Horrified: Greek Monsters Review: Escalating Chaos in Ancient Greece

The new Horrified installment challenges players to defeat Greek monsters.

Horrified: Greek Monsters is another successful installment of the Horrified franchise, with new monsters to fight while trying to manage a lot of competing interests. The new cooperative board game, set for release by Ravensburger NA in October, continues the series of Horrified games, with players tasked to defeat a collection of monsters as they rampage across a fictional Greek landscape. Each monster has its own unique defeat condition, with several monsters taking tied to a brand new lair mechanic that adds more tasks and components to an already crowded board. The result is a game that is fun to play but requires not only coordination but also strong task management skills in order to win. 

At its heart, Horrified: Greek Monsters is a resource management game coupled with task managements. Players need to defeat between 2-4 monsters, each of which has their own unique defeat conditions that typically involve collecting and then spending items that are scattered across the board. Each item has a color, a location, and a value and defeating monsters typically requires collecting the right kind of items and traveling to specific location to defeat them. For instance, the basilisk requires players to travel to four specific locations and then place items from those sites onto the basilisk's monster sheet. Once all four items have been collected, the basilisk can be defeated by spending items with a total of 30 or higher while on the same location as the basilisk. Meanwhile, Medusa has to be pushed into four different locations that have mirrors on them and then have to be pushed into her lair where a player can use green items with a value of 6 or higher to defeat her. 

Play is split into two phases – the player phase and the monster phase. During the player phase, the active player can take four actions to move across the board, collect items, or advance the monster's defeat condition. Most player characters also have a special action they can use that allows them to fast travel, freely share items, or gain other beneficial effects. Once the active player has gone, the monster phase starts by drawing a monster action card. Players place a number of items onto the board and then follow the instructions to determine which monsters move, how far they move, and how hard they attack. One wrinkle in Horrified: Greek Monsters is that each monster has three symbols on their monster sheet, which correspond to the symbols on monster action cards symbolizing which monsters are active. Depending on the combination of monsters during a session, players can potentially deal with all monsters getting activated in a turn (or even a monster getting activated twice in a turn), which can prove deadly and can instantly change the game in a moment. 


Also complicating the players' quest are Legends, characters that are summoned to the board and have to be safely guided to certain locations before monsters attack them. The Legends are very vulnerable to monster attacks but reward players with Perk cards if they can be safely corralled to their final destination. Another new factor are Monster Lairs – new tiles that are placed in four locations across the board and can only be revealed by spending items.

The players win if they can vanquish all their monsters, but they lose if they run out of monster action cards or if the game's terror level (triggered when a Hero or Legend is defeated) increases to its maximum level. 

Horrified: Greek Monsters is a truly cooperative experience, if only because you'll need multiple people to manage the many components involved in gameplay and the parallel tasks players need to accomplish to win the game. There's a lot to keep track of during the game, with some monsters requiring specific colors of items to be defeated, while others need to be led to certain locations or lairs before they can be vanquished. If players can't uncover the lairs fast enough, they won't be able to corral a monster in a specific area of the board to make their vanquishing easier and there are enough side quests and distractions that a player can burn through their actions easily without making progress towards any of their goals. This isn't bad game design, and being able to sort through the noise is one of the keys to winning in Horrified consistently. 


I also like how Horrified: Greek Monsters is more difficult as more players are added. Because one of the game's loss conditions is based around the monster action deck, the more players you have means the less turns each player gets to act per game. That means that it's not necessarily a good strategy to leave one monster to one player, because the board might change drastically by the time a player's next turn comes around. 

My biggest criticism of the game is that the rulebook isn't the easiest to follow, especially when it comes to Monster Action cards. About half of the cards have the Frenzy symbol on them, meaning that the "Frenzied Monster" (designated by a marker that rotates between the monsters) is guaranteed to be activated. But the rules related to monster actions don't really draw attention to this fact, which meant that we missed it a couple of times early in the game. It also took a few rounds for my test players to get into the cadence of the game, which probably contributed to our defeat when we ran out of monster action cards. 

Overall, Horrified: Greek Monsters is a fun game with a lot of moving pieces (both literally and figuratively). While there are a lot of things to keep track of, there's no one quest or track that's too complicated to handle, especially if you're a veteran to the Horrified franchise. I enjoyed the new wrinkles to the familiar Horrified formula and thought that this installment continued one of Ravensburger's sneakily strong franchises.  

Horrified: Greek Monsters will be released in October 2023. A copy was provided by ComicBook.com for the purposes of review.