Ricky Rodson is an experienced cryptozoologist with several published books on the subjects of zoology, cryptozoology, and mythical beasts.
Like most people, I have always enjoyed sitting around the kitchen table and playing board games with friends and family. But, as entertaining as they are, I have always disliked how most games have such childish themes. And while I understand that children are the primary market for some board games, I still don't understand why no one has chosen to really corner the market on adult board games.
Cryptid-themed board games are some of the most engaging tabletop games available for players to purchase, despite there not being many of them.
Cryptid-Themed Board Games
Despite their surge in popularity over recent years, there still aren't many board games about cryptids for people to buy. This is unfortunate because the spooky atmosphere surrounding these strange creatures provides such a perfect atmosphere for tabletop games. The mysterious natures of these monsters allow for all different types of games to be made about them. Most of the games below are aimed at older teens or adults, making them perfect for game nights with friends.
Top 6 Must-Play Cryptid Board Games
- Horrified: American Monsters
- Cryptid: Urban Legends
- Cryptid Cafe
- Rumors and Legends
1. Horrified: American Monsters
Horrified: American Monsters is a cooperative board game in which you work to protect the small town of Cross Creek from classic American cryptids. Players will have to unite, using their unique powers to investigate the strange creatures while also helping the town citizens stay out of harm's way.
Each of the game's available cryptids (the Jersey Devil, Bigfoot, the Chupacabra, the Banshee of the Badlands, Mothman, and the Ozark Howler) has its own unique style of gameplay for players to master. Unlike other cryptid board games, Horrified: American Monsters has a unique method of scaling its difficulty. By adding more monsters to the game, the players will have a more challenging time defeating them before losing the game.
Horrified: American Monsters Game Review
Horrified: American Monsters is a highly entertaining board game published by Ravensburger Games that's capable of keeping 1–5 players entertained for countless hours. The game fully sucks participants into its retro atmosphere through stylized artwork and highly detailed miniatures.
You and your friends will become immersed in this small town's struggle to save itself from an onslaught of monsters believed to be myths. I couldn't suggest Horrified: American Monsters enough for anyone that is a fan of cooperative board games, monster movies, or cryptozoology.
Detailed Game Pieces
Better With Friends
Cryptid is a one-of-a-kind deduction game about a group of competing cryptozoologists on the verge of locating a legendary creature. But due to greed, no one wants to share the fame, and you must resort to sneaky tactics to ensure you are the first to reach the elusive prize.
Each player starts with a single clue and must attempt to uncover their opponent's clues while covering the tracks of their own. The key to success is knowing exactly how much of your information to slip out to get the clues you need to maintain the lead.
Cryptid Board Game Review
Cryptid is truly a one-of-a-kind board game experience with an intriguing premise and innovative deduction-based gameplay. Its streamlined rules and simple design make it easy for people new to the game to join in the fun without forcing experienced players to dial back their competitive nature. The game has a quirky art design, making it just as fun for spectators to watch as it is to play.
Due to the large number of board setups included in the box, this game has lots more replayability than other cryptid board games on the market. The board can be set up with relative ease, but there is also a website to help with this so you can get into the action as quickly as possible. All in all, Cryptid is a fun game that is best experienced when played with the maximum number of players.
Games Can Take Awhile
Boring Game Pieces
Difficult Rules for First-Time Players
3. Cryptid: Urban Legends
Cryptid: Urban Legends is a competitive, asymmetric game of deductive reasoning that is considered by many to be the spiritual successor to Cryptid. The strategic game has two players face off against each other as either a scientist attempting to track down a secretive urban cryptid or the creature attempting to avoid detection.
To win this high-stakes game of cat and mouse, players must show their ingenuity as they explore the city landscape, either looking for clues or hiding evidence depending on the role they are playing. This tense game will keep you and your friends entertained for hours on end.
Cryptid: Urban Legends Review
Cryptid: Urban Legends is an extremely fun and highly addictive card game. Its competitive, yet easy-to-learn, gameplay will keep you glued to your seat for round after round as you attempt to improve your skills. Another added bonus of the game is its aesthetically pleasing and theme-appropriate art style. Each of the game cards contains beautiful artwork and easy-to-understand instructions, making it a joy to play. In fact, the only negative thing I can think of about the game is that it can only be played by two players at a time.
Only Two Players
Easy to Learn
Hard to Master
4. Cryptid Cafe
Cryptid Cafe is one of the most light-hearted cryptid board games available to purchase online. The gameplay pits 1–5 players against each other as head servers in a one-of-a-kind restaurant packed with legendary cryptids from all around the globe. Each server covers an individual part of the restaurant and attempts to complete customers' orders as quickly as possible to earn tips.
