As well as amassing more Halloween decorations than one house can feasibly use, I have also got quite a few horror themed games. In time for Halloween I thought I'd give you a quick rundown of the Cards or Die horror collection. I'll just fetch them from the cellar... I'll take this torch... It does work, you just need to hit it... There we go... Back in a bit...
This game offers a horrific scenario and spine chilling puns. Remove your patients' teeth without setting off the 'buzzer' to win. You have to question how effective you've been as a dentist if you are removing this many teeth. Still, at least you're not feeding anyone to a giant plant. If you haven't watched this clip with the sound on, the 'buzzer' is a high wheedling scream. It's enough to set your teeth on edge.
Go on... watch it with sound... I dare you!
Escape Zombie City
A brilliant co-operative adventure complete with spooky sound track and Scooby Doo esque van. You start off travelling on foot through the city rolling dice to determine whether you can reveal another city square and where you can move to. As in all great horrors you must determine whether you will stay together or split up and explore! Each city tile laid spawns zombies, which then periodically shamble towards the graveyard. You must find the exit tile and collect supplies (again using the dice) in order to escape which you do by meeting back at the churchyard and hopping in the van, screeching towards the exit. Do this before three Zombies reach the church grounds and before time runs out (you have a more than generous15 minutes!) to win.
The game requires no turn taking, you must all play at once. You roll your dice repeatedly until you get the right combination either on your own or working with others who share your board space. Roll all cursed dice and your dice are locked - you may no longer roll until someone comes to your rescue. You see, splitting up is never such a great idea.
And when you find that it gets too easy and you're just slaying zombies and strolling out of there, you can add in additional challenge cards spawning more and bitier zombies with side effects like paralysis, broken arms or vertigo. These side effects see you rolling one of your dice at a time, losing a dice or keeping one arm behind your back.
A fairly new addition to the collection this one is a game of speed and brains. Flip the card and then either grab the item shown or, with lightning fast deduction skills, work out and grab the item and colour that is not represented. Be the first to grab the correct item to win the card and get the most cards to win.
The description of it doesn't really do it justice - it's such a good laugh to play. And the more rounds you play, the faster your brain and hands work. It's addictive - like a hardcore spot the difference. It's another game I like to let my children win at, you know to help them with their self esteem.
Best played with short nails - it's a bit grabby!
In Gloom you are assigned a family to 'look after'. You must ensure that they stay alive long enough to become thoroughly miserable - preventing any happy events that threaten to befall them at all costs, deflecting them on to other more fortunate families.
The see through cards stack on top of each other and you may alter the fate of your own family or that of someone else's by obscuring or adding to previous scores. You are invited to add to the story of your families demise, fleshing out the ghastly events with gruesome detail.
It's all about timing. Family members have to attain a level of misery before they are dispatched. You need to minimise your opponent's unhappiness while maximising your own in order to win. The moment the families shuffle off this mortal coil must be impeccably strategised. Who'd have thought miserable death could be so entertaining?!
Beetle Drive is a brilliant game for kids and adults. Each part of the beetle is assigned a number and you roll that number on your dice to draw that part. The first person to draw a complete beetle wins. You can team up or play against each other. The best bit is that all you need is a bit of paper, dice and some pens.
When the children were little I started a habit which persists to this day - carrying games in my bag. I'm a massive fan of portable games, games you can play in a small space or with limited resources. You can adapt Beetle Drive as I have and do it with any animal/ being.
I know that I have mentioned this one many, many times but thanks to our added soundproofing (a layer of felt glued to the inside of the insanely noisy box) it can often be found rattling around quietly inside my bag. I love push your luck games and the element of probability alongside the tactile nature of the dice makes this game a firm favourite. I'm only disappointed that the markings on the dice aren't more engraved and distinct as it could be so perfect for players who are blind or visually impaired.
Red dice contain more gunshots; green, more delicious brains and amber, an even mix of fleeing victims, brains and gunshots. Each turn you draw up to three dice and roll to see if you will feast or fail. It's a low scoring game and once you get your head round that it is much easier to win. But win or lose the repetitive rolling of dice coupled with the thin veil of strategic thinking keeps me quiet for ages. And, as my family will tell you - that's not to be sniffed at.
Here are some links to some of my reviews of other Halloween Favourites:
It is at this point, with horror, I realise I have never reviewed one of our family favourites - Temp Worker Assassins. You must assassinate the permies to secure your job in the company - overcoming typing pool zombies, legal aid fairies and health and safety halflings. I will rectify this grievous absence in my reviews as soon as possible. In the meantime here are some photos of the genius that is Temp Worker Assassins.
All of these horrific games are available to play at Cards or Die events- including (soon) Quirk! Hallows.