Games based on franchises have traditionally been a bit of a mixed bag, usually weighted towards the ‘disappointing’ side of the scale. Two years ago, Ravensburger bucked that trend with Villainous, a very good game about various Disney villains competing to be the first to complete their sinister plots. For an encore, they then took on Universal Picture’s stable of classic horror movie monsters with Horrified.
Horrified is a cooperative game for one to five players in which you all must work together to defeat the legendary monsters who are plaguing your town. Possible suspects include Dracula, the Wolf Man, the Mummy, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Invisible Man, and Frankenstein and his Bride – each with their own abilities and means by which to defeat them.
Each player is given a certain number of action points to spend each turn, and a variety of ways to spend them. There are a number of balls you’ll need to juggle each turn – you need to gather items to defeat the monsters, you’ll also need items to defend yourself in case of attack, you’ll need to guide hapless villagers to their destinations and out of harm’s way and you’ll need to go to various locations on the board to begin the process of making each monster vulnerable before they can be defeated. One common element to all of the above concerns is movement, and a large part of each turn will go towards figuring out how you should move in order to get where you want to without leaving yourself open to a surprise monster attack. It’s a straightforward system, but it works really well.
After each player’s turn, the monster phase begins. If you’ve ever played Arkham Horror or similar, this will feel familiar to you – draw a card from a deck, and (usually) bad things happen. In Horrified, these cards can cause items and villagers to appear on the board, as well as potentially triggering monster-specific events and activating monsters. The activation system is simple – if a monster activates, it’ll move X spaces (stated by the card) towards the nearest hero or villager and attack with a certain number of dice. This is a very impressive system – it’s simple to execute and is a lot less fiddly than comparable systems in other games. Horrified makes a great impression first up, thanks to its wonderful production. The art style is striking, and makes for an extremely good-looking game. The monster miniatures are distinctive and nicely detailed too. Overall, this is one of the best examples of art and graphic design in recent times.