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Best of 2013: Top Five Board Games

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Not too long ago the closest thing we had to a "horror board game" was the Ouija Board, but times have changed. The board game industry is alive and kicking, and as a result all good genres get proper representation. It seems horror resonates the most with board game companies, because we saw a slew of awesome new games come across our play table. Some of these games are twisted, some are spooky, some (okay, let's be honest, most) have something to do with H.P. Lovecraft. But these five games rose above the rest to deliver fright-filled competitive and cooperative play! Game on, horror fans, and check out these 2013 releases.

Eldritch Horror

Have you ever wanted to play a game where you felt like the world was crumbling all around you? In 'Eldritch Horror'… you can! Inspired by the stories and themes of H.P. Lovecraft and his Cthulhu Mythos, players of 'Eldritch Horror' take on the role of globe-trotting investigators attempting to unravel the threat of the Ancient Ones. These creatures, immense in power and scope, hope to take over and destroy our world. Each Ancient One is its own play experience, and you choose which Ancient One you'll go up against at the start. That foe has its own sets of challenges and difficulties, so gameplay always feels fresh. As an investigator, players will attempt to gather clues to solve the mystery of their doom. But there's always a cost! Players could end up in debt, involved in a dark pact with a sinister force, with broken bones, or with lost memories. The scope of this game, for one to eight players, is immense. You'll have to fly to Rome, squabble in the streets of Boston, and traverse the depths of an ancient jungle all before the game ends. Trouble's all around, and we love this innovative game for making us feel so helpless in the face of evil!

Ghooost 

This super-light board game (that means the rules are easy to learn and there isn't much strategy) is all about spooky family fun! The game features a series of cards numbered from one to fourteen, and play revolves around players playing cards in sequential order. What makes this game so great is the amazing artwork. Every card depicts a different spooky ghost. All of the designs are adorable and family friendly, and the gameplay follows suit. You may see a card with a creepy stuffed doll, or a brave little boy scout, or the son of Frankenstein's Monster. Playing these cards, one after another, is a play experience akin to Uno. So, if you've ever wanted to play a quick, crowd-pleaser of a game with a horror tinge… 'Ghooost' is the game for you! While we love complicated games, sometimes we want to sit down and teach our little brothers how to play too (and if we can scare them senseless… all the better)!

A Study In Emerald

If simple games aren't your style, then take a look at 'A Study In Emerald.' In this wonderfully complex board game from designer Mark Wallace, players take sides in the tenuous struggle for control of 19th century Europe. Seeing as this board game is based on the Neil Gaiman-scribed short story of the same name, we know it's not that cut and dry. The greatest fears of all of H.P. Lovecraft's stories have come true. Cthulhu and the Great Old Ones have taken over the world and are quietly pulling the strings from behind the curtain. Mixing Sherlock Holmes with zombies, vampires, and a world invasion, players must choose their allegiances. You are either a player for the resistance (who want to burn the evil system down), or you're a loyalist fighting to maintain the status quo. Players bid for control of various cities in Europe, make secret plans with (or without) the help of other members of their teams, and eventually someone will come out on top. Now this is a quite complicated board game, but hey - we love a game we can really wrap our tentacles around!

Rampage

Remember that classic "giant monster" arcade game called Rampage? Here's its spiritual successor in board game form. Borrowing more than just the name from that classic city smasher, 'Rampage' is all about doing as much destruction as possible. You score points when your monster eats people (adorably represented by little wooden figures known in the gaming world as "meeples"), you score points when your monster crushes buildings, you score points when... well, when anything devastating happens. But that's not even the best part! 'Rampage' is a physical game, a game of dexterity and chaos where the player physically interacts with the board. To replicate the monsters' breath weapons players can blow on the board game. To reproduce the effect of a giant monster stomping down on a city players can drop their monster on the buildings. There are rules and times for doing all these crazy actions, but when you get to throw a bus into a building it really does feel like you're a giant monster terrorizing the city. Get out your aggression with this fun, rules-light board game!

Risk: The Walking Dead

The dead walk among us. The world as we know it has fallen. Do you have what it takes to lead your group of survivors through the Southeast of the United States and claim as much territory as you can? That's right, it's the classic board game 'Risk'… with The Walking Dead flavor! We love this game because we already really love Risk. But this version adds so much to the original game of global conquest. You and your followers must compete for control of areas as diverse as "Elementary School," "Landfill," and "Downtown Woodbury." Weren't we supposed to vie for control of France in the original? Talk about tightening the scope on 'Risk'! Not only will you struggle against your foes in competing sectors, you'll also have to square off against the hordes of undead that spawn at the beginning of every round. Life post-apocalypse isn't easy, but if you really want to control that Landfill you've got to fight for it! We love this game for giving 'Risk' the horror spin we've been craving, the fact that it's a 'Walking Dead' license is just icing on the cake!

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