In general, I am all about cheesy, weird, obscure, and even borderline “bad” games. But, I had no idea when I first looked at Nightmare that it would end up getting so much love from me and my group. I also had no clue I’d go on to play through the whole series of Nightmare games, and honestly have a lot of laughs with most of them. I don’t want to digress much, so without further ado, let’s face our nightmares….

What Is It & Who Is It For?

Nightmare is a roll-and-move VCR game from the 90’s where players are racing against a clock (the video) and have to deal with interruptions and challenges from the “Gatekeeper,” as well as from their opponents who will be playing cards at certain times in the videos, trying to slow each other down. It seems like it’s definitely designed to be for families/kids (despite the theme’s connotations, it isn’t spooky scary, but more silly scary), but anyone could play and enjoy it if you’re looking for something very simple and just want to have a laugh about it. Ages 8+ can handle the mechanics, and anyone who likes the nightmare-ish theme will get a kick out of it.


  • Videos are available on YouTube so, don’t worry, you don’t need a VCR
  • Super cool interactive elements; responding to the video, punishments if you don’t, challenges to complete during the game
  • Race against a time limit
  • Spooky theme without actually being scary
  • Can cause a lot of laughs because sometimes things just get really ridiculous, or fast, or crazy.


  • It is a roll-and-move game, so there’s a lot of luck involved
  • Doesn’t change game to game, the video is always the same. But I mean, are you really going to play enough to memorize everything?
  • You can get stuck in one spot on the board (“Black Hole”) and lose a lot of turns, which isn’t fun…. but it is kind of funny when you’re all sitting in there just waiting around for the Gatekeeper to let you out
  • You can get to the end and still lose if you draw your own nightmare from the stack
  • Later games in the series have some player elimination possible

Final Thoughts

Normally, it would be clear that the cons outweigh the pros, and I wouldn’t recommend this game, or pick it up again, but there really is something special about this one to me. If you are someone who enjoys being silly, and you have others that you game with who feel the same, and can really get into the “role-playing” element of responding to the video’s characters, this is truly a blast. I’ve had a lot of fun with all of them, and while I wouldn’t play it more than once a year, I still come back to it and that’s why I’ve continued to hold on to it. Great game for the silliest gamers out there!

My Final Rating:
Overall Game – 7/10

Additional Information:
Designer – Phillip Tanner
Publishers – Various (See BGG)

*This is not a paid/compensated promotion*

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