Horrified by Ravensburger
Playtime: 60 minutes
Perfect for: Fans of classic monsters and cooperative problem solving
Horrified is a game of monsters: Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, Dracula, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Players must team up to defeat these wretched villains before they overrun the town. But it won’t be easy as each monster has its own unique defeat condition, so working together is paramount. Before getting into the gameplay, here’s a quick description from the publisher, Ravensburger:
The stakes have been raised. Imagine living in a place so wretched that it’s not plagued by one, two, or even three monsters — but seven of the most horrifying fiends!
In this game, you’ll come face to face with them all as you work together to rid the town of the maniacal or misunderstood creatures…before it’s too late.
To begin Horrified, one to five players choose how many monsters they want to battle against (2 for easy mode, 3 for medium, 4 for difficult). They then choose a starting character at random, with each person having a unique special power at their disposal. On a turn, players first complete the Hero Phase where they can take several actions such as move, pick up items, share items, or advance towards the win condition as it pertains to each monster. For example, to defeat Dracula, players must first move to the four spaces on the board that contain coffins. Players can then trade in red items with total strength of six or more to smash the coffins. Once the four sarcophagi are destroyed, a player can confront Dracula by moving to his current location on the board and using yellow items with a total strength of six or more to defeat him.
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Once a player has completed their actions in the Hero Phase, next is the Monster Phase. Here, players draw cards which indicate how many new items come onto the board, if an event occurs, and which monsters move and attack. Some events are monster-specific and only trigger if that particular villain is being played with. Others are universal, such as a villager coming out onto the board at a specified location. The players win if they beat all the monsters, but evil reigns if too many villagers (or players) are injured, or the players take too long to fulfill the win conditions.
What works in Horrified is the balanced teamwork mechanics and the unique win conditions. The abilities of each character can be leveraged in very specific ways in order to best benefit the team. The powers all feel very complementary, which helps foster communication between players naturally. Furthermore, Horrified has excellent replay value given that each monster is completely different in terms of how they must be approached. Because monsters are coupled together in groups, the strategy changes with each playthrough (and if you consider hard mode alone, there are 360 possible combinations with the 6 monsters available).
There’s very little to criticize about Horrified, except perhaps for a game this good it would be fun to have slightly better components. The miniatures and game pieces are simply fine, and so some players may be wanting more durability, but only because this is likely to be a game that gets played over and over. To that end, if you are NOT a fan of cooperative games, so probably isn’t the title for you.
Horrified proves that Ravensburger is a serious contender within the family game market. This latest title is great fun for the whole family, especially given the necessity to chain individual abilities together in order to succeed.
Recommended if you like: Forbidden Island, Pandemic
Final Grade: A
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