Inspired by the podcast “Into The Meepleverse” discussing their Gaming Resolutions for the year, I decided to make some of my own. Hence, keeping a gaming diary that includes a list of new games that I have played this year. I feel like there should be more, but I only started tracking halfway through the year (and as a year in COVID lockdown ,it’s been more challenging to bring a board game to the table).

Four games that I played for the first time in 2021, in no particular order …
(also a link to Boardgame Geek for further information, tutorial videos, and other info)

HORRORFIED

1 to 5 players
Type: Co-operative, Token Collection

How to play / win
Players move across the board to collect colored tokens, guide villagers safely to their destination, and complete mini games that will defeat the monsters. All players lose if the monster deck runs out of cards, if there are no longer enough tokens to complete the mini games, or if the too many villagers and monster hunters are defeated (as measured by a Terror Track).

Like “Touch of Evil” but can be played in about an hour, Monster Hunting through mini games

Each monster has a unique mini game to be completed to defeat them. This includes mechanics like:

  • Collecting red tokens equalling 6 points of strength to smash 4 coffins before using 6 points worth of yellow tokens to defeat Dracula
  • Use blue tokens to teach Frankenstein’s Monster and the Bride humanity (as measured by dials) while keeping them apart or else the Terror Track will increase each time the monsters meet
  • Use multiple colors of tokens to advance the boat to the Creature from the Black Lagoon’s lair so that you can use three tokens of different colors to finally drive off the Creature
  • Use yellow tokens to move or flip numbered tiles to put them in the correct order and then defeat the Mummy with 9 points worth of red tokens
  • Collect tokens from different locations and bring them to the Precinct location and then use 9 points worth of red tokens to trap the Invisible Man before he attacks too many villagers
  • Collect blue tokens of the needed values to produce a cure for the Wolfman and force him to take it with the cure token and 6 points worth of red tokens

What I liked
The pieces are pretty solid for cardboard and plastic and haven’t shown any real wear and tear after almost a dozen play throughs (I’ve seen some great images of players painting up the plastic minis and doing up new art for the monster hunters). The game itself is really straight forward and new players picked up really quickly after a few turns. Pretty much everything you need to know is on the monster hunter tile, the monster mini game, or the reference card.

Six monsters come with the game and it could have easily gone down the route of releasing additional booster boxes with more, but the interaction of two to four monsters on the board at a time has been engaging each time. The rules suggest starting with two of the simplest monsters (Dracula and the Creature from the Black Lagoon). When you first try a new monster in a game, it recommends pairing it with one of the starter monsters. For added difficulty, start with three or four monsters and three monsters is far tougher than you might expect, depending on the combinations and the random outcomes of the Monster deck. Adding to the difficulty is the Frenzy marker, potentially activating a monster more than once in a single monster phase. Once there is only one monster left to defeat, there are pretty good odds that they will be moving / attacking at least once every turn, keeping it challenging even as you race to endgame.

Horrified has much in common with Touch of Evil and Pandemic, with the player roles each having unique abilities and co-operation to achieve the end goal before the countdown to doom runs out. I’m going to consider it a strength of this game that it doesn’t have 3+ expansions that won’t fit in the original box but you feel compelled to pick up anyways. Several homebrewed expansion material has been posted online if you feel so inclined. If you like games like that but looking for something less crunchy that takes about an hour, I recommend Horrified. I’m also looking forward Horrified – American Monsters, reportedly a standalone game with cryptids as the threat.

With this I took issue …
Horrified runs the risks of many co-operative games. You might wind up with an alpha player ordering others around for the optimized actions and minimized fun for the other players. I also recommend having some Ready Player One token to keep track of who has the current turn as that sometimes gets hard to recall after discussing what everyone has to do for their next turn. We used the token bag and dice to track that as it was part of your turn.

One other small thing might crop up of a monster hunter getting trapped by monsters at the hospital but once we saw the problem it was becoming, we pretty quickly tried some different ways to lead off the monsters or at least defend the recovering monster hunter.