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Subject: Is there any game that really evokes the feel of "horror"? rss

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Chris J Davis
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I don't mean jump-scares and I don't mean gore. I mean more a feeling of suspense and tension and psychological scariness.

I know this is incredibly difficult to pull off in board games, but I was wondering if one had even come close?

The best I can think of to my knowledge is Mansions of Madness, 2nd Edition, but was wondering if there are any better than that?
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Pete Martyn
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I've played some games that had me on the edge of my seat to one degree or another. Generally speaking, they've been fast-moving two-player affairs with a survival horror theme. They're the sort of games where a misstep can quickly lead to a character dying horribly -- and often such a death leads to a cascade of increasingly perilous situations.

A few games that can get me in that headspace:
Psycho Raiders
Ferox
Space Hulk (third edition)
Claustrophobia
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Erik Andersson
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The video game Alien Isolation almost made me soil my pants but I played it in a dark room with head phones.

I find it hard to imagine that a board game can scare me in that way but I will follow this thread
 
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Calvin Nicholson
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Not sure if this game is better than Mansions of Madness: Second Edition because I have not played it. I really like Betrayal at House on the Hill it gives me the feeling of exploring a creepy house just waiting for the bad stuff to happen. This game has 50 different endings and a traitor is revealed close to the end. The game is co-op up until the revealing of the traitor.
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Marina SC
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The game didn't work for me personally (I think I'm too much of a non-thematic gamer for me to get into it and overlook some odd rules), but I've heard Escape from the Aliens in Outer Space has a great sense of tension. Everyone secretly plays an alien/human who are escaping/hunting in complete darkness, so everyone's movement is hidden.
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Heiko Günther
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Acquire. Suspense? Check. Tension? Massive amounts. Psychological scariness? Definitely. Although, admittedly, I would not count that into the Horror genre. Even though seeing your right neighbour buy exactly that last stock you have been counting on, or merging stuff just the wrong way, can be quite the horror.
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james napoli
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i can think of a few, Year of The Dragon, Being the 5th player in Agricola, Princes Of Florence to name a few.
i kid i kid

Fury Of Dracula, when played with a pro-active group has the horror theme and can create a good sense of tension and suspense.
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Andrea Barzaghi
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I haven't tried MoM 2nd, but here are some tension-inspiring games I played (they're pretty light):
- Elder Sign with Elder Sign: Gates of Arkham (in the base game all the locations card are face up, with the GoA they are face down, so that you never really know what you'll get)
- Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game

Honorable mention (its OOP, and will never get reprinted due to an expired license)
- Gears of War: The Board Game (I only tried one mission, in which a big and very strong monster kept chasing us, and we couldn't kill him until we get to the end of the map to get a certain weapon).

I also played Eldritch Horror, it didn't feel very tense to me, but I enjoyed all the flavour text.
 
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Dan Williams
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Here's a relevant blog post on the subject.
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Ludvig Stigsson
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The feeling in a coop, when you are close to winning or loosing, and you hold your breath every last three or so last time you turn up next card, cos you are sooo close to win or lose. Like in; Battlestar galactica and Shadows over Camelot.

However the awnser is: no. There are no real horror-board-games that make you afraid. Horror doesnt really works that way. Horror works best by tricking your brains imagination to make up your worst scenario. And boardgames are often too stale to let you do this. Rpgs on the other hand are great ways to play horror-games. You need a LOT of imagination to be scared in a boardgame. I'd say play rpg instead.
 
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reaching out from the in-between spaces...
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Dark Darker Darkest with some Fabio Frizzi soundtracks playing in the background. There is a lot of tension as you move around trying not to trigger the zombies to move.

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I've definitely felt tension in Jenga and stacking games like it. One might argue that this isn't the same as "horror" -- and it's not, but it's a pretty good trick for a board game. I can't offer any firsthand reports of these, but Jenga towers are the mechanism in Dread (a well-regarded one-session RPG) and Dread House (an RPG-boardgame). Probably worth a look.
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Chris J Davis
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Jorune wrote:
Dark Darker Darkest with some Fabio Frizzi soundtracks playing in the background. There is a lot of tension as you move around trying not to trigger the zombies to move.



https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1106450/worst-gaming-experi...

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Jordan S.
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Like any emotionally-driven experience, it requires players who are willing to get invested in the mood, but personally, I find The Thing really brings out an atmosphere of suspense and tension. The players know that the Thing is out there and that it could attack at any moment...but what's scarier is that one (or more) of your own companions might be one of them and chances are you won't know until it's too late!

