 players is an absolute delight, and I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t tried it yet.
And for a different perspective, check out the opinion of another writer on this site.
And for an objective opinion, the game came in at #10 on our aggregated best board games of 2016 list.
Published by: Fantasy Flight Games Players: 1-2 Year Published: 2016 Recommended Ages: 14+ Time to Play: 1-2 hours