October has come around again, which means that it’s time to break out the monster movies. You might go in for more modern, truly terrifying horror films, or like me you might prefer the classics. Grainy black-and-white films with budget makeup and heavy orchestral scores, highlighting the iconic monsters of the horror genre.
It also means pulling out similarly spooky boardgames. And if I’ve just watched an old horror film, there’s no better game to go along with it than Horrified.
The Story of Horrified
Horrified is a love letter to classic horror movies, and to the monsters that feature in them. It takes place in a town beleaguered by not just one of these monsters, but at least 3 of them at a time! Luckily for you, supplies have been scattered throughout the town, and you and your brave friends can gather the resources necessary to defeat the threats to your people. Unluckily for you, though, the regular townsfolk have foolishly wandered away from the safety of their homes (as townsfolk are wont to do in dangerous times, it seems), and you’ll need to keep them safe from the monsters while you try to save the day.
To play Horrified, you first choose your character. These are the hero archetypes in classic monster movies: the inspector, the mayor, the archaeologist, etc. Each one will give you a special ability unique to that character. You’ll also get a Perk card, which is a single-use card with a bonus ability for you to use (don’t worry, you can get more by leading villagers who appear safely back to their homes).
Then you’ll need to choose which monsters you’re facing off against. There are 6 of them: Creature from the Black Lagoon, Dracula, Frankenstein and his Bride, Invisible Man, Mummy, and Wolf Man. Each has a different level of complexity to defeat, and you may find yourself fighting against more than one.
As you play, both you and the monsters will take turns moving around the board. You as a player will attempt to pick up the specific resources necessary to defeat the monsters, while avoiding their advances. Once you’ve got enough resources, you use them to take special actions in the process of defeating the monsters. During the monster turns, you spawn a new minor threat. These might prompt certain larger monsters (those listed above) to move and attack, cause a negative effect against the players, or spawn a villager that you’ll need to guide back to a specified location. If the major monsters get to move, they’ll advance to the nearest adventurer and attempt to attack them.
To win, you’ll need to fulfill the specific instructions for the defeat of each monster on the board. If they kill you first, you’ve lost – the monsters overrun the town, and the world continues to face their danger for the near future.
Luck vs. Strategy
This is very much a strategy game. There are few luck elements, such as rolling to see if a monster activates an ability or hits a player, but for the most part you’ll be discussing your movements with your friends, deciding who takes which resources, where to move your adventurers, and which monster to take out first once you can.
Number of Players
Horrified is meant for 1-5 players. Like most cooperative games, it’s best played with friends, with a few notable differences in the experience as you get more players. A one-player game will pose the challenge of managing to gather all the resources you need and attempting to make sure that you take care of everything that pop up on your own.
Games with more players will keep up the challenge, though, by making it harder for each to navigate around the board without bumping into the monsters. After all, the more people you have running around town, the more likely they are to run into danger!
While Horrified is a game based on horror movies, the tone itself isn’t really very horrifying. It’s more nostalgic for monster flicks, in all their cheesy, campy, black and white glory. It feels like an adventure rather than a fight for your life, although there is some tension when the monsters start getting close and might kill you and your allies.
It’s not the spooky chills of Halloween, it’s the drapery of danger that you remember from childhoods past.
History and Availability
Horrified was released in 2019 by Ravensburger, a well-established game and puzzle company. They’re best known for their family games, like Villainous, and their wide variety of puzzles.
The game is pretty well received, with reviewers praising the simple rules that work well for both children and adults to play. It’s fairly simple, for a cooperative game, and quick to get through. Many fans seem to find it especially fun for Halloween festivities.
You can easily find copies of this game at your local game story, online, or even at larger stores like Target and Walmart. Or, if you prefer cryptids to classic monsters, Horrified: American Monsters uses the same rules, and lets you take on Mothman, the Chupacabra, and other beasts from American folklore.
The game will cost you around $45 from the official site, or slightly less in stores (but you’ll have to do some searching to find one in stock). Not a bad price for a pretty large game!
Our Personal Thoughts
Horrified is good, clean, spooky fun. It’s not overly complicated, and while it does require strategy it’s not in-depth tactics or careful balancing of resources. You certainly won’t break your brain playing it. It does take a little reading to make sure that you fully understand the rules, but once you get them down you can easily apply them to each of the scenarios and monsters.
I personally like to put on a playlist of 50s Halloween hits while I play with my friends. You can make a night out of watching your favorite classic monster flick, pulling out this game, and attempting to save the day yourselves.
Have you ever played Horrified? What did you think? Are there other monster movie games that you prefer to play instead? Let us know in the comments below!