Reviews

Review – Horrified: Universal Monsters (Ravensburger)

Frankenstein and the Bride
Frankenstein and the Bride

The Stakes Have Been Raised

Horrified: Universal Monsters
Horrified: Universal Monsters

New from publisher Ravensburger and designers Prospero Hall comes Horrified: Universal Monsters, an action point selection, pickup-and-deliver cooperative game with a horror theme.

Players act as the heroes and try to save their village that is under siege by the classic horror monsters—The Invisible Man, Frankenstein and his Bride, Dracula, and others. As the monsters wreak havoc on the village and terrorize the villagers, the heroes work together to defeat them before the village is left in ruins. The Archaelogist, the Scientist, the Explorer, and many others use their special abilities to move around town, collect items, complete tasks, and eventually defeat the Monsters for good.

Horrified: Universal Monsters includes handsome, high-quality sculpted miniatures of the 7 Monsters (Creature from the Black Lagoon, Dracula, Frankenstein and his Bride, The Invisible Man, The Mummy, and The Wolf Man), each requiring unique strategies and tactics to defeat.

Monster figure
Monster figure

The Story

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.

Horrified includes high-quality sculpted miniatures (Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, Dracula, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, Creature from the Black Lagoon). Its innovative, easy-to-learn, cooperative gameplay has players working together against the monsters with varying levels of difficulty. Just as each monster is unique, they require different strategies and tactics to be defeated.

The Monsters
The Monsters

Gameplay

Objective

Items on Board
Items on Board

Horrified is a cooperative game where players are working together to defeat the Monsters. If you beat all Monsters in play, everyone wins together. To defeat a Monster, they must complete a specific task and then defeat the Monster itself.  Each Monster’s task and victory condition is unique. If either the Monster deck is exhausted, or the Terror Level on the Terror Level Track is maxed out, all players lose together.

Set-Up

  1. Give a random Hero Badge to each player, along with the corresponding Hero standee. Each Hero Badge indicates the player’s special action for the game. Place the Hero standee in its assigned starting location. Give each player a Perk card.
  2. Put all Item tokens in the bag, mix them up, and draw 12. Place these items on their corresponding locations on the game board.
  3. On the game board, put the Terror Marker on 0 on the Terror Level Track. Place the Item bag next to the board, along with the Monster card deck and the Perk card deck. Place the 10 Villager movers and 3 dice next to the board.
  4. Choose the Monsters to play against. The difficulty level of the game corresponds with the number of Monsters to set up. Each Monster has a corresponding Monster mat and figure. The Monster mat indicates specific set up instructions, including the starting location for the Monster.
  5. Place the Monster mats in a row next to the board, from lowest to highest Frenzy Order that is in the upper left of each mat. Place the Frenzy Marker on the mat with the lowest Frenzy Order.

Player Turn

Hero Badge
Hero Badge

Horrified is an action point selection game with a pickup-and-deliver mechanism. A player’s turn consists of two phases—the Hero Phase and the Monster Phase. During the Hero Phase, a player can take as many actions as listed on their Hero Badge. They may take a specific action more than once, and they can also choose to forego any actions available to them. Additionally, any player may play any number of Perk cards. These do not count as an action. Additionally, the goal is to collect items from various locations around the board, and deliver them to specific places to complete tasks and eventually defeat the monsters.

The Hero Phase

Hero Phase actions include:

  • MOVE to an adjacent space, taking any number of Villagers with you.
  • GUIDE one Villager to or from an adjacent space.
  • PICK UP any number of Items in your space.
  • SHARE Items between Heroes in your space.
  • ADVANCE a task by using Items at the specified location.
  • DEFEAT a Monster by using Items in that Monster’s space.
  • SPECIAL ACTION as noted on your Hero’s Badge.
Perks Cards
Perks Cards

The Monster Phase

During the Monster Phase, the active player draws one Monster card from the top of the Monster deck and resolve all three parts of the card:

