You’ll be leaving Bigfoot behind and instead taking on the likes of Medusa, Cerberus, the Siren, and their friends. Let’s take a look at how the game works and see if it’s something you need to get for that upcoming Halloween game night.
If you’ve played any of the previous versions of Horrified you’ll have a pretty good idea on how to play this Grecian edition. You’ll still be taking four actions per turn moving around the map and collecting items. What you do with those items depends on which monsters are in the game, as each is defeated in different ways. I’ll be glossing over some of the details and focusing on the changes. If you haven’t played any Horrified check out Tony’s review for more of the basics.
Every monster has to be defeated in two parts. With Cerberus, for instance, you first have to spend items to roll dice to open the door to Hades. Then, once it’s opened, you can spend items to lure him back to where he belongs. Cerberusis one of four monsters that has a lair, which is the biggest change up from previous games.
During setup, you’ll randomly mix the four lairs face down in locations around the board. As an action, you can spend items worth a total of 3 points to reveal a lair at your location. In the Cerberus example above it’s important to find his lair because you need to reach that location to even start opening the door. It’s likely you won’t care about all the lairs, so you may occasionally be spending items and flipping them only to find the lair of a monster who isn’t in the game.
The other mechanical change to the game is how the monster cards are handled. They no longer show an icon related to a particular monster but rather a monster “type,” with each monster eligible to appear in one of three flavors. The end result seems more or less the same, you will occasionally get zero monster activations and sometimes all the monsters can go off. The new mechanism is a bit cleaner and seemingly would make expansion monsters (or mixing in matching if the same design continues) easier.
Horrified is one of the cooperative games that sticks around in my collection because its straight-forward rules, great theme, and variety of monster combinations to mix things up.
Of course how “good” a particular version of Horrified is rests largely on how interesting the different monsters are. What I like best about the Greek monsters is what happens when they roll the “!” result during an attack. Generally in the past, those monster powers would just undo your progress in trying to defeat them. But these monsters can do just a variety of wild things. The Siren can move all players toward her. The Basilisk will teleport the current player right to it and deliver an attack. The Minotaur can just increase your level on the terror track, accelerating your demise.
I do have one big issue with the Minotaur, though. To progress against the Minotaur you first have to “solve” its maze by spending items and placing various maze pieces. Your first time there obviously brings with it some chance you’ll place them in the wrong places. On subsequent plays though you’ll know where they go, so even if you start by drawing a piece that doesn’t connect to the starting one, you probably know where to put it. It doesn’t make the Minotaur too easy, per se, since you still have to spend a bunch of items to solve it and then defeat him. But there is really no fun puzzle to it after the first time.
The “lairs” part of the game is an interesting twist. Ultimately it incentivizes players to find the one they care about and ignore the rest. There are monster cards that can move lairs around which is fairly annoying and doesn’t make a lot of thematic sense, but it does give you some reason to reveal more lairs even when you’ve found the ones you needed.
Ultimately Greek Monsters feels mostly the same. It adds variety but not a lot of new interesting mechanics. I assume Ravensburger wants to keep the game fairly light and that limits the amount of risks they can take. I would love to see Horrified continue to release content, but also feel like we are approaching the point where they need to take bigger risks to justify further expansions.
Horrified: Greek Monsters isn’t going to do anything to change your view on Horrified if you are already familiar with the system and either like or dislike it. Again, I came in liking Horrified and this is no different. If forced to rank Horrified games I would say I like the monsters in Greek Monsters the best, although the Minotaur is poorly designed and probably one I’ll keep out most of the time.
If you are a fan of Horrified there are a few new twists, and if you are ready to move onto some new monsters it’s certainly worth checking out. If you haven’t played any of the games yet, start with whichever has the monsters that you find the coolest and go from there.
Final Score: 4 Stars – Some new monsters and a couple twists. But I’m all for more Horrified thematic cooperative fun.
• Minotaur maze is a simple puzzle that doesn’t hold up to multiple plays.
• One could certainly argue there is more interesting risks to take with the series rather than pumping out more of the same.