Horrified is one of my favourite cooperative board games on the market. It’s rare, in my experience, that you actually feel like a team in a cooperative board game. Most of them feel a little like escape rooms – sure, you all solve the puzzles together or not, but mostly it comes down to two people arguing about what the solution should be while the rest of the group wait around feeling uncomfortable and stupid. They rarely encourage actual teamwork or togetherness, but instead another form of competition. Horrified has balanced that better than most and the latest edition, Horrified: Greek Monsters, proves why it is the best in class.
The basic premise of Horrified is very simple. You can play solo or (officially) with up to five, although there are enough characters for up to eight to play together. It is your job to stop monsters from destroying a village – or, in this edition, mythical beasts from destroying Ancient Greece. Each player gets between three and five moves (indicated by their character token), and you can all take turns in any order to best fulfil your joint goal of eradicating these threats. You can change location, pick up items, give items to another player, rescue villagers, or defeat the monsters you face in your turn. It might be best to all work on one monster together, to lower the number of imminent threats, or to spread yourselves out to ensure monsters can’t roam unchecked.
If you’ve played Horrified before, Greek Monsters is the same game with a new skin. Because every monster has a different win condition, though, it does feel like a new experience rather than the same as last time, but now it’s Medusa. Speaking of, the monsters you’ll be fighting are Medusa, the Siren, the Basilisk, the Chimera, the Minotaur, and Cerberus. As for the player characters, in a first for Horrified, you can be something other than a human, with Pegasus a playable character. It can still use a bow and arrow, somehow.
Killing each monster has two steps – first, you must gather tools to defeat them, then you must defeat them. Most of the time in Horrified, the ‘defeat’ part feels a little rote – you gather X amount of items and then use them to slay the beast. Greek Monsters has that in parts – the Basilisk, for example, needs items worth 30, but you need to deposit four items in temples for the first stage, and these count towards the defeat target, so we were able to slay it with just one weapon.
However, four of the monsters this time have lairs that they must be pushed towards, and as you work your way through the game revealing these, you might end up finding lairs that don’t match the character you’re fighting. This adds a new depth that Horrified has lacked in the past, giving the feeling of actually saving a place bursting with stories rather than specifically following the rules of a board game. This, plus the use of dice rolls for the likes of Cerberus, can make luck too big a factor in some games – but what are board games without a little luck?
It’s also a significantly brighter game – Horrified and American Monsters both have dark aesthetics and can seem indistinct from each other. Greek Monsters is far more colourful, and as a result, each place has a little more value, as in other games locations of importance feel chosen at random. Here though, they’re places we know from history – temples to gods or other settings from legends.
The villagers here are not just random stock characters either – they’re all famous Greeks from history. It gives the game another unique element, but unfortunately, they just behave as villagers do in the other games. I understand Ravensburger not changing up the formula too much, but this is the one thing that feels like a wasted opportunity.
Horrified: Greek Monsters
- Player Count
- Age Recommendation
- Length per Game
- 60 minutes
- Franchise Name
- Publishing Co
The monsters have good variety not only amongst themselves, but also with the other Horrified games. None of them feel like, ‘oh that’s just Greek Dracula’, which makes Greek Monsters a worthwhile buy for Horrified fans. I’d like to see Ravenburger explore expansion packs now that Horrified is a bona fide series – much like Villainous has a base game and smaller add-ons, there could easily be a pack with Scylla and the Cyclops, or King Kong and the Body Snatchers, that expands the experience rather than creates a whole new one. But, in making a completely new game, Greek Monsters delivers, so it’s hard to be too critical.
Overall, Horrified remains the best in the biz at what it does with Greek Monsters. Personally, I prefer the aesthetic of the original game and the ‘win’ mechanics of American Monsters, but the brighter palette, creative use of history, and variety of approaches will make Greek Monsters a very popular entry in the Horrified pantheon. It’s an excellent addition to your game shelf and a great place to start with Horrified, especially if you prefer myths and legends to things that go bump in the night.
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