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Nightmare Board Game

Updated on November 17, 2014
"STOP!" (followed by a thunderclap)
"STOP!" (followed by a thunderclap)

Nightmare is a board game that was released in 1991. Made in Australia, it was a best-selling board game with the VHS cassette video was included with the package. Nightmare went on to release three additional games all the way up to 2004. One could possibly compare Nightmare to another game they came out in 1992 called Omega Virus, which did not include a VHS tape but a talking electronic speaker. Of course in 1991, the VHS was common among home-video viewing, laserdisc was beginning to emerge but however it never matched with the popularity did VHS once had.

Wenanty Nosul, 2011
Wenanty Nosul, 2011 | Source

Nightmare was a popular game to be played mostly during the days leading up to Halloween. Gameplay was recommended for 3 to 6 players and the simple skill you needed was to roll the dice. Before starting the game, you have to write your greatest fear on a piece of paper and leave it in the middle of the board. To win the game, a player would have to obtain six keys and reach the center of the board, once he or she does, they draw the card and if it's not their greatest fear they draw, they hurry to the VCR and stop the tape. This must be done in 60 minutes or less with the Gatekeeper punishing, taunting or rewarding players. The Gatekeeper is played by Wenanty Nosul.

I played the game of Nightmare back in 1996, I spent a week with my friend Dan who moved to suburban Milwaukee, Wisconsin that year from where I spent my late elementary and middle school years in Rochester, Michigan (25 miles northwest from Detroit). One day, myself and Dan decide to play some board games and with first was Nightmare. Although recommended for at least three players to play we had nobody around so just the two of us fought off that evil Gatekeeper who demands we finish all answers with: ‘my Gatekeeper,’ or suffer an penalty.

Nightmare board game setup.
Nightmare board game setup. | Source

To make a long story short, the Gatekeeper beat us. Dan often laughed at me when the Gatekeeper interrupted the game, scaring the hell out of me with the “STOP!” along with a thunderclap. I suck at maintaining my composure to this day with that and Dan was good at pointing that out in 96. However, Dan had asked me a couple of times if The Gatekeeper actually knew what we were doing and he may say anything like calling out our names or threatening to come by the house to do harm to us… which was quite silly for him to think that, I pressed rewind on the tape to show him it’s just a gag.

I’m quite sure Wenanty Nosul didn’t automatically know that we violated a few rules while playing the game and I’m sure he didn’t teleport to suburban Milwaukee to spy on a couple of dimwitted teenagers who were playing the Nightmare game wrong. Mr. Nosul is still acting to this day, he had directed a movie made in Poland in 2000 and, well, he has appeared in beer commercials (appears to be European to me) with that odd similarity of The Gatekeeper. Take a look below, YOU MAGGOT!!

I would admit it that my story of playing nightmare in 96 wasn’t so great and perhaps a boring story minus me jumping out of my skin when The Gatekeeper yelled “STOP!,” or Dan’s paranoia of The Gatekeeper mysteriously appearing in front of us to kick our asses. We later played Go For Broke and Trivia Pursuit, Dan got mad when I won in Go For Broke, we both hated losing but Dan hated it more than I did.

So for a better story on how it’s played, I present to you Beer & Board Games. Warning: this contains foul language.

Frederique Fouche as Anne de Chantraine in Nightmare III
Frederique Fouche as Anne de Chantraine in Nightmare III

Nightmare continued on with three more expansions, none of them included the famous Gatekeeper but characters you play from the board game. According to, Mr. Nosul played Baron Samedi on Nightmare II. The third and fourth replaced Mr. Nosul in favor of a female host played by actress Frederique Fouche. On the third, she played Anne de Chantraine (who enjoys making pig sounds with the fire theme taking over) and the fourth Liz Bathory. The end of the fourth expansion contained a music video.

Beer & Board Games also played Nightmare III, take a look:

Nightmare III sure had something a little more advanced, as the game went on, we saw Anne's shape going from lovely female witch to bipolar demon who emphazied calling the players pigs. As pointed out in Beer & Board Games, she has some crazy demands for the players, such as doing some long multiplication. For my sake, at least when she alerts the players to stop, it greeted by a horsewhip and not a thunderclap. Easy for me not to jump at the sound, but at the sight of her in the second half of the game...

Anne get's a little crazy in her behavior and appearance as the game presses on.
Anne get's a little crazy in her behavior and appearance as the game presses on.

Nightmare or Atmosfear (name changed in Europe due to legal reasons) saw it last releases in DVD in 2004 and 2006. With the help of random programming, different outcomes would pop up, making the game usable for multiple plays. You could pretty much buy the 1990s Nightmares from EBay and Amazon. The VHS? Well, you wouldn’t need to get that old VCR out of the attic or hope for the best at Salvation Army or a second hand store. Somebody has uploaded all of those versions of Nightmare on YouTube.


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