Card games were invented so that people could pass the time and have fun while doing so. Horror card games, on the other hand, add a different level of excitement. Some are weird and eerie, while others are downright disturbing. For those who enjoy all things scary, this is a roundup of the best horror card games you can play to make your Halloween Party 2022 spooktacular!
But before diving head-first into creepy lake, let’s learn more about the horror card game genre.
Types of Horror Card Games
A horror card game is unusual, not just because of its theme, but the designers must be insanely creative to pull this off. They had to find a way to immerse the players into the darkness and keep them there. To achieve this, they spin a horror story based on these game types:
- Cooperative. Cooperative card games are those in which players collaborate rather than compete to achieve a common goal. Either the players win the game by completing a predetermined goal, or all players lose the game, usually by failing to achieve the goal before a particular condition ends the game. Cooperative games help reduce aggression while also teaching solidarity and teamwork. It also encourages players to be more upbeat, which is very difficult in a horror card game.
- One Versus All. The “one versus all” game type is pretty self-explanatory. It matches one player against two or more opponents. It is also known as “one against all” or “one against the rest.” This results in a combination of competitive and cooperative play and gets really interesting as the game progresses.
- Turn-Based. A turn-based game is a strategy game in which players take turns rather than playing simultaneously. Turn-based games allow players to tailor the learning curve to their specific needs by removing the time constraint.
- Storytelling. A storytelling game is one in which multiple players work together to tell a spontaneous story. Typically, each player is responsible for one or more characters in the development of the plot. It aims to captivate players with a narrative, and nothing is more captivating than a horror story.
Best Horror Card Games
Inscryption is a game from Daniel Mullins Games, the development company behind the cult indie hit Pony Island, that combines several genres into one game. It’s a card game in which players build a deck of woodland creatures, each with their own set of abilities, attack power, and health total.
The core gameplay of Inscryption isn’t difficult to grasp. Players are randomly assigned to a board and given a deck of cards. Their opponent is a mystical figure who behaves like a dungeon master, influencing the entire adventure. The whole game involves building decks, boosting stats, grabbing essential items, and battling the eerie, shadowy figure. The game throws everything at you that you can say it expects you to lose!
Gaming enthusiasts describe Inscryption as a “creepshow” and “all-consuming.” When you start playing, simply block out a chunk of your calendar and bid farewell to all your commitments. Even when you stop playing, it creeps into your mind like a tarantula, thinking of how to build a strong deck.
- Arkham Horror: The Card Game
You’d be hard-pressed to find horror card game lists without Arkham Horror, and for a good reason. Most horror themes, card games, and other horror video games almost always feature Lovecraftian horror, and Arkham horror is no different.
In the game, you and your friends take on the roles of characters in the sleepy New England town of Arkham. You have your strengths, but you also have flaws, and you have to work your way around them. You will encounter haunted houses, a ghoulish cult, and other monsters, and the goal is to work together to solve mysteries and overcome challenges.
In a nutshell, finish the story, and you’ll win the game. You die or go insane, and you lose.
A horror tour isn’t complete without the good, ol’ whodunit. Mysterium is precisely that and more, albeit in an exciting and slightly offbeat way. It is set in a world where ghosts are real, but instead of scaring you shitless, they want to help you solve crimes. And not just garden variety crimes; they want you to solve their own murders!
In this game, one player assumes the role of the ghost, whose only means of communication are a deck of cards. Before the night is over, the ghost must use these cards to guide the other players to the correct perpetrator.
Mysterium expands on Dixit’s initial concept by adding a more defined ruleset and a more potent theme, making it a more challenging game.
- Betrayal at House on the Hill
Betrayal makes the list because of how exciting it is. You must explore numerous elements lurking in the shadows of a haunted house and more! This is an adventure exploration game in which you and your team take on a haunted house until one of you is revealed to be a traitor. It is spooky and, nonetheless, very entertaining.
The game contains enough content to keep players entertained for hundreds, if not thousands, of games, and several expansion packs are also available to flesh out the mansion and its occupants.
- Zombie Fluxx
The game has the name Fluxx because the rules are constantly changing. It’s pretty much the old Fluxx game, only with a zombie twist. No two games are alike and don’t follow the same rules. The rules won’t be the same throughout the game, possibly not even until your next turn, making it creepy and exciting.
That said, the game is easy to learn. This is useful when you have a group of people, or even children, at a game night and want to gradually introduce them to strategic games. This is a type of game that’s complicated to explain but very easy to play.
This game is enjoyable in a way that requires a lot of thinking. Some people may prefer more strategy and less luck, but it is a good starter game that you could play on a random game night.
Given how challenging it is to transfer the tension from a fast-paced, visually-based setting to a slower card game, the horror genre appears to have gained more and more traction. These horror card games are a great way to spice up a dreary afternoon or a less-than-stellar Halloween evening. The entries on this list are some of the best card games at the new exhibition (and perhaps, of all time). Be sure to check them out, and you won’t be disappointed.