With isolation and limited ability to go outside the home, I find myself in a position (along with the rest of you) of nervousness and boredom. One can only watch so much Netflix before you develop bedsores and a stiff neck! So, I’ve set myself a challenge to play at least one board game a day during this time and if possible pair it with a good beer, wine, or cocktail. Why not! Feel free to play along. Today marks day 18 of quasi-quarantine. Just so my readers know, I’m not actually in quarantine yet–I’m a pediatrician and am still going into work on my regular work days. So while I’m not technically stuck at home, I am in a high-stress work environment these days and really need game playing as an outlet when I get home.


Horrified is a board game easily available at Target stores, by Ravensburger. I bought this game purely because my friend Peter helped to design it! And I haven’t regretted the decision!

Horrified is a cooperative board game where a group of characters are attempting to fight off the monsters from the old Universal horror movies: you know, Dracula, Wolfman, Invisible Man, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Mummy, Frankenstein… Those guys. This has a bit of a comic art design, and the creatures each have their own miniature to move around the board.

Our monsters for the evening…

Each game is a little different since you decide which two (or three if you really want a hard game) monsters you are going to fight off. Each monster has their own changes to the board and effects that happen when they activate. Each monster also has a unique way in which to be defeated. For instance: Dracula requires that you destroy his three coffins scattered around the board before you take him on directly.

Dracula menaces my Mayor

Each investigator has a special skill which can be very helpful in completing things. As you move, you also gather items which spawn at various locations as the game progresses. These items are red, yellow, or blue and each are used for different things. For the Dracula quest above, the coffins need to be defeated with 6 red tokens worth of damage. Tokens can also be used as defense if monsters would attack your investigator.

Each round, after your character moves, the monsters get activated by a monster deck of cards. This adds a good element of randomness to where the monster might move and attack. There are also villagers who spawn around from this deck and you can get extra special event cards to help you out if you escort them to their desired locations. Or if the monster happens to attack them, you are one round closer to losing the game as the town’s horror track moves up.

To pair with this monstrous game, I chose another vintage of Surly Darkness–their yearly Russian Imperial Stout. This is an oldie, going back to 2012! Still tastes pretty good, but the oxidation started to get rough is it warmed up. If you have one of these I would not let it age any longer! It just would have been more perfect if we had been fighting the wolfman!

I find this game to be easy to pick up, has horror theme but is not scary–so families could easily play this together. Yet there is some strategy and interaction that make it not just a kids game. Certainly on the lighter side of complexity, but the different monster mechanics make it interesting and make it more replayable. I recommend it. I think I’ll start rating games for this column. I give Horrified a 7.5 out of 10, mostly because I favor tougher/crunchier games personally.

Because we had to have a gratuitous cat picture! Also Sj.