Horror board games are great games to own if you like the horror genre and/or if you like having games that you can break out around Halloween. While making this list, I was surprised to see how many great cooperative horror games there actually are. My group plays some of these games all year round, while others get played mostly near the end of October.
In my opinion, there isn’t a “scary” horror board game out there yet. There are quite a few that can be pretty creepy and get kind of close to the horror mood, though, through great art and the stories that the games tell.
I should point out that Nemesis is probably my favorite horror board game right now, but that one’s semi-cooperative. I should also point out that Horrified is a co-op horror game that ends up near the top of a lot of other people’s Best Horror Games lists, but that one just didn’t work well for my group (the theme is awesome, though).
Okay, here we go! Below you’ll find some of the best cooperative horror board games!
Tiny Epic Zombies is a (tiny) horror board game in which you’re attempting to complete different objectives while also dealing with a bunch of zombies. You have to run around, search different rooms in the mall, and find weapons (which physically attach to your characters!) so you can survive long enough to complete whatever your objectives are. There are different game modes, but to me, the co-op mode is easily the best.
Tiny Epic Zombies will probably be a hit horror game for your group if you like the zombie theme. That theme comes through thanks in large part to those awesome zombie meeples.
Read our Tiny Epic Zombies review
Arkham Horror: The Card Game is the first of multiple Cthulhu Mythos-related games on this list because, well, it’s a horror theme that just works. In this game, you and your fellow investigators have to use your unique skills to solve mysteries and deal with all of the horrors that come your way. Oh, and you have to stay sane!
There is replayable content in the Arkham Horror: The Card Game base box, but the publisher also releases a lot of expansions with new campaigns to play through. Plenty of people love this game, but it’s an especially great horror game to get if you know that your group will be into building their own decks of cards and playing through a bunch of different campaigns.
Read our Arkham Horror: The Card Game review
Just like in the video game, you have to fight, die, and keep trying again in Bloodborne: The Board Game. It is one of the top survival horror games around because it’s dark and you really do feel like you’re constantly fighting for survival. The scenarios are tough but fun, you have to work well as a team to win, and it has one of the better combat systems that you’ll find in modern board games.
I’d recommend Bloodborne to anyone who enjoys survival games, but it’s ideal for groups that know they can handle medium-heavy games. I’m a huge fan of the Bloodborne video game and I was surprised by how well the designers did to create a true Bloodborne tabletop experience.
Resident Evil 2 is another excellent video game inspired survival horror game. In this one, you have to deal with a lot of undead to survive. It has stealth gameplay, which works well to keep the tension up and makes it feel more like a true horror game than others. It’s also a very smooth playing game with very little downtime once you get used to the rules.
If you’ve liked other survival co-op games or you enjoyed playing the Resident Evil 2 video game, I think you’ll really like Resident Evil 2: The Board Game. I haven’t had a chance to play Resident Evil 3 yet, but I’ve heard that it’s another solid horror game from the same publisher.
Read our Resident Evil 2 review
Mansions of Madness is a popular cooperative horror game because it combines a great mechanism, dungeon crawling, with a fantastic app. That app gives the game atmosphere and does a lot of the bookkeeping that can sometimes make these types of games a lot of work to get through. Throughout each game, you’ll explore, solve puzzles, and fight enemies in hopes of staying sane enough to complete the scenarios.
If you are (or think you’d be) a fan of Lovecraft/Cthulhu Mythos games–this is considered by many to be the best one–Mansions of Madness is a great horror board game to get. It’s also a good option if your group enjoys playing dungeon crawlers.
Check out our Top 10 Co-op Deck Building Games!
Vagrantsong is a storytelling campaign game in which you’re trapped on a supernatural train and attempting to free the spirits of some ghosts. It has some of my favorite character artwork and I like that each scenario gives you a slightly different puzzle to solve. It’s not the creepiest horror game on this list, but it certainly sets the right mood.
If you have a group that has liked storytelling games and/or campaign games in the past, Vagrantsong could easily become a go-to horror board game for you.
Escape the Dark Castle is a retro-style cooperative horror game in which you play as prisoners attempting to get out of a very creepy castle. This is a light dice game, but the very cool black-and-white art and the well-written card text do the job of sucking you into the story that plays out.
If you think your group will like a light and challenging horror game with a lot of dice rolling, I recommend giving Escape the Dark Castle a try. There’s a good chance that this game is or will become a Halloween staple for a lot of groups.
Read our Escape the Dark Castle review
Ghost Stories has been one of the best co-op games for a long time now because it’s consistently challenging, it has a great Chinese ghost story theme, and it has some fantastic artwork. Your goal is to use your priests’ unique abilities to protect a village from some powerful ghosts, which is a lot easier said than done. It is still one of the most difficult games to beat, but my group has always had a blast playing it.
I think Ghost Stories is a horror game that everyone should try at least once. Unfortunately, it’s a bit harder to find these days. There is a newer game from the same designer called Last Bastion that plays very similarly to Ghost Stories, but that one has a fantasy theme.
Read our Ghost Stories review
Cthulhu: Death May Die is another H.P. Lovecraft-inspired horror game that does a great job of capturing the feel of Lovecraft’s stories. There’s a good amount of variety in the scenarios, the investigators all feel different to play, and the monster miniatures are awesome.
I’d recommend Cthulhu: Death May Die to pretty much all Lovecraft fans and anyone who likes a lot of character customization in their games. This is my favorite game that uses the Cthulhu Mythos theme.
Read our Cthulhu: Death May Die review
In Mysterium, one player is a ghost who is attempting to communicate information about a murder to the other players (paranormal investigators) through images in their dreams. It’s an excellent horror board game thanks in large part to its amazing card artwork, which helps to pull you into this world.
Mysterium has been one of my group’s go-to board games every Halloween, though these days we sometimes play the slightly streamlined version, Mysterium Park, instead. Mysterium is still a unique horror game experience and it’s easily one of the best board games at higher player counts.
Read our Mysterium review
What are your favorite cooperative horror board games? Any that didn’t make this list?
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