Designed by Michael Mulvihill, with art by Victor Maristane, Horrified: American Monsters is Ravensburger's standalone sequel to their 2019 hit game Horrified. Whereas the earlier game featured monsters made famous in the Universal Pictures' horror movies of the 1930s, this edition focuses on creatures from American myth and folklore. It's a fully cooperative game for 1–5 players where you get to save an American town from being overrun by a bunch of rampaging monsters.
If you already own the original edition of Horrified then this is essentially the same game, just with six different monsters, tho' the monsters do all play differently. Players take it in turns to move around the board gathering items, rescuing citizens and completing tasks to remove the monsters. In between player turns, the monsters have their go at moving and attacking, as well as adding new items to the map and occasionally spawning new citizens to be rescued.
As we've come to expect from Ravensburger, the production quality of Horrified: American Monsters is excellent: the game looks vibrant and engaging, and with great minis. Collective success or failure is always a close run thing, particularly as the game offers multiple difficulty levels. This is key, as games such as this are often easier with fewer players. The tasks to defeat each monster are imaginatively constructed, using game components to the full, and it means that each game with its new combination of monsters feels fresh and challenging.
If I’m honest, I prefer the monsters in the original version because Frankenstein's Monster, the Bride of Frankenstein, Dracula, The Mummy, The Invisible Man and The Creature from the Black Lagoon are much more familiar to non-US audiences than this game's Jersey Devil, Mothman, Chupacabra, Banshee of the Badlands, Bigfoot and Ozark Howler, and the tasks feel more thematic. I also prefer a few of the components from that version, particularly the cloth draw bag - tho' I know some will prefer the chunky draw bag that comes with this edition. Given the very similar mechanics - albeit that for some of the American Monsters the mechanics are a step up in difficulty - and, bar the monsters, the similarity of the components, this feels like it could have been published as an expansion. However, that would've meant it was only available to those who had the original game. As a standalone game, you now have a choice of whether to face the movie monsters of the 1930s or monsters who include renegades from episodes of the X-Files. Do you need both? Probably not. But then there's needing and there's wanting...
(Review by Paul Moorshead)