Written by Justin Bird
Are you a fan of classic monsters from film and literature? Do screams of the night peak your interest as villagers run down the street in terror? Your time has come to be the hero of the story and save the town in Horrified! Ravensburger brings characters from Universal Studios to your tabletop allowing you and your friends to work together towards overcoming the well known terrors.
Dracula has situated several coffins around town that should be destroyed to ensure he can no longer rest easy. The Invisible Man can be tracked through pieces of evidence and then trapped to stop his stalking. The Wolfman is on the hunt, but can be turned with a cure. Or maybe you can make your way through the lagoon to find the Creature from the Black Lagoon’s Lair. The Mummy is under a curse and should be returned to his tomb for burial. Last but not least, Frankenstein (as the village knows the monster) and The Bride of Frankenstein need to be taught how to be human so they can meet and live in harmony together.
Whether you decide to play solo or as a team with others, the level of difficulty can be adjusted in two ways. First you can select between two to four monsters that will all need to be defeated. Next when selecting monsters choose between the low, medium, or high complexity monsters. Players will have a set number of actions to use on their turn to move, collect items, and turn in items to complete tasks. After each player goes a monster card is revealed that dictates which monsters might move or attack for the turn. Tokens will be drawn from a bag and placed around the board which are the items needed for the tasks. Villagers will also wander the streets needing to be guided to locations or risk being captured by the monsters, counting against the player’s time left to be true heros. Both lives lost to the monsters and the monster card deck work as timers for ways the players can lose the game, giving enough urgency to their tasks to feel the looming threat. A win isn’t guaranteed, so careful planning each turn is critical to get rid of all the monsters and save the town.
While having seen articles and photos of the game and hearing how enjoyable it was, I made the mistake of underestimating how difficult the game could be. I learned the game with two other experienced gamers on a night where we weren’t fully focussed. Thinking this was a simple family game and wanting to dive into the game, we skimmed the rules with a cursory understanding that proved to be wrong. We played our first game and somehow lost in less than 20 minutes. This was much faster than we knew it should take and questioned where we went wrong immediately. After a more thorough scan to play again quickly we thought we would be okay. With a much better understanding of the rules and a more cautious approach to the game, we ventured forward to a last turn loss by running out of monster cards.
Something still felt off. Digging deep in the rules and verifying each little detail we realized we had still missed 1 rule. We laughed at ourselves for the simple mistake that made the game a lot harder on ourselves and decided we had to play it right. A late night of gaming with another full game brought about full satisfaction in learning the game.
All that said, even with the mistakes made we really enjoyed the game and look forward to trying the game again with a different monster mix or player abilities. This game brought me joy by playing the game with the right group of people and due to how good the theme was integrated. If classic monsters and working together to save the town sounds like your preferred path to being a hero, take a chance at your own Horrified experience.