Horror always had a strong foothold in the history of television. That's a natural progression from horror's dominance as a genre people turned to during the radio days. But it seems like, in years past, horror on television was full of wit, macabre humor, and a sense of fun that we don't see anymore. Naturally something as spooky and fun as a great old horror TV show would deserve its own board game - so today, we take at look at five of our favorite old board games based on spooky shows!
The Addams Family Game (1974)
We can't talk about horror television without talking about The Addams Family. The seminal horror comedy made its television debut as a sitcom from '64-'66, then a 1973 animated series, then a 1992 animated series, and then it went on to have several remakes, a few movies, and tons of other franchised wonders. And while there were a few good board games based on the show to choose from, we had to go with the weirdest. From 1974, and illustrated with character designs based on the '73 cartoon, 'The Addams Family Game' featured a wild premise. To quote the box itself: "This weird family does everything different than most folks and this game follows that concept. The object of this game is to lose, not win, for if you win you lose and it's fun either way." Okay… Basically, players take turns rolling a spinner, and attempt to stay away from the end of the game. Once someone reaches the freshly dug grave titled "The End" the game ends, and the player closest to the "Start" tile wins! What a wacky way to play a game, or should we call it "mysterious and spooky," or maybe "all together ooky?"
The Monster Squad Game (1977)
Before The Monster Squad was an awesome movie from 1987 it was a really goofy show from 1976. In it Walt, a student working at a wax museum, created a crime stopping machine that's "oscillations" accidentally turned statues of Dracula, the Wolfman, and Frankenstein's Monster into real-life monsters. Those monsters, hoping to make up for crimes they committed in their past, work with Walt to put a stop to the very goofy criminals that plagues the town. This Milton Bradley board game, based on the show, was an innovative dice-rolling game. In it, players had a few pawns, and rolled dice to move their pawns either forward or backward on the board. If they landed on the same spot as an opponent, the opponent's piece went back to its start. Like sorry, but with a picture of Henry Polic II on it, this game is definitely one of our weird favorites!
Barnabas Collins: Dark Shadows Game (1969)
Dark Shadows was all about the wonderful things that can go wrong on TV. Okay, maybe it wasn't about that, per se, but it did feature some of the best bumps, stutters, and boom mic's in the history of television. A mixture of horror and soap opera, Dark Shadows featured Barnabas Collins as the vampiric patriarch of his family. In the board game named after him, players rolled dice to move around the board. When one lands on a specific spot, you'd spin a wheel hoping to get a specific bone piece to piece together a skeleton each player built on a stand. With an advanced mode, glow in the dark pieces, interactive gameplay, and a little plastic coffin to store all the pieces, this game was one of the best of its time!
Tales from the Cryptkeeper - Search For The Lost Tales (1994)
Nowadays its easy to catch episodes of the kid-show horror classic, Tales from the Cryptkeeper… you can catch them here on FEARNET every Saturday and Sunday. But back in the day these great, goofy episodes only aired during the fall of 1993 and 1994 (and a bonus batch in '99). Luckily, if that wasn't enough of a fix of the Cryptkeeper for you, you could purchase this colorful roll-and-move board game. Based on the children's version of Tales from the Crypt, the show was a much lighter take on the horror genre. Aimed for kiddies just like its namesake, the game mechanics were simple: you rolled dice, moved your pawn around the board, and either went ahead, back, or did other simple movements based on where you landed. Sounds simple, sure, but I think you were supposed to imagine the Cryptkeeper cackling in your head while you played, which (we're sure) really added to the experience.
The Munsters Masquerade Party Game (1965)
No one throws a party like The Munsters! Based off the popular television show (and one of this author's personal favorite franchises), 'The Munsters Masquerade Party Game' took the basic roll and move mechanics that a lot of these games from the '60s and '70s employed and added a fun twist. When a player lands on a specific type of spot on the board, that player must draw a "Party Card." These cards have ridiculous instructions on them, forcing the player to sing a song, or bark like a dog, or all kinds of other silly dares. If the player is too bashful to do one of these actions, they go back three spaces. A great, simple design for a time when we were all a little more bashful. Except the Munsters… they were definitely never bashful in the sixties!