To do this, you must strategically move your team of sasquatch underlings to different food stations around the board, collecting the items needed to cook their meal and get it on the table. Whichever player has the most tips at the end of the game is crowned the "legendary server" and wins the game.
Cryptid Cafe Review
Cryptid Cafe is a fast-paced restaurant-themed game perfect for playing with both your friends and family. The immature food-based humor is innocent enough for children but still funny enough to have adults giggling to themselves. The game board and food tokens have a cartoonish style, and the cryptids themselves appear to be more friendly than frightening, which is perfect for the setting. The gameplay reminds me of the Diner Dash video game but with more of a stress-inducing, competitive nature.
Colorful Game Board
Simple Game Pieces
Easy to Learn
Can Get Old
5. Rumors and Legends
Rumors and Legends is one of the most familiar and fun cryptid board games you will ever play. Anyone that has played suspect-based mystery games like Clue in the past will feel right at home behind the board. The game maintains many of the core elements of classic mystery games but has been updated with interesting mechanics to account for the supernatural and paranormal themes.
The game's main story follows a group of people as they search for a missing world-famous researcher of cryptozoology. Players will travel the world looking for clues to help them locate the missing scientist. To win the game, you must be the first player to solve the mystery of Professor Daffle's disappearance by answering the following three questions: "What Creature Was Responsible?", "Where Did He Go Missing?", and "What Incident Was Involved?".
Rumors and Legends Game Review
Rumors and Legends is a great game for cryptozoology lovers in the mood to solve a mystery. Each game can be finished in less than an hour's time and will have you and your friends piecing together clues from around the world. Rumors and Legends only requires three people to play but is best experienced with the maximum number of six players. Their presence helps to keep the pressure on as you race around searching for the answers needed to bring you closer to your goal.
The game itself contains detailed pieces, a colorful board, and stylized cards featuring amazing artwork, making it perfect for both playing and collecting. The board game's simple gameplay and paranormal themes make it a must-play for fans of the cryptid genre.
Classic Gameplay Mechanics
Bland Game Board
BlockNess is a family-friendly cryptid board game about several monsters attempting to live in the same loch. The only problem is that the small lake isn't big enough for all of them. As the game progresses, players will take turns adding pieces to the board and extending the length of their sea serpent. Players must attempt to be as strategic as possible when placing their pieces to try and create the longest cryptid. When there is no more room on the board, the game is over, and the player with the longest monster wins.
BlockNess Game Review
BlockNess is a universally fun board game that's perfect for playing with both friends and family. The colorful pieces bring a feeling of happiness to this clever and thought-provoking game. BlockNess is extremely quick to set up, allowing you to skip all the boring stuff and get right into the action of the game. Rounds tend to go fast, so you should expect to play a few of them before you decide to call it quits. The simple rules and quick gameplay make BlockNess the perfect game to keep in your closet.
Easy to Play
Easy to Master
Other Cryptid Tabletop Games
Apparently, there is quite a debate amongst the tabletop gaming community on whether or not card games should be considered board games due to them not having an actual board. And because of this, I wasn't sure if I should include card games on my list of cryptid board games. So to cover my bases, I've confined these games to their own separate category.
MetaZoo: Cryptid Nation
MetaZoo: Cryptid Nation is a new collectible card game with innovative, fourth-wall-breaking mechanics. The most interesting aspect of the game is how the gameplay is affected by your real-life surroundings. For example, water spells have increased strength when it's raining, and snow-based creatures may get a power boost during the winter months. Current decks focus primarily on cryptids and artifacts found in the United States, but future decks are planned for other parts of the world as well.
The Grimwood is a competitive card game that is described as being "highly chaotic and slightly strategic" by most of its players. In the game, you play as a random traveler lost within a supernatural forest called The Grimwood. As you explore the dark woods, you and the other players will try to collect all sorts of animals, items, and supernatural creatures to add to your collection. At the end of the game, the player with the most combinations wins.
Clash of the Cryptids
Clash of the Cryptids is a fast-paced cryptid card-battling game with gameplay that's reminiscent of Uno. Every deck contains 40 metallic game cards, each depicting a unique cryptid from around the world.
To play, each player takes the same number of creature cards from the deck and shuffles them face down. Players will then draw a single card from their deck, and one player will select one of the five measured statistics (Fear factor, Strength, Stealth, Mythos, and Deadliness). Whichever player's card has the highest statistic takes all the cards and adds them to the bottom of their deck. The game ends when a single player holds all the cards.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Ricky Rodson