WDYPTW: Horrified Review

WDYPTW: Horrified Review

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Horrified

Designer: Prospero Hall

Artist: Phantom City Creative

Publisher: Ravensburger

Plays 1-5

Horrified was an instant buy for me on theme alone. Halloween is probably my favorite holiday of the year. We own most of the Universal Monster movie box sets. This game features monsters from these ‘classic’ movies from the 30’s-50’s. We watch Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein at least once a year. This movie has most of the characters Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolf Man and even a cameo by the Invisible Man. Chick and Wilbur from this movie show up as villagers — shown in the image above — a fun wink to movie fans.

Dracula and his coffin, with the blue player between them.

Dracula and his coffin, with the blue player between them.

The game is a co-op, with the players controlling their heroes, working together as a team, collecting items to ward off the monsters. The game play can be boiled down to a typical co-op using the play style of Pandemic, with a player taking a turn, followed by the game (monsters) taking a turn. The game ends with a victory when you defeat the monsters, or with a defeat when either the terror level reaches the end of the track or when you run out of monster cards — more on those later.

A three player game in process

A three player game in process

At the start of the game the board is populated with tokens randomized from a bag: red strength weapons, yellow spiritual items, and blue science each valued at 2-6 points. Each player takes on a role with a special ability, and takes a perk card. Perk cards let you break the game, maybe moving the monster away from you or skipping the monsters turn all together. Players then select monsters based on the number of players. The game suggests Dracula and the Creature from the Black Lagoon as easier starting monsters. Additional monsters include the Mummy, the Wolf Man, the Invisible Man, and a combination Frankenstein/Bride. Each monster has a unique set of conditions to defeat them. For example, for Dracula you have to bring six points of red items to each of his four hidden coffins, and then meet up with Dracula and use nine points in yellow items to destroy him. Thematically the red items are guns and shovels that you are using the break up his hidden coffins. The yellow items are things like garlic and crosses which thematically are used to destroy Dracula himself. Each monster has a unique method to be defeated, but they all involve the same concept of collecting tokens and using them in some way specific to the monster to defeat it. Some are more complicated than than the others — this is noted in the rule book.

Between each player turn a monster card is flipped. These are divided into three parts. The top tells you how many tokens to draw from the bag to put out on the board. The middle section is an event - sometimes it moves a monster in a special way, sometimes it places a villager on the board. Villagers start in a location and have a different location, usually across the board, they are trying to get to. If you can help the villager to their desired location you will get another perk card. If a monster gets to a villager first they are lost and the terror level goes up a tick. The bottom of the card has symbols noting monsters to move and attack. If the monsters shown are in play they move towards players first, villagers second. The cards tells you how many dice to roll for the attack - players can ward off the attacks by discarding items. Villagers or heroes lost move up the terror level. Heroes fortunately wake up in the hospital and continue to play.

Character card with perk card

Character card with perk card

Players use their actions to move about the board, collecting items, guiding villagers, taking their character’s special actions, or taking the actions required to defeat the monsters. It is up to the players, as a team, to review what tokens are available and how to best used them to defeat the monsters. I’ve played this game from 1-3 players several times each. I find the luck of the draw of cards and tokens has a big impact on your success. Each of the monsters has a enough difference in play to make play a little different, depending on which combination you play.

Cons:

  • Highly random with bag draws and card flips

  • Plastic monster minis are ‘droopy’ and contrast from other components

  • Difficulty seems to raise with number of players rather than monsters

  • If you don’t like co-ops this won’t change your mind

  • FAQ needed for a lot of edge conditions in the rules

Pros:

  • Strong integration of theme

  • Movie fan “Easter eggs”

  • Fan based content appearing on BoardGameGeek expanding the game

Overall, this is a fun game. It’s complexity is between Forbidden Island and Pandemic — similar to Flash Point: Fire Rescue. If you are a fan of the theme, I’d say it is a must buy. If you have other co-operative games and do not care about theme — this doesn’t really do anything new and you could pass. I love it and can’t wait until Halloween to get in more plays of it in the spooky season.

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