The chair creaks as you settle onto it. The candlelight flickers. All around you the ravenous faces of your so-called friends twist in delight as you slowly open the box laid out on the table. Welcome to Dangerous Games! Each week, we'll feature a horror/thriller/monster tabletop game you should be playing. Don't be scared… roll the dice… what's the worst that could happen?
The Haunting House
The front door slowly opens. The smell of dust and desolation fill your nose. Do you have the wherewithal to escape The Haunting House? In The Haunting House two to six players attempt to navigate a spooky, maze-like house of hallways. Published in 2004 by Twilight Creations, the game features an easy to learn play mechanic and a light dose of spooky flavor. While this game won't leave you contemplating your play mistakes at its conclusion, you may get a real kick out of its random gameplay.
The goal of The Haunting House is to move your player from the front door of a haunted house through the house and out the back door first. Players “create” the game board by randomly laying out 36 square floor tiles in a six by six grid. Each player also has eight action cards, which include instructions like “Move One Space” or “Switch Places.” After placing the entrance and exit on either side of the board, players first randomly choose four of their action cards to move them through the house. After a round of randomly following card orders a second round takes place where players strategically choose the cards they will flip.
The interesting aspect of these mechanics is the fact that players must do these actions. So if you flip the card that says “Move One Space” but you could only move backwards then you must move backwards one space. This leads to lots of treachery, tricks, sabotage, and careful planning.
The Haunting House is another one of these truly random board games. Every time you play the board is in a different state. The replay value increases dramatically if more players join the game. Real randomness and craziness shines through the most when you play with three or more players. The game is fun enough with two, but it can feel a little repetitive with less players.
Online forums give this game a bad rap. It’s a fun, quick, easy-to-learn little game set in a spooky haunted mansion. You won’t tap your mental reserves playing The Haunting House, but you won’t leave the table bored either.