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Horrified

Dracula, the Wolfman, and Frankenstein have been unleashed on the village. Will you be able to rescue the townsfolk and drive the monsters back? Or will you have to abandon the village to its terror?

Horrified is a cooperative board game based on classic movie monsters. Each time you play you can choose up to four of the six monsters to battle, with each monster having its own requirements to be defeated.

Gameplay

The game board shows a number of different locations in the village, with paths between them. Depending on preferred difficulty, players choose two to four monsters to play against (three monsters is the standard game mode). The chosen monster figures are placed on the board. Each player also takes a hero, and places that hero’s token on the board.

Each hero has a unique ability and a different number of action points. On your turn, you may spend your hero’s action points to move (one point per location), to pick up any items at your current location, to share items with other players, or to take one of the specific actions required to defeat one of the monsters in the game.

After you complete your actions, you draw a monster card. These say how many items will be placed on the board. You then draw this number of items from the bag and place them on the locations marked on the item tiles you drew. Items come in one of three different colors and have a value of one to six. The monster card may also cause a special event to occur, such as placing a villager on the board or moving a monster in a special way. Villagers each have a location they want to move to. When a player moves, if they share a location with a villager, they can take the villager with them. If the villager reaches their desired location they are removed from the board and the player who moved the villager there draws a perk card. Perk cards offer powerful one time abilities.

Monster cards also determine which monsters activate this turn, how many spaces those monsters will move (they will always move to the nearest player or villager), and how many dice they will roll in their attack if they move onto a space with a player or villager.

When monsters attack they roll one to three dice. The results can be misses, hits, or the power symbol. When it’s the power symbol, the monster performs a special action depending on what monster you are playing with. When it is a hit and the monster is attacking a villager, the villager is automatically killed, removed from the board, and the terror track increases by one. If the hit is against a player, the player can discard one item per hit. If the player cannot or chooses not to, he increases the terror track by one, and will start his next turn at the hospital location.

Each monster is defeated in a unique way with a sort of mini-game consisting of two steps. For example, when playing with Frankenstein, you also add his bride to the board. If the two are ever on the same space together, the terror tracker increases by one. In order to defeat them, you must first educate them by moving to their locations and discarding items. Only once they are educated, do you defeat them by moving them onto the same space. In order to deal with Dracula, meanwhile, you must first go to the four locations that hold his coffins and destroy each one by discarding red colored items that have a combined value of at least six. Once this is done, you must then move to his space and discard yellow items with a combined value of at least six to finally defeat him.

Once a monster is defeated he is removed from the board and no longer activates. If all the monsters are defeated, you win the game. If the terror track ever reaches seven, or you run through all of the monster cards, you lose.

Horrified components

 

Review

Horrified offers a lot of variety in the methods you can use to balance the game. Which hero abilities do you have? How many monsters do you play with? Which monsters do you play with? Each monster has a complexity rating and different combinations will be more or less challenging. As soon as we finished our first game we instantly wanted to start again and try the other monsters.

Even if you are not familiar with the theme or all the monsters, there are some famous ones you’ll know for sure (who doesn’t know Dracula or Frankenstein’s Monster?), and the basic theme of monsters is still quite accessible. The game looks really nice as well, with some great artwork on the cards and board.

Most of the game consists of strategizing and figuring out the best way to move around the board, collect the items you need, and get back to key locations. There’s enough information to come up with plans and decide who can deal with what, but enough unpredictability to keep things interesting and tense (where will new items land? where will monsters move? will any villagers be placed on the board?). Games tend to come down to the wire, and it can feel quite overwhelming to have multiple monsters moving around on the board.

Due to the fact that each monster is unique and has its own ways to be defeated and unique power abilities, and that you’ll be teaching two to four of them, it can take a little time to teach Horrified. But the core mechanics are relatively simple, and actions available to players each turn are not overly complicated.

Horrified is a great cooperative experience. It’s fun to try out each monster and different combinations. It does a lot with its theme, it looks great, and the ability to adjust the difficulty makes it family friendly as well.

Pros: Variety in the monsters, ability to adjust difficulty, enjoyable even if you are not familiar with the source material

Cons: Teaching time can run long due to monster explanations

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.