GUEST POST: Frazer Lee

Top 5 Spooky Halloween Games

Spooky season is upon us and it’s almost time kids… The pumpkin flesh is tender and ready to carve. A scary horrorthon is queued up on the telly. This year’s costume is even more fabulous than last year’s, and the candy pail is already overflowing with treats! How else can we add to the frightful fun before the clock strikes twelve on the creepiest night of the year? In my haunted house, after the dead man’s fingers and gooey eyeballs have been devoured, we always play a spooky game together. So gather around my table of terror brave ones, and feast your eyes on the…

5. Horror Top Trumps

(image © Frazer Lee)

This game will bring out the spooky strategist in you as you pit your wits against the other players in order to grave-rob them of all their cards. If you’ve ever wondered what might happen if The Invisible Man (no)faced off against Frankenstein’s Monster, then Horror Top Trumps is the game for you. As an added bonus the cards glow in the dark, casting their eerie glow across anyone willing to risk their arm! And if you don’t own a deck, why not craft your own and create scary stats for your favourite movie and book-based monsters? (Hmm… I’d really love to see a Horror Top Trump card for my monster The Skin Mechanic from my Bram Stoker Award nominated debut novel The Lamplighters…)

4. Scream Inn

(image © Frazer Lee)

“We’re only here for the fear…” After all the Halloween fun and folics, we all need to get our heads down for a while, presuming they haven’t been severed of course. And where better to relax than the Scream Inn? Check in if you’re brave enough and you’ll discover this vintage classic features a rotten rotating board, so you never know if you’re in for a cosy night’s sleep or a fatal death-trap! There’s an old saying that you might ‘wake up in the morning with a crowd ’round your bed’ and this game can definitely result in a case of ‘dead and breakfast’. Long out of print, you can sometimes snap a copy up in online auctions and hey, we’ve all wanted to bid on a genuine haunted house, right?

3. Ghost Train

(image © Frazer Lee)

Riding the ghost train at the funfair is one of my favourite activities when the carnies come to town and this game recreates the ride on your table at home. Kids love the swinging spider, which can plummet pendulum-like and knock you off the board. The rotating ‘tracks’ add tension to the game by redirecting you away from the exit and deeper into the shadows! Sadly, Ghost Train is out of print, and someone should really bring it back from the dead. (If you don’t own a copy, a good alternative is Labyrinth, which also features some spooky elements and a devilish moving board, muah ha ha.)

2. Ghost Castle

(image © Frazer Lee)

One of the oldest and also the most oft-reissued spooky board game, Ghost Castle started out with a simple cardboard board and pieces, before evolving into a cool castle diorama complete with moving coffin lid and glow in the dark skull that bounces down the staircase bringing the icy touch of death upon all in its path! This game can also be the quickest game to play in my experience, which is useful when you have a lot of activities to cram in on Halloween night! The moving floor and ghostly mirror are exciting features, bringing all the benefits of a haunting into your house… without the need for an exorcist.

1. Damnation: The Gothic Game

Okay, I’m biased (because I have just written the official novelisation of this game, see an exclusive extract below) but what honestly places Damnation: The Gothic Game at the top of my list is its unique goal – to kill all the other players on the board! The 1992 classic became a Halloween tradition of mine, perfect for parties, with unwitting players expiring from the dreaded ‘suffocating prunes’, drowning in the moat, or being taken out by a poisoned blow-dart from the lavatory tower! Blackletter Games’ amazing update Damnation: The Gothic Game adds a ton of frightful and fun features such as the ability to haunt other players from beyond the grave, and there is even a Night of the Vampire expansion. Who could possibly resist a deadly game of battle royale in Castle Dracula? Try it and see if you can survive Halloween night…

I hope you have found some eerie inspiration for your own table top terrors (post your favourite ghoulish games in the comments). Here’s wishing you a Happy Halloween!

Check out the video below to see Frazer Lee reading an exclusive extract from the Damnation: The Gothic Game novel, coming soon this spooky season. Follow Frazer Lee’s website for updates!

The Carpathian Mountains, 1897. An impassable storm forces a group of travellers to disembark from their steam train and take shelter in a remote castle for the night. Their enigmatic host invites them to take part in some after-dinner entertainment. But as they each explore the castle’s rooms and passageways they discover they have become part of a deadly game. Only one guest may leave in the morning and it is up to each of them to use their wits, and weapons, to survive the night. For the others, Damnation awaits.

Boo-graphy: Frazer Lee is the Bram Stoker Award® nominated author of seven novels including Damnation: The Gothic Game. Winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Gothic Filmmaker Award, Frazer’s screenwriting and directing credits include the acclaimed horror films Panic Button and The Stay. Frazer is Reader in Creative Writing at Brunel University London, and resides with his family in Buckinghamshire, just across the cemetery from the real-life Hammer House of Horror. Crisps are his downfall… talk him down from the ledge at his website.