2017 – Year of the Horror Game? Part 2

Welcome back to our look into the weird and wonderful horror board games that are heading our way this year (you can read part one here)! Is 2017 going to be the Year of the Horror Game for the tabletop? Let’s look at more of the suspects:

Fantasy Horror

It’s about time we got off of the Lovecraftian games and on to other horror subgeneres! Let’s start with fantasy horror, which is spawning three massive titles this year:

Dark Souls

You can’t have missed the hype around this one, and with all reports suggesting it’s going to be as dark, creepy and merciless as the computer games it is based on, Dark Souls is going to be one not to miss! You can check out the rulebook online already, and it’s looking like it’ll starting shipping to Kickstarter backers soon.

Bloodborne

While very similar to Dark Souls in theme (and being an insanely popular, notoriously difficult computer game conversion), Bloodborne will be gracing our tabletops in card game form. So if you’re not one for loads of miniatures and sprawling game boards, check this one out! It’s been held up by licensing issues since its US release last year, but if you’re over here with us in the UK it totally counts toward our 2017 as it’s being released on January 31st!

Kingdom Death: Monster

Something of a cult classic, Kingdom Death: Monster sold its first version entirely through Kickstarter and has gained a small army of devoted fans. It’s expensive, it’s huge, it’s gorgeous, and it’s brutal, but if you fancy an epic ongoing game with outstanding miniatures that will take you on a journey that starts with death and gets worse from there, check out the ‘version 1.5’ Kickstarter. It’s over now, so if you want to play it, you’ll need to find someone who backed it! I particularly like the additional of multiple miniatures in increasing amounts of armour which represent your character at different stages as you level them up.kingdom-death-monsters-1.5-want-2

Horror Superstars

Sometimes you just have to rely on the classics, and in horror there are certain monsters and villains that just never get old.sheh02_preview

Sherlock Holmes, Consulting Detective: Jack the Ripper & West End Adventures

Oh Jack – will we ever stop wondering who you were? It’s unlikely, as this unsolved murder mystery has intrigued people for well over 100 years now. The latest game to get us thinking about it again will be the expansion for Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective. Jack the Ripper and West End Adventures will give you a chance to try and solve the infamous case! I’m interested to see if the game actually has an answer – technically they shouldn’t, but that wouldn’t be a very satisfying end to the scenario …

Vampire Hunters

The premise for Vampire Hunters makes me think of the movie John Carpenter’s Vampires – you play a team of vampire hunters who go into vampire dens to clean them out. You even get an ‘Extractor’ that lets you drag them out into the sunlight! But be careful, because if you’re still there when the sun goes down, you’re in big trouble! The movie might have been a bit rubbish, but it sounds like a great premise for a game, and I’m looking forward to its release. Another miniature game with map tiles and multiple scenarios, it’ll work a lot like the Zombicide games, letting you level up your characters and kit them out with gear – assuming they survive the night, of course!650x650_2d749d5d6d60b9f950670f7b490a95c4f79e0175774c6829f16655e5

Ultimate Werewolf Legacy

A horror Legacy game? Yes please! And it’s based on Ultimate Werewolf, a hidden identity, bluffing and deduction game – I can’t even begin to understand how this one is going to play, but I’m so excited to find out! It’s got Rob Daviau at the helm, so I have full faith that it’s going to be awesome.

Zombie Hordes

Zombies are hardly strangers to the board game industry, so it should be no surprise that we’ll be seeing more!

The Walking Dead: All Out War

Technically, this minatures skirmish game from Mantic Games released at the end of 2016, but it’s got loads of expansions lined up to expand the game and its universe, and initial reviews and levels of interest bode well for it. The miniatures are really fantastic, taking their design from the graphic novel artwork rather than the tv series, and there’s plenty of scenery kits available to let you really make your game space look absolutely amazing. Plus Mantic have taken real care to make the gameplay really evocative of the perils and tensions that The Walking Dead fans will be familiar with. There’s multiple scenarios available, and even a solo game to help you get started!pic3142401_md

Flick ‘Em Up: Dead of Winter

A Flick ‘Em Up version of Dead of Winter … I love Dead of Winter, so naturally I’m interested in this! At first I was sceptical, but having seen some early photos I’ve got to admit it’s starting to look good. There’s precious little information on the gameplay , though …

Atmospheric Spookiness

Sometimes, horror defies definition! Other times, it’s all about he atmosphere. These games definitely look to be big on atmosphere!

Sub Terra

You’re stuck in a cave, you need to find the way out, but you’re low on supplies, your torches are dying, and to top it all off … you’re not alone down here …

That’s the premise of Sub Terra and it sounds incredible! A tile-based exploration game, you need to explore to find the exit, but beware of cave-ins, flooded tunnels, dead ends, and whatever else is lurking in the dark! But at the same time, don’t take too long, because your lights could fail at any moment, leaving you stranded in the dark! The Kickstarter (which runs until February 16th) offers an inexpensive basic set with Meeples, but I am very drawn to the deluxe version that comes with miniatures! And expansions – there’s going to be plenty of room for expansions with this one.53cea13aa991f5ffc894308e756c202b_original1

Lobotomy

I remember hearing about this one ages ago, so hopefully we’ll get to see it soon! You take the role of mental patients in a Victorian-style asylum, where your insanities and hallucinations are becoming reality, imbuing you with special powers, but also making the things you are afraid of very real …

I’m not going to lie, I’m slightly concerned on how the mental illnesses in this game are going to be approached. Having, for example, ‘Schizophrenia’ listed on your character card along with a list of special abilities that gives you could go down badly. There’s still a lot of stigma toward people with mental illnesses that sufferers have to deal with, so if this game isn’t done carefully, it could just come across as offensive to many. However, the setting, the monsters and the theme are campy and grotesque enough that I’m not that worried. And insanity is hardly a new theme for horror games (is it, Arkham Horror Files?). Plus there are loads of horror movie references in there! So on the whole, I’m cautiously optimistic.

Pandemonium

Another miniatures game that also uses darkness as a mechanic, this one looks a bit like Dead of Winter to me, but with monsters instead of zombies (the game’s description explicitly states that there are no zombies!). You’ll need to build barricades, maintain the generator to keep the lights working, explore and take on monsters, but you’ll also need to keep an eye on your companions, because nobody is innocent in this game!

Nemesis

Finally, let’s look at another sci-fi horror game, Nemesis. You’re the crew of a space ship, woken from hibernation early by a distress signal. Your ship is in critical system failure and if you don’t fix it, you’re doomed. But that’s not all; one of your crewmates has been murdered, and there are strange noises emanating from elsewhere on the ship …

this is basically the premise of the tv show Dark Matter, and that turned out to be pretty great, so I’m all up for playing it out myself on the tabletop! Who will you trust? What’s on the ship with you? Can you fix the ship and save yourselves? If you play this and don’t get any Alien quotes in there, I’ll be disappointed in you.

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So that’s a whole bunch of horror games expected out this year – and it’s by no means an exhaustive list! It looks like the horror board game subgenre is getting stronger and stronger all the time! And with some of the biggest anticipated new titles and existing series this year being horror titles, I think I’m going to go ahead and say: Yes, 2017 is set to be the Year of the Horror Game!

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