Today I’ll be taking a look at Ravensburger’s newest game – Horrified.
Like their other game JAWS Ravensburger has created a game based on the
Universal Studios classic movies. I was shown this game along with the JAWS and
Villainous game at the New York Toy Fair in February and have been looking
forward to it since.
Before going into a gameplay recap and providing overall thoughts on the game I’ll first be taking a look at the game design and packaging. The box art features the stylized classic monsters from the Universal line including Dracula, Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, The Wolfman, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. The theme is carried out around the sides of the box with individual headshots of the monsters inlaid with theme surrounding each monster while the interior sides of the box provide some more art (also used on the creature cards) and a brief history on each classic monster.
Once you are ready to play players are treated to a warning before unfolding the game board and starting the game. But if that doesn’t stop you and it shouldn’t the board unfolds to a large map of a village. Outside of the board there are a few miniatures for each of the villains you can face within the game along with oversized villain cards. The player characters and most of the other items are cardboard cutouts on mini-stands.
The game is a co-op game and requires players to work
together to stop the monsters from attacking the town and the villagers.
Players win the game by defeating the monsters before they either attack too
many villagers or heroes. Based on how difficult you want the game to be you
can choose to face two or more monsters in a game with each monster having a
unique set of conditions in order to defeat them.
After you have set up and are ready to play each round contains a hero phase followed by a monster phase. A player first takes their turn by using up a set of available actions, usually to either set up or defeat the monster. However in order to defeat each monster you need to go through two stages; the first stage (advance) requires players to go through a set of hurdles and only after doing so can you finally defeat each monster. Players do this by going around the town picking up items to meet the advance conditions. The items come in three colors (blue, red, and yellow) with each item also having a unique number. For example some monsters require you to pick up only red items that then total a certain amount to get past the first stage while other monsters only require color combinations of items. Only after you have met all the advance requirements are you able to finally defeat the monster. Presuming the monsters have not been defeated once a player finishes their turn it becomes the monster’s phase. During this phase a monster card is turned over which determines if any of the monsters you are facing move and if they attack. Players ultimately win by meeting the requirements in the advance stage and then defeating the monsters.
As I mentioned above the conditions for beating each monster are unique and flow with each character. For example if you are facing Dracula you first need to find all of the coffins around the village and destroy them before finally staking Dracula, while on his turn Dracula can both move towards you or if his special ability is activated can attract a hero to him. Meanwhile in order to defeat The Wolfman you first need to find a set of beakers in order to find an antidote and once completed administer the antidote to him to cure him. The Mummy meanwhile has a fun puzzle where you need to match numbered scarabs on a tablet in order to advance to the second phase of defeating him. However the most interesting set of monsters are Frankenstein and The Bride which you play as a pair; in order to win your goal is to educate both of them before they meet each other and can live in peace.
So far I’ve played this game twice. After the first play through, where we played against the recommended starting monsters, my group did say they wanted to play again and I don’t believe it was because the monsters won that first game.
For me the draw of the game is each monsters unique condition for defeating them along with the many combinations of monster pairings you can have. The advancements for each of the monsters flow with their story and really felt genuine. I also liked the different abilities of the heroes to balance out their powers. Another fun element, which I have not tried yet, is how you can skew the difficulty of the game by increasing the number of monsters you face off against. I will stop here and say even facing the same monsters with the same heroes two times in a row could yield much different results since items for advancing and defeating monsters are randomly drawn from a bag. So in theory one game could be made much easier if better items were randomly dealt while another game could be more difficult if items you need are not as readily available.
Because the monsters attack after each hero phase the game does move. Horrified plays 1-5 players and I don’t feel that having more or less players would have an effect on gameplay. Also the ability to play in a solo mode so if you were stuck at home one night is an added bonus.
Overall I think I actually enjoyed this game more than I originally thought I was going to. Leading up to its release I thought I would enjoy the JAWS game much much more and while I do enjoy the JAWS game a lot I actually have to say I tend to lean more towards Horrified. The gameplay is easy to pick up, the theme is overall solid and smooth, and there is enough variability in the available monsters and in the amount you choose and in the randomness of the dealt items to make this game replayable. Overall if you are a fan of the old Universal Monsters movies I say grab this and get hunting.