  • ITEMS – Draw the number of Items listed at the top of the card, if any, from the Item bag and place them at the location indicated on the Item.
  • EVENT – Each Event either involves one of the Monsters or the Villagers. Read the Event out loud and do what it says.
  • MONSTER STRIKE – In order from left to right, move and attack with the Monsters who’s symbols are at the bottom of the card. Resolve each monster before proceeding to the next Monster. Some Monsters may attack twice in the same turn if the Frenzy symbol is shown.
Monster Cards
Monster Cards

Move the Monster the number of spaces on the card towards the closest Hero or Villager. As soon as the Monster is in a space with a Hero or Villager, they stop moving and attack, rolling the number of attack dice on the card. If there are multiple people in that space, resolve which Hero or Villager is attacked. A player may discard an Item token to evade an attack on a Hero. If the Monster successfully attacks a Hero, they are sent to the hospital, and the Terror Level Track increases by 1. If the Monster successfully attacks a Villager, the Villager is removed from the game, and the Terror Level Track increases by 1.

The End Game

If all Monsters are defeated, all players win the game together. However, players lose immediately if one of the following occurs:

  • TERROR: If the Terror Level Track ever reaches its maximum, the Monsters have overrun the village and the players lose.
  • OUT OF TIME: If the Monster card deck is ever empty, you have taken too long to defeat the Monsters and all players lose.

The Good

Gameplay and Mechanics

Horrified: Universal Monsters is not an overly complex game to teach or learn. The action point selection and pickup-and-deliver mechanics are straightforward and easy to understand by any gamers of any skill level. There are several monsters with varying levels of difficulty. Subsequently, the number and difficulty level of the monsters can be adjusted to accommodate for easier or tougher gameplay.

Monster mat
Monster mat

Theming

The theming is awesome. Who doesn’t love the classic Universal Monsters? Each has a sculpted figure that is of good quality that represents the monster’s location in the village. The tasks to complete before defeating the Monsters are not super thematic (for example, Heroes must break the Mummy’s curse by aligning the six Scarabs on the tablet, moving them around like a slide puzzle). However, there are cool nods to the classic Monster movies. For instance, the Villagers are all named after characters from these movies. Dr. Cranley from The Invisible Man, Renfield from Dracula, and Maleva the Gypsy from The Wolf Man are a few of the villagers you will (hopefully) save. It is touches like this that make this game a real gem for classic horror movie fans.  

Components

Most of the components are well made. The Monster figures are cool. The Hero badges are a nice thick cardstock. The Hero and Villager standees, as well as the Monster cards and Perk cards, are average game components. Nothing special there. The Monster mats are a little on the thin side, but they simply lay on the table and don’t get much contact. The various markers, overlays, and tokens used for each individual Monster are made of high-quality cardstock and should hold up well to multiple plays.

Villagers
Villagers

Solo Play

There is also a solo variant for this game, using only one Hero. The Terror Marker on the Terror Level Track starts on the 3, but all the rules remain the same. I found that completing the tasks and defeating the Monsters is the easy part. The reason for defeat, for the most part, is the loss of the Villagers, causing the Terror Level Track to max out. When a Monster card event causes a Villager to appear in the village, and the Hero is all the way on the other side of the board, it is almost impossible to get over there to rescue them before a Monster attacks them. Every solo game that I lost was due to the villager attacks pushing that Terror Level Track to the max.

Overall Impression

Dice and Terror Track
Dice and Terror Track

Horrified: Universal Monsters is a fun game with awesome theming. It is an excellent gift for any game-loving horror fan. I’m not really sure that the replayability is there. After multiple games, I can see how the strategy used to complete the tasks and defeat each Monster may become repetitive. However, there is a decent size catalog of classic Universal Monsters… maybe we will get a sequel or an expansion? I would certainly buy it…

Game Statistics

  • Release Date: 2019
  • MSRP: $34.99
  • Playing Time: 60 minutes
  • Age Range: 10+
  • Player Count: 1-5

 

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About the author

Shanon Connelly

(a.k.a. “Super Muffin Girl”) is an avid board gamer, cosplayer, and all around nerd girl. She has been cosplaying for over 10 years, attending several conventions every year. She recently started a YouTube gaming channel, "Time to Play!", which previews and reviews board games. Follow Shanon on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram (@supermuffingirl).

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