Ask the League - Halloween


As a game, Betrayal at House on the Hill has its issues (unbalanced scenarios, fiddliness, rules issues, etc.), but for that once a year Halloween game night this is the game. Suspense builds as players explore a haunted house because at some point one of them will betray the rest and kill them, turn them into werewolves, summon an ancient evil or something similar.

Betrayal at House on the Hill


I don’t know about “perfect”, but Jenga is the scariest game I’ve ever played.

trick or treat poker

(Hey Christina! Here’s a video of a giant Jenga game to help solidify that feeling.)


I’m always up for a game of Smallworld. Pull out the creepies and crawlies of Smallworld Underground, though, and throw a bag of gummy worms on the table, you have all the makings to ignore those annoying kids knocking at your door trying to ruin your game night.


Any other Halloween I would have said Betrayal at the House on the Hill, but this year I have to go with Dead of Winter. I know, I know, the hype on this game is crazy, and to be honest, that’s all I thought it was too. Then Peter Vaughan told me it was a great game, and I thought I had better try it out.

I’ve played it three times now. The first time was with two players. It’s not fun with two players. In fact, they shouldn’t have said it’s a 2 player game at all. It should be marked as 3 – 5. It is a good way, though, to learn the game mechanics.

The next two games were with 5 and 4 players. This is where the game really shines. I was discussing why The Walking Dead was such a success with a friend once, and we concluded that the show was successful because it was focused on the people and the stories about humanity; the zombies were really just a tool utilized to tell those stories. That’s where Dead of Winter got it right and why the zombie theme doesn’t feel played out here. The game is about the stories that happen with the players. The zombies are just a way to tell that story. I can’t wait to play again.

Dead of Winter

Luke and Peter:

Turns out both of us have been playing the same Halloween tradition! Poker for Candy!

Luke: When I was a child, we didn’t have a lot. So when Halloween came around, we would trick or treat in the rich neighborhoods until we had grocery bags full of candy. This candy would form the basis for the greatest Halloween game of all: POKER! 5-card stud, 7 card stud, 5 card draw, nothing’s wild except the dealer, etc. Of course, you have to know and agree on the fundamental candy equivalencies…

Last year, I finally introduced this family tradition to my children. They had more fun playing with the candy than they did eating it. Of course, the Joker won.

Peter: For Trick or Treat poker as I like to call it, I love asking players what candies they love AND hate, so they start with the ‘chips’ that are their least favorite, and someone else at the table has their top picks.

trick or treat poker

As players get knocked out, they get a few candies from any players they want (a mini revenge, but not too much). At the end, the winner and second place get a healthy pick, and then the candy goes to everyone.

Due to the player elimination, I would make the levels accelerate fast, and get to another game in on your sugar high.

Happy Halloween!

This is of course just a few choices for your All Hallow’s Eve… Here are the BGG links to the above picks and a bunch of other selections to complete your spook filled weekend!

CLASSIC Villians, Adventure, Noir
Fury of Dracula
Mr. Jack
A Touch of Evil
Castle Ravenloft
Vampire: Prince of the City
Letters from Whitechapel
Gothic Doctor

HAUNTED, Ghosts and Demons
Ghost Stories
Betrayal at House on the Hill
Shadow Hunters
Fearsome Floors

Dead of Winter
Last Night on Earth
Run, Fight or Die!
Zombie Dice
Zombie 15′
City of Horror
Dead Panic

Arkham Horror
Eldritch Horror
Elder Sign
Mansions of Madness

King of Tokyo
Monsters Menace America

Jupiter Rescue
Space Hulk
Mars Attacks: The Dice Game

Werewolf, Ultimate Werewolf, One Night Werewolf
Zombie Fluxx
What the Food?! Zombie Edition

Hard Core Terror
My Little Pony

Happy Halloween!
CWG Pumpkin

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Brad Brooks

iOS Developer

Brad designed Letter Tycoon (a word game for capitalists) which won the 2015 Mensa Select award, and the upcoming Rise of Tribes. He is currently in need of a time machine to address his idea vs. execution imbalance.

5 Readers Commented

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  1. Jeff Cornelius on October 31, 2014

    I can’t say enough good things about Letters From Whitechapel. That is a great game!

  2. Royce Banuelos on October 31, 2014

    Great article! Horror is not a widespread theme in board games so it’s good to see some. Nightmare is a blast too for Halloween. Silly roll and move VHS game but turn out the lights and get a loose crowd to play it.

  3. Payton Lee on October 31, 2014

    Soon, there’s going to be a new addition to your list! Monster Mansion…

    • Luke Laurie on November 1, 2014

      Congratulations Payton! Monster Mansion is doing very well!

  4. BoardGameKing on October 29, 2015

    My best Halloween board games is Arkham Horror an one of these –

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