It’s that time of year when everyone turns to my personal favorite genre – horror! As the gamer of all types – board, roleplay, video – horror games are my bread and butter. Even in the gentle Animal Crossing: New Horizons that is popular with many of us library staffers, pumpkins and ghosts are appearing. So whether it’s bunking down with a controller to play Until Dawn, or trying to escape the haunted house in Betrayal at House on the Hill, games are a fun interactive media that gets the imagination sparking.
One of the easiest games to play out there is known by different names: Mafia, Werewolf, Wink Killer, Murder in the Dark, and so on. It’s a basic parlor game where in one or two people are the killers/werewolves and try to eliminate everyone else from the game before they get caught by the rest of the players voting that they are the killer. Various physical card games have been made from these including one based on witches in Salem, but I’ve played with pieces of paper where one is marked to indicate the killer or werewolf.
Even if you’ve never played the physical game, the mechanics probably sound familiar as they’re the basis of the new hit mobile game Among Us.
Now, Table Top Role Playing Games are highly adaptable, so it’s no surprise that’s there a lot of options out there if you want to get in some dice rolling. The Dungeons and Dragons gaming series does offer their own set of pre-made adventures set to some popular horror tropes.
Ghosts of Saltmarsh is sure to chill any team of table top adventurers. Haunted players, drowned sailors, dark magic, and forbidden gods can give these adventures a very Pirates of the Caribbean feel.
If you’re a Dracula fan, then I would suggest trying The Curse of Strahd. The vampire Count Strahd von Zarovich awaits adventurers in his looming castle, filled with all the great horror classics from bats to crypts. Both of these campaigns are classic DnD series that start at level one. Grab them, and a Player’s Handbook, and get ready for adventure.
Of course, you can always adapt your own favorite horror story into a Dungeons and Dragons game and try your hand at being the Dungeon Master. Check out a copy of the Dungeon Master’s Handbook to see how to create your very own game.
H. P. Lovecraft has certainly inspired many creative works with his highly creative mythos. While I don’t personally like the books (gasp!), I absolutely love the mythos and the creatures that have spawned from it. One of my top shelf books is A Study in Emerald written by Neil Gaiman, where a very Sherlock Holmes doppleganger meets Lovecraft’s creatures. It’s been adapted into a graphic novel and its own board game.
If you’re still hungering for something of the Lovecraft (lovecraftian?) persuasion but without the board, The Call of Cuthulu Role Playing Game may be your choice pick. Similar to the Dungeons and Dragons system, The Call of Cuthulu allows players to create characters and step into a world based on Lovecraft’s works while being at the mercy of their Game Master.
Check out the links above for some great gaming, or hit up the DVD Horror section for inspiration this Halloween season.