Horror Board Games From Your Childhood
10 Horror Board Games From Your Childhood
Was you ever bowled over by a big foot or bitten by a vampire? How about lost in a haunted castle or screamed at by a tombstone? If the answers yes..then you were probably a kid of of the 1980’s and early 90’s. The chances are, If you’re over 18, you just may remember some of these classic horror based board games, that kept many a children entertained in a pre digital age. In a time where DICE were the MICE, there was nothing more fun than getting a group of friends together and play a spooky board game. We look back at 10 of the more darker board games that kids of the 80’s and 90’s were playing wih. Don’t be scared, take a deep breath and tell yourself..its only a game!
10: Ouija Board
The Ouija Board is a Hasbro trademarked spirit board. The word Oujia is an ancient Egyptian word meaning “good luck, but that cheery fact does not cover the fact that it’s a device meant communicate with the dead! This board became hugely popular in the 1920s through the 1960s, but it was the films of the 1970’s and 80’s that gave it it’s bad reputation. The Exorcist (1973) and Witchboard (1986) being the two main films that tainted the innocent toy. Now when we think of Ouija board, our minds think of vengeful spirits and dark apparitions.
In 2014, Hasbro co-produced a film based on their bestselling toy! It was certainly not the best film ever made, and it received mostly negative reviews, but it was a box office success, grossing over $102 million on a $5 million budget. Not Bad at all for a block of wood on a piece of cardboard!
9: I Vant to Bite Your Finger
I Vant to Bite Your Finger was an awesome game published by Ideal Toys in collaboration with Hasbro in 1979. A large Dracula like vampire proceeds the game sitting at the head of the board, his face and body hidden from behind his cape. A little clock with moveable hands sat on the side of him. The players would proceed around a board and roll a dice. What ever number was rolled was the amount of hours you had to move the clock forward. If you were unlucky, the vampires cloak would fling open and you had to put your finger in his mouth, where he would actually bite you! Ok so it was two little felt tip pens that brushed up against your fingers, but the effect was amazing. Kid’s these days don’t know whatb they are missing. Being bitten several times buy a clock wielding vampire was truly a childhood highlight!
8: Monster Mash (1994)
Monster mash was a interesting version of the game Snap! The game came with a “monster-maker” machine, which would randomly create a monster using three rotating platforms. There were 27 different combinations and 27 cards that you would lay out in front of you. When you spotted the monster card, you used a large flyswatter like wand, that had a hand and suction cup on the end. The aim was to get as any monster cards as you could. The person with the most won. The game is still about today, albeit as a more kid friendly “The Great Face Race” , with human faces. There was even a pokemon version released in 1999.
7: Bigfoot game (1987)
The bigfoot game was a simple board game with a interesting twist. You play as an explorer, following the footsteps of bigfoot, in the hope of finding the legendary beast. In the center of the board is large plastic mountain, and at the very top, bigfoot himself. As the players moved around the board, they would eventually start to climb up the mountain. Each turn, bigfoot would turn, and if Bigfoot ever saw an explorer on the mountain, he would kick down a boulder, knocking the players down, and forced to start from the beginning. Whilst it sounded easy enough, pay in mind that you had three playing pieces, and each one had to reach the top to win. It was actually quite challenge, and great fun.
6: Shrieks & Creaks
Shrieks & Creaks was a cassette driven game with a tombstone shaped speaker. The Players would move from room to room, using keys to advance. Each room has a special tile that requires a player to stop and use the tombstone. Certain cards could be inserted into the speaker, which would play sounds if the right combination are put into it. If noises come from the speaker, the player would have to do as the voice on the tape says, which usually meant moving to a different room in the mansion. The game was basically an unusual version of snakes and ladders, but with an interactive twist.
5: Ghost Castle
You may remember this fiendish game of suspense as Which Witch, Haunted House and or The Real Ghostbusters, but they were all the same game, just branded differently. The game was a 3D board game w ith a Mouse Trap styled twist. The game consisted of four different rooms and a tower at the center. The aim was to be first to reach the top. Each room had traps, that would be randomly triggered when a card was drawn. Upon pulling out the “Whammy” card, a skull was dropped down a chimney, and it would pop out of one of four holes. If your player was unlucky, the rooms trap would be triggered, sending your playing piece flying and you’d be forced to retreat to the beginning of that room. The wonderful artwork of each of the rooms and the spooky glow in the dark skull made it a really spooky but fun game.
