All things fun/funny/spooky for you. Enjoy!
Board Game: Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu
• Designer: Matt Leacock, Chuck D. Yager
• Publisher: Z-man Games
• 2-4 players
• 40-60 min
A beautiful version of Pandemic with “friendly” cultists and “cute” Shoggoths. In this spin on Pandemic the players are trying to keep the cultists at bay while looking for clues to seal the four gates. While the game mechanics are fundamentally very similar to a standard game of Pandemic, the feel is very different. After just a few playthroughs you will begin to dread the Old Ones and how they can change your plans. Classic to most cooperative games there are many ways for the players to lose, and only one way to win. Work together, survive, and seal the gates before Cthulhu is called forth.
Board Game: Snack Time
• Designer: McKay Anderson
• Publisher: Backfire Games
• 1+ players
• 30-60 min
You are the owner of four monstrous creatures lurking in the sewers and you must lure unsuspecting pedestrians to feed your pets’ terrible appetites in this roll & write board game. Players attempt to draw a path across the game board by connecting pipes, determined by rolling dice, which lead your pets to their prey, determined by drawing cards, but they must do so while avoiding the traps set by wary authorities. This map-making game can be played solo or in groups, making it great for libraries with fluctuating program attendance.
TTRPG: Babes in the Woods
• Designer: Adam Vass
• Publisher: World Champ Game Co.
• 3-5 players
• 30 min
• Available: https://worldchampgameco.itch.io/babesinthewood
This narrative-heavy ttrpg is designed for fans of Over the Garden Wall (Cartoon Network, Patrick McHale, 2015). Players select character types such as “big kids” like Wirt, “lil kids” like Greg, or “critters” like Beatrice. You can play the game with or without a game master, referred to as the “narrator,” exploring the Hollows and Woods while trying to avoid Fiends. The recently released 2nd edition creates two new character types- toys and woodschildren; expanded tables for costumes, critters, hopes, and fears; and two pre-written modules. This game is appropriate for younger audiences and its game design is based on Powered by the Apocalypse, making it easy to adapt for social-emotional learning.
TTRPG: Call of Cthulhu
• Designer: Sandy Petersen
• Publisher: Chaosium, Inc.
• 2-7 players
• 4 hrs
Based on the (often quite problematic) works of H.P. Lovecraft (the properties of which Chaosium now owns and jealously guards), this RPG enables players to test their wits in a world in which, to paraphrase an old saying about the setting “fighting is to be avoided at all costs, the player that can run fastest and hide best lives the longest, and nobody wants the magic item.” In this world, library research is a critical skill to discover the truth of the mystery at hand, but it comes at a cost – the more players learn, the more that knowledge wreaks havoc on their minds. While the default setting is Lovecraft’s post-WWI world, players can inhabit the Victorian period or the modern-day as well, and modules exist for many other settings.
TTRPG: Low Stakes
• Designer: Craig Campbell
• Publisher: NerdBurger Games
• 3+ players
• 60-120 min
• Available: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/343626/Low-Stakes
This is a GM-less ttrpg for fans of What We Do in the Shadows. Players choose to play as a Human, Werewolf, or Vampire cohabitating in a situational comedy set up. They must navigate the mundane while, theoretically, hiding their supernatural side. The game is improv heavy with confessional scenes where players can break the fourth wall or monologue to foreshadow or inform directions the story can take. Besides creature type players must also select which kind of character they are- the instigator or the peacock? The stickler or the anachronism? This is an absurd game for friends who aren’t afraid to be petty with one another.
TTRPG: Survival of the Able
• Designer: Jacob Wood
• Publisher: Accessible Games
• 3+ players
• 60-180 min
• Available: https://www.accessiblegames.biz/our-games/survival/
Survival of the Able is a ttrpg set in the middle ages, on the cusp of a zombie uprising. Based on the Fate system, this game is written and tested by gamers who advocate for accessibility in the gaming world. The story is set around an almshouse and all of the player characters have distinct disabilities including blindness, missing limbs, chronic illness, and more. Players must fight their way through the emerging zombie outbreak while contending with the ableist stigma of the historic (and current) time. The game is heavily informed by European medieval history and players who are comfortable with this setting will find it easier to immerse themselves in the game world.
TTRPG: This Discord Has Ghosts in It
• Designer: Adam Vass & Will Jobst
• Publisher: Good Luck Press
• 2-12 players
• 60-180 min
• Available: https://willjobst.itch.io/ghosts
This Discord Has Ghosts in It is an award-winning rpg created to be played over Discord. Players are either investigators or ghosts- investigators can only use voice channels and ghosts can only type. Ghosts prowl through the “rooms”- predetermined channels- describing the horrors they bring to the environs while investigators explore the rooms and try to learn about the ghosts’ histories. The climax of the game builds as investigators confront the ghosts and try to release them into the next life. Developed to be played asynchronously, this is a great option for libraries still providing hybrid and socially-distanced programs.
Social Game: Blood on the Clocktower
• Designer: Steven Medway
• Publisher: Pandemonium Institute
• 5-20 players
• 30-120 min
This is a fun and crazy social deduction game. There is a big bad-guy and some underlings and people die each night. So far it sounds like most social deduction games. However, this game adds some vital tweaks to make the game crazier and more fun all around. Dead players still have one vote to cast and some roles also learn vital information when they get themselves killed, so the player elimination does not mean that some people sit around waiting for the game to end. The “storyteller” can guide the game in the direction they see fit. Many of the roles poison other players so that other roles get incorrect information. The Storyteller role seems very difficult. You may want to look into whether there is an active group in your area you would like to lure to the library with chips and private space (https://bloodontheclocktower.com/pages/where-to-play).
Video Game: Luigi’s Mansion 3
• Designer: Devon Blanchet & Jason Carr
• Publisher: Nintendo
• 1-8 players
• 30+ min
• Available: Nintendo Switch,
One of the best games to play during the spooky season is also both adorable and completely family friendly. Mario, Peach, and a few Toads go missing in a 17 floor haunted hotel, and only scaredy-cat Luigi and his ghost dog Polterpup are able to save them from King Boo. Each floor is set like its own world, with new aesthetics, villains, puzzles, and abilities. The gameplay mechanics of sucking up ghosts with Luigi’s Poltergust G-00 and slamming them around a room will immediately bring smiles upon faces. The early in the story inclusion of Gooigi, a slime doppelganger of Luigi, helps make the story campaign almost entirely available for co-op. However, it is the minigame modes included in Luigi’s Mansion 3 that will most likely find use in libraries. Keep an eye out for “Ghost Hunt,” which puts the campaign’s top notch yet silly gameplay into as many eight players hands!
Think you might want to write a list for us? Drop us a line GameRT@ala.org