The cartoon art by the game's designer Judson Cowan will amuse rather than be the stuff of nightmares, so don't let the title scare you. Hideous Abominations is a light family-friendly set collection game with a not-too-aggressive 'take that' mechanic to add strategic depth. You'll be building your own monster and, in doing so, you'll be looking to score points for having the most body parts of the same colour and for meeting any of the fixed and randomly assigned scoring objectives.
Players all start off with a tile showing their monster's torso and a hand of three tiles representing random body parts from the monster-sized 190 card/tile deck. A further three tiles are placed face up as the 'spare parts buffet'. On your turn, you roll the custom six-sided die. Roll the Draw symbol and you draw a tile, either from the three face-up tiles or from the face-down draw pile. Refresh means that before you draw, you first discard the three face-up tiles and replace them with three new tiles from the draw deck. Bolt lets you place a bolt token between any two of the tiles that make up your monster, and then you reroll so you'll still get to draw or steal a tile. The Steal symbol lets you take a body part (but not the torso) from another player provided it doesn't have a bolt token on it.
In addition to drawing and taking the other actions indicated by the die roll, you get to place a tile (not necessarily the one you just drew) from your hand onto your own or any of the other player's monsters, initially adding to the torso but subsequently adding to any of the open-ended body parts. Since you'll ultimately be scoring for the various body parts that make up your monster it may seem initially counterintuitive ever to be adding a tile to an opponent's construct but it is this, rather than the Steal die face, that gives rise to the most 'take that' interactions. Playing a tile to an opponent can stop them from completing their monster or can close off potential scoring options...
According to the rules, Hideous Abominations takes 2-5 players but there are ample body part cards to increase the player count to as many as 9 if you are so minded. You'll find the game appeals to children, and the rules offers a range of options for simplifying game play and/or scoring. As the rules state 'this game is specifically designed to be just as flexible as the abominations you create'. And if you want to step up the complexity, publishers Tettix have also produced a small 'Robots & Rot' expansion that adds extra tiles that are immune from being stolen and tiles that can be placed on top of other tiles so that they are decayed and no longer count towards scoring.
If you have any difficulty finding Hideous Abominations in your local game store, click here to order it direct from the publishers.
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