A Seat at the Table is Open Seat’s series of posts that are based in furthering inclusivity and cooperation in the hobby. Whether it’s all three of us sharing our opinion in the same post, or other media creators sharing their opinions, they are insightful posts that help our readers get yet another view on different topics of interest in the board gaming hobby.
It’s Friday the 13th, and all of us think of Jason Voorhees and his murderous ways. Some people consider it an unlucky day; others (like Marti) just let it pass by. But, what better way to celebrate Friday the 13th then by talking about our favorite horror games?
My favorite horror based game is Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu! Pandemic is a game that I have always enjoyed, and the Lovecraftian Universe is a always a theme that I like to have in my games – we have a handful of Cthulhu themed games here in our collection that I enjoy playing again and again. This 2 to 4 player game has quickly climbed up the ranks to be one of the best horror games that I have ever played.
Does it really make me feel freaked out? Maybe not – there isn’t a lot about classic horror that freaks me out too much. But a horror theme like this with the Pandemic system, which is already quite intense and can be difficult at times? It’s the perfect combination. It’s different enough from base Pandemic that both are in our collection. That being said, it’s still fairly easy to teach people. If you’re looking for a game that brings that intense feeling like what you may have if you were really in the world of H.P Lovecraft, then I definitely recommend that you try out Reign of Cthulhu for yourself.
I’ve never really been a fan of the horror genre when it comes to movies, cheap scares to make you jump out of your seat seem like a poor replacement for an actual story (some manage both, many don’t). With tabletop games, though, it’s less about jump scares and the theme takes on more of an atmosphere of mystery and intrigue, or potentially getting overrun, that I actually like sometimes.
I don’t have a lot of “horror”-type games in my collection, but one I rather like playing is Dead of Winter (and the expansion The Long Night). Much like horror I’m not a big fan of zombies, though in this case I think they’re just generally overdone. Dead of Winter, however, has just the right amount of zombies that I’m okay with it. Zombies are the enemy, clamoring to kill you and/or turn you to their side, but that’s only part of the overall mechanics and gameplay of Dead of Winter. It’s about survival. Rations are low, allies are few and far between, and there may be a betrayer in your midst! Random encounter cards that you don’t even know whether you’ll trigger add to the suspense and the plethora of objectives combine to make a truly unique experience every time.
My favorite horror based game is Fury of Dracula third edition. On one side, there is Dracula, who is moving around Europe secretly. Dracula is trying to reach 13 influence points to win the game. Then you have the Vampire Hunters: Lord Godalming, John Seward, Van Helsing, and Mina Harker. Each hunter has two different abilities and a given number of health points.
Fury of Dracula is wonderfully thematic. The one vs. all gameplay is excellent. The art and components are top notch. The map of Europe that comprises the game board is very well done. There is lots of strategy involved in hunting Dracula and the Vampire Hunters. The card-based combat flows well. I would definitely recommend watching some YouTube videos regarding gameplay – it helped us to get into the game faster. This game is definitely a blast! If you have 2-3 hours to play a fun and engaging strategy game with a solid horror theme, then Fury of Dracula is for you!
This isn’t the only time we’re going to be sharing some of our favorite games this month! Keep your eyes peeled for a special Halloween edition of A Seat at the Table.
Marti, Scott, and Sarah