Friday the 13th Gaming Ideas

A spooky chill settles into the air. Crows take flight, and black cats jet across your path. It’s Friday the 13th, the perfect day to light some candles, drink some cider, and play some games! If you’re looking to create a spooky gaming experience at your library, GameRT has some scary good recommendations for you!

Blood on the Clocktower

Designer : Steven Medway and the Pandemonium Institute

Publisher: Pandemonium Institute

Players: 5-20

Length of Play: 10 minutes – 2 hours

Ages: Adult

Link to game page:

Blood on The Clocktower is a social deduction game for those who find Mafia or Werewolf a little too easy. In the game, the DM, or Storyteller in this case, has been killed at the base of the town’s clocktower by one of the villagers who is secretly a demon. The players’ roles are pulled out of a bag and then revealed to the Storyteller. The demon and minions win if the demon is still alive at the end. The villagers win if they uncover the demon. The roles are intricate and complex. They interlock in fascinating ways and it is interesting to see what people believe and what they distrust. 

Because Blood on The Clocktower can pretty much only be played in person, and in a large group, the library is a very good setting for this game. The two drawbacks to holding the event at the library are the name, which might offend patrons, and the actual cost of the physical game which can be more than $100. Still, if you have a Blood on the Clocktower group in your area, it is well worth reaching out to them. 

Thousand Year Old Vampire

Format: Hardback Book or PDF (Thousand Year Old Vampire – The Hutchingsonian Presents-PlaGMaDA | DriveThruRPG)

Designer : Tim Hutchings

Publisher: The Hutchingsonian Presents

Players: 1

Length of Play: A couple of hours to a couple of weeks

Ages: 16+

A solo journaling experience, Thousand Year Old Vampire is a spooky and inventive solo RPG. Players progress through a full length book’s worth of journaling prompts, chronicling centuries in the life of their vampire character. The game encourages players to use a separate journal to play through its character creation and adventure prompts, making it a unique lending item for game collections. 


Designer : Oleksandr Nevskiy, Oleg Sidorenko

Publisher: Libellud

Players: 3-7

Length of Play: 45-60 minutes

Ages: 10+

Link to game page:

One of the all time best social board games, Mysterium is a classic. The object of the game is to solve a murder. One of the more experienced players takes on the role of the ghost, who cannot talk, nod or gesture. The ghost can only guide the other players to the right answer by passing them beautiful playing cards. Newer editions of the game also include mechanics for gaining points by betting on other players’ right and wrong answers. The game is simple enough to work great for library events at which you can get all sorts of gamer patrons. 

Savage Worlds: Rippers: 

Designer : Shane Lacy Hensley

Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment Group

Players: 2+

Length of Play: 3+hours (for as long as you would like the stories to continue)

Ages: 8+

Link to game page 

The Savage Worlds game system is a pretty simple system which has been successfully used in one long-running library teen gaming program and the system has a variety of different settings that can be used, including the Rippers Resurrected horror setting. The Rippers are members of an ancient organization that hunts monsters and fights evil around the world in the Victorian era. There are a number of pre-written adventures that can be used, with stats provided for non-player-characters and antagonists, but it also works well for a game master who wants to create their own story within the game.

Call of Cthulhu: 

Designer : Sandy Petersen

Publisher: Chaosium  

Players: 2+

Length of Play: 3+ hours 

Ages: 13+

Link to game page: 

Call of Cthulhu is a horror RPG based on the writings of H.P. Lovecraft’s story of the same name and the related writings he did. The original edition was published in 1981 and was set in the 1920s with following editions coming out over the years that explored different eras. This is a game of mysteries and horror where teams of characters investigate and stop terrible things while trying to hold on to their sanity. The setting makes a perfect spooky teen or adult roleplaying experience.


World of Darkness/Chronicles of Darkness: 

Designer : Mark Rein-Hagen

Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing (most recent)

Players: 2+

Length of Play: 3+ hours


Link to game page 

World of Darkness roleplaying games were originally published beginning in 1991 with 5 different game lines: Vampire, Werewolf, Wraith, Mage and Changeling. A reboot of the game happened in 2004 expanding to 11 different game lines with those original game lines and including: Promethean, Hunter, Geist, Demon, Beast, Deviant and Mummy. This creates a system that is rich in storytelling and gameplaying potential. The option exists to play mortals and explore the evolution into becoming one of the monsters, or to start out as a creature that is trying to hold onto their humanity. Most of the setting could be described as urban fantasy, but there are rules for games to be set in different time periods. This setting has a lot of mature themes, so it is most appropriate for an adult gaming program, but the system is fairly simple and there is a lot of possibility for long term play and character development.

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