Horrified: Greek Monsters is a board game about defeating a rogue’s gallery of fearsome creatures from across the Greek Classics. If that premise sounds familiar, then you might have played the popular 2020 video game Hades, wherein players must fight through different levels of the Greek mythological underworld to reach the surface.
Just like in Hades, players in the co-op board game will have to defeat a cast of dangerous enemies inspired by Greek myth. The potential creatures players might encounter include the three-headed dog Cerberus – not nearly as cute as the video game character – the grotesque Chimera, chicken-headed Basilisk and the half-bull, half-man Minotaur. These creatures live up to their deadly reputation in Horrified: Greek Monsters by providing a significant challenge, even to experienced players.
As with the other entries in the Horrified series, this board game has players attempting to prevent the monsters from rampaging across a specific location – in this case, the mythical island of Elysium – by fulfilling their specific requirements for defeat. Each monster will have their own objectives players must complete to remove them from the board, with players needing to manage at least two monsters from the start of every game. The different monster banishment requirements not only provide variety, but they’re also well-tied thematically to the myths they originate from - such as finding and opening the door to the Underworld to return Cerberus to his master, Hades.
Finding the door to the Underworld means engaging in a new gameplay mechanic introduced in Horrified: Greek Monsters, lairs. Lairs are tiles that are randomly assigned facedown to certain locations on the board and must be discovered before certain monsters can be defeated. These lairs also tie the gameplay back to the myths that inspired this horror board game, with players needing to do things like unlock the Underworld door by sacrificing gifts to Hades and rolling for their fate.
Like Hades, surviving monster turns in Horrified: Greek Monsters requires a hearty dose of luck.
However, Cerberus and his friends aren’t going to go out without a fight. The monsters’ presence on the board is intimidating enough – the creature miniatures are very evocative of the original legends – but they have their own chance to act after every player’s turn too. Players will draw a monster card and pray that it won’t trigger whichever creatures they’re fighting against in their current playthrough. If they are activated, they will move towards the nearest player and attack them.
Like Hades’ randomised enemy placement and room design, surviving monster turns in Horrified: Greek Monsters often requires a hearty dose of luck. Monsters will attack using a set of dice, with the number of dice rolled being determined by whichever monster card is drawn. The dice all feature blanks, hits and exclamation marks that trigger the creatures’ special abilities - which can get quite nasty. For example, the Basilisk’s special ability allows it to immediately teleport to another player and perform an unavoidable attack, unless they have a red item they can discard.
Horrified: Greek Monsters is the kind of board game that will incite either huge cheers or loud groans but certainly not apathy.
It won’t just be player characters in peril from the game’s monsters. As in Hades, players can encounter a cast of famous legends from Ancient Greek myth such as Arachne – the poor weaver who was turned into a human/spider hybrid by Athena – and Io, one of the many unfortunate women to get involved with Zeus. However, unlike in Hades, these legends won’t ever assist or directly interfere with players’ actions. Instead, they’ll hang around the board until they’re either escorted to their desired destination, like a mythical Uber passenger, or they’re murdered by a rampaging monster. The death of any character, whether player controlled or not, causes the game’s terror rating to increase – with a full terror rating causing players to lose the game. This makes the arrival of legends act as more of an added burden to the group’s already difficult situation: upping the stakes and increasing the pressure on them to succeed.
More pressure can spark one of two outcomes in Horrified: Greek Monsters - either the game quickly crumbles into a loss or players are spurred on to come up with some wild strategies to win. Losing the game isn’t the worse thing in the world as like Hades more playthroughs means more knowledge, which is an important resource in getting better at this board game. However, devising the last-minute strategies that end up working feels incredibly good in a climatic way. Horrified: Greek Monsters is the kind of board game that will incite either huge cheers or loud groans but certainly not apathy.
Which is why Horrified: Greek Monsters is the board game for people who enjoy drama, Greek myths and Hades.