But I also found the app-integration of Mansions of Madness: Second Edition was wonderful, as well. The music, sound effects and air of uncertainty really created an atmosphere of dread.

But it always just depends on the players to uphold the mood.

Also, if you're willing to try RPGs, you might check out Don't Rest Your Head and/or Cold City. The former is about people with such extreme insomnia that they begin to see into an alternate, nightmarish reality...and that reality can now see them. The latter is about a group of multi-national secret agents investigating Lovecraft-esque horrors, and they must trust each other enough to work effectively as a team while also being wary of the possibility that they might have to betray each other in pursuit of their own agendas.
 
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Matt Brown
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bleached_lizard wrote:
Jorune wrote:
Dark Darker Darkest with some Fabio Frizzi soundtracks playing in the background. There is a lot of tension as you move around trying not to trigger the zombies to move.



https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1106450/worst-gaming-experi...



One of the more notoriously badly written rule books. It has gotten better views after the updates. I know Joel from Drive Thru Review likes it.
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jeff
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Apples to Apples
BANG!
GiftTRAP
Werewolf
Ca$h 'n Gun$

any mention of these as a suggestion of a game to play invokes the feeling of true horror in my heart. I know I have ventured into a place that I do not belong and should make a hasty exit ASAP.
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Martin Larouche
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Tragedy Looper is the only one i've played that fits the TC's description.

The game is a dark drama (so not "horror" per se, but has the same kind of tension and suspense). It pits players against a "mastermind" which is another player. The players know something bad might happens that will cause them to lose a loop, but they have no clue what.
Later in the game, they have more information, so they know what they need to prevent to win the game... but the game becomes a game of cat and mouse between players and mastermind that's VERY tense. A single move can lose you the game and you are never quite sure WHAT you need to do or if there's not another way you have not figured out yet that could lose you the game.

It's a really weird game and the ONLY boardgame i know of that i think the theme actually comes through and makes you feel the emotions it's trying to convey. This is strange since the mechanics are very abstracted in the end. To me, this is the biggest example in game design that proves that mechanics and theme have little correlation needed for players to be immersed in the theme.

I'Ve seen players that DO get genuinely afraid in Tragedy Looper.

Mansions of Madness 2 achieves this, but only just a little bit and that's mainly because of the flavor text in the app that can get gross. Most of that game is played more like a regular dungeon-crawler adventuring game. You could have the same exact game with orcs and elves exploring a dungeon. Or have your Imperial Assault imperial players roleplay his role a bit and you can turn that game into a "horror" one easilly.
 
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chris thatcher
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The only game that I've ever seen do that was the Call of Cthulhu rpg
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Chris Wood
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Panic Station does it extremely well. 3 caveats:
1. The original rulebook was garbage
2. The game is fragile...all players must know the game very well to play it properly.
3. Some people have a problem with the thematic logic of the gascan.
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Dave H
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Russian roulette
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Shane Larsen
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Letters from Whitechapel - The horrific element to LfW is that it's a true story. And FFG does a good job of integrating the history into the game play and rule set.
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M Smith
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The look of horror on the missus and daughters face when my boy gets Monopoly: Star Wars Saga Edition out on his game pick night is amazing.

+ 1 for Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game. But could be more game tension, the true horror in that game is that evil single dice of doom it came with.
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Chris
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Surely a key element of Horror is that you are not in control. Watching a fiilm, whilst you ultimately can just plain leave the cinema etc., after you commit to sitting there, you have no control over what's on the screen, what you are subjected to. How can you ever ever achieve that when you're the one turning the cards over etc. An app might have the potential to achieve something slightly equivalent, so maybe MoM2 is a possible suggestion, but I don't think anything else is at all viable.
 
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Lluluien
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Dread RPG is the best thing I know of that fits this description. Contested/fallible actions are performed by removing blocks from a Jenga tower, so the suspense and tension builds up across the course of the game because you know that every successful move brings you one step closer to disaster. I was really amazed how much this one simple mechanics device really managed to capture the horror feel when I played it.
 
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Steve McClure
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thedacker wrote:
Letters from Whitechapel - The horrific element to LfW is that it's a true story. And FFG does a good job of integrating the history into the game play and rule set.


When my teenage daughter plays Jack, she is ridiculously anxious. She can barely breathe as she closes in on her hideout and the coppers tighten the proverbial noose. if you immerse yourself in the game or situation, I imagine a lot games can provide that kind of tension and rewarding experience.
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