4: The Vampire Game by Waddington
This wonderfully designed game, saw players trying to save a princess held captive by a vampire, in his castle. Each Roll would move your player and also the Vampire, which was a large plastic vampire with cape and top hat. Once you reached the castle you could pick up a princess token and start making your way back. With every player in control of the vampire, players could tactically move the caped killer on top of other players in the game. That player is then “Bitten” and returned to the village at the beginning of the game. Each bite was recorder by a bite stamp, that was imprinted on that players hand. The stamp was hidden under the vampires hat and pressed into a red ink pad, before being placed on the player. If you were bitten three times, you were out of the game. Because of the small area of the castle, bites were regular and the game very challenging to win. However, a garlic card would save you from a bite. The first player to rescue two princesses or is the last remaining player is the winner. The entire game looked great and the stamping made it so much fun.
3: Waddingtons Game of Dracula
This gruesome little number saw players plot their escape from Dracula’s castle. However, escape could be tricky as Dracula is near! With every move a player makes, Dracula moves too. The princess of darkness moves counter-clockwise on the board and you often found him upon you pretty quickly. The first player that was bitten would become the “Green Vampire” and don a green vampire bat mask. Yep it looked silly, but that was kinda the point. The green vampire now had a different mission, this player had to hunt other players, turning the game into a cat and mouse chase. If the green vampire caught you, the mask was passed over and this player would now become the green vampire. Any further victims of a Dracula bite would be sent back to crypt at the beginning on the game board. The game design was simple but clever with the Dracula and Green Vampire pieces actually engulfing the players token when they were bitten. The winner was the first player to escape the castle.
2: Arkham Horror (1987)
Arkham Horror was originally published in 1987. The game board is set in 1926 in Lovecraft’s fictional city of Arkham. Each player is an investigator, represented by a character card with several attributes. As a game plays out, gates to other worlds open, represented by tokens on the board. Monsters emerge from these gates and start to wander the board. The investigators travel through the city, avoiding or fighting the monster and trying to close these portals. However, as more gates open a “Doom Track” advances . If this track fills entirely, a horrific creature known as an ancient one emerges and the game ends. In newer versions, a this event triggers an and game mode, where the player must fight the creature to win. Victory is achieved by closing all of the gates on the board. This is harder as it sounds and games could easily last hours. The dark atmosphere and the nasty creatures roaming the city made this a deep and involved game.
1: Atmosfear : The Video Board Game (1991)
Atmosfear/Nightmare was the first of the video board games that flooded the market in the 1990’s. This dark and creepy game encouraged you to “Turn the lights down and volume up”. The game had many sequels that included horror hosts such as a witch and vampire. The original was hosted by the “Gatekeeper”, who would instruct you throughout the hour long game. A clock and moon would keep track of the time, and you had until the moon was full (an hour) before the gate keeper wins. The aim was to reach the center of the board by collecting keys. At the center were nightmare cards, each one placed by a player, with their own worst nightmare written on it. If a player reached the center, the would have to read the first nightmare card out loud, if it was their card, they were out of the game. Each player was given a number and a colour, and throughout the game, the gate keeper would call on everyone to perform tasks to receive keys. These ranged from simply rolling the dice to more difficult challenges like a staring contest. The Gatekeeper would constantly mock the players and give them nasty nicknames. As the game progressed, the Gatekeepers appearance would change, becoming more demonic. With the last ten minutes to go, creepy music would start to play and the game became quite intense. The winning player would reach the center and stop the VHS cassette (pre dvd) ending the Gatekeepers game! The actor was amazing and the game was intense and good damn frightening! If you didn’t jump out of your skin every time the Gatekeeper jumped up on screen, you must of been made out of stone! YES MY GATEKEEPER!
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The Ouija board was never originally intended to communicate with the dead. When it was invented and produced by Hasbro, it was known that it did no such thing. It was always described, advertised, and used, as exactly what it was. It was supposed to be your subconscious. That by spelling without looking, your concious mind had no control over the movements.
The association with the dead and spirits talking through it came much later.