The Best Ghosts from Family Board Games
It’s time to really start getting into the Halloween spirit around here, and of course sometimes that means being deliberate with our choices during family activities. We’ve definitely already started making spooky picks during family movie night, reading time, and even family game night. That’s right - during October we don’t just start pulling out all of our spooky books, we definitely also pull out all of our spooky-themed board games and set them aside to help us set the mood all month.
One particular element that guarantees a game a spot in the Halloween stack is if they include any ghosts at all. I absolutely love games with ghosts in them. And I love them exponentially more if the ghosts are high quality figurines. I’ve always been a sucker for a good theme in board games, and ghosts and haunted houses are definitely a personal favorite.
It wouldn’t be entirely accurate to call this a list of Halloween board games, or even ghost games for that matter. And that’s because the ghosts aren’t always the main focus in these games, and they aren’t all spooky either. Rather, it’d be more accurate to simply describe the games on this list as family board games that include ghosts.
And I’m not just talking about having ghosts in the story or on the game board. All of these games actually have ghosts as actual figurines and game pieces. And they’re adorable. (Sorry, ghosts. I know you’re trying to be spooky.)
They also happen to be some of our favorite family games period - meaning they aren’t merely awesome additions to a spooky October family game night. These ghosts don’t get put away with the Halloween decorations by any means. They’re always lurking on the shelf - ready to haunt any time of year!
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Designed by Max J. Koppert and Published by Ravensburger
Why are the characters in Junior Labyrinth ghosts when the characters in the regular labyrinth are wizards? I like to imagine the wizards were permanently trapped while searching for the treasures of the magical labyrinth, and now they’re cursed to wander the shifting halls of the labyrinth collecting treasures for all eternity as ghosts. But you probably don’t need to tell your kids that.
Labyrinth is an absolute classic and it has such an innovative design. The path of the maze shifts on every single turn as you try to locate various treasures, and it’s such a great game of spatial awareness and reasoning to share with your kids. Junior Labyrinth simplifies things a bit for the kids by shrinking the game board. Other than that, and the fact that everyone is now a treasure-hunting ghost, it’s the same amazing game that first came out in 1986.
Designed by Josh and Helaina Cappel and Published by Kids Table Board Gaming (KTBG)
Haunt the House includes an awesome role reversal because the players get a chance to be the ghosts and it’s our job to scare the ghost hunters trespassing in our haunted house. And, perhaps best of all, the different little ghost meeple to choose from are so awesome and original.
This is a great card game with really original mechanics. Our 7-year-old really loves it and we’re both entranced by the cool theme. It’s a card game with elements of secret set-building and some bluffing involved too. Ultimately you’re hoping to collect the right types of scares to chase off more ghost hunters and score more points than the other ghosts.
And, as always, one of the best parts of this game for us is the little moments of role playing. Whenever we’re ready to try and make a scare, my son and I always make a big production of picking up our ghost figurine, putting it down in the face of the ghost hunter, and shouting “BOO!”.
3. Ghost Blitz
Designed by Jacques Zeimet and Published by Zoch Verlag
You can’t go wrong if “ghost” is right there in the name! Ghost Blitz is also known as Geistesblitz, and there are several variations to choose from that are basically the same game with different game pieces. But every single one of them include an awesome ghost piece.
Our 7-year-old son is absolutely crazy about this game. I can honestly say he gets into this board game more than any other game. You might even say he gets too into it. Because the first couple of times we played, he took losing pretty emotionally. It’s super fast-paced, it gets the adrenaline flowing, and he just gets so excited about the whole thing.
He’s literally never rage-quit a game before in his life until this one, so it gave us the perfect opportunity to revisit the purpose of playing games in the first place - having fun! After that we could step back and focus on the important fact that he loves it so much. In the game you have to quickly analyze the cards that you flip over, and then grab the correct game piece from the middle of the table before anyone else. And, holy smokes, kids can be really good at this one.
Designed by Reiner Knizia and Published by Ravensburger
We wrote a featured article about Whoowasit?, the former Children’s Game of the Year winner, because it’s such an amazing and engaging board game. It comes with a talking treasure chest that basically serves as your very own little dungeon master, and changes the game every single time you play.
It’s hard to call this one a Halloween game, or even a ghost game, but the ghost that floats around the castle does play a significant role in the mechanics of the game. And it’s definitely one of the best looking ghost figurines out there.
The ghost even has his own side of the die. If you roll the ghost, he floats into the next room of the castle. And if he floats into a room with any players, they have to go back to the starting room. It seems like he’s there just to add a little paranormal, spooky element to this incredibly innovative fantasy game, but it can’t be denied that this is one of our favorite ghosts of all time.
Designed by Brian Yu and Published by Mattel
Ghost Fightin’ Treasure Hunters is another former winner of the prestigious Children’s Game of the Year prize, and it’s one of our favorite board games ever made. I always feel like we’re roleplaying Luigi’s Mansion. The spooky haunted house theme is impeccable. The art is perfect, and the ghost figurines are the best ghost pieces out there, hands down.
This is a cooperative game where you’re trying to get all of the treasure out of a haunted house while you fight ghosts along the way. But if too many ghosts fill up a room it becomes haunted, and it too many rooms are officially haunted before you escape, then you’re trapped forever and everybody loses. Our 7-year-old is a huge fan, and even our 3-year-old can join the team
Ghost Fightin’ Treasure Hunters also has an excellent expansion called Creepy Cellar, which adds yet another fantastic ghost figurine - The Ghost King. This probably won’t surprise you considering this is one of our favorite board games ever made, but the Creepy Cellar expansion is also one of the most satisfying expansions ever. We love the interesting new challenge it adds to the game.
No doubt about it, Ghost Fightin’ Treasure Hunters is the king of all ghost games. From the quality of the components to the perfect cooperative gameplay, there’s nothing about this haunted house we don’t like.
For more on why we love Ghost Fightin’ Treasure Hunters, make sure to read our featured article.
Have you played any of these great family games before? What’s your favorite board game with ghosts? Tell us in the comments!