This Horrified review was made after playing the game five times.
What is Horrified?
Horrified is a cooperative pick-up and deliver board game in which you get to take on a bunch of Universal Pictures’ famous monsters. The game was made by design group Prospero Hall and is published by Ravensburger.
Your goal in Horrified is to defeat all of the monsters in play. The monsters included in the game are Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, Dracula, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Every monster has a unique power and you’ll need to complete specific tasks to be able to defeat them. You’ll face two monsters at the easiest difficulty level, three at the standard level, and four at the most challenging level.
At the beginning of the game, every player gets one of the seven heroes as well as a Perk card. Your hero badge tells you how many actions you can take per turn (most have four), your unique special ability, and where you start on the board. Each Perk card gives you a one-time-use ability that you can use on anyone’s turn.
Each turn is made up of a Hero Phase and a Monster Phase. You’ll go through those two phases and then the next player takes their turn.
During the Hero Phase you’ll mostly be moving around the board, picking up items, and using items at specific locations to slowly take down the monsters. You can also move villagers around the map to keep them away from the monsters. You gain a Perk card every time you get a villager to their safe location.
During the Monster Phase you’ll draw one Monster card and resolve the three parts of the card. First, you’ll look at the number at the top of the card, draw that many new items from bag, and place those items at their locations on the board. Next, the Event will either add a new villager to the board or activate a specific monster (if it’s in the game). Finally, you’ll check the bottom of the card to see if any of the monsters in play move and attack.
After a monster moves, you’ll first check to see if they’re within range of a hero or villager and, if they are, you’ll roll one or more attack dice. The two bad icons on the dice are the Hit icon and the Monster’s Power icon. If the Hit icon is rolled against a villager, they’re automatically defeated and the Terror Level moves up one space. If the Hit icon is rolled against a hero, that hero can either use items to block the hit or they take the hit, raise the Terror Level, and move to the hospital. The Monster’s Power icon activates the monster’s special ability.
You’ll win the game if you’re able to defeat all of the monsters. You’ll lose if the Terror Level reaches 7 or if the Monster deck is empty when you need to draw a card.
- The theme is the highlight of this game for me. Not only is it a theme that just about anyone can get into, it also comes through well while you’re playing. The monsters, the villagers, the locations on the board, and even the items are all pulled straight from those classic Universal horror films.
- I like that each monster makes the game feel a little bit different and that each monster combination gives you a different puzzle to solve. Frankenstein and the Bride are especially cool because you’re trying to teach them how to be human while also keeping them away from each other on the board so they don’t raise the terror level.
- Horrified is extremely easy to learn how to play. I taught one person with zero gaming experience and he picked it up after one round.
- It also plays very smoothly. No one needs to think too hard about the moves they’re going to make, so turns move quickly. I don’t see anyone complaining about down time while playing this one.
- The whole game has a nice look to it, but that board is definitely the standout for me. It has a bunch of buildings and other artwork on it, but it’s still easy to see all of the locations.
- The rulebook is excellent.
- I don’t mind the pick-up and deliver mechanism – Black Orchestra and Freedom: The Underground Railroad are two co-ops that use it well – but I think there’s just too much of it in this game. Positioning on the board matters, for sure, but my group won multiple games where all we did on our turns was pick up items and drop them off to defeat monsters. We didn’t even have to worry about saving the villagers.
- There really aren’t that many tough decisions to make in this game. You can’t plan for the monsters’ movements since they’re randomly determined after you take your actions, so most of the time you’re just looking for the items you need or the locations you need to move to and then doing those things. In my opinion, most other co-ops that use the Pandemic model are more tense than Horrified because you have some idea of where the “bad things” are going to happen and you rush to try to put those fires out before they get worse.
- It’s strange to me that the heroes can block the monsters’ attacks but the monsters can’t block the heroes’ attacks. I think it’d be more exciting if the monsters had a way to dodge or counter your attacks.
- Since every bit of information is there for everyone to see, there’s a chance that some groups will run into the quarterbacking/alpha gamer problem where one player takes over because he or she thinks they see the best moves.
- Nitpick: It’s odd to me that the backs of the hero badges are blank. Just a little bit of artwork – maybe the art used on the box cover – would have been great.
Horrified fell pretty flat for me and my group. It has some of my favorite Universal monsters and it has a very nice look to it, but the gameplay is a bit too repetitive for me and even my group’s close wins weren’t that satisfying. It probably didn’t help that we anticipated a tense monster-fighting experience and the game ended up being more of a relaxing co-op.
Even though Horrified isn’t for me, I can still see why so many people like it. Heck, I know a lot of people who prefer light and relaxing co-ops. Horrified has a cool theme and it’s easy to learn, so I could see it working extremely well as a gateway and/or family board game